This list is for those beginner guitar players that are on a limited budget. And are in the market to buy a good entry-level acoustic guitar under 500 dollars.
Do not worry about the words “less expensive”. As this does not always mean lower quality. In fact, You don’t need an expensive acoustic guitar to get a good sound. There are many guitars out there best to start learning that won’t break your bank.
- 1) Seagull S6 Acoustic Electric
- 2) Baby Taylor – Best Small Body Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
- 3) The Little Martin – Easiest Guitar To Learn To Play
- 4) FG800 Yamaha Acoustic Guitar Under 500
- 5) Epiphone DR-100
- 6) Seagull Entourage Acoustic
- 7) GS Mini Taylor Acoustic Guitar (Mini Can Mean Max!)
- 8) Epiphone Hummingbird Electric Acoustic
- 9) Jasmine By Takamine S35
- What should you consider when purchasing an Acoustic Guitar?
- Acoustic Guitar Body Styles
- What you need to know about wood
Top Guitar Brands For Beginners Under 500
1) Seagull S6 Acoustic Electric
My recommended guitar for beginners is definitely the Seagull S6. This guitar will not only be relevant when learning. But, will be a great guitar when you become a pro.
The guitar is made in Canada and this guitar is very highly regarded by guitarists around the world. The S6 by Seagull features mahogany back and sides. As well as a solid cedar top which generates beautiful sound both unplugged and amplified.
Although the price may be a little above what those on a tight budget might be willing to pay for their first acoustic guitar.
it should be considered as an investment since the Seagull S6 sounds just as good as many top-end guitars from established guitar companies half their price.
What is even better is that the guitar will age amazingly. And will sound better over time.
The Seagull S6 acoustic guitar will actually sound better the more it is played overtime. This is why a lot of beginning players stick to their S6 guitars even after they move to the intermediate level.
The Seagull S6 Acoustic Guitar by Godin Guitars has won many awards and it represents the best value offered. A very highly recommended acoustic guitar that is designed with top-notch solid tonewoods in order to generate a nice tone and impressive appearance.
The Price Tag
The affordable price tag makes Seagull S6 worth the money for beginners who just start playing guitar and don’t want to spend so much in their entry-level.
As we have mentioned, this 6 stringed instrument makes use of top quality materials.
With wild Cherry back and sides, the tone given to Seagull S6 is excellent and has uniqueness between mahogany’s mellow tone and maple’s bright ring.
At the same time, wild Cherry combination with Cedar top will beautifully produce a warm and full sound.
The notes always sound full however quietly you play this guitar and don’t lose tone either when you don’t play them as hard.
The sound is really deep on the E and A strings, nice and round on the D and G strings, and very crisp on the B and E strings.
2) Baby Taylor – Best Small Body Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
The baby Taylor is the perfect guitar for beginners. This is due to its small size yet unprecedented quality and tone. Taylor is one of the top guitar brands when it comes to acoustics. And the Baby version is no different.
This guitar was designed at 3/4 of a full-sized dreadnaught guitar. And sound loud, full and warm despite its diminutive dimensions. It’s the best choice for kids taking lessons and beginner players with little hands.
Available with either solid mahogany or solid spruce top, Baby Taylor is definitely the ultimate travel companion small guitar that came with a big voice.
If you want an acoustic-electric version, expect to throw in an extra 100 into the mix. With Taylors very on built-in acoustic pickup. Amazingly, even the electric acoustic version comes in under 500
About The Baby Taylor
At a 3/4-scale, Baby Taylor lives for the road. Baby Taylor is the little Dreadnought that could make Taylor’s ultra-portable travel mate belies its size with a full deep sound and great tone.
It’s awesomely versatile for special applications, whether played in alternate tunings or high-strung; with a capo or a slide. Neck width at the nut is 1 11/16 inches. It’s the perfect starter guitar for young kids and every guitar player with little hands.
How Does The Baby Taylor BT2 Sound
The solid mahogany top gives this 3/4 dreadnought a dark color, attractive complexion and a mid-range boost. The other tonewood, back & sides is Sapele laminate wood, expresses a lovely ribboned grain.
