On the Hunt for the Best Acoustic Guitar Value
People think that you have to spend a ton of money to get a great playing and sounding guitar. Actually, there are many models in the $200 to $500 range that can give the more expensive guitars a run for their money.
Great acoustic guitars under $500 at a glance
|Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Folk Guitar, Natural||61 Reviews||$299.99|
|Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - All Mahogany Bundle with Hard Case, Tuner, Strap,...||218 Reviews||$239.99 from $219.99|
|Seagull S6 "The Original" Acoustic Guitar w/Dreadnought Hardshell Case and Guitar Stand||53 Reviews||$419.00|
In the guitar industry, this price range is the sweet spot for both entry level and serious players alike. There are a host of great guitars under $500 to choose from because it’s so competitive. It’s a perfect price range for intermediate players, and beginner guitarists will generally get a better instrument. Accomplished players also love the value in an instrument they can kick around without worrying about their more expensive counterparts.
These are quality instruments from some of the most well-known guitar manufacturers in the world. They have great sound quality, play well, and look pretty great too, and you aren’t going to have to take out a bank loan in order to get one. Today we are going to take a look at three of the best acoustic guitars under 500.
Don’t spend a lot to get a lot
The guitars we’ll look at prove that you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a lot in a guitar. Sure, these may not be what all professionals are using, but as mentioned, if you’re a beginner or intermediate player any of these guitars are going to be great choices for you.
It’s never a good idea to spend a lot of money on a guitar when you aren’t sure if you are going to be able to play, but you still want to get a guitar that sounds great. This is the focus of what to expect with any of our choices, plus they aren’t going to put you in the poor house.
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500: Reviews
Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Natural
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Rosewood Back & Sides
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- Rosewood Bridge
- Diecast Tuners
In 1966, Yamaha came out with the FG, proving to the world that it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money to get a quality guitar. The FG guitars were created with playability in mind, and have awesome musical tone quality. The original FG is now a classic, and the latest in the series, the Yamaha FG830, offers up even better features, while still typically being priced well below $500. This next edition has what many call the best tone out of all of the FG guitars, along with that great playability that we have all come to know and love. This is an inexpensive guitar, but it certainly is not a cheap guitar by any means.
In our experience, Yamaha has always produced exceptionally robust, durable instruments regardless of price range.
Boosting the overall value even further, the 800 Series including the FG830 uses acoustic analysis technology that was created by the Yamaha R&D Division. This technology allows players to produce a louder and clearer sound, even in the low to mid ranges. This is a guitar that breaks from tradition in construction, and you will not be disappointed when you sit down to play it.
- The scalloped bracing is a new development from Yamaha for the 800 series. This gives the guitar a durable structure that offers a more natural sound. This is something that you aren’t going to see in acoustic guitars from other manufacturers
- This guitar comes in two different body shapes, with one being FS concert size. It is also available in five different grades, with a variety of tone wood options, not to mention many different colors, so you are sure to find something that is just right for you
- We love being able to plug our acoustic guitars in for even louder sound, especially when playing on stage because there is no need to mic the guitars. The FG830 is available in both acoustic and electric-acoustic models
- Considering the low price range of this guitar, it is quite surprising when you pick it up and enjoy the comfortable, smooth neck and profile. It is comfortable to play, and it looks just as great as it sounds
- The Yamaha-designed bridge is made from rosewood, and is practical and functional. It may not be the prettiest bridge in the world, but most of us much prefer great playability over appearance any day
- One of the biggest problems that comes with lower priced guitars is the lack of sustain. This is definitely not an issue with this model from Yamaha. And, not only is there great sustain, the rich sound and overtones make this a guitar that is ideal for many different types of music
- The materials used to make this guitar are not of the same high quality that you find in other Yamaha guitars
- The frets are rough and not polished, and you can really tell when you are trying to vibrato a note. Even in this price range, the frets should be of a higher quality.
Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Bundle
- Dreadnought body style
- Solid mahogany top with scalloped "X"-bracing
- Mahogany back and sides
- Easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges
- Ideal for players looking for a high-quality affordable dreadnought with great tone and excellent playability
Once again, you can see that there is no need to spend upwards of $1,000 to get a quality guitar, even if it is a Fender guitar. The Fender CD-60S features a dreadnought body style, with a solid mahogany top and scalloped “X” bracing. It also has a mahogany back and sides, and the fingerboard has rolled edges, making it easy to play the neck. This is a great instrument for anyone who wants a quality dreadnought that is also affordable, and has great sound quality and playability. The best part is, you get this guitar at a great price, and it comes in a bundle package, so you also get the accessories you need to start playing right away.
Fantastic beginner acoustic guitar
If you are looking for a guitar for a beginner to start learning on, this is a great choice, and it isn’t going to break the bank. The Fender CD-60S acoustic is versatile and high quality, and ideal for both beginners and intermediate players. It offers a mellow tone that is warm yet strong, and thanks to the “X” bracing, there is extra resonance. This is also a great looking guitar that you are going to be proud to bring out when company comes over and wants to hear you play.
