Best 30 Acoustic Guitars Under $500 In 2023 – Great Sound, Fair Price


It’s always fun buying a new guitar, but the process is never easy. There are so many things to consider, and the options are almost limitless. If you are working on a tighter budget and you can’t just pick the best guitar at the store, you will need to make a few decisions and compromise during the process. 

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great guitar today for a low price. Here, I will go through some of the best guitars you can find for under $500. These models are excellent for beginners and intermediate players and are worth the money. 

It will help you find the model of your dreams, and the guitar will help you step into the world of music. 

Harley Benton D-120 NT

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Roseacer
  • Scale length: 25.6” (650 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural 

Harley Benton is one of the best options for beginners. The price/quality ratio is incomparable, and the guitar is ridiculously cheap. If you are just starting to play the guitar, or if you are interested in learning the basics, this is an excellent choice. You will have a hard time finding a cheap guitar that is this good. 

The guitar is made of spruce mahogany combination, and it has a roseacer fretboard. The instrument’s shape is a dreadnought, which can be a downside for some players. But considering the price, it is a worthy investment. 

Squier SA-105CE

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Laminated nato
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Isys-T pickup system with built-in tuner
  • Finish: Natural 

Squier has been around for a couple of decades, and the company is designed as a way to battle cheap Fender clones. It is a part of Fender, and each model is based on existing (usually expensive) models. If you like what Fender offers, but the prices are too high, the best option is always Squier. 

This model here is SA-105CE. It is made of laminated nato with a spruce top. The neck is made of maple, and it even has a pickup system designed by Fishman. It is an excellent option for those that want to plug in their guitar, and it is both affordable and good. 

Fender FA-125

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Laminated mahogany
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Black

Fender is one of the biggest guitar manufacturers in the world. The primary focus is on electric instruments, but you can still find a few acoustic models. What is surprising is how cheap Fender acoustic guitars can be. It is obvious that Fender doesn’t aim to compete with iconic brands like Martin and instead offers great instruments for beginner and intermediate players. 

One of the models you can check out is FA-125. This model here is in black, with a walnut neck. It has a standard dreadnought shape, and it is worth the price. You can also find a similar model with a cutaway and electronics, but the price will be slightly higher. 

Epiphone Starling

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Indian laurel
  • Scale length: 24.724” (628 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Wine Red

Epiphone is to Gibson what Squier is to Fender. Epiphone and Gibson made the same models; the only difference is in the quality and price. This means that if you love a Gibson guitar, you can find a cheaper version of it at Epiphone. One of the models you can check out is Epiphone Starling, and it is a dreadnought size guitar. 

The body is made of a combination of spruce and mahogany, and the neck has an Indian Laurel fretboard. The model is available in many different colors, but this one here is Wine Red. It doesn’t have electronics, so if you want to play it on a stage, you will need to use a microphone. 

Yamaha F370

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Nato
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25” (634 mm)
  • Frets: 21
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Tobacco Sunburst

Yamaha makes excellent acoustic guitars, and there are many models that are suitable for beginner and intermediate players. If you like the brand, you will have plenty of options for instruments under $500. The model here has a dreadnought body, a nato neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. 

The design is fairly standard, and a well-made instrument worth the price. Of course, the size of the guitar might not be the best for those with smaller hands, but you’ll still be able to learn how to play it. The company has been around for ages, and Yamaha is undoubtedly one of the most popular budget brands. 

Harley Benton Custom Line King

  • Shape: Jumbo
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.51” (648 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Presys II with integrated tuner
  • Finish: Natural

Harley Benton offers numerous different models for under $500. And you will be able to find nearly anything. This model here is a Custom Line King, and it is a jumbo guitar. If you want a bigger guitar, the jumbo is one of the largest models available, and the quality is incredible. 