It’s denser and harder than mahogany wood, so it has a crisper, clearer, brighter and “pop”-ier sound than its more familiar counterpart
Conclusion on the Taylor BT2
On the market, there are several options of Baby Taylor available for different guitar players’ preferences and budgets such as BT1, BT2, TS-BT (Taylor Swift Baby Taylor) acoustic guitar for the left or right hand.
Personally, I like BT2 that why this Baby Taylor Review is focused on BT2. In fact, the sounds and finishes all of them are awesome! You just choose one and play it without worry about the quality of the Taylor Guitar brand.
3) The Little Martin – Easiest Guitar To Learn To Play
We couldn’t mention the Baby Taylor without mentioning the Little Martin. Pretty much the same size and the same quality in tone. You get an amazing sounding guitar that packs quite a punch for its small size. Most people don’t know that Ed Sheeran’s signature Martin acoustic is based on this very Little Martin Model. If he manages to fill stadiums and sound massive with this tiny guitar, anyone can! You can choose to get this guitar with or without a pickup.
4) FG800 Yamaha Acoustic Guitar Under 500
Yamaha is probably most well known for its best flamenco guitars as well as nylon guitars. But not many people are aware that they make incredible acoustic guitars. The Yamaha FG800 features solid Sitka spruce, Rosewood fingerboard, and die-cast tuners. And is finished with high-gloss natural. which will make it great when you play the guitar under the stage lights. This guitar comes with 6 coated strings to make it nice, easy playability and maintain the tuning stays true. One thing to note about this guitar is that it does not come with a pickup. But it is definitely budget-friendly.
5) Epiphone DR-100
Epiphone guitars are a subsidiary of Gibson One of the best guitar brands in the world. The Epiphone guitars are created to look and feel like Gibson guitars but at a more affordable price tag. just like this Epiphone DR-100. It comes in dreadnaught body with Select spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, and Rosewood for fingerboard and bridge.
The Epiphone DR-100 looks attractive and generates good sound. this guitar is one of the best beginners’ acoustic guitars at its price. and is the Epiphone’s best selling acoustic guitar.
A Summary of the Epiphone DR-100
Epiphone acoustic guitars have been popular for their guitars’ sound quality in consumer-friendly prices. For 100 price tag, it’s rather difficult to find another guitar with the same price to stand to its comparison. There are better acoustic guitars, of course. But if your concern is spending less money, the Epiphone DR-100 is one of the best inexpensive beginner guitars you should buy.
How is the Epiphone DR-100 Constructed?
This guitar is precisely constructed from good quality tonewoods; select spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck, comfortable rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and chrome hardware. The sound produced from its dreadnaught body is a good clear tone with warm bass. It also features angled (14 degrees) headstock that allows you to have more pressure at the nut so you’ll get more sustain with less tuning.
Some minor issues?
Before writing this Epiphone DR-100 review, we found that there’s a minor issue you should take note of. Though not every buyer experiences this, some people say that this guitar doesn’t stay in tune after several plays. The factory strings also could be a bit buzzy for an experienced player. To solve this problem, you can get a new set of strings to fix that immediately. Considering the sturdy construction, good sound, great playability, inexpensive price and lifetime warranty, Epiphone DR-100 is still the best guitar for the money.
6) Seagull Entourage Acoustic
Along with the Seagull S6 acoustic guitar mentioned above, we also recommend this Seagull Entourage. It’s made in North America and constructed based upon the S6 original slim. Guitar headstock is tapered to get the tune precise and stable. Featuring select pressure tested solid cedar top As well as wild cherry back and sides and Seagull Slim neck with a 1.72″ nut. Seagull Entourage truly offers an exceptional value not only to beginners but also to all levels of guitar players.
7) GS Mini Taylor Acoustic Guitar (Mini Can Mean Max!)
Taylor GS Mini is a scaled-down grand symphony (GS) body shape acoustic guitar, well-built, nice attractive, highly playable and sounding a solid bass and full rich tone. Though scaled-down, The Taylor GS Mini’s deep body which is flawlessly constructed using high-quality tonewoods really makes it feels and sounds like a full-size guitar.
