There are so many options for the best cheap acoustic guitars that it can be difficult to find the best one. However, with the help of this article, you will know what to look for and what features are important in an acoustic guitar.
Acoustic guitars are one of the most iconic and well-known instruments globally. Across history, across countries and all cultural barriers, you will find thousands if not millions of people who play the best cheap acoustic guitars or something similar to them.
Perhaps that is why the interest surrounding acoustic guitars is higher than it has ever been. Classes are free and accessible thanks to the internet, and any aspiring musician can get a general idea of how to play the guitar easily.
Manufacturers have taken note of this new demand and have begun producing acoustic guitars that are cheap and reliable. These guitars don’t break the bank but still provide all the quality and assurances you’ll need to become a full-blown musician. The availability of these cheap guitars has made the popularity of acoustic guitars skyrocket.
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With so many options available to the average customer in this day and age, it’s important to separate the best candidates. Below we’ve prepared what we think are the 8 best cheap acoustic guitars you can buy today.
Cheap Acoustic Guitars Reviewed In This Guide
What is the best cheap acoustic guitar under $500?
The Yamaha FG830S is a great option for any beginner guitarist looking to buy a cheap acoustic guitar. This particular model has been around for quite some time and is still considered one of the best budget guitars out there.
The Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar is another good choice because it comes with a pickup system that enables you to plug in an amplifier or PA system without having to change guitars.
Some other good options include: Taylor 114ce, Fender FA-100 Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha Cheap Acoustic Guitar is a brand that needs no introduction at this point. Over the past several years, they’ve proven themselves to be excellent manufacturers of everything from bikes to air conditioners and, most famously, guitars. They’ve proven themselves as a company that makes some of the best cheap acoustic guitars on the market.
As can be expected from a guitar made by a company with Yamaha’s caliber, experience and reputation, the FG830 is solid in all aspects, from sound and build quality to design and everything in between.
The FG830 is the newest inline in Yamaha’s 800 series, first introduced in the 1960s. Yamaha put all the experience and knowledge they gained from the past few decades to good use, producing a guitar that sounds almost too good for its price range.
The sound is beautiful and rich, with extravagant overtones and excellent sustain. There is a scalloped bracing pattern present in the guitar, which was specially designed and developed by Yamaha, and it contributes greatly to the overall look of the guitar and the richness of its sound.
The body is dreadnought shaped and made of rosewood. There is also a spruce wood top and an adjustable truss rod. This all contributes to a general feeling of premium quality you experience when holding and using the FG830. The body is also very durable and built to last for a long time.
Epiphone Cheap Acoustic Guitar will be a familiar name to musicians working on a tight budget. They specialize in making cheaper guitars than the competition while still offering high quality, rich sound and a durable design.
When you see a guitar made by Epiphone, you can rest assured that that instrument will remain playable at a very high level and will be usable for years, all for a relatively low price. That’s why so many people buy guitars from Epiphone.
The DR-100 is no exception. The body is lightweight, making it easy to carry, and is made out of premium mahogany. The soundboard is spruce, and the guitar is dreadnought shape. It also comes in 3 finishes: sunburst, natural and vintage, all of which are strikingly beautiful.
The DR-100 doesn’t skimp out on the sonics, either. The sound is rich and incredibly detailed, with a much higher standard than most guitars at this price point. The tone is bright and incredibly clear, and the projection is great. You would have to nitpick to find things wrong with the DR-100. It’s one of the best cheap acoustic guitars you can buy for any level of play.
It’s also incredibly long-lasting, so it serves as a good investment for beginners who want to use the same guitar once they reach the intermediate or even advanced stages.
Next up, we have a budget guitar made by the storied manufacturer Fender. Fender Cheap Acoustic Guitar is another company known and loved by more or less every musician out there. For years they’ve been producing quality instruments at all price ranges for all levels of play, from extremely expensive guitars meant for professionals to dirt-cheap beginner guitars that are much better than they have any right to be.
The CD-60S is one of their best guitars yet. This guitar has an elegant design and sound unmatched by most guitars at this price range.
The sound is incredibly bright but rich and varied, with nice bass tones and great clarity. The guitar is comfortable to hold and play, with the curvature of the neck specifically complementing the shape of the hand quite well.
Setup, tuning, and other technical processes that are usually difficult to perform by beginners are all simple and easy for the CD-60S. This is truly a guitar that caters to beginners, though, with its sound and durability, you can expect to be still playing it regularly years after you grow out of the beginner phase.
