The 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 in 2021: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for a new acoustic guitar can be a tough decision. There are many factors to consider, such as cost, brand, and specific features. The good news is that there are some great options for people with budgets in the $500 range! In this post, we review what we think are the 10 best acoustic guitars under $500 as well as provide you with a buyer’s guide to help you know what to look for. Let’s get started.

Quick Answer: The Top Acoustic Guitars Under $500

The Best Rated Acoustic Guitars Under $500

1. Yamaha LS6 Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha L-Series LS6 Concert Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Rosewood, Natural
  • Hand-selected premium solid Engelmann Spruce top treated with A.R.E.
  • A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) is an original wood reforming technology developed by Yamaha
  • Rosewood Back & Sides;Elixir Strings
  • Full sound with powerful projection
  • Comfortable, smaller body
  • Sleek, durable, thin and tapered neck for excellent playability

Yamaha introduced brand new guitars as part of their L Series in 2014. The new models were redesigned to enhance the tone and playability of each guitar. The LS6 has the smallest body of all the guitars in the series. It is constructed with a mixture of solid and laminate woods to make it more affordable for guitarists on a tight budget.

The LS6 features a smaller, concert-sized body that is constructed with solid Engelmann Spruce for the top and rosewood laminate back and sides. The top is made with Yamaha’s “Acoustic Resonance Enhancement” (A.R.E.) treatment to mimic the way solid wood ages. The A.R.E. treatment allows the LS6 to perform like an aged, solid-top guitar from the get-go. The LS6 has a great reputation for being a high-quality, reliable, great-sounding guitar, which is why it tops our list of the ten best acoustic guitars under $500 and we think it can even compete with some of the $1000 guitars.

2. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro Acoustic Guitar

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Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar
  • A Country / Rock Classic Plugs In
  • Solid Spruce Top with Mahogany Back and Sides
  • SlimTaper "D" Profile Neck
  • Upgraded, acoustic-electric version of the classic Gibson Hummingbird
  • Bright and vibrant sound
  • Solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides

The Hummingbird Pro is an upgraded, acoustic-electric version of the classic steel-string Gibson Hummingbird. Epiphone, a Gibson subsidiary, took the best of one of the greatest guitars of all time and transformed it into an affordable yet still iconic guitar.

The Hummingbird Pro retains many of the same design features as classic 1960s guitars: a large dreadnought body with square shoulders and a large decorated faux-tortoiseshell pickguard.

The Hummingbird Pro features a solid spruce top with laminated select mahogany for the back and sides. This model also features a select mahogany neck with Epiphone’s SlimTaper D-shaped profile. The rosewood fretboard is marked with pearloid parallelogram inlays – a Hummingbird trademark.

The Hummingbird Pro sounds big and bold thanks to excellent resonation. The tone is warm but balanced. Overall, the Hummingbird Pro looks and sounds like a guitar that is worth a lot more than just a few hundred dollars.

3. Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar

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YAMAHA FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar,Natural,Guitar Only
1,216 Reviews
YAMAHA FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar,Natural,Guitar Only
  • Solid sitka spruce top
  • Nato back & sides
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Unique wood construction – made with Nato, Okume, and Spruce
  • Increased playability and loud volume with dreadnought body
  • Clear bass and great resonance

If you are looking for major bang for your buck, the Yamaha FG800 is a great option. The FG800 is one of the best guitars for beginners, but is also a popular choice for players looking for a different guitar to practice on.

The FG800 has a solid Sitka spruce top and nato back and sides. Thanks to the dreadnought body style, you can expect a sound that is well-balanced and particularly warm in the lower and mid-range. Moreover, the FG800 is a model that is built to last.

4. Taylor Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar

Taylor BBTe Big Baby Taylor Sitka and Walnut with Electronics and Gig Bag
  • Layered Walnut Body w/ Sitka Spruce Top
  • 25.5" Scale Hard Rock Maple Neck w/ West African Ebony Fingerboard
  • ES-B Electronics
  • Smaller size makes it ideal for travel
  • High-quality construction from a reputable brand
  • Dynamic range, great projection, and rich tones

The Big Baby Taylor is just shy of a full-size acoustic guitar but bigger than the popular travel-size Baby Taylor. The Big Baby was designed for easy-playing and is a favorite among songwriters.

