Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500 – 2021 Ultimate Review

| Last Updated: December 26, 2021

When you are a beginner or a music enthusiast, instruments can seem quite on the expensive side.

However, we are determined to show you the best acoustic-electric guitars under $500, which are definitely worth your consideration, even if you have some experience with instruments. 

Read on to find out more about these low-cost instruments, as well as discover some great ones on the market today.

What is an Acoustic-Electric Guitar?

Sometimes we decide we want to feel like a star, performing live in front of a large audience. An acoustic-electric guitar offers just that by including a pickup that can be plugged into an amp. Attaching your guitar to an amp will make it louder without losing the quality of the sound, and you can even get some special effects with it. 

An acoustic-electric guitar combines the benefits of both. You can play acoustics or you can plug it into an amp and get ready to rock. A high-quality, acoustic-electric guitar will sound just as good both ways – plugged in or unplugged. 

Can You Find a Quality Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500?

Price tags definitely play a significant role in our everyday life and the common misconception is that the higher the price, the better the quality of the product. In fact, we beg to differ since we will present you with formidable, high-quality, highly playable, and beautifully designed acoustic-electric guitars for under $500. 

Although a professional performing in front of large audiences might want a true collectible, there is no reason why even experienced players should not have a look at such affordable guitars. They are versatile, comfortable, and our top recommendations are definitely worth much more than their price!

What Makes a Great Acoustic-Electric Guitar?

Here is a short list of features of a great acoustic-electric guitar:


This is an essential factor if you are a beginner, but also if you are more experienced. The guitar should be easy to play, without taking too much effort or taking too many steps to set it up, or having to tune it after every song. The controls should be easy to access and use, all factors which impact on how easily you can play the instrument. 


A prerequisite for a great acoustic-electric guitar is, of course, the overall quality of the instrument. The instrument should be affordable, but not cheap. A great acoustic-electric guitar needs to be durable, have a solid build, and deliver you with the clear notes and tunes you need. 


Lastly, the guitar needs to be comfortable to play. A bulky guitar will make you tired even if you sit down. Most professionals have their own expensive models for large audiences, but all of them have a smaller, more affordable guitar at home. Why is that? Because they are easy to play and comfortable, so you can practice for hours without getting tired. 

Comparison of the Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500

  • Diecast tuners, adjustable truss rod
  • Solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides
  • 3-band EQ, adjustable mid-range and chromatic tuner
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  • Maple jumbo body with a solid spruce top
  • Stylish, long-lasting design and easy to tune
  • The slim neck and a rosewood fingerboard with crown inlays
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  • Gorgeous black sunburst gloss
  • Enhanced comfort and playability
  • Maple top and body with rosewood fingerboard
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Review of the Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500

Without further ado, let’s take a look at why you are here - for the best acoustic-electric guitar options that will not break the bank.

Best Overall:
Yamaha FGX820C

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  • Optimal sound tailoring
  • High playability, affordable, and suitable for beginners
  • Highly adjustable with 3-band EQ and mid-range controls
  • High-precision chromatic tuner and under-saddle piezo pickup
  • Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and rosewood bridge and fingerboard


  • Tricky to tune

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers state that this affordable guitar is a great option considering the price, and is perhaps one of the best guitars at this price range. They have said it has all the basic features to ensure optimum sound tailoring, and the mahogany body gives it warmer, stronger properties that users love.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Yamaha FG is a proven outstanding acoustic-electric guitar that is highly affordable. Its main features include outstanding playability, musical tones, and sturdy design, made to last and grow with you. This great guitar is the first choice for millions of guitarists around the world.

Who Will Use This Most

Whatever personality your music has, the Yamaha FG can handle it effortlessly. It brings out the sparkle in your tunes while keeping all the natural properties of the sound. You can adjust it to your liking, although it might take a bit of practice to tune it accordingly.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Yamaha FG is our top recommended acoustic-electric guitar at an affordable price. The cream look is fashionable and pleasant. There is no need to break the bank to get a high-quality instrument and the Yamaha FG has all the qualities to make it to the top of your list. It is definitely the best guitar under $500 you can have!

Epiphone EJ-200SCE


  • Easy control over tuning
  • Has wide range harmonics
  • NanoFlex and NanoMag pickups
  • Includes a master volume preamp system
  • Extremely durable and great for musicians of all levels


  • Quite heavy and bulky
  • Might need to change the stock strings

What Recent Buyers Report

With great tones, playability, and exquisite design, buyers love the Epiphone EJ. They have said it is made of high-quality components that work together harmoniously to provide them with high playability, convenience, and versatility. Plus, they love that the design is durable.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Epiphone EJ is a great acoustic-electric guitar. With the spruce top and a maple body, it offers value for money and adds rich properties to your music. It is a sound competitor to some of the most popular expensive instruments on the market; it is stable, easy to tune, and sounds loud and clear. A large part is because it is built from rosewood, a naturally resilient material.

Who Will Use This Most

This high-quality, affordable guitar is ideal for players of all levels. Beginners will find it easy and convenient to play, while more experienced players will enjoy more the controls it offers, its tuning stability, and the great value for money. It is easy to use and offers great natural sound amplification.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Epiphone EJ is a solid choice when it comes to affordable acoustic-electric guitars. It is a diamond in the world of such instruments, offering you great value for money and high control over your performance. It has rich and full tones, easy playability, and some fancy electronics, all in one beautiful design.

3. Ibanez AEW 400 TKS


  • Plays like butter
  • Truly comes alive amplified
  • Ready to play out of the box
  • Ibanez characteristic crisp sounds
  • High comfort due to asymmetrical shape


  • Sounds a bit thin unplugged

What Recent Buyers Report

The sound and the look of this instrument are what get most buyers excited. It is incredibly comfortable during play, and users say it is a great novice guitar since it already comes all set up and ready to play out of the box.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This comfortable Ibanez Acoustic-Electric Guitar has unique contouring and all the components work together flawlessly to provide you with a pleasant experience. It has a special cutaway, which gives you full access to higher fret positions, encouraging playability.

Who Will Use This Most

The AAEWC400TKS is a great instrument for players looking to gain maximum access to the bass side of the fingerboard. The guitar has a distinctive cutaway, which makes playing extremely easy since the base of the neck is also cutaway. The finish and fit are an absolute delight! It is definitely a must-have if you enjoy Ibanez's crisp sounds.

Bottom Line

Overall, this Ibanez scores high on playability, which is second to none. You can easily reach all the strings, and on top of everything, the looks are gorgeous. Don’t hesitate to consider this guitar as your perfect buy! All you need are a few minutes to be blown away by its craftsmanship.

4. Epiphone Masterbilt DR-400MCE


  • Solid wood build
  • Heart-melting action
  • Gorgeous finish and fit
  • Sustained tuning stability
  • Special cutaway for enhanced playability


  • Small preamp
  • EQ control not so efficient
  • Static noise when the volume is up

What Recent Buyers Report

This acoustic-electric dreadnought has everything buyers have come to expect from such an instrument. They love the solid wood body, which is durable, reliable, and is rock-solid, ready to stay with you for many years to come. Additionally, buyers report that it retains its tuning regardless of the number of plays, which is a great advantage!

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Epiphone Masterbilt is the most affordable Epiphone instrument. It checks all the boxes when it comes to high-quality features and it can be considered a high-end product among the most affordable guitars on the market. The build is sturdy, from solid mahogany, with a distinctive cutaway to favor playability.

Who Will Use This Most

The Epiphone is a great instrument for any musician. Whether you are a beginner looking for a comfortable, high-quality, and affordable acoustic-electric guitar, or a more experienced musician in need of versatility, this instrument has a little something to offer for every occasion.

Bottom Line

Overall, our Epiphone Masterbilt is a true master when it comes to acoustic-electric guitars. The action is smooth, it is easy to play even for long hours, and it encompasses all 145 years of experience Epiphone has when it comes to musical instruments. It is unquestionably worth a look, at least!

5. D'Angelico Premier Gramercy Acoustic-Electric Guitar


  • Well-defined tone
  • Great value for money
  • Professional fit and finish
  • Loud and easy to hear the tone
  • Slim C-shaped neck for enhanced playability


  • Poor quality control
  • Strings need to be changed
  • Low action right out of the box

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have said this guitar sounds astonishing (even if you don’t look at the price)! Buyers love that the neck is very slim, which favors a comfortable playstyle. All of its components, including the finish of this instrument, are what buyers love and would expect from an expensive unit.

Why it Stands Out to Us

D’Angelico Premier Gramercy is our top pick for the best value for the money. It has a simple, classic black design with interesting hardware. The guitar comes with a building D’Angelico preamp and pickup system. The onboard tuner allows you optimal tonal control, while the C-shape enhances comfort and playability.

Who Will Use This Most

Although this might seem like a beginner’s guitar, we assure you it is definitely not. It has a super-slim neck, but is wide enough to challenge Gibson and Martin. The finish and fit resemble clearly what you would expect from a much more expensive unit, while the playability and tone can satisfy even the pickiest players.

Bottom Line

This guitar is the best shot you have if you are on a tight budget. It is not only inexpensive, but it has well-defined characteristics that will make you love it straight away. It has a great tone, playability, and the finish is top-notch. You might consider fine-tuning it out of the box and changing the strings, though.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The main advantages and disadvantages of having an acoustic-electric guitar are:


  • Can be played in large rooms or noisy environments, where a purely acoustic guitar wouldn’t be heard
  • Ability to increase volume considerably without any feedback
  • You can play it acoustically when you don’t need a high volume
  • You can use a microphone on it just as you’d use with an acoustic without any difference in sound
  • Extremely versatile, since you can play them at home acoustically or have a few gigs when sounds need to be amplified


  • They do not have the full range of tones an electric guitar has
  • They do not have the tones an acoustic guitar has

Overall, acoustic-electric guitars combine the best of both worlds. If you want a highly versatile guitar, an AE is just what you need. You can use it to create an intimate atmosphere at home or plug it into an amp and wow your audience. They do not have the full range of tones of an electric guitar, but adding a few effect pedals will offset this disadvantage. They could also lack the fullness you have with an acoustic guitar only. 


Overall, great acoustic-electric guitars under $500 do not seem so impossible anymore. We presented you with quite a few choices from reputable companies, which do their best to offer the highest quality components in their instruments. Be kind to yourself and give them a try with the first chance you have, you might be surprised!

People Also Ask

Here’s a short FAQ section to help you out, including information about the difference between acoustic and electric, how to use an AE guitar, and which amp you should go for. Check out the following:

What is the Difference Between Acoustic and Electric Guitar?

The main difference between acoustic and electric guitars is that the second can be amplified. Electric guitars might seem more complex and intimidating for a beginner because they have numerous electronic switches and knobs on them, although the main features of the two types of guitars remain the same. 

How to Plug in an Acoustic-Electric Guitar?

If you want to amplify your AE for live performances, there are a few ways to do that. You can plug the instrument straight into the PA, which is quite easy to do since there is no gear to carry with you. 

This might be a disadvantage if your guitar’s preamp does not sound very good, and the sound will most likely be inconsistent from gig to gig. Alternatively, you can plug it into an amplifier, where the sound quality is consistent, but you need to take it with you from gig to gig. 

What Amp is Good for an Acoustic-Electric Guitar?

You will need to purchase an acoustic guitar amplifier separately if you want to go for some live gigging. They can be highly portable and lightweight, but for some, they might also prefer sturdier, louder ones. 

A good amp depends on your budget and purposes – a small one could do wonders, even with a large audience, and it may also come with some nice effects, such as reverb, delay, chorus, and others.

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.