Fender also has a great reputation, and you typically know what you’ll get when you buy from them. Customers can expect responsive customer support and easy solutions to most common guitar problems, whether it’s online on a forum or in-person at one of their stores.
The Martin LXK2 Cheap Acoustic Guitar, which is also known as the “Little Martin,” is a smaller-scale guitar that sits at only 23 inches. It’s made by Martin, a respected and well-known brand in the guitar-making industry.
The Martin LXK2 packs a lot into its small frame. The body is dreadnought shape, a shape which is thought to have been invented by Martin themselves, and the size is ideal for use by children. The small size also makes the Little Martin’s weight relatively low, making it a good travel guitar.
The body is laminated and has a bracing made out of Sitka spruce. The tuners are plated with nickel and hold tune for a long time. The body is slightly resistant to weather and can sustain a bit more damage without breaking than other guitars, which is important for people on the road or for child learners who are typically rowdy and don’t take the best care of their guitars.
The strings are also durable and produce a nice, clear sound. The sound is well balanced, offering a full range of mids, highs and lows, not excelling at any range but not underperforming either.
Taking the small footprint and the durability into account, it’s acceptable for a guitar to have a sound that is slightly more middling than the others on this list since the sound is more than passable, and the Martin LXK2’s main use is as a travel guitar or a guitar for children.
Next on our list, we have the STORIA 3 Cheap Acoustic Guitar by Yamaha because you can never go wrong with Yamaha guitars.
This line of guitars is a bit different than most, with its main purpose being to function equally as a statement or art piece as it does an instrument. For this reason, most of Yamaha’s attention has gone to the aesthetic qualities of this guitar, something which is immediately clear when you first look at it.
The body is made out of beautiful, premium-feeling mahogany with tuners that have been painted “Champagne Gold,” according to Yamaha. Even the interior of the soundhole, something that most guitarists pay little attention to, has been painted an elegant wine red.
The STORIA 3 feels much more expensive than it is. This is thanks to the incredible design and the sonic qualities. Reviewers describe the sound as rich and bright, with a clear tone and excellent range. The mahogany top gives an overall warm feeling to the sound, which goes beautifully with the guitar’s look.
The neck is also compact, making it easy for most people to play.
The Jasmine S35 Cheap Acoustic Guitar is a budget guitar that revolutionized the budget guitar industry upon its initial release, thanks to the quality in both sound and design that this guitar packs at such a low price.
The materials used are cheap to reduce costs, with laminated material throughout the body and a neck made from nato with a fretboard made of rosewood. However, though these materials are cheaper than some of the others used in high-end guitars, they work quite well to produce excellent sound and a guitar that looks good, if not stunning.
The tuners attached to this guitar are solid and can hold tune very well. They will remain useable for a long time, so you can expect to use the guitar in top shape for years.
The tone is well balanced, producing a bright, pleasant sound, which feels too expensive for this price point. The projection is clear and very loud, so you won’t have any issues with people not hearing you play properly.
Jasmine is a lesser-known guitar manufacturing company, but that is set to change soon with the S35 and other guitars like it. They specialize in making dirt-cheap guitars that are very useable at most levels and built to last.
Experienced guitarists may be surprised to see a name like Ibanez in the affordable Cheap Acoustic Guitar market.
Ibanez is historically one of the most famous and best guitar manufacturing companies, gaining popularity due to the rock guitars they manufacture, which has since become their specialty. However, Ibanez has now decided to venture into the affordable guitar market.
Thanks to decades of experience and research and development that Ibanez has after making guitars for so long, they have succeeded in producing a cheaper guitar than most of the others on this list while still sounding impossibly good.
Similar to the Jasmine S35, the IJV50 isn’t too concerned with looks. It has a simple yet effective classic acoustic guitar look, a look which is known and adored the world over. The design won’t blow anyone away, but it’s a solid choice.
The sound is excellent, producing a clear tone with minimal buzz and great projection. Beginners won’t be too concerned with the technical aspects, but it’s safe to say this guitar is more than serviceable for anyone but the most advanced guitarists.
The IJV50 also has chrome tuners that hold tune quite well and allow minimal string movement. This all adds together to produce a guitar that is easy to play for beginners and great to learn on and can last long enough to get you through the intermediate stages too.
The IJV50 comes with a strap, a gig bag, and a tuner.
This acoustic-electric guitar produced by Ashthorpe is another winner at an extremely low price. Acoustic-electric guitars are always a good option for beginners who aren’t sure which guitar style they want to play.
With acoustic-electric guitars, you’ll never be restrained to just one playing style, and you can try your hand at both styles to try and learn them and see which one you like most.
A guitar that offers that option at such a low price will always be a good prospect. It helps that Ashthorpe is slowly gaining more and more popularity, thanks to their cheap acoustic and electric guitar options for beginners.
As expected from a typical Ashthorpe guitar, this guitar is visually striking, using inexpensive materials to its advantage to produce a look that is different from most other guitars on the market and one which will make you stand out.
The sound is bright and clear, with a warm tone and excellent projection. The subtleties of the sound produced by the strings are sustained at long distances so that the listener can enjoy the full range of sounds this guitar can produce.
The strings are tough and not prone to going out of tune and have 4 pickups on the fretboard for EQ. This guitar also comes in a kit with a gig bag, a selection of guitar picks, an extra set of strings and an onboard EQ. Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy an amp separately if you want to use this guitar as an electric one.
Cheap Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide
We’ve selected what we think are the best cheap acoustic guitars on this list. Whether it’s sound, looks, durable design or all 3 that you prefer, there’s something here for everyone.
However, it can be very difficult to decide which guitar to buy, especially if you’re a beginner. Although we’ve shortlisted 8 incredible options, most readers will want to buy just one. This will require a careful job of weighing all the potential advantages and disadvantages of buying particular guitars, whether or not it’s worth it to increase the budget a bit more, etc.
We have prepared a buyer’s guide to help you with these questions.
How to pick the Cheap Acoustic Guitar that’s best for you?
Different cheap acoustic guitars cater to different tastes and playing styles. Some are built for travel, some for playing at concerts and stages, some for playing fingerstyle guitar, and the list goes on.
This is why it’s important to recognize how you’ll play your guitar and what you’ll use it for.
Some people are only curious about acoustic guitars and want to try their hand at learning for a short while and don’t expect to become advanced players anytime soon. They should go for a cheaper, sub $150 guitar to satisfy their curiosity. These guitars are solid and have a solid, durable and unspectacular design. The sound they offer is great too, good for the beginner level and serviceable at the intermediate level.
If you invest in a guitar at this price range, expect a guitar that will be excellent to learn on but one that will need to be upgraded eventually.
More guitars have a bigger focus on playability, sound, and design, resulting in slightly higher prices. If you’re someone who is at least semi-serious about learning the acoustic guitar, these guitars are a good option for you. Sound quality is better, design is more intricate, and the body is far more durable. You’ll need to set up the guitar less often, and it’ll stay playable for longer.
However, some readers are looking for a long-term investment. For them, a big name brand like Fender is best. These guitars are on the expensive side, but the high price can easily be justified if you consider the potential advantages.
If you invest in such a guitar, you’ll be able to use it well into the intermediate stage. These guitars last a long time, are less prone to getting damaged easily if played in the wrong way, are beginner-friendly and easy to learn, and produce excellent sound.
Whatever you’re looking for, each option should be tempting because they all offer their own set of perks and advantages.
What to look for in a cheap acoustic guitar?
As a beginner, it might seem difficult to tell whether a cheap acoustic guitar is up to scratch or not. Guitars are very technical, and there are so many different aspects and considerations to make that it can seem daunting.
However, you should limit the criteria to just a few qualities. The most important aspects of the guitar are as follows: playability, durability, design, and sound.
Sound is the most important and the most technical part of the guitar. Expert guitarists and audiophiles will throw around big terms like treble, bass, tone, etc., but for beginners, all that matters is whether or not the guitar sounds good to an untrained ear.
The specific qualities you should look for when it comes to sound are whether the frets all produce a clear sound, whether there is fret buzz, and if the guitar’s sound is comparable to others in its class. Fret buzz is a common issue that all but the best cheap acoustic guitars have since to cut costs, less attention is paid to the fretboard. This will make the notes you’re playing sound muddy and incomplete, and you won’t be able to play the guitar properly.
Once you’ve tested the frets, pay attention to the sound of the guitar. Beginners won’t be able to discern the technical aspects, but as long as the sound is decent enough to sound good to the untrained ear, then you’ll be satisfied.
Durability and design are also important because they impact your overall experience with the guitar. Many people look for something flashy and different that will turn heads in a crowd, and many entries on this list provide that option.
Durability is important because, as a beginner, you may not know how to care for the guitar properly, and the last thing you need is the neck falling off or the strings getting loose when the guitar gets even slightly damaged. However, you shouldn’t expect any miracles from your guitar, as even the most expensive ones need to be handled with care.
Playability is important for people who are learning. You want the playing experience to be comfortable and smooth, and some guitars offer this with a neck that complements the shape of your hand and strings that aren’t too stiff.
What to expect from your cheap acoustic guitar?
Whatever cheap acoustic guitar you decide to get, you can expect a few things from it.
First off, any of the guitars on this list will remain useable throughout the beginner stages, and many will take you through the intermediate stages too.
Expect a clear, layered sound from all of the guitars on this list that only trained ears can nitpick. These guitars will all remain playable for years thanks to the solid construction and the well-made parts, such as the tuners, which hold tune well and don’t allow the strings to get damaged.
If you’re looking for an even better experience with your guitar, you can get the strings replaced by a technician, which will boost the sound quality even more.
The more expensive entries on this list can be used at the intermediate stage and will last for years with the proper care.
Deciding on a budget for your guitar
You should decide on a budget for a guitar based on how you want to use it.
The sub $150 range will get you a guitar made more or less solely for beginners, though the ones on this list are good enough to last longer than that. Usually, however, these guitars are meant to be replaced once you’ve progressed past the beginner stage, and they’re an extremely good option if that’s what you want from your guitar.
If you set your sights a bit higher towards the $200-300 range, you can get a guitar built to last, which can be used at the intermediate level. These guitars usually have a great design and sound quality and can be maintained in top condition for years, if not decades.
This guitar is a good option for those aspiring guitarists who don’t want to upgrade anytime soon and just want one reliable guitar that will take them through their guitar-playing journey.
Accessories you’ll need for your cheap acoustic guitar
You will also need some accessories for your cheap acoustic guitar.
Some of the best cheap acoustic guitars like the Ashthorpe best Acoustic-electric Guitar come in a kit with some accessories included. However, others don’t.
The most common accessories you’ll need include a tuner used to determine the pitch of the strings to tune the guitar, a capo, extra strings, extra tuners, a carrying case also known as a “gig bag,” guitar picks, etc.
FAQs about Cheap Acoustic Guitars
Which companies produce the best cheap acoustic guitars?
The companies that produce the best cheap acoustic guitars include Fender, Yamaha, Ibanez, and Ashthorpe.
Why should I get a cheap acoustic guitar?
A cheap acoustic guitar is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to play the guitar. If you opt for a very expensive high-end guitar, it can be a waste of money if you stop playing early in your learning stage. The best cheap acoustic guitars also provide excellent value for money.
Should I opt for a guitar that is less than $50?
Guitars that are less than $50 are usually not made very well and are made by companies that aren’t well known. This is an issue because if you want to invest in a guitar, you should go for one which has a good reputation and a proven brand behind it. This way, if there’s an issue with your guitar and you need some help, or you need to get it fixed, you can do so easily. The most famous brands have excellent customer support.
However, with guitars as cheap as $50, there is always a risk of getting a guitar that is simply not playable, either due to poor sound, poor design, excessive fret buzz or not making the fretboard properly. If you fall victim to something like this, you won’t find many resources offered by the company to help you out.
How long will it take for me to learn the guitar?
It takes a lot of time and effort to learn the guitar, depending on how much you practice. Some people practice 4 hours a day and reach the intermediate stage in a few months. However, this is unrealistic for most people. The average person should expect to stay a beginner for several months to a full year with consistent practice of 30 minutes to an hour a day.
Enjoy Your New Cheap Acoustic Guitar
Guitars are well known and loved worldwide for a reason, and the presence of cheap acoustic guitars is a big contributing factor. Whatever your tastes, whatever you prefer from a guitar, whether it includes looks, sound, durability or anything in between, there is something here for everyone.
However, our pick would go to the Fender CD-60S. You can truly never go wrong with a Fender guitar, and it just so happens that this guitar is the most well-rounded on this list. It packs a sleek look with an excellent, beginner-friendly design and excellent sonics. The price is quite low, and for that low price, you can use this guitar for years, providing it with a minimal amount of care. It has the best value for money of any guitar on this list.
That being said, all of the guitars on this list are excellent. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself one cheap acoustic guitar today!