With all those great features, this guitar has won the Gold Medal Travel Guitar and Silver Medal Guitar of the Year in 2011 Players Choice Awards held by AcousticGuitar.com. Taylor GS Mini is made in Mexico by Taylor Guitars and inspired by the born of Baby Taylor. It once again proved that scaled-down guitars designed for travelers or kids could also sound very great.
The GS Mini in Summary
Taylor GS Mini is a good traveling companion but it doesn’t look at all like an ordinary travel guitar. Though the plain woods – solid Sitka spruce top and caramel-colored Sapele back and sides – and satin finish give it a simple appearance, the three-ring rosette, and three-layer purfling lend it the credibility of a higher-priced stringed instrument. It’s really a decent guitar at affordable prices.
How Does The GS Sound?
Single-note runs are clear and crisp, and the snappy tone brings bass runs to rise above ringing chords and is also best for less busy melodies, such as bluesy single-line riffs. Fast runs pop off the string, but long notes held for as long as you needed them to, the sustain filling in the chords on cross-picked tunes.
Playing up and down the fingerboard is very easy, thanks to the guitar’s comfortable neck and good factory setup. Taylor GS Mini also has the ability to match the volume produced with the way you do strumming this guitar. No matter how hard or lightly you strum the guitar, the sound is just great. Medium attack or soft strumming will create a clear and warm tone, a bit like the midrange but with rich bass and bright trebles. While with an aggressive attack, GS Mini Taylor’s sound – especially in the bass – will start to break up and make it a good gear to play in a small group or solo.
Conclusion on the Taylor GS Acoustic For Beginners
Taylor GS Mini is suitable for those travelers as well as for people who kill their times by Flatpicking, fingerpicking, or strumming their guitar at home.
It has everything: compact size which is car and plane-friendly, clear tone, wide dynamic range, long sustain and – the most important thing – inexpensive and affordable price (click here to check the most recent price). Taylor GS Mini will be your best investment for acoustic guitar, guaranteed. Even if you’re a beginner, this guitar will stay relevant for life and you’ll have a hard time separating with it. But, do expect to pay a bit more as it is a higher-end guitar.
8) Epiphone Hummingbird Electric Acoustic
We’d love to list one more guitar from Epiphone: Epiphone Hummingbird. This guitar’s look is very close to the famous Gibson’s guitar, Hummingbird, only the price is much lower.
Epiphone Hummingbird does a great sounding with its high-quality body tonewoods and rich Heritage Cherry Sunburst finish. The solid spruce top is very strong and actually improves with age. This guitar is recommended for its price tag well under 500 dollars. and is fantastic for beginners that even veteran guitar players will enjoy their time playing with it.
9) Jasmine By Takamine S35
These guitars are generally for the beginner guitar player to not invest too much into their instrument until they get better. However, this guitar will last for years to come and still play great. I use mine as a camp guitar so I don’t worry about getting nicks or scratches on it. Very Durable!
So, is this guitar good? Does it fit into my wish-list for students? Whom, if at-will I recommend this guitar to ? and much more… So Here’s my comprehensive take on the S35 acoustic guitar.
Price & the value for money
The Jasmine S35 acoustic guitar is an amazing deal. For this price range, it is the BEST sounding guitar you’ll get. The Gibson, Martin, Yamaha and other brands have no better offerings in this price range.
The Takamine Jasmine S35 dreadnought acoustic guitar is good for beginners. It has a large, full, deep sounds. Of course, the sounds of the Jasmine S35 is amazingly warm and full.
The craftsmanship of Jasmine S35 acoustic guitar is better than is expected for an entry-level-low-priced acoustic guitar. The attention given to details combines together to render a nice tone and well-plucked harmonics, something that determines the good playability which is most important for beginners. The action is low but not buzz when playing, It’s clear and crisp sound!
Ease of playing
In terms of playing, I must say that the action is quite comfortable (if not the best) thereby helping the beginners pick up the guitar faster. Jasmine by Takamine S35 acoustic guitar is an easy instrument to play and to keep in tune.