- This is an attractive guitar, with a natural wood finish, black and white neck and body binding, chrome tuning knobs, and an attractive pattern around the sound hole that is made from acrylic, but has the appearance of beautiful mother of pearl
- This guitar is typically priced at less than $250, but just because it doesn’t cost a lot, don’t think that you are getting a cheap guitar. It neither looks nor feels cheap, and it offers many features that you won’t find on other guitars in the same price range
- This guitar has 20 frets and a rosewood fingerboard. It offers players a 25.3 inch scale neck, and it also has many other quality parts going into its construction, including the scalloped “X” bracing, a dual-action truss rod, and sealed, die-cast tuners
- We love the low action that you aren’t going to find in many other acoustic guitars. In fact, this is what makes this a great guitar for beginners, because there is no need to press down hard on the strings in order to create sounds without buzzing
- We love that this guitar comes with plenty of cool accessories, including a Fender hard shell case (many only come with nylon gig bags), a guitar strap, picks, extra strings, and a clip-on digital tuner
- The tuning machines aren’t too stiff or too loose, and this guitar will stay in perfect tune while you are playing. It has sturdy bridge pins, but take note that when you go to change the strings for the first time, they can be difficult to remove
- This guitar comes in three different finishes, black, natural, and sunburst. If you wish to spend a little more money, you can get the electric-acoustic version which can be plugged into pretty much any amplifier
- Check to make sure that everything in the bundle is with your order. Due to packing errors, there are times when not all of the items in the bundle are included
- The finish is not the greatest, and has a tendency to rub off in a short period of time. The finish also tends to give off a strong odor that can take some time to dissipate
Seagull S6 “The Original” Acoustic Guitar w/Dreadnought Hardshell Case and Guitar Stand
- Top: Select Pressure Tested Solid Cedar, Truss Rod: Double Function
- Back & Sides: Canadian Wild Cherry, Finish: Semi-Gloss Custom Polished Finish
- Neck: Silver Leaf Maple Integrated Set Neck
- Fingerboard & Bridge: Rosewood
- Nut & Saddle: Compensated Tusq by Graphtech
You may be wondering what makes the Seagull S6 so special, considering it is nothing special to look at. Remember, looks aren’t everything. The most important consideration when it comes to buying a new guitar is the sound quality, and the Seagull S6 by Godin has it in spades. No, it isn’t a fancy looking guitar. There is no inlay work, it has no cutaway, and the design isn’t much different from many other acoustic guitars on the market. But, when you hear the sound quality, you will forget all about the plain-Jane appearance of this guitar.
High quality, low price
This guitar proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to get a good quality guitar. This is a finely crafted instrument with a fine tonal quality, but it is priced for beginning students who aren’t ready to buy a much more expensive instrument. In fact, you may even find that you love this guitar so much that you don’t need to upgrade. This isn’t just a beginner guitar; this is a guitar that is designed for players of all levels.
- This guitar has something that many others in the same price range do not: a pressure-tested, solid cedar top. Many other guitars that are similarly priced have a laminate spruce wood top. The solid wood top is just one of many things that make this guitar a step above other inexpensive models, and gives it a fantastic tonal quality
- The back and sides of the Seagull S6 are made from Canadian wild cherry wood, which is something else you don’t often see on a guitar in this or any other price range. It makes this one of the more attractive guitars you are ever going to play
- This guitar has a traditional fretboard (one of the only traditional things you are going to find on it). The fretboard is made from rosewood, which is a standard with most acoustic guitars, because it plays well
- According to many musicians, this is a guitar that sounds great whether it is being picked or strummed. It doesn’t sound like your typical beginner acoustic guitar, because it is not your typical beginner acoustic guitar
- The Compensated Tusq by GraphTech is a saddle that offers compensation on some of the strings so you get a better playing guitar than others in the same price range. You may not notice this little difference at first, but you will see it when you change the strings for the first time
- This guitar has improved tuning stability, and this allowed the manufacturer to create a guitar with a smaller headstock than what we are typically used to seeing. This is just another little detail that sets this guitar apart from the rest
- The electronics on this guitar include controls for volume, bass, and treble, and the transducer can be found in the saddle. There is also something that you don’t always find in such a low-priced guitar: a built-in electric tuner
- If you are looking for a more hand-made acoustic guitar that is on the high end of the scale, this isn’t it. But, it is great for beginners
- Some players, particularly beginners, may have trouble with this guitar because it has a thicker neck than most
Compare these acoustic guitar models:
As you can clearly see, there is no need to go out and spend a lot of money on a guitar for beginners, and it isn’t going to be one of those department store guitars that are cheap and sound like junk. There are plenty of quality guitars out there that cost less than $500, and they are made by some of the top instrument manufacturers in the world.
Without splitting hairs, our first choice would undoubtedly be the Seagull S6 by Godin. Yes it’s a bit more money but the sheer balance of fit, finish, features and sound is simply the best bang for the buck and worth the extra investment.
As you can see, you don’t have to sacrifice on quality with any of these guitars. If you’re just starting out, they’re all going to grow with you. In fact, you may find that you keep your acoustic guitar long after you have left the beginning stages, because you will be hard pressed to find the same quality, even in more expensive instruments.