Choosing the 5 Best bluegrass guitars under $300 was difficult. There are so many good options out there…and frankly, so many bad ones, too. Fortunately, I sorted through it all for you.
All five of the guitars under $300 on this list are excellent instruments that exceed expectations. More importantly, they’re bargains at their current prices, so be sure to act fast if you’re looking to purchase a guitar!
In addition to the 5 best bluegrass guitars under $300, I’m going to feature Guy Clark, one of my favorite and inspirational singer-songwriters. You’ll also get my preliminary thoughts on the Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster. Last but not least, we’ll check in with Maneli Jamal, a fingerstyle maestro who was featured on Acoustic Tuesday #109.
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
5 Best Bluegrass Guitars Under $300
Cheap guitars that are good are hard to find. Fortunately, you don’t have to scour the internet or local pawn shops to find something good.
Every bluegrass guitar on this list was handpicked by me for its versatility, durability, and consistency. Some are laminate tops, while others are solid wood. Be sure to watch the full episode to find which one you like!
5) Yamaha FG-800
Previously known as the Yamaha FG-700S, the FG-800 is a bargain of a guitar. After some improvements in both bracing and top wood, this guitar for under $300 is a showstopper.
This solid top dreadnought comes in at $199 and is powerful and phenomenal. It’s durable, reliable, and is a great guitar to have around. When I worked in sales, I’d recommend this guitar to players of all experience levels just because it was such a good bargain.
4) Fender CD60S
A guitar similar to the Yamaha FG-800, the Fender CD60S is a great deal. I especially like this guitar because it comes with so many essential guitar “gadgets” like a strap, capo, case, and tuner.
Besides that, the guitar has a solid top and plays smoothly. The standout note on the Fender CD60S is that it offers a slimmer neck profile, which works perfectly for folks with smaller hands.
If you want to flex your style muscles, this guitar also comes in black.
3) Bristol BD-16
I was confused by this guitar at first. The Bristol BD-16 is an all-laminate guitar, and it’s more expensive than the solid top Fender and Yamaha — coming in at around $250. How could that be? Fortunately, when I started listening to this guitar I understood its slightly higher price.
The Bristol brand is part of Saga Music, the same people who make the Blueridge Guitars (which have, since I first reviewed them, doubled in price!). The Bristol brand sits beneath the Blueridge brand, but still has plenty of excellent guitars.
The Bristol BD-16 is also incredibly durable. If you’re not a fan of maintenance, humidity tracking, or want to play in the outdoors, this is a great guitar for that.
2) Alvarez AD-60S
This guitar is the real deal. It’s got the aesthetics, a solid top, forward-shifted scalloped bracing, binding around the top, and an abalone rosette.
I really love this guitar as an entry point into getting something that will last years and still sound great. Coming in at just under $300, I’ve had great experiences with this guitar and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a guitar on a budget.
1) Takamine GD20-NS
Why did I make the Takamine GD20-NS my #1 pick?
It offers a completely different tone from all of the other guitars. That’s because the Takamine GD20-NS is made with a solid cedar top. This allows the guitar to have a warm, woody, and delicate tone. For those of you who have a lighter touch, this guitar is for you.
The Takamine GD20-NS has volume, punch, and a delicate tone. Coming in at $299, I highly recommend this guitar if you like a lighter-sounding guitar.
Now, there are many more guitars that are under $300, so be sure to leave a comment if you know of any more bluegrass guitars for under $300.
If you’re looking for your first or second (or third) guitar, I also suggest reading my top 5 picks for the best beginner acoustic guitars.
I’ve had a few guitars over the last 40 years or more, but I absolutely love my new Yamaha YF800. It’s not just a great “budget guitar” — it’s a great guitar.
Great show – Guy Clark is a great example of the many many incredible artists whom you will never hear on mainstream radio or “popular” channels. Also the comment re seeing Chris Stapleton et al before they “made it big” This is why its so rewarding to get out and support live music particularly artists we may not heard of. Ex. I saw a young Colter Wall opening for the Dead South in a small club in their home town and mine Regina SK Canada!
Tony, have you ever played or reviewed the Teton Guitars? If so I would be interested in your opinion. I have one and like it quit well. Thanks
Bob, I take lessons at a local music store, along with TAC (Note Above the rest, Las Vegas NV). They sell Teton Guitars, I am always impressed when I pick one up and play it…especially for the price.
