Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500
When you’re shopping for an acoustic guitar, especially if it’s your first one, there are quite a few factors to consider. You will find that guitar makers actually use quite a few different types of wood, as well as hardware and elements of design. However, before you start shopping, there are a few key things that you need to consider. If you honestly answer these questions, you will find that you can get exactly what you need and your choice will be easier. You need to be honest with yourself, as if you’re not, you might go way above your price limitations with the wishes you might be having. İn this post we want to help you you to buy best acoustic guitar under 500 for you.
What will you use it for, and how much can you afford to spend on it?
First of all, you need to know your skill level. If you’re someone who only recently started playing the guitar, or just want an instrument to learn, you might not want to go overboard. There is a pretty good selection of mid-range guitars to ensure that you don’t get the absolute cheapest one, and you still don’t spend too much on it. However, if you’re an experienced player, you will want to get a good guitar, as you obviously know the difference that makes, such as the effect the soundboard has on resonance, the difference between tonewoods, etc.
Next, you should know whether you’ll be taking your new guitar to public events or playing with a band. If you are going to do these things, you might want to opt for an acoustic-electric guitar, which has a pickup and preamplifier, and you can plug it into an amp or sound system.
What is a guitar made of, and it’s construction
In order to see and figure out those subtle differences which can mean the difference between a well-made, high-quality guitar and a cheap made one, you need to know what a guitar consists of. The neck is joined to the body, and ends at the headstock. You have a fretboard to the top, and the back is ergonomically shaped for you to be able to place your fretting hand on it. The body has a top, also known as the soundboard, supported by internal bracing, as well as the sides and the back. All of these things together form a hollow chamber, and their shape and size will greatly influence the sound. You need to find a body shape that matches both your musical needs, as well as the physical ones. This is also where the pickup system and preamp will be, and they pick up the vibrations, then turn them into electronic signals which go to the amplifier.
Style and Sound
Even though the construction is more or less the same, but there are some variables that will influence the sound, and you will need to know what works best. These variables usually include the body style, tops, nylon vs. steel strings, the tonewood, and the neck length and width. You do need to understand how they work to know what kind of sound you can expect.
Now that you’ve got these things figured out, it is time to take a look at a few suggestions. These are all budget guitars, but they’re among the best you will find. They all fall in the mid-range as far as price is concerned, but their quality is great and you can’t go wrong with either of them.
10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 500
Martin LXK2 Little Martin
The LXK2 Little Martin, Koa Pattern, HPL Top comes with a padded gig bag which might come in handy. It has a smaller body which is great for traveling and practice, and even people with smaller hands. The modified 0-14 body comes with a wood-pattern HPL top and “1-style” Sitka spruce bracing. You will also find a Micarta fretboard and bridge, and a 23” scale, Stratabond low-oval neck. There is also Martin’s patented neck mortise. The headstock is adorned by a C.F. Martin script logo and Gotoh nickel-plated turners.
The guitar comes with a very complete sound, and it is actually pretty loud. Even despite its size and primary usage scenario, it does sound like a real guitar, rather than a travel guitar, which says plenty. It is very sturdy, and you will find that it will last you a lot. The sturdy construction, as well as the price tag make it a great option for camping and outdoor activities as well, unlike some expensive guitars that limit you to playing them indoors due to the fear of damaging them.
All in all, with the LXK2 Little Martin you get an excellent all-round guitar, which sounds nice and you can take anywhere you want with you.
Yamaha FSX830C Small Body
This guitar is part of the Yamaha FG/FS series, which was introduced back in 1966 and as such, has over 50 years of history. The originals, the FG150 and FG180, quickly became very popular, and the current models, such as this FSX830C still go strong. Compared to the originals, the 800 series has a louder, as well as stronger sound, especially in the low to mid-ranges. This is thanks to the advancements in Yamaha’s R&D division, and you will notice it. You will find a solid Sitka spruce top, along with rosewood back, sides, fingerboard and bridge. There is a new scalloped bracing pattern in the 800 series, which is the ideal acoustic structure for maintaining the durability of the top board, while still bringing out the natural sound of the instrument.
This is an acoustic-electric guitar, and you will find an under saddle piezo pickup, as well as a System 66 pre-amp inside. This should be sufficient for any performance needs, and the electronic systems ensure that all of the tones you play are truthfully transferred to the amp. There is a 3-band equalizer, adjustable mid-range frequency control, as well as a precision chromatic tuner which gives you optimum sound tailoring. The whole system is powered by AA batteries.
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
The GS Mini, especially the Mahogany version, is highly praised by reviewers worldwide as an amazing travel option with great performance. You get a Taylor Grand Symphony Mini body with a solid mahogany top wood and layered sapele back and sides. The bracing pattern is the GS Mini, with relief rout, and there is a matte finish on the whole body. The neck shape is Taylor GS Mini profile, and there is a genuine African ebony neck.
The Taylor GS Mini comes with an incredible mix between musicality and portability. This ensures that you can use it in plenty of scenarios, from a campfire, to your couch at home, to a concert hall. It isn’t very big, it isn’t very expensive, and it isn’t too precious, which makes it great. This accessibility gives the Taylor GS Mini an incredible universal appeal, along with a fun factor that many will come to appreciate.
The sound is great, and players with smaller hands will come to appreciate the size and ergonomics. If you’re at a beginner, or beginner-intermediate level, this is one of the best options you can go for, as it looks and sounds incredible, and is very easy to play.
Fender Beginner 12-String CD-160SE-12
Another acoustic-electric guitar on the list, this one is a bit different, as instead of the regular six strings, this one comes with twelve. The main difference with a regular guitar is the fact that there is twice the number of strings, obviously, but that doesn’t make it too complicated. The strings are grouped in six groups with two strings each. Four of the extra strings come with a higher octave, and the remaining two are tuned in unison to their partners. You get a full 12-string sound with a great construction. The CD-160SE has a solid spruce top, as well as mahogany back, sides and neck. There is a tortoise shell pickguard on the natural finish model, and a black pickguard on the black finish model. You will also find scalloped X bracing, and a rosewood bridge with a compensated saddle.
The electronics consist of a Fishman Presys pickup system with an active on-board pre-amp and tuner. Even though most of the system does a lovely job, some might find the tuner to be a bit overly sensitive, and may resort to using their own. This is more or less personal preference, and if you don’t have a tuner, you will be able to wrap your head around the included one with ease.
To sum things up, this is a great beginner guitar if you want to play a 12-string one. The sound is great, the construction is great, and there is a well-built package of electronics inside as well.
People who aren’t beginners might prefer the sound of steel strings
Fender CD-100CE Dreadnought Cutaway
Another offering by Fender, the CD-100CE is one of the best left-handed budget options you can go for, as far as acoustic-electric guitars go. The laminated spruce top looks great, especially with the laminated mahogany back and sides. On the inside, you will find scalloped X bracing for the best possible sound. The rosewood bridge with a compensated saddle, and chrome die cast turning keys look and work great.
On the CD-100CE you will also find a dual action truss rod, black pickguard, crushed acrylic rosette, a rosewood headstock veneer, as well as an all-satin finish. The guitar delivers great sound, and both looks and feels premium, even despite its price. Since this is an acoustic-electric guitar, there is also the Fishman Isys III pickup system, which comes with an active on-board pre-amp, as well as a tuner and volume and tone controls.
All in all, if you’re a left-handed player, the CD-100CE is an incredible option. It’s a well-made acoustic guitar that both looks and sounds great, and being made by Fender, you can be sure that the quality is on point as well. Whether you’re someone who wants to learn how to play, a beginner player, or a more experienced guitarist looking to get a new guitar, this is one that is hard to go wrong with.
Taylor Guitar Big Baby Taylor
The Big Baby Taylor is actually the big brother of the Baby Taylor. It is a 15/16-scale Dreadnaught which comes with a solid Sitka spruce top, as well as sapele-laminate sides and back. It gives you a full voice that will undoubtedly surprise you, and makes for a trusty companion wherever you are, regardless of whether it’s a campfire, or your couch. As far as size goes, it is a little smaller than a full-size guitar, but you can play it just as well and just as comfortably.
Since it is a bit smaller than a full-size guitar, you will find that people with a certain stature will appreciate the narrower neck, which only makes it easier to play. The tonal quality is superb, especially if you compare it to some other guitars in the same price range, and even if compared to some more expensive guitars, it still shines. There is a very warm, full-bodied tone, which gives you good frequencies all across the range. You will notice that the guitar doesn’t sound cheap at all.
When you consider everything, it will not replace a high-end guitar, but it is not meant to either. It is meant to be a great tool for everyone from people who haven’t played a guitar, to people who want to improve their skills without wasting any time on cheap guitars that don’t let them improve.
Seagull Entourage Rustic S6
The S6 Original by Seagull was an award-winning guitar, and the Rustic S6 only continues that tradition. If you’re looking for undeniable craftsmanship and sound, this guitar brings amazing value in an acoustic guitar. You get a stunning Rustic Burst custom polished finish, Seagull’s slim neck with slimmer nut width, as well as cream double binding and select pressure tested solid cedar top. Based upon the S6 Original Slim, you will get a new integrated set neck system which increases the stability, as well as reduces twisting and warping due to climate changes. The fact that the tops are pressure tested ensures that you get the highest levels of rigidity and stiffness, while maintaining optimal harmonic vibration.
The entire Entourage series, and the Rustic S6 is no exception, is made to offer a value option for players of all knowledge levels. With a dreadnought body, even players who need a smaller body will be able to handle the Entourage Rustic S6 with ease. As far as sound is concerned, you will find that it sounds much more like a $1000 guitar, with its extremely pronounced mids and highs. It is loud and crisp, and it will undoubtedly give you all you want in a guitar. You will be hard pressed to find a better value option for an acoustic guitar, which gives this kind of performance.
The Cordoba C5 is one of the original models of their Iberia series. It is a full-size acoustic guitar which has a solid Canadian cedar top, as well as mahogany sides and back, and a rosewood fingerboard. It is handmade in a traditional Spanish style, and you will also find rosewood binding, a hand-carved headstock, bone nut and saddle and a fan bracing system.
It is a lightweight, full-size nylon string guitar, and the combination of materials gives it a warm, round sound. Regardless of whether you’re a classical player, or simply want to get a new acoustic guitar, the feel and tone of the C5 will leave you speechless. Since nylon string guitars are usually more lightly built than steel string ones, the soundboard vibrates and resonates more freely. The fan bracing system included here makes sure that the center of the soundboard has a larger surface area to vibrate, as well as respond to the strings’ tension. This makes the guitar louder and gives it a much better tone. The amount of relief in the guitar’s neck is adjustable with the two-way truss rod that comes included with the C5, as well as all Cordoba guitars.
The Iberia models all come with a pretty broad scope, and you will find one that suits you, regardless of whether you’re looking for a stage-ready nylon string guitar, or a student model. They are completely handmade, and have a warm, resonant tone, which is extremely apparent with the C5, and you can’t go wrong with it.
Seagull S6 Original
Even though we included the Entourage Rustic S6 above in the list, the Original S6 shouldn’t be neglected, and we’ll use it to finish up the list. When you first take a look at the S6 Original, you won’t notice anything that truly stands out. There is a pretty traditional design, with no fancy inlays or cutaway. However, the moment you start playing it, you will feel the quality it comes with. The tone it gives will let you know that plenty of time has been spent into the development of this guitar, and it fits the target market, entry-level guitars for a budget-conscious buyer, incredibly well.
The choice of materials is solid, with a pressure-tested cedar top which is one of the most important factors in creating the tone. The back and sides are Canadian wild cherry, and this wood is not found very often, regardless of the price range, and it simply looks beautiful. The only “traditional” part is the fretboard, which is made using rosewood. The cedar has very different sound qualities than the spruce you will find on plenty of other models, and your ears might take a little time to adjust to that. However, once they do, you will learn to enjoy the guitar and appreciate its quality and construction.
Overall, you will find very little to complain about. You might be disappointed if what you’re looking for is a high-end hand-made guitar, but you shouldn’t be looking for that in this price range in the first place. However, if you want a new beginner guitar, or simply a well-made budget-conscious addition to your collection, it’s hard to go wrong with it.
All of the guitars on this list are picked with the budget-conscious buyer in mind. They all offer performance and construction which is usually found above their price range, and they’ve all been boasted by plenty of reviewers already. Regardless of which one you go for, you will get a great guitar which suits both beginner players who want to improve, as well as advanced, experience players who want a well-made addition to their collection. Above, you will find options that range from small, travelers’ guitars, to full-size options, some of which even have electric instruments inside to let you hook them up to an amp and perform with them on stage. There are some models that stand out, such as Fender’s 12-string option, or their left-handed guitar, as well as the Cordoba C5 model, which is a great option for the classic guitar lover. When all is said and done, if you have honestly answered the questions at the top, and learnt what you should’ve as far as buying an acoustic guitar goes, you will be able to choose one that fits you from the list, and all that remains is ordering it!
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