The Big Baby Taylor is also a great travel companion due to its sleek 4-inch body depth. Despite the slightly smaller size, this model produces more volume and fullness than the average travel guitar.

What sets Taylor Guitars apart from the rest is the quality of their craftsmanship. They design stable and playable necks and use ethically-sourced and eco-friendly raw materials in their guitars. For under $500, you can own a true masterpiece guaranteed to help you hone your skills.

5. Loar LH-204 Brownstone Acoustic Guitar

The Loar LH-204-BR Brownstone Small Body Acoustic Guitar
7 Reviews
The Loar LH-204-BR Brownstone Small Body Acoustic Guitar
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Bound Soundhole
  • Solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck
  • Classic pre-war body style
  • Tone and vibe blues guitarists crave

The Loar is a Chinese guitar manufacturer primarily known for focusing on higher-end guitars, using models from the 1920s and 1930s – a time known as the ‘Golden Age of Guitar’ – as inspiration for the latest guitars. The LH-204 Brownstone is one of their mid-range acoustics ideal for guitarists who like the blues.

It’s hard to tell there is anything particularly special about the LH-204 Brownstone just from looking at it. The back, sides, and neck are made of mahogany and the top is made of solid Sitka spruce. The wood is stained brown to create a more rustic aesthetic. The ivory body binding and satin finish are elegant additions to the design.

In terms of sound, this $500 acoustic sounds like it should cost a lot more. It projects well and sounds warm and mellow.

6. Martin LX1E Acoustic Guitar

Little Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Sitka Spruce Top, Mahogany HPL Construction,...
  • PROFESSIONAL SOUND: Martin’s Little Martin LX1E acoustic-electric guitar has a Sitka spruce top and high-pressure...
  • SUPERIOR APPEARANCE: The Little Martin LX1R acoustic-electric guitars are made with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany...
  • PREMIUM HANDMADE GUITARS: Handmade from the highest-quality wood, Little Martin guitars are built to stand up to...
  • 23-inch scale length – smaller-bodied guitar
  • Durable body – great for travel
  • Great tonal clarity in highs and mids

The LX1E is Martin’s smallest guitar, but still one of their more popular models. Considering Ed Sheeran plays an LX1E, you can be sure it’s a great guitar. It’s certainly worth considering if you have a $500 budget and want a travel-size acoustic.

The LX1E acoustic-electric model has a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany HPL back and sides. This combination of construction materials ensures the LX1E is durable with a slightly rugged quality, while keeping the guitar affordable.

Because the LX1E is a smaller-bodied guitar, it isn’t capable of producing the same booming lows as a dreadnaught. But the tonal clarity in the highs and mids is surprisingly good.

7. Breedlove Pursuit Concert Acoustic Guitar

Breedlove PURSUIT CONCERT MAH Pursuit Concert Mahogany Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
  • Body Type: Concert Neck Wood: Nato
  • Solid Wood Top: Solid mahogany Back/Sides: Sapele laminate
  • Fretboard: Rosewood# Frets: 21 Scale length: 25-1/2" Nut Width: 1-11/16" Nut Saddle: Bone Tuners
  • Warm, balanced tone
  • Unique headstock and body design
  • Comfortable neck for increased playability

The Breedlove Pursuit Concert is far from a traditional classical guitar, but that’s part of its appeal. This acoustic-electric guitar has a distinctive sound that is hard to find for under $500.

The Pursuit Concert has a solid cedar top and laminated mahogany back and sides. The fretboard is made of East Indian Rosewood and the mini tuners are chrome. Overall, it’s a well-built acoustic-electric guitar.

The Breedlove Pursuit Concert produces an earthy, warm tone with an even response through the highs, lows, and mids. When playing this model, you will quickly notice the excellent sustain and clear note projection. For an affordable acoustic-electric guitar, the Breedlove Pursuit Concert is a great option.

