The best acoustic guitars under $500 in 2023: 10 great options for players on a budget
Get strumming and keep your wallet intact.
The world of acoustic guitars can be a little intimidating for players on a budget. But luckily, you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for an excellent-sounding instrument – let’s explore some of the great acoustics you can grab for less than $500.
The best acoustic guitars under $500, at a glance:
- Fender FA-135CE
- Yamaha F335
- Taylor Baby Taylor
- Epiphone PR-150
- Fender FA-125
- Yamaha FX335C
- Gretsch Guitars G9520
- Guild F-240E
- Alvarez RG266CE
- Ibanez AEG70
The Fender FA-135CE is a great starting point in the world of acoustic guitars – whether you’re grabbing your first guitar, or are just wanting a couch acoustic to have around the house. The concert body is smaller than a full-size dreadnought, meaning it’s nice and comfy for players of all levels and sizes
If you do want to plug in, there’s the excellent Fender-exclusive CD-1 Fishman pickup system, a great bonus at this price. It offers easy control over output as well as a built-in tuner (something your housemates will thank you for). It looks the part too, especially if you feel like channelling your inner Johnny Cash with an all-black paintjob (you can, of course, go for something more traditional like a sunburst).
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If you’re looking for something a little louder – acoustically, at least – the Yamaha F335’s full-size dreadnought body and sturdy spruce top provide plenty of volume, while the meranti back and sides offer a rich, confident low-end to make sure you’re heard over the crackle of a campfire or the chatter of a bar. For easy playability, there’s also a slim nato neck topped with a rosewood fretboard.
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Taylor Baby Taylor
With its laminated walnut back and sides, and solid sitka spruce top, the Baby Taylor offers some exemplary sounds at an approachable price. With a shorter scale length and small body, it’s definitely a comfortable player for those just starting out – but don’t mistake this for a beginner’s guitar! Plenty of seasoned professionals swear by smaller-short scale instruments for their bright sound and responsive feel.
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Epiphone’s PR-150 is an affordable entry point into a classic, no-frills style of dreadnought acoustic: it features a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard. While there aren’t many surprises design-wise here, it’s a rock-solid instrument with good build quality and a rich sound. The PR-150 is also lent some retro charm by its big, old-school Epiphone headstock and pickguard logo.
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If you’re a Fender fan but want an acoustic guitar that’s a little larger and more traditional than the concert-sized FA-135CE, the FA-125 is a great option. Its all laminate construction offers steady performance, even throughout humidity changes – and the nato neck has a comfortable feel. The ‘Viking’ bridge – resembling a nordic longboat – also certainly makes a visual statement.
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This cutaway dreadnought from Yamaha offers the full, traditional acoustic experience at a great price, with a spruce top joining nato back and sides in s classic design. For amplification purposes, there’s a Yamaha 1-way piezo pickup and preamp system, and of course the upper cutaway will let you get adventurous and explore those upper frets.
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Gretsch Guitars G9520
This modern reimagining of the parlor guitars of the 1950s thankfully didn’t abandon the approachable price of those instruments. Its small, non-cutaway agathis body produces a warm, rounded sound with a lively playing response, in part thanks to the combination with the shorter scale length. Its diminutive proportions does make it great for beginners, but it’s by no means a beginners-only guitar!
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Here we have an affordable example of Guild’s unique construction approach to flat-topped acoustics. A solid top is combined with laminated sides and arched backs also made from laminated wood. These arched backs are much stronger and stiffer than centre-joined solid-wood plates, meaning centre strips or back braces aren’t needed. This leads to a unique, characterful sound. Plus, the jumbo size and pickup system both mean there’s no risk of you getting lost in the mix!
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This guitar is a Grand Auditorium model that’s been designed for entry-level players. Its all-mahogany build offers a great, mellow sound as well as a beautiful aesthetic, and the bi-level bridge offers great stability thanks to the extra break angle.
There’s also the feature-packed YS250 pickup system – not only does it amplify your sound, there’s also a fully chromatic precision tuner with a backlit LCD screen, as well as a 4-band EQ for fine tonal adjustment.
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Ibanez’s AEG70 certainly makes a statement with its flamed maple top – available in a range of bold colours, from Purple Iris Burst to Tiger Burst. The maple is paired with sapele back and sides for a full and characterful sound.
For electronics, there’s the AEQ-TTS preamp, which gives you a little less to think about on stage, as it has only two control knobs: volume and shape. But there is also an on-board tuner with an LCD screen.