The action is pretty O.K and is not at all bad (it is surprising for a low-end acoustic guitar!) as was suggested by some reviews that I had read for Jasmine S35. The fretboard is also pretty comfortable making it really easy maneuverings through it.
Things I Disliked About The Jasmine Takamine
1. Low String response time
Well, I shouldn’t be complaining about its price but you should know this before you possibly purchase this S35 acoustic guitar. The strings response time is a bit on the lower side and could be a small hindrance for the beginners.
But I look at it in this way – picking up on any instrument is only a matter of habit. If you have learned driving on a big vehicle, and with smaller vehicles are all the easier to handle.
2. Laminated wood
Laminated wood will reduce the influence of humidity and temperature but their sounds will never improve with age.
What should you consider when purchasing an Acoustic Guitar?
Questions to Ask yourself before buying an Acoustic Guitar for a beginner:
- What is my budget: How much money can I spend on the guitar? How much can I spend on lessons, sheet music, accessories, and so on?
- What style(s) of music will I be playing? Folksy, classical, bluesy, jazzy, Spanish/flamenco, light or heavy strumming, finger-picking, and so on.
- For what purpose(s) will I be using the guitar? Learning seriously, for fun only, recording, performing live, and so on.
Be sure to consider the following when you want to get and purchasing the best acoustic guitar, especially for a beginner:
Price & Budget
Often you get what you pay for. In this case, to get a good acoustic guitar suitable for a beginner, you should anticipate paying between about 150 and 300 USD. However, purchasing a decent acoustic for more than that is not necessarily a bad thing either. Firstly, a good guitar even around the 500 gets better and sounds better with age. Also, these tend to hold their value better and thus reselling is easier and you can get more for them if you do decide guitar isn’t for you.
The desire to learn and the ability to do so
The higher your desire to learn and ability to practice regularly, the higher the price you may want to pay to get a higher quality guitar
Steel vs. Nylon stringed acoustic guitars
This is an important decision because string types are not interchangeable: you either need to buy a guitar with steel or with nylon strings, and that is what you will need to stay with for that instrument. Steel strings provide a bright, crisp tone, whereas nylon strings are more mellow and less responsive.
Choose which type of string to buy based on the type(s) of music you plan to play. You should Choose nylon if you want to play classical and folk music; choose steel strings if you want to play rock, country, or other styles. For a beginner, steel acoustic guitar strings may offer the most versatility. Steel strings also stay in tune better/longer than nylon strings do.
The guitar should feel comfortable in your arms with the bottom groove comfortably resting on your right leg. In the case of youth or petite adult beginner, a ¾-sized guitar might be more appropriate than a standard, full-sized guitar. This is why holding the actual guitar that you will be buying is so important when choosing what works best for you.
In addition, the width of the neck should be comfortable so that you can reach all strings on the fretboard comfortably—the shorter your fingers, the narrower the neck you will want to shop for.
Acoustic Guitar Body Styles
First and foremost, you need to learn and understand different acoustic body styles. The type of body on the guitar usually determines the sound and tone projection of your music. One rule you should bear in mind is the more massive the sound-board, the more profound and the louder the sound will be. So when choosing an acoustic guitar for beginners, make sure it produces the sound you love, and the body shape is comfortable enough.
Let’s break it down!
There are numerous types of body styles for the acoustic guitars, which includes:
Classic acoustic guitars provide a medium sound projection and balanced tone between hi, mid, and low frequencies. This body style also creates an astonishing strumming guitar. Something to keep in mind is that with the classic acoustic guitars, you will want to use the light gauge strings. The medium gauge strings create more tension on the neck – which this body style wasn’t designed for.
The concert guitars tend to be smaller in size and have bright sound with the mid-range frequency. They are relatively quiet and are very comfortable. These guitars are ideal for people with smaller frames including young teens, and if you don’t need lots of projection. Their smaller body size makes them comfortable to hold and play.
These guitars are a little larger than the concert acoustic guitars. Grand concert guitars sound the same as the concert guitars but with a stronger volume.
