The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $400 (Ultimate Guide)

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Looking for the best acoustic guitars under $400? This ultimate guide will help you find the perfect instrument for your budget and style. Learn about the different types of acoustic guitars, the features to look for, and the best models available in 2023.

1. Ibanez AC340OPN                       

COMFY AND RESPONSIVE.

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2. Alvarez Artist Series AD30

VERSATILE POWERHOUSE.

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3. Martin LX1                           

COMPACT AND ROBUST.

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4. Yamaha APX600                            

EASY-TO-PLAY PERFORMER.

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5. Ibanez AW54OPN                            

SIMPLE ELEGANCE.

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6. Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought

WARM AND DETAILED.

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1. Ibanez AC340OPN

COMFY AND RESPONSIVE.

1. Solid mahogany top enhances tone.Comfortable and easy to play.
Open pore finish enhances aesthetics.Bone nut and saddle improve.
Picture by Ibanez

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • If you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar under $400, look no further than the Ibanez AC340OPN. This remarkable instrument stands out from the rest due to its incredible features. Let’s explore four key advantages of this guitar:

    Firstly, the solid mahogany top generates a warm and rich tone. Known for its well-balanced sound, mahogany is a popular choice of wood for acoustic guitars that suits various music styles. The solid top further enhances the guitar’s resonance and projection, resulting in a louder and more expressive sound.

    Secondly, the grand concert body shape offers comfort and ease of playability. This shape is slightly smaller and more contoured compared to the dreadnought shape, making it fitting for your arms and reducing strain on your shoulders and back. Moreover, the smaller body size minimizes feedback and boominess, especially when using a microphone or amplifier.

    Next, the open pore natural finish accentuates the wood’s natural beauty and feel. By allowing the wood to breathe and vibrate more freely, the open pore finish enhances the guitar’s authentic and organic sound. Additionally, it provides a smoother and softer touch, improving the overall playing experience.

    Lastly, the bone nut and saddle significantly enhance the guitar’s sustain and intonation. Made from animal bones, which are denser than synthetic materials, the nut and saddle efficiently transfer vibrations from the strings to the body, resulting in a longer and clearer sound. Furthermore, these bone components exhibit excellent durability, ensuring better string stability and tuning accuracy over time.

    These reasons highlight why the Ibanez AC340OPN is an excellent choice for those seeking a quality acoustic guitar under $400. To delve deeper into this guitar’s specifications, you can read our comprehensive review here. Alternatively, to witness its impeccable sound and appearance, you can watch a video demonstration here. We hope you have enjoyed this blog post and found it beneficial. Stay tuned for more tips and reviews on the best acoustic guitars under $400!

CONS

  • The Ibanez AC340OPN is a solid acoustic guitar, offering great value for its price. However, it does have a couple of cons to consider before purchasing.
  • Firstly, the open pore finish might not be everyone’s preference, as some players may prefer a glossier, smoother finish for better wood protection and enhanced appearance. The open pore finish also makes the guitar more susceptible to dirt and moisture, potentially affecting its tone and durability over time.
  • Additionally, the guitar lacks electronics or a cutaway, restricting its ability to be plugged into an amplifier or access higher frets easily. This may require additional costs and hassle for performing live or recording. Despite these drawbacks, the guitar still boasts positive features such as a solid okoume top, bone nut and saddle, and a comfortable Grand Concert body shape. To learn more about this guitar and other models, check out our blog post: The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $400 (Ultimate Guide).

2. Alvarez Artist Series AD30

VERSATILE POWERHOUSE.

1. Solid top, great value.Scalloped bracing enhances volume and projection.
Bone nut and saddle.Paua abalone inlays for elegance.
Picture by Alvarez

PROS

    • If you are in the market for an exceptional acoustic guitar under $400, the Alvarez Artist Series AD30 is a top contender worth considering. This dreadnought guitar stands out from the competition due to its impressive features. Let’s dive into four crucial pros of the Alvarez AD30.

      Firstly, the AD30 boasts a solid Sitka spruce top. This tonewood is renowned for its high quality and produces a rich and balanced sound. Typically, solid tops are found on pricier guitars, so the AD30 provides remarkable value for its cost.

      Secondly, the Alvarez AD30 incorporates the FST2M bracing system, featuring forward-shifted and scalloped X-brace design. This unique bracing allows the top of the guitar to vibrate more freely, ultimately enhancing its volume and projection.

      Thirdly, the AD30 sets itself apart with a bone nut and saddle. Unlike plastic or synthetic materials, bone offers superior qualities. It improves the sustain and intonation of the guitar while enhancing its overall tone and clarity.

      Finally, the Alvarez AD30 includes paua abalone inlays, featuring a beautiful rosette and headstock logo made from paua abalone and mother of pearl. These intricate inlays add a touch of elegance and class to the guitar, creating the illusion of a higher price tag.

      In conclusion, the Alvarez AD30 is an exceptional choice for individuals seeking a quality acoustic guitar under $400. With its solid top, scalloped bracing, bone nut and saddle, and paua abalone inlays, this guitar delivers both impressive sound and aesthetics.

CONS

  • The Alvarez Artist Series AD30 is a great acoustic guitar for beginners and intermediate players, but it has a couple of drawbacks to consider before purchasing. Here are the two cons you should be aware of:

    1. The dreadnought body shape may not suit everyone. Players with smaller hands or a preference for a more intimate sound might find it too big or uncomfortable to play. Additionally, dreadnoughts are known for being louder and bass-heavy, which may not be ideal for certain musical styles or personal preferences.

    2. The bridge design can be a hindrance for some players. The wide mustache-shaped bridge has received criticism for taking up too much space on the soundboard. This could potentially affect the guitar’s resonance, tone, and make string changes or action adjustments more challenging.

    These drawbacks are subjective and may not bother all players. Despite these cons, the AD30 remains a solid and affordable guitar that provides excellent value for money.

3. Martin LX1

COMPACT AND ROBUST.

Solid sitka spruce top.Durable, weather-resistant, and portable.
Great pickup system, Fishman Sonitone.padded gig bag included.
Picture by Martin

PROS

  • If you are in the market for a high-quality acoustic guitar under $400, you should definitely consider the Martin LX1 Little Martin. This particular guitar offers a plethora of advantages for beginners, travelers, or individuals seeking a compact and comfortable instrument. Here, we will go over four significant pros of the Martin LX1:

    1. One standout feature is its solid sitka spruce top, which is quite rare for a guitar in this price range. Unlike guitars with multiple glued layers, the LX1 boasts a soundboard made of a single piece of wood. This unique quality ensures a fuller and more resonant tone that improves over time.

    2. The LX1 is constructed with durability and weather-resistance in mind, thanks to the high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides and the Richlite fingerboard. HPL is a composite material that offers superior strength and stability compared to regular wood, while Richlite is a synthetic substance that convincingly emulates the look and feel of ebony. These materials make the guitar capable of withstanding temperature and humidity changes, making it ideal for those who frequently travel.

    3. Another notable feature is its top-notch pickup system, the Fishman Sonitone, which enables you to connect the guitar to an amplifier or a PA system. Discreetly mounted inside the soundhole, this pickup comes equipped with easily accessible volume and tone controls. The amplified sound is crystal clear and natural, devoid of any feedback or noise issues.

    4. The Martin LX1 also includes a padded gig bag that provides ample protection against scratches and bumps. Additionally, the gig bag features convenient backpack straps and a front pocket for accessory storage. This makes it incredibly easy to carry and store the guitar whenever it is not in use.

    These are just a few of the advantages offered by the Martin LX1 Little Martin, a guitar that delivers exceptional sound and playability in a compact package.

CONS

  • The Martin LX1 is an excellent travel-sized acoustic guitar, but it does have a few drawbacks to consider.
  • Firstly, its sound quality is not as rich and full as a regular-sized guitar. The smaller body and laminate back and sides limit resonance and projection, particularly in the low-end frequencies. Additionally, some users find the high-end sounds to be tinny or harsh.
  • Secondly, the fretboard is made of Richlite, a synthetic material mimicking ebony. While durable and eco-friendly, some purists may prefer the feel of natural wood. Furthermore, the lack of fret inlays can make navigation challenging for beginners or visually-oriented players. Carefully weigh these trade-offs against the pros, such as the solid spruce top, easy playability, and Fishman Sonitone pickup system, before deciding on the Martin LX1.

4. Yamaha APX600

EASY-TO-PLAY PERFORMER.

Unique body shape for playability.Simple and effective electronics system.
Smooth and comfortable neck.Amazing aesthetics in various colors.
Picture by Yamaha

PROS

  • If you are in the market for a versatile and reliable acoustic guitar that won’t break the bank, then the Yamaha APX600 is definitely worth considering. Priced under $400, this guitar is packed with features that make it a top choice for players of different styles and skill levels. Here are four standout advantages of the Yamaha APX600:

    Firstly, the unique body shape of the APX600 enhances playability and sound quality. