Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 – Top 10 Complete Buyer’s Guide And Reviews 2024
With a seemingly endless slew of options and a $500 budget, how do you find the best acoustic guitar under 500 on the market? Well, today I’m going to help you make the buying decision easy.
Our experts spent the entire day playing many guitars and selected the top 10 rated guitars that fit your budget. All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle the one below.
Let’s dive right in.
Acoustic Guitar Under 500 USD
Top manufacturing brands like Yamaha, Fender, Taylor, Takamine, and Seagull, known to produce world-class, costly guitars, are just some of the companies that create guitars in the $300-$500 price range and are hungry to get your attention. Today, this price range is the bread and butter of companies that always look for a way to innovate their guitars just for you to buy them.
Looking for the best acoustic guitar under $500 would require a lot of research and patience. Not only would you like to spend your money on a guitar that would last for years and you’re proud of bringing to go anywhere, but it’s also important that the guitar has the suitable materials, features, and sound quality that is entirely worth it for its price.
Acoustic guitars in the $500 price range are the most versatile ones. You’ll find guitars with cheap materials and quality that should be available in the $300 price range and lower. Some guitars have decent materials and quality that are just so-so in the eyes of everyone. But there are also guitars in this price range that can outdo guitars at the $1000 price, and these are the ones you need to find and are included in the list below.
In this article, I’ll show you the top 10 best guitars under $500 that will surely blow your minds. The finest guitar manufacturers make these guitars and have the best quality you’ll find on the market today.
But first, you need to know five things to consider before buying.
Criteria For Evaluating The Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500
When doing this article, I had to do a lot of research and tests to ensure that I included only the top guitars for the list and chose the best acoustic guitar for under $500. For the guitars to be evaluated, I created my criteria for judging the guitars. This includes the materials used for the hardware, features, electronics, action, value for money, and sound quality.
There are a lot of types of wood that are used for a guitar. Although some of the wood with a $300 can be the same as for the $500, it’s essential to know if it’s natural wood or just laminated. This can make a lot of difference in the guitar’s tone and overall sound quality. The guitars I’ve chosen for this list have used different types of woods; some are real, and some are laminated, but they have combined different woods to create unique tonal qualities.
Just like in hardware, the materials for the guitars are a lot the same. But you should expect that the materials on the guitars under $500 should be better than the cheaper ones.
Some of the guitars that I’ve chosen have built-in electronics in them. I’ve included this in my criteria because these guitars need high-quality electronics with decent to excellent sound once plugged into preamps.
When you expect downward movement in a $300 guitar, you should expect the same or better for a guitar at a price range of $500. It should be low and close to the frets. Plus, you shouldn’t hear any buzz.
The guitars on this list are tested and proven to have excellent sound quality. Some even have better tonal qualities than guitars at a higher price range.
Acoustic Guitar Under 500 – Top 10
I Know We Are All Busy, so here Is The List 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 500
- Seagull S6 Original.
- Takamine GD30CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar.
- Takamine GD30CE-12NAT Dreadnought 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar.
- Recording King ROS-06 Classic Series 12th Fret 000 Acoustic.
- Fender T-Bucket 300CE Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar Antique Burst Acoustic Guitar.
- Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Acoustic Guitar.
- Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar.
- Alvarez AC65HCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar.
- Yamaha LL6-Natural.
Let’s start with the analysis and reviews
#1: Seagull S6 Original
Considered one of the best beginner guitars in the market, the S6 is famous for its simplicity and outstanding sound quality. It has cherry wood for the back and side, rosewood for the fingerboard, maple for the neck, and cedar for the top. The guitar has a semi-gloss lacquer finish that keeps it looking beautiful for a long time.
Its ability to produce high-quality sound makes the S6 better than its competitors in the same price range. Because of the Godin Quantum IT electronics with a built-in tuner, the guitar produces full and dark sounds better suited to folk music.
The playability is excellent, and you can tell that the craftsmanship is reliable. I have noticed that the sounds get better when you’re already playing it for years. I don’t know why the wood is getting better, but there’s no doubt that the S6 is some of the special ones.
After a couple of months to a year that I’ve been playing my Seagull S6, I noticed that the strings depreciated too fast, which means it was low quality, so I changed my settings to Elixir Light Phosphor Bronze strings which made the guitar sing more beautifully. One more thing is that the guitar doesn’t have a second peg for a strap which can be troublesome, but you can solve this with just a couple of dollars.
#2: Takamine GD30CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
Takamine is known for its absolute craftsmanship toward its guitars. Not only that, but they also use premium woods and materials to ensure that their guitars’ tone and sound quality are top-notch.