The guitar also has a pickup system, and it offers a built-in tuner you can use. You won’t need to worry about your instrument staying in tune, and it is quite easy to use. It is also worth mentioning that the instrument has binding, and the fretboard inlays are Pearloid, similar to those you’d find on Gibson guitars. It is a nice addition, and it makes the guitar even prettier. 

Epiphone J-200

  • Shape: Jumbo
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.51” (648 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Presys II with integrated tuner
  • Finish: Natural

If you are a fan of Epiphone and Gibson guitars, you might want to check out the J-200. It is a jumbo-size guitar with a body made of maple with a spruce top. It also has a Fishman Presys II that comes with an integrated tuner. 

The guitar is great for beginners and intermediate players, and the only downside some might see is that the price is a bit higher. But it is worth it. The J-200 is on the edge of the price range, but you will get a beautiful instrument. 

Fender CD-60

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Scale length: 25.31” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman CD Electronics
  • Finish: Natural

Fender offers numerous acoustic guitars, and the prices are significantly lower compared to electric models. This means that you can find an amazing guitar for a low price. The CD-60 follows the same principle as other dreadnought guitars, but there are several important differences. 

Firstly, the guitar has a single cutaway, allowing you to easily reach higher frets. It’s entirely made of mahogany, and it has a walnut neck. The instrument is also equipped with a Fishman system, so you can easily plug it into the amp and play. All things considered, Fender CD-60 is a great guitar, and it is worth checking out. 

Takamine GD51CE

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Walnut
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Laurel
  • Scale length: 25.31” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Takamine TP-4TD preamp with built-in tuner
  • Finish: Brown Sunburst

Takamine is a Japanese manufacturer and the company was founded in 1959. The brand’s primary focus is acoustic guitars, and the models are quite good. You can find different instruments in various price ranges, making it an excellent option for beginners and those with experience. 

The model here is GD51CE, and it is a dreadnought guitar with a cutaway. The model comes in several colors, and this one is Brown Sunburst. It also has a preamp system designed by Takamine and includes a built-in tuner. 

Harley Benton CLP-15E

  • Shape: Parlor
  • Top: Ebony
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Scale length: 24.72” (628 mm)
  • Frets: 18
  • Electronics: Sonicore with Fishman Presys II preamp
  • Finish: Natural

Some people will like the entire idea behind Harley Benton, but they dislike dreadnought size guitars. And that’s perfectly fine. This company offers almost any guitar size and shape you can imagine. The CLP-15E is a parlor-size guitar, and it is great for any age or skill level. As with other Harley Benton guitars, the price is affordable, and the instrument looks amazing. 

It also has a preamp system designed by Fishman, which is not something you often find on budget guitars. The guitar is made of mahogany with an ebony top and Pau Ferro fretboard, and it is one of the best parlor guitars you can find in this price range. 

Taylor BT1

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Walnut
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Scale length: 22.76” (578 mm)
  • Frets: 19
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

For years now, Baby Taylor has been one of the most popular guitars on the market. The guitar is nicknamed Baby Taylor because it is a small version of the dreadnought guitar, making it perfect for beginners. Considering the size of the guitar, some might say that the price is a bit higher. But keep in mind that the quality of the instrument is incredible. 

The BT1 doesn’t come with electronics; you will have to find a different way to play it live if that’s something you plan on doing. But the quality is incredible, and it is worth the price. 

PRS SE P20E

  • Shape: Parlor
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ebony
  • Scale length: 24.72” (628 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: PRS Voiced Fishman Sonitone pickups
  • Finish: Tobacco Sunburst

Paul Reed Smith started making guitars in the eighties, and he kept looking for a way to make incredible guitars. Of course, many people will think about PRS electric guitars and the famous model played by Santana. But the company also offers a nice collection of acoustic ones as well. 

One of the models you can check out is PRS SE P20E. It is a parlor sign, and like all other PRS models, it looks amazing. It has traditional bird inlays, PRS electronics, and a mahogany body. The quality of the instrument is exceptional, and it is worth the price. However, beginners might not like the fact that it is on the edge of the price range. 