Auditorium acoustic guitars are mid-sized and have the same width just as the dreadnought, only that they have a smaller waist. The auditorium guitars are quite comfortable for playing and have an astonishing balance of volume and tone.
These acoustic guitars perform the same as the auditorium guitars and have a more extensive lower bout compared to the classic dreadnought’s 16-inches. The body style features more of an hourglass figure and makes a more excellent range for volume and a balanced tone.
Dreadnought is one of the most well-known acoustic guitar body styles – which was developed back in 1916. acoustic guitars made from dreadnaught feature an extensive soundboard hence producing deep and loud tones. This body style is perfect for guitarists who play bluegrass. The Dreadnoughts are very versatile and can be used to play almost any style of music.
They are the most abundant acoustic guitars, up to 17-inches. They have a smooth stronger bass response. This body style provides a bigger sound just like the dreadnought, except the shape of the acoustic guitar is quite similar to that of the classical style. When told to choose between the two, most people opt to choose the jumbo style when they want the shape of the classical body but something close to the loud and deep sound of the dreadnought.
The jumbo acoustic guitars are very popular with the top-performing musicians where they tend to wear the guitar with the strap. This is because the jumbo acoustic guitars can be uncomfortable to hold and play while sitting down since the body size is very big on your lap. Similarly to the dreadnoughts, this body style uses medium gauge strings, but you will still have the option of using the light strings.
Travel and mini-acoustic
These body styles are ideal for children or young teens, and artists who travel often. Although they’re smaller than most regular guitars, the sound quality isn’t compromised in any way.
Another option to pick is the mini or 3/ 4 guitar – it comes in different shapes and got this name since they’re typically 3/ 4 the size of the regular guitar.
What you need to know about wood
The body style of the acoustic guitars affects how your guitar sounds. Something you didn’t realize is that the type of wood your guitar is made out of can also change the sound even more. When you play the guitar, the sound is produced by strumming the strings that cause them to vibrate the bridge up to the top of your guitar. Different woods tend to vibrate in various ways, that is why you find some guitars sound brighter or darker than the others.
Tonewoods (top woods)
Tonewoods is the wood used for the top of a guitar. It acts as the soundboard of your instrument. There are two different ways the top of your guitar can be constructed beside the actual wood:
Laminated veneer top – usually built with thin sheets of wood pasted together. You will realize that the guitars made of this wood are very cheap, but when it comes to sound quality, it is not that great.
Solid top – features a solid piece of wood construction. Since the top of these guitars is stable, they tend to resonate better and provides more clarity and volume than the guitars with a laminated veneer top. And for this, you’re going to spend a few more bucks.
It is advisable to choose the acoustic guitar with a perfect top wood. Here are some of the most popular top woods for the acoustic guitars.
This type is usually found in Central America and the Caribbean. Mahogany is a dense, dark wood that produces a warmer and more ominous tone. It is frequently seen one back and sides of the guitar, which adds warmth and projection to your music.
This wood is prevalent and is mostly used as the top in most acoustic guitars. Sitka spruce is very stiff and lightweight wood that makes it feature a very high sound velocity – this means the speed which the wood transmits the received energy is quite high. This wood allows the guitarist to strum the string very hard and play very loud while maintaining a bright and full tone.
This wood tends to be lighter both in color and weight. Also, it is less stiff compared to the Sitka spruce. This offers its lower sound velocity. When played at louder volumes, the Engelmann tends to lose its tonal clarity. However, when played at softer volumes, the tone is much more apparent and richer.
Western red cedar
It is a softer wood but not as strong as the spruce. Also, it tends to break faster than spruce. Red cedar produces a warmer and darker tone with good bass response. When played at louder volumes, it tends to lose some clarity
It shares lots of the same tonal features as the western red cedar, only that it offers a darker sound.
Hey, fellow guitar mate! I’m Justin, I have been a professional guitarist since 2012. I have traveled the world playing on different stages alongside some of the best indie bands, at some of the biggest music festivals in the world. As a result, I’ve played lots of different guitar gear. Instead of keeping that knowledge to myself, I have set up this site to share my honest reviews of various guitar gear. But most notably, my love for guitar picks.