The GD30CE is made of mahogany for its back and sides, solid spruce wood for the top, rosewood for the fingerboard, and a pinless bridge. The neck is also made of mahogany with a slim neck profile, perfect for people with small hands.
I love the Takamine TP-4TD preamp system with a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls because it’s straightforward to use and makes adjustments a breeze with perfect accuracy. Plus, the guitar already includes a battery on its package and has quick battery change access that saves your battery.
The action is low, and the tuners work very well, which is extremely good for its price range. The guitar has a fantastic setup right out of the box, and the overall sound is excellent, including resonance, warmth, brightness, and tone.
The only complaint I have with the GD30CE is the set of strings already included in the guitar because it’s a bit rough. So it would be best if you replaced the D’Addario strings with Light Gauge Elixir Polywebs, which can improve the guitar’s sound in tone and resonance.
#3: Takamine GD30CE-12NAT Dreadnought 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Again, another Takamine guitar is included in this list because of its excellent quality guitars. An upgrade to the last guitar is the GD30CE-12NAT which has the same wood materials as the last guitar. Plus, it’s also equipped with the same electronics as the TP-4TD preamp system, which includes a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls.
The only difference between these two guitars is the two-piece saddle which works perfectly and gives the guitar better intonation. I like that it can quickly achieve full and deep bass because it can balance the entire spectrum, even with its power.
The tuner is also accurate, and the action is still low as the other guitar. Plus, you can expect not to experience any buzz on the frets. The tuners’ auto-off feature comes in very handy because it saves the battery life of the guitar.
You can expect a great setup like the other guitar when you first take it out of the box. The craftsmanship of Takamine is still unbeatable, and the GD30CE-12NAT is durable enough to stay with you in your everyday experience until you reach the stage.
There’s a little setback, however, on the automatic off feature of the tuners because there are times that it activates too early. But you don’t have to worry about it because it doesn’t hurt or make any difference in the guitar’s sound, which makes this a contender for the best acoustic guitar under $500.
#4: Recording King ROS-06 Classic Series 12th Fret 000 Acoustic
One of the most famous and well-known manufacturers is the Recording King acoustic guitars. Their ROS-06 is included in this list because it produces excellent sounds.
The neck, back, and sides are made from mahogany, solid Sitka spruce for the top, and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge. It’s comfortable to play with because of the neck’s contemporary “C” shape, which is excellent for people with small hands.
What makes the ROS-06 different from other guitars is that it produces excellent sounds that are not too loud compared to other battleships but are still perfect for finger-style players. The intonation is spot on and is excellent for its price range. Like other guitars mentioned above, the action is excellent, and you won’t feel any buzz on the strings.
Because it’s best for fingerstyle playing, you’ll notice that the strings are farther apart than other regular guitars. What I noticed the most about the ROS-06 is the guitar’s overall construction. There are some minor flaws in the guitar itself.
There are some pre-finish dents on some of the woods; ink runs on the soundhole, and there’s this particular glue smell coming out of it which can irritate your nose once you play the guitar for an extended period.
#5: Fender T-Bucket 300CE Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Fender is known for their outstanding detail in the construction of its guitars. Plus, they have a shop where you can request customization on your guitar on any of their models.
It used laminated mahogany for the neck, back, and sides, maple wood for the top, and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge, and it finished with an elegant natural gloss. First, there’s a big difference between natural and laminated wood. Although this guitar uses laminate for the back and sides, it still produces excellent sounds.
Fender chose high-quality electronics, Built-in Chromatic Tuner with an On/Off Switch, Bass, Volume, Treble, and Mid, and sacrificed genuine tonewoods to achieve a guitar with great quality sound at an affordable price range. Still, the action is low, and the neck feels comfortable because of the “C” shape.
The big plus on the guitar is the strap nuts found on the body, and the tuners make the guitar stay in tune for extended periods. I’ve noticed on the 300CE that it makes you play cleaner because making mistakes is pretty noticeable.
What I don’t like about this particular guitar is that the back and side wood shows every mark it has, which is quite troublesome because it affects the overall look of the guitar. Plus, it doesn’t have the perfect setup when you take it out of the box, so you’ll need to work it yourself or go to a local store.
#6: Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar Antique Burst Acoustic Guitar
Known for their handcrafted guitars, Art & Lutherie uses only excellent materials. The Ami Cedar uses wild cherry for the back and sides, pressure-tested solid wood for the top, silver leaf maple for the neck, and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge.
The guitar has a semi-gloss custom varnish for the finish, giving it a beautiful look. Because of the chosen tonewoods, the guitar has a rich, loud sound that’s great for blues and folk genres. It almost has the same loud sound as a dreadnought guitar but is smaller in size, which is perfect for traveling.