8. Takamine GD51CE Acoustic Guitar

Takamine GD51CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
  • The GD51CE features a solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides that produce a big, bold sound
  • Slim mahogany neck and 12"-radius bound rosewood fingerboard provide great feel and playability
  • Takamine TP-4TD preamp system gives you a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls for rock-solid...
  • Split bridge saddle for improved intonation
  • Long sustains and rich tones
  • High-quality wood craftsmanship

With a budget of $500, the Takamine GD51CE is one of the best, yet underrated acoustic-electric guitars in the industry. This model features a Venetian-style cutaway and a high-quality Takamine electronics system to take your playing experience to the next level.

The GD51CE features a solid spruce top and black walnut back and sides. It has a slim mahogany neck and a bound laurel fingerboard for great playability. With a beautiful gloss finish, this guitar almost looks as good as it sounds.

We stand by our opinion that the GD51CE is an underrated guitar, given the value of this particular model. The GD51CE produces rich tones and long sustains attributed to its high-quality wood construction. The solid spruce top ensures this guitar will only sound better as it ages, making it a worthy investment.

9. Ibanez Artwood AVC11 Acoustic Guitar

Ibanez AVC11 Artwood Vintage Thermo Aged Acoustic Guitar
2 Reviews
Ibanez AVC11 Artwood Vintage Thermo Aged Acoustic Guitar
  • Thermo Aged Solid Caucasian Spruce top, Mahogany back & sides
  • 24.96" scale mahogany neck w/20 fret ovangkol fretboard
  • Antique Chrome tuners w/Oval knobs
  • Thermo-aged spruce top and torrefied spruce X-bracing
  • Semi-gloss finish for a vintage look
  • Great playability and impressive volume

Ibanez introduced the AVC11 as part of their Artwood Vintage Series of acoustic guitars. It is loaded with features you would typically find in higher-end guitars that would set you back a lot more than $500.

The AVC11 delivers an impressive level of volume and a full-bodied low end with even sustain; features that can be expected, but aren’t always included, with vintage guitars.

For the AVC11, Ibanez used a process known as torrefaction that bakes the tonewood at a high temperature to completely dry the wood and get rid of any resin that was leftover. As a result, you get a guitar constructed of wood that sounds like it is decades old, instead of right out of the box.

10. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

Seagull 046416 S6 Original SLIM QIT Acoustic-Electric Guitar Bundle
2 Reviews
Seagull 046416 S6 Original SLIM QIT Acoustic-Electric Guitar Bundle
  • QIT Electronics
  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Wild Cherry Back and Sides
  • Tilted headstock for easier tuning and smoother chord transitions
  • Double action truss rod carries pitch more accurately
  • Solid wood and North American craftsmanship

The Seagull S6 Original is one of the top 10 acoustic guitars you can get for under $500. The S6 features pressure-tested solid cedar on the top, wild cherry on the back and sides, silver leaf maple for the neck, and rosewood for the fretboard. The body is finished with a light semi-gloss lacquer and the fretboard has a light matte finish.

The sound produced by the S6 is decent compared to most other guitars in its price range and it sounds so much better than the cheaper $200 guitars. The S6 offers a warm tone that is pleasantly bright despite the cedar top. With this model, you can expect to play loud and clear with plenty of sustain.

FAQ

Q. Am I too old to learn to play the guitar?

You are never too old to learn a new instrument, but the sooner you can get started, the better. If you are willing to set aside time nearly every day to practice, you can learn to play the guitar in as little as six months.

Q. Are expensive guitars really better? What’s the difference between cheap and expensive guitars?

The main factors that go into determining how much an acoustic guitar will cost are:

  • Wood
  • Hardware
  • Brand

The quality of the wood used as well as the type will have a major impact on how much the guitar costs. Lower-priced acoustic guitars tend to use laminated wood, while more expensive guitars are made from solid hardwoods.

More affordable guitars also tend to use lower-grade hardware for the bridges, nuts, pickguards, knobs, and other components.

And like with most consumer goods, the brand you are buying from will often have an impact on the price you pay. Some brands are more expensive than others because of their popularity.

Q. What are some great songs for a beginner to play on an acoustic guitar?

Popular songs for beginner guitarists include:

  • “Proud Mary” by CCR
  • “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
  • “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Steelers Wheel
  • “Fire” by Bruce Springsteen
  • “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum
  • “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
  • “With Or Without You” by U2
  • “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles
  • “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley
  • “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
  • “Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars