Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 – 2020 Top Picks Reviewed

With all the distinctive acoustic guitars available, it may be challenging to choose the right one for you, your budget, and your musical needs.

Under $500 can be a tricky price range when shopping for a guitar, since there are some shoddy options that may seem tempting because of their low cost. Our goal will be to familiarize you with comparably priced alternatives that are far superior in quality.

In this guide, we will give you some guidelines of what to look for in a good acoustic guitar, as well as several options that we feel are some of the best acoustic guitars under $500.

Comparison Chart of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Taylor Guitars GS Mini

  • Best acoustic guitar under $500 overall
  • Crafted with a smaller scale length for improved playability
  • Designed with ES-go pickups that are made especially for the GS Mini
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Breedlove DSCO01SSMA

  • Designed with a pinless bridge for balanced tone and enhanced response
  • Slim neck helps with fast, comfortable play no matter the size of your hands
  • Crafted with patented bridge truss that helps reduce tension for elevated sustain and clarity
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Yamaha FG800

  • Best for the Money
  • Guitar has a built-in adjustable truss rod for better tension in the guitar top
  • Premium grade tonewood used in the construction elevates the sound quality
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Yamaha FGX820C

  • Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar Under $500
  • Designed with a chromatic tuner for optimized sound quality
  • Fitted with a built-in 3 band EQ for more precise sound shaping capability
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Martin LXM Little Martin

  • Best Small Body Acoustic Guitar Under $500
  • Padded gig bag comes with the guitar for safe transport
  • Crafted with a lightweight, compact design for better portability
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Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

  • Best Solid Wood Acoustic Guitar Under $500
  • Constructed in a ¾ size scale that has an improved tonal quality
  • The mahogany used in the top helps produce superior clarity and focus of sound
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Dean EAB

  • Best Acoustic Bass Guitar Under $500
  • Patented Dean preamp built-in for better sound-shaping abilities
  • Designed with passive piezo pickup system for more balanced and full sound
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Are All Acoustic Guitars The Same?

There are a lot of differences from acoustic guitar to acoustic guitar, but one of the most obvious is the shape of the guitar, which produces various differing sounds. There are many different types, but here are the most common: 

Parlor 

Parlor guitars are designed with the smallest body. They are lightweight and offer a sound that is well balanced and focused, which makes them great for picking. 

Show 

Show guitars, similar to parlor guitars but larger, produce a balanced response and tone. 

Grand Concert 

The Grand Concert is inspired by the old-style guitar. It tends to be a quieter guitar and has a strong mid-run register, which gives it a lot of versatility. 

Grand Auditorium 

This guitar is a medium-sized guitar, with extraordinary balance, volume, and resonance. It is more substantial, yet comes up short when it comes to the response of the low end. This makes for a decent finger-style guitar, or one utilized for solo gigs. 

Dreadnought

This is the most familiar acoustic guitar shape. It’s an enormous bodied guitar and lends a full sound in the lower tones. Guitarists and troubadours widely use these guitars on account of this. 

Can You Really Find a Quality Guitar That’s Affordable?

Absolutely! Finding an ideal acoustic guitar doesn’t require a wad of cash. Take a look at all the great options we have compiled below. There are many amazing acoustic guitars that utilize high-quality tonewoods and hardware, yet still fall under $500. 

Some of them even come with a respected brand name, which will offer an idea of what to expect. Still, the quality of a guitar is not dictated by the price or name alone. The design and attention to detail play a role, and there are loads of options that will work, even for those on a tighter budget. 

How Do I Choose an Acoustic Guitar Under $500?

Understanding what to search for is half of the fight when choosing a good acoustic guitar. That means that information is vital in finalizing the correct choice for your musical and financial needs. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind on your hunt:

Tonewood

The wood used in the construction of the guitar can be the deciding factor when it comes to your guitar’s tone. In the $300 – $500 range, you may think you will start to see an increased use of lesser quality woods, but that is not always the case. Even if it is, these woods don’t necessarily mean poorer tonal quality, just a different one. 

Quality of Build

Manufacturer quality is frequently neglected for different parts of a guitar. When you are spending up to $500 on an instrument, you don’t need to know the intricate details of a guitar to examine for fret buzz, sharp fret edges, damages to the fretboard, or a loose bridge. These are some of the principal dangers that you should look out for when acquiring a guitar. 

Pickups & Hardware

Pickups and tonewoods will sound different through different amps if you are using an acoustic-electric. Other than that, make sure to check the tuners and the bridge to ensure they are suitable. They all play a part in the eventual sound quality. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best acoustic guitar under $500:

  1. Taylor Guitars GS Mini
  2. Breedlove DSCO01SSMA
  3. Yamaha FG800

Review of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Now that you are armed with the essential features that should be examined in the decision-making process, we can get into our in-depth reviews of our top picks.

Best Overall:
Taylor Guitars GS Mini

PROS

  • Will stay in tune for quite a while
  • Built-in x-bracing with relief route for better resonance
  • Designed with a thinner neck for heightened playability
  • Crafted with high-quality materials for improved durability
  • Materials and design of guitar offer a superior sound quality
  • Lightweight and compact designed enhance the model’s portability

CONS

  • Price may be a little on the expensive side
  • Satin finish allows for more visibility of damages
  • Some feel that there is a lack of sound versatility

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar is built right. It has plenty of sustain and a space size that will have you playing with ease. The compact build doesn’t affect the sound, though it does involve a limited range in frequency, which will limit the style of music that plays best on this guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There is a lot to talk about with this guitar from Taylor, but the design itself is what impressed us the most. The GS Mini is built with a smaller scale, yet doesn’t sacrifice any of the sound quality associated with a standard sized acoustic.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is a great choice for almost any musician, but the build of this guitar is definitely better suited for the musician running from gig to gig. The lightweight and compact design allow for improved portability. That means this is a great choice for the traveling musician

Bottom Line  

Taylor guitars are designed with attention to the details that make for optimal sound. This model is scaled down and perfect for transporting from gig to gig. All of this combines to create easily one of the best acoustic guitars in any price range.

Breedlove 6 String Acoustic Guitar, Right (DSCO01SSMA)

PROS

  • Comes with a gig bag included in the box
  • Use of good quality woods offers elevated sound quality
  • Sound and playability are on par with higher priced models
  • Strong, focused tone that gives versatility of playability like higher-end guitars
  • Designed with a Grand Concert body that is more comfortable and easier to hold

CONS

  • Satin finish shows damages easily
  • Doesn’t have any built-in pickups
  • Hardware is not as durable as other models

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar may not be from one of the most well-known names in the industry, but the attention to fine craftsmanship is one of the reasons it is so well regarded. It offers an outstanding sound quality due to the use of quality tonewoods. Though the hardware does offer some durability challenges, all in all, this is a great guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When we looked at all the features and materials used in the construction of the guitar, one thing was clear -- it was designed for heightened sound quality. Everything from the bridge truss to the bridge itself is crafted to allow for superior sound, and that is what stood out to us the most.

Who Will Use This Most

The design of this guitar is suited best for those that are just starting to learn guitar. With its size, you get serious comfort while holding the guitar. Plus, the neck is smooth and fast, which will help with playability as well. This also means it’s great for small-handed players and children.

Bottom Line

This guitar is from a small company based out of Oregon and may not be on many people’s radars yet. However, if they continue crafting high-quality guitars like this one, that won’t be the case for long. This guitar is designed with care, and that leads to a sound that rivals even our first entry.

Best for the Money: 
Yamaha FG800

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

PROS

  • Value of this guitar far outweighs its price tag
  • Design allows for an easy and fun to play guitar
  • Consistently stays in tune for an extended period
  • Multiple variations are available in body and color
  • Lightweight and well balanced for improved tonal quality
  • Sound quality, including bass and resonance, is produced with superior clarity

CONS

  • Nato used in the neck is not the best wood for a guitar
  • Design lacks a cutaway, which would improve playability
  • Model has a high action that will require adjustment for more comfortable play

What Recent Buyers Report

This guitar from Yamaha has a lot of tonal ability that endears it to many guitarists. The FG800 comes with a warm, rich sound and a nice feel. Bear in mind that you may have to sand down the fret edges a bit for optimal playability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Though the features and design of this guitar are excellent and something to rave about, there is something that stands out more to us: the price tag attached to a guitar. The FG800 offers high-end sound for a budget-friendly price, and that makes it one of the best options out there.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is full of a lot of great features that make it perfect for almost any guitarist. Because of the ease of play and some of the other design features, the beginner looking for a great jamming practice guitar will probably reap the most from this guitar.

Bottom Line   

The FG800 series is one of the most affordable and versatile offerings from Yamaha. Their dedication to craftsmanship and design shows in every variation of this amazing guitar, and for a budget-friendly price tag, this guitar is simply one of the best.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500:
 Yamaha FGX820C  

Yamaha FGX820C Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural

PROS

  • Life is extended with its easy to upgrade build
  • Constructed with an under-saddle piezo pickup
  • Design and size makes it perfect for adult novices
  • Guitar offers a nice sound that is balanced and warm
  • Full, rich tone that helps with optimized projection
  • Built with premium-grade materials for improved durability

CONS

  • Buzzing may appear after extended use
  • Fret edges may need to be sanded down for comfort
  • Strings that come with the guitar are not of the highest quality

What Recent Buyers Report

The FGX820C stays in tune so well that it is perfect for anyone looking to take up the guitar. The warm and balanced tone will help craft the perfect ear. The frets on the neck may have to be sanded to improve the playability. It also may develop a buzz after a while, but a simple adjustment of the truss rod solves that.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When you are going for an acoustic-electric, you want one that will elevate your sound and give you more control over the shape of your sound. That is why, for us, the inclusion of a 3 band EQ is the highlight of this guitar.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is perfect for the adults that are just known to pick a guitar for the first time, especially if they are looking to play blues or country. With the volume and capability of hooking to an amp, this may also be perfect for the street performer looking for a little more natural sound.

Bottom Line   

An acoustic-electric gives you a lot more versatility than a traditional model, and one of the best on the market is the Yamaha FG820C. The careful design helps with comfortable playability, which extends the amount of time you can play, and that is why we had to include this guitar.

Best Small Body Acoustic Guitar Under $500:
 Martin LXM Little Martin

Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin Acoustic Guitar Natural

PROS

  • Crafted in eco-friendly material for sustainability
  • Man-made sustainable materials prevent warping
  • Design is modified for enhanced portability and versatility of use
  • Neck is constructed with high-grade woods for better playability
  • Laminated back and sides balance the brightness for a better bass response
  • Guitar stays in tune for extended periods for improved sound crafting capability

CONS

  • Not fitted with scalloped bracing
  • Laminate changes the natural wood sound
  • Issues with resonance make it a quieter guitar than other models

What Recent Buyers Report

The LXM Little Martin, though partially constructed of man-made woods, offers a unique sound and a durability that will have you paying this guitar for years to come. Its design brings with it a playability that is on par with many of its competitors.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The name of the game with this guitar is portability. The compact and lightweight design allows for easy travel, and that is what caught our attention first. It is hard to find a guitar that sounds great and travels better, and that is why this is one of the best options available today.

Who Will Use This Most

As we have said, the design and construction of this guitar are perfect for the guitarist on the road. No matter if you are looking for an option that allows for street performing or simply entertaining your new friends at the latest hostel, this guitar is perfect for you.

Bottom Line 

Small body acoustics may not be a popular model, but when you are looking for a guitar that is easy to transport, there is no better build. When you are looking for this in a guitar, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option.

Best Solid Wood Acoustic Guitar Under $500:
 Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top

PROS

  • Bolt-on neck for optimized stability of the neck
  • Nicely designed fretboard that works for any hand size
  • Finish is durable for decreased risk of dents and scratches
  • Constructed with high-quality tonewoods for optimized sound capabilities
  • With the construction in these premium woods comes an enhanced durability
  • Premium tuners allow this guitar to stay in tune for longer time frames even with extensive play

CONS

  • Not powerful enough for large stages
  • Lightweight design does impair the sustain a small bit
  • Laminate finish is not aesthetically appealing to all musicians

What Recent Buyers Report

If you are looking for a comfortable and easy guitar to play, then this is the deal for you. Not only that, but it has excellent volume, which is great for small venues and jam sessions. The guitar may need to be tuned regularly, but the sound and tonal quality are well worth a little extra work.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The tonal quality of this guitar, despite the shorter scale length, is outstanding and is the thing that really makes this guitar a fantastic choice. The shorter scale allows for better access to frets because there is less distance between then and fewer to play with.

Who Will Use This Most

The shorter scale is perfect for smaller handed guitarists, meaning that they will definitely benefit the most from it. The guitar is also great for traveling, and so the gigging guitarist also will be able to take advantage of this guitar’s unique features and design.

Bottom Line  

Finding the right solid wood acoustic can be challenging, but we are sure that if you decide that this is your choice, you will not be sorry. Its high-quality sound and durable build will have you sounding good for a long time.

Best Acoustic Bass Guitar Under $500:
Dean EAB

Dean EAB Acoustic-Electric Bass Guitar - Natural

PROS

  • Price versus value outshines many of its competitors
  • Lightweight construction for increased ease of portability
  • Versatile playability with both acoustic and electric capabilities
  • Enhanced control over volume and tone with the built-in preamp
  • Bass sound is consistent in quality in both acoustic and electric modes
  • Construction is designed to maximize resonance and improve the volume

CONS

  • Brand is not well known
  • May take time to feel comfortable if used to an electric bass
  • Some issues with excessive string noise due to round woods

What Recent Buyers Report

This bass arrives tuned, and that takes away a little of the work in the actual setup. Even if it didn’t, the tuners are of exceptional durability and are super responsive. Just like with most acoustics, there is a bit of a hiss that comes with this bass, but for the quality of the instrument, that is a small price to pay.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The built-in systems are what make this bass one of the best out there. From the piezo pickup to the Dean preamp controls, this bass is fitted with hardware that optimizes its sound quality and shaping capabilities.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an easy to use bass that is perfect for novice to intermediate bass players. In fact, the acoustic-electric system makes this a great bass for practicing at home. It allows the bassist to practice any time of day.

Bottom Line   

The acoustic sound is a nice addition to your sound, even with a bass. This acoustic bass from Dean may come from a brand that is considered a cheaper option, but it is still a great choice. The design and features included in the build of this bass give you a great sound and comfortable use.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying an Acoustic Guitar?

The features to look at are not the only thing that you should be aware of before you make your final decision. Here are a few other considerations that may help you along your way as you sift through the plethora of options available. 

Budget

Knowing the range of your financial capability will help you narrow down the field a bit. This consideration should be weighed against the features you absolutely cannot live without and those that are simple extras. 

Music Style

Another factor to think about is what style of music you are looking to play on your brand-new acoustic. Knowing this will allow you to find an option that has the right response for the music genre you will be using this guitar to play.

Venue/Intent

The last thing you should think about is what is your intent. Are you buying a guitar to learn on? Or are you going to hit the street corners to busk your way to stardom? These types of things will play a crucial role in your final decision.

Conclusion

Finding a good acoustic guitar for under $500 may seem like a daunting task at first. However, if you use the information above, we are sure you will find your search a little easier. Plus, we already reviewed a great list of some of the best acoustic guitars under $500 to get you started.