I noticed that the strings that came with the guitar were a little stale, so I changed it to D’Addario, which enhanced the guitar’s sound and resonated very well. Everything about the quality of the guitar was well thought off and will satisfy you for its price.
The only thing I didn’t like about the guitar was that it didn’t have the proper setup when I got it from the box, so I had to make a slight adjustment. I was disappointed because some of the guitars in this price range are already set up great.
#7: Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar, Sapele, Mahogany Top
Taylor is one of my favorite brands of guitars because it brings total comfort when I play their guitars. The GS Mini measures 23.5 inches but has the sound of a full-sized guitar.
What I like about this particular guitar is that it matches the volume on how light or hard you strum it. Because of the solid mahogany top, Genuine African Ebony for the fingerboard, and Sapele for the neck, the guitar produces a clear, warm tone in the midrange section and still gives bright trebles and bass.
The strings have a clear, crisp sound, like a snappy tone. Plus, it has an even and balanced tone and can play almost any genre you throw at it. I love the guitar’s size because I don’t get any problems playing it, even if it’s a little smaller. Whether sitting or standing or trying to reach complex chords, the GS Mini gives me total flexibility.
I only find playing with the slippery tuners difficult because it needs constant adjustment. It’s a miniature version of Taylor’s standard tuners, which is why it’s sometimes tricky to tune.
#8: Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
One of the best guitars in this affordable price range is the Cordoba C7 SP. The back and sides are layered Sapele, and the top is solid European spruce, Genuine African Ebony for the fingerboard and bridge, and mahogany for the neck.
It has a high gloss Polyurethane finish and a Spanish fan bracing that gives the guitar more space to respond and vibrate to the tension of every string to give the guitar more volume and a better tone. What I like about the guitar is its gorgeous, deep, round, and full sound quality which is surprising for the Cordoba C7.
The action is small like the other guitars and is very easy, regardless of string tension. For a $500 guitar, the playability of the C7 is outstanding. It’s one of my travel buddies because its lightweight sound quality is perfect for any occasion.
The C7 is one of my favorite guitars because it delivers quality over the top, so I can’t find anything wrong with it. The sound and built quality are outstanding for its price, which can be easily compared to guitars at $1500-$2000. This makes the C7 a top contender for the best acoustic guitar under $500.
#9: Alvarez AC65HCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Artist is the award-winning series of Alvarez because of its traditional Spanish heel construction, and their scalloped bracing helps the guitar to deliver volume, sustain and balance. I like this guitar’s neck profile because it’s slender, making it easy for players to reach full barre chords even with small hands.
The guitar’s neck, back, and sides are made from Mahogany, Solid A+ Western Red Cedar for the top, rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge, and a premium high gloss for the finish. Even if this guitar uses D’Addario EXP for the strings, it has a pretty good action which is low and just suitable for any user, even for beginners.
The guitar produces a warm, sweet sound that sounds better solo or in a band. The mid, treble, and bass give the guitar a more comprehensive tonal range when plugged in with a preamp. Plus, the controls work exceptionally well. The only downside of the guitar is that it doesn’t have a loud projection and volume compared to other guitars in its price range.
#10: Yamaha LL6-Natural
The last guitar that’s included in this list is the Yamaha LL6. Everybody knows that Yamaha is one of the best manufacturers of musical instruments, whether it’s as cheap as $200 to the most expensive ones at $2000.
The LL6 is famous for its full and bright-sounding tones because of its jumbo shape body, laminated rosewood for the back and sides, Solid Engelmann spruce wood which is known to produce a warmer and more affluent type of wood, and ebony for the fingerboard and bridge.
Because of the gold die-cast tuners, the guitar stays in tune for long periods, even if you play it for a couple of hours a day. It has excellent balance and a good volume that you can expect from a Jumbo-type guitar.
Although Yamaha is a famous brand, they tend to hide its imperfections. In particular, the LL6 is composed of a plastic saddle, bridge pins, and nuts, which you won’t be able to find in the specification of the Yamaha website.
The action is a bit high even for its price range because some of its competitors are very keen and detailed regarding these matters. Even the neck is wider at 13/4-inch and needs improvement because their competitors have better construction quality.
Acoustic Guitar Under 500 – My final thoughts
If you’re looking for the best acoustic guitar under $500, I recommend choosing between the Seagull S6, Takamine GD30CE-12NAT, and the Cordoba C7. They have all the right builds you can expect for their price and offer you more than the money for their sound quality.
Which do you think is the best acoustic guitar under 500? Let me know your opinion.