Here’s the brutal truth about beginner acoustic guitars:
There are so many cheap guitars out there, but very few beginner guitars are worth playing.
So many companies claim to have the best quality and craftsmanship at the cheap guitar price point, but most of them are virtually the same.
Finding a high-quality beginner acoustic guitar is difficult, especially if you’re on a budget.
While the overall quality of cheap guitars has increased, you won’t be limited by just pricepoint these days.
If you’re serious about buying a cheap guitar that sounds great, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, you have to be cautious and know what you’re buying before you shell out the money.
If you aren’t, you might be overpaying for some rather expensive pieces of plywood.
To make things easier, I’m going to show you the top 5 beginner acoustic guitars you can buy that are under $500.
With holiday shopping and Black Friday just around the corner, keep an eye out for sales on these excellent cheap guitars.
Keep reading to learn how you can get an incredible guitar for under $500 today.
Why Listen to Me?
Before I give you the low-down on these guitars, you might be wondering why I’m qualified to give you advice.
For almost the last decade, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to review almost 1,000 guitars...in the same room.
- I played the same songs, licks, and chords on each guitar.
- The acoustics in the room stayed the same for each guitar.
- I reviewed guitars made by everyone from small bench luthiers to production run brand names.
I am a bonafide guitar geek, through-and-through.
If you want to check out a back-log of my guitar reviews, click here.
What’s the Best Acoustic Guitar for Under $500?
Introduced almost seven years ago, the Taylor GS Mini is the best acoustic guitar for under $500.
Regardless of your playing style, the Taylor GS Mini brings unparalleled versatility and performance at an excellent price range.
If you’re looking for something full size, I can easily recommend any other guitar on this list. I love that the Yamaha FG800 comes in body styles, and the other guitars certainly boast impressive sonic ranges.
Best Beginner Acoustic Guitars under $500: Buying Advice
Since the construction of beginner acoustic guitars has improved over the last few years, one of the most important things to look for is a solid top guitar.
Solid top guitars allow greater resonance compared to plywood tops. Having a solid top on your guitar will make a huge difference.
Another material that makes beginner acoustic guitars affordable and playable is laminate wood. Laminate wood is made by gluing multiple sheets of solid wood to create a thicker piece of wood.
As a result, laminate woods make guitars cheaper, stronger than plywood-built guitars, and sound similar to solid top guitars.
While some tonewood purists might scoff at laminate woods, they make a great, cheaper substitute for solid wood guitars.
Alright, now let’s dive into the best beginner acoustic guitars for under $500.
5. Yamaha FG800
Great value for a solid top beginner acoustic guitar
Amazon price: $199.99 | Type: Dreadnought or Concert| Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Back and Sides: Nato |Fretboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Trussrod: Adjustable
Formerly known as the Yamaha FG700S, this is an excellent beginner acoustic guitar that will surely satisfy the needs of any new player.
This guitar has…
- scalloped bracing (click here to learn more about why that matters!)
- solid wood top (aka not plywood)
- two possible body shapes: dreadnought and concert
While the Yamaha FG800 may not be the most resonant guitar, it certainly does better than many other guitars at this price range.
One thing this guitar offers that few other guitars don’t is the quality of materials and construction at the price point it’s at. If you can, try to play one at a local music shop before you buy it.
If you’re looking for a beginner acoustic guitar that won’t break the bank, this is an excellent option.
4. Alvarez AD30
The Yamaha FG800…on steroids.
Amazon price: $259.00 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Back and Sides: Mahogany | Fretboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 |
While it’s more expensive than the Yamaha FG800, the Alvarez AD30 is well worth the extra $59.
Not only is the construction on this beginner acoustic guitar better, but it also is dressed up a little more.
On the inside, the Alvarez AD30 has forward-shifted scalloped bracing.
So, like the Yamaha FG800, this Alvarez will benefit from having richer harmonic overtones; however, because the bracing is shifted forward, it will also have solid bass response.
On the outside, the Alvarez AD30 has a beautiful abalone rosette.
If you’re looking for an affordable but slightly higher-performing guitar, the Alvarez AD30 is a great beginner acoustic guitar.
3. Blueridge BR-43
Lasting comfort and performance
(Alright, I’m cheating on this one, but if you have the budget for it consider this excellent beginner acoustic guitar!)
Amazon price: $645.00 (I know this is over the price range, but you seriously should consider it!) | Type: OOO | Top: Solid Sitka Spruce | Back and Sides: Mahogany | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Comes with a gig bag
When I originally reviewed this guitar in 2017, it cost $359.
While the guitar’s price increased by almost 100%, I think it’s well worth it.
To be honest, it was a steal in 2017…and I still think it’s a steal in 2019.
The Blueridge BR-43 doesn’t have a dreadnought body.
Instead, this comfortable beginner acoustic guitar has a OOO-sized body. This means that it is more compact, but it still has the same resonance as a bigger dreadnought body.
If you or the person you’re buying the guitar for have smaller hands, this is a great guitar because of its size.
The BR-43 might have a smaller body size, but it does not sacrifice sound, volume, or articulation.
2. Seagull S6 Original
Killer tones in a guitar that you can grow into
Amazon price: $399.00 | Type: Modified dreadnought | Top: Cedar | Back and Sides: Wild Cherry | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 21 | Double action truss rod
When the folks at Godin made the Seagull S6 Original, they knew what they were doing.
The solid cedar top, wild cherry laminate back and sides, and satin finish make for a comfortable guitar with incredible tonal variety.
One thing I love about this guitar is the versatility.
As you or the person you’re gifting this guitar to grow and expand their guitar knowledge, they won’t be limited by this excellent beginner acoustic guitar.
1. Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
The BEST Beginner Acoustic Guitar for under $500
Amazon price: $499 | Type: Mini | Top: Mahogany | Back and Sides: Laminate Sapele | Fretboard: Ebony | Frets: 20 |
I know the Taylor GS Mini is a travel guitar, but it’s an exception beginner acoustic guitar that should be strongly considered by anyone looking for a guitar.
Here’s why it’s my #1 pick…
- It is small and comfortable to hold
- Plays smoothly
- For its size, it has a robust bass and incredible depth of tone
- More versatile than most beginner acoustic guitars
The Taylor GS Mini works in so many different areas, whether you are traveling during the holidays or playing your first open mic.
At its current price, the Taylor GS Mini is absolutely the best beginner acoustic guitar that will help you grow and progress as a guitarist every step of the way.
If you need even more help on your acoustic guitar journey, look no further than Tony’s Acoustic Challenge.
As you already read, I’m an absolute guitar geek.
That means I’m dedicated to helping others find joy and happiness through their guitar practice.
Whether you’ve never played before or you’ve taken some time off, be sure to check out Tony’s Acoustic Challenge for more information today.