Harley Benton CLA-15

  • Shape: Auditorium
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

Harley Benton’s auditorium model is named CLA-15, it has a natural matte finish, and it’s made of mahogany. You will have a hard time finding a better auditorium model for this price. For those unaware, the size of the guitar auditorium is smaller than a dreadnought, but it is bigger than a parlor model. 

This makes it suitable for beginner and intermediate players, and they won’t struggle even if they have smaller hands. The model doesn’t have electronics, but it is still quite affordable. The guitar also has lovely snowflake inlays, which is a nice change from the traditional dots you will find on cheaper instruments. 

Fender PM-3C

  • Shape: OOO
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

If the size of the guitar is a huge factor for you, and you don’t want to go for a larger model, OOO size might be perfect for you. It is smaller than a dreadnought or grand auditorium, but it is still bigger than a parlor. The model here is PM-3C, and it is made of mahogany. It looks great and sounds even better. 

The guitar doesn’t have electronics, but it is a beautiful instrument to use at home. The price might be too high for beginners, but those that have a bit more experience and want a gorgeous 000 guitar should check it out. 

Recording King ROS-11

  • Shape: 000
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Padauk
  • Scale length: 24.88” (632 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Sonitone
  • Finish: Satin Transparent Brownburst

Recording King was founded in the thirties, but the brand was discontinued in 1939. It was revived in 2007, but the idea behind the brand remained the same. Today, the company makes guitars inspired by models from the thirties, with all the benefits modern-age technology brings. The Recording King ROS-11 has a finish and design you would expect from a vintage guitar, but it has a Fishman Sonitone pickup.

It’s made of mahogany with a padauk fretboard and looks stunning. It is a perfect blend of vintage and modern and ideal for blues. Naturally, you can play any other genre on it without any problems. 

Ovation Celebrity

  • Shape: 000
  • Top: Flamed maple
  • Body: Lyrachord
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.28” (642 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Ovation slimline with OP-4BT preamp and integrated tuner
  • Finish: Trans Black

If you dislike how some guitars can have sharp edges and be uncomfortable, mainly dreadnought models, Ovation has an instrument for you. Ovation Celebrity is a 000 model, and it has an oval back, making it rather comfortable to play. It also has a cutaway, and it will make the guitar even more playable. 

As for the design, the guitar is smaller than dreadnought models, and it has a beautiful color thanks to the flamed maple top. It is a nice change from the traditional models that looks amazing and is quite versatile. 

Applause Elite AE44-7S

  • Shape: 000
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Lyrachord
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.28” (642 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Applause CE304T active preamp with a 3-band EQ and an integrated tuner
  • Finish: Vintage Varnish Satin

Applause Elite is a beautiful model you should check out. It has an oval back to make playing more comfortable, and it looks amazing. The instrument’s design is unlike others on the list, and if you like the combination of technology and traditional style, this might be the right choice for you. 

The instrument is also equipped with a preamp designed by Applause, and it has a built-in tuner as well. What is interesting is that the guitar doesn’t have a standard soundhole. But instead, it has several smaller holes located on the body near the neck. 

Fender Joe Strummer Campfire

  • Shape: Parlor
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Scale length: 24.1” (612.14 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman
  • Finish: Black

Joe Strummer was an iconic guitar player, and the Clash made quite an impact on people across the world. If you are a fan of his work and sound, you might want to check out his signature model. The guitar is designed by Fender, and it has a mahogany body. The instrument’s size is smaller, making it perfect for beginners as well. 

Unlike most of Fender’s signature guitars, this one isn’t too pricey. It also has a headstock based on Stratocasters, with all the tuning pegs on the same side. The pickup in the guitar is designed by Fishman. 