Thanks for mentioning the Takamine GD20-NS. It’s also the best smelling guitar for under $300. Yes, I bought it because I knew it would also smell good. I enjoy your show!
Tony, with all these acoustic guitars you feature and share recommendations on, how about featuring acoustic/electric basses? Which ones are good? Which give you the most bang per buck? We are all types of guitar geeks out here, so what do you say? GGU!
I think the #5, Yamaha FG-800 sounds the best of the 5 here. Actually I think it sounds better than some $700 guitars that I’ve tried.
The Takemine does, indeed, sound nice. But to my ears, the Bristol had the best tone of the group. Now, it might be that I just preferred the demo of the Bristol… but I’d definitely choose one of those two.
As much as I appreciate artists like Guy Clark, I’m REALLY looking forward to Tony Rice – a true virtuoso! As a guitar geek, I want most to hear players who knock my socks off with incredible technique – Molly Tuttle & Billy Strings, for instance. May I humbly suggest Joe Robinson, a Tommy Emanuel disciple who is very creative… and lightning fast.
One more thought; I’ve mentioned the duo of Loren & Mark to you before. I really think my fellow GGs would love to hear their beautiful 2-guitar arrangements (also both outstanding players!). It would also be a great time to promote their CDs, as Loren had a catastrophic chainsaw accident and won’t be able to play for at least a year.
If you’re not familiar with them, check out the promo video on their web site: https://www.lorenandmark.com/
There are also plenty of public domain videos of them on YouTube (incl. a few with TE). I think you’ll LOVE ’em.
AT has become a time machine. It is now clear that the recordings are two weeks before air, but today, “lean on that guitar when times get tough” is an amazing, positive thought about what we are going through. Two weeks ago, we were not locked in, and had just started to “flatten the curve” we hope. Now, I want the next two weeks to show us that by leaning on our guitars, thinking about the safety of our loved ones and friends, and everyone else, we have move to a better place in this time of stress and worry. Thanks, Tony
Don’t forget that Sissy stared in “Coalminers Daughter” and was reported to have done all of the vocals as Loretta Lynn “! A very talented woman!
Thanks for the show, Tony and crew! Guy Clark has long been one of my favorites. I didn’t hear you mention his album Cold Dog Soup, maybe I just missed it, but want to point out the connection with Shawn Camp – he and Guy wrote the incredible Sis Draper. It has it’s own melody, but plays along on top of the Arkansas Traveler chords.
Ok, so Pennsylvania has a town called Intercourse. In Michigan, we go them one better. We have a town called Hell and another called Climax. Love the show (thought I do miss Noah). Tac Member and loyal AT viewer.
On the clip of Brake of Dawn it looks like that guitar has x-bracing on the BACK! I have not seen that before. Can you or someone comment on that? Is that common among some makers?
Love the show.
Guy Clark! – Homegrown Tomatoes.
Regarding the towns in Pennsylvania. I am from Swarthmore and moved to Florida when I was 9. It was the summer of 78 that me and my sister returned to the City of Brotherly Love. We spent the summer with our Aunt Margot and Uncle Ernst. Cousins, Sabina, Ralph, Sandra and Monika. We went to a place called Dutch Wonderland. Heart of Lancaster County where Bird in Hand and Intercourse are located. At the time there was a place called Blue Balls. Leave that there. Aunt Margot bought my sister and I t shirts that had a horse drawn buggie on it and the words, Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Needless to say we returned to Florida, and as a youngster I never knew why my friends parents would laugh at the shirts. I out grew mine and wore My sisters shirt, how it worked in the day, hand me downs. It was in my twenties when it dawned on me why they were laughing. Great work Aunt Margot. Great work!
Tony, I can’t argue with your selections of NEW guitars under $300, but have you considered the USED options out there? I submit for your consideration that a 90s Sigma might merit consideration. These guitars are not so old to be fragile, but are still guitars that were produced under Martin’s management and produce a pretty good sound. I still own a Sigma DV4 and have appeared in public with it this year. What do you think?
“Heartwood Highways” — if you dig Guy Clark and those Texas songwriters find the documentary of that title. There are a few clips in this video from that doc. It features Townes, young Robin Crowel, young Steve Earle, and others. Guy Clark is a true original.