Recording King PRS-7

  • Shape: O
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Whitewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.4” (645 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Gold Foil Soundhole Pickup
  • Finish: Black

Recording King PRS-7 is another parlor guitar, but it is different from other models by the same brand. It has a built-in pickup over the soundhole and beautiful inlays, and it sounds incredible. If you are a fan of smaller guitars inspired by the thirties, you must check it out as soon as possible. 

The guitar has a thin C-shaped neck, standard scale length, and twenty frets. The size of this guitar is listed as “O,” but it is slightly larger and more similar to parlor models. The majority of O-sized guitars have twelve frets, but this one has twenty. 

Baton Rouge X6C/AC-AF

  • Shape: Auditorium
  • Top: Cedar
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 24.8” (630 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

Baton Rouge is a company from Germany and it was founded in 1999. But even though it is quite young, they have plenty of beautiful instruments to offer, including acoustic guitars. This model here is X6C/AC-AF, and it is an auditorium guitar with a single cutaway. The edges are a bit sharper, which gives the instrument a unique look. 

The guitar is in the intermediate price range, and it might be too much for some players. It is a nice change from standard dreadnought models, and the smaller size will be suitable for all ages and skill levels. 

Guild A-20 Bob Marley

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Scale length: 25.5” (648 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Madiera shape pickguard with Bob Marley signature
  • Finish: Natural

Guild Guitar Company was founded in 1952 and is based in California, United States. The model here is a Bob Marley signature guitar, and it is a dreadnought size. There is a signature located on the pickguard, and “Marley” is written on the twelfth fret. 

The guitar also has a pickup, which means you can plug it into an amp or a speaker to hear everything better. The A-20 is in the mid-price range and is a great guitar. You don’t even need to be a fan of Bob Marley to enjoy what this guitar has to offer. 

Epiphone Hummingbird

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Scale length: 24.76” (629 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Sonitone
  • Finish: Faded Cherry Burst

Gibson Hummingbird is a model that was introduced in the sixties, and it was the first dreadnought guitar with a square-shoulder design. And Epiphone offers its own version for a significantly lower price. The model has the same dimensions and shape as the original version from Gibson, and it has a gorgeous Faded Cherry Burst finish that’s often seen on Gibson guitars. 

The guitar is quite versatile, and it has a Fishman Sonitone pickup. It is also suitable for all skill levels, but those with smaller hands might dislike the shape and size of the instrument. 

Cort Core-DC

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Fishman Sonitone
  • Finish: Black Burst

Cort is another great brand for mid-priced instruments, and the model here is a dreadnought guitar. Its single cutaway enables players to use higher frets easily, and the color is Black Burst. The guitar looks great. It has chrome-plated machine heads and a bone nut, and it even comes with a soft case. 

Of course, the most important thing for the sound is the Fishman Sonitone pickup, which will allow you to use the instrument with an amplifier easily. All things considered, Cort Core-DC AMH is a great guitar, and it is undoubtedly worth the price. 

Yamaha F310

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Meranti
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 24.96” (634 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

Another classic model comes from Yamaha. It is a dreadnought guitar with a natural finish, and it has a rosewood fretboard. The top is made of spruce, the back and sides are made from meranti, and the neck is made from nato. It is a part of the folk series, and the model is available with or without a cutaway. This one here is a standard dreadnought, and it doesn’t have a cutaway. 

It is worth mentioning that this model doesn’t have a pickup system, and you will need to amplify it using a microphone. As for the price, it is perfect for beginners and those with a tighter budget. 

Gretsch G9520E

  • Shape: Parlor
  • Top: Basswood
  • Body: Basswood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Scale length: 24” (610 mm)
  • Frets: 18
  • Electronics: Gretsch Deltoluxe pickup system
  • Finish: Smokestack Black

Gretsch is an incredible company that offers gorgeous acoustic and electric guitars. The models are rather popular among blues players, and this one here is a Gin Rickey model. It has a Gretsch Deltoluxe pickup system, basswood body, and a nato neck. The color is Smokestack Black, and it has eighteen frets. 

Naturally, this is a parlor guitar, and models from the thirties inspire it. It includes all the advantages of new guitars but still keeps the unique traditional sound. 

Cort Earth 100 NS

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.32” (643 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

If you like dreadnought guitars, you can check out Cort Earth 100 NS. The model has a standard design with a natural finish and a pickguard. The sound is quite clean and full, and it is an excellent instrument for practice. However, it doesn’t include a pickup system.  

The model is a part of the Earth series, and there are many other models in it as well. The guitar is versatile and well-made, and it is worth checking out. As for the price is in the lower range, and it is well worth every cent. 

Gretsch Rancher

  • Shape: Jumbo
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Scale length: 25” (635 mm)
  • Frets: 21
  • Electronics: Fishman “Isys+” pickup with tuner function
  • Finish: Savannah Sunset

Gretsch is one of the most versatile brands you can find, and there are plenty of different models to check out. The Rancher guitar is a jumbo model with a couple of unique features. The neck and body are made of maple, and it has twenty-one frets. The soundhole is triangular instead of the standard shape. 

If the instrument looks vintage to you, it is probably because the series launched in the fifties. But you will get all the benefits of modern instruments with a vintage design. It is equipped with a Fishman Isys+ system, and it has a built-in tuner as well. 

Ibanez PC12MH-OPN

  • Shape: Grand Concert
  • Top: Okume
  • Body: Okume
  • Neck: Nyatoh
  • Fretboard: Laurel
  • Scale length: 25.59” (650 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

Many people associate Ibanez with electric guitars. But this doesn’t mean that the company only makes electric models. There are several acoustic guitars worth checking out, and a perfect example is the Ibanez PC12MH-OPN. The OPN in the name stands for Open Pore Natural, which is the finish of the model. 

The guitar has okume body, a nyatoh neck, and a laurel fretboard. It has standard dimensions, and the size is a grand concert. For those unaware, the size is smaller than a dreadnought or grand auditorium. 

Little Martin LXK2

  • Shape: O
  • Top: Koa
  • Body: Koa
  • Neck: Stratabond
  • Fretboard: Richlite
  • Scale length: 23” (584.2 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: None
  • Finish: Natural

Martin is probably the biggest name in the world of acoustic guitars, and the models are rather expensive. It is far from anything a beginner would be able to afford. But fortunately, there is a Little Martin or Martin LXK2. The guitar is made of koa, has an O shape, and features a shorter scale. 

Needless to say, this is a perfect model for younger players and those that don’t want to struggle with dreadnought guitars. As for the sound, Martin LXK2 sounds amazing. It is almost unbelievable that you can find such a gorgeous guitar for this price. 

Ibanez AW54CE

  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Okume
  • Body: Okume
  • Neck: Nyatoh
  • Fretboard: Ovangkol
  • Scale length: 25.63” (651 mm)
  • Frets: 20
  • Electronics: Ibanez AEQ-SP2 preamp with integrated tuner
  • Finish: Open Pore Natural

Ibanez offers many guitars that look like something standard, but there are enough unique features that will make these models worth checking out. This one here has a standard dreadnought shape, but it includes a cutaway for easier playing. It has what Ibanez calls an Open Pore Natural finish and a preamp system with an integrated tuner. 

It is a mid-priced guitar, and it is rather versatile. You can use the model regardless of your skill level, and it sounds beautiful. It is worth checking out. 

Summary

If you are looking to buy yourself a new guitar, and if you are trying to find a model under $500, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of great options. In fact, you will be able to find all the popular shapes and sizes, and the only question will be which one you like the most. 

You can also find the most popular brands like Fender, Epiphone, Gretsch, Guild, and others. If you are looking for a smaller instrument, parlor models are always a great choice. 

Or you can just go for a standard dreadnought size and buy a bigger guitar. The most important thing is that you will have enough options, and it is possible to find beautiful instruments for a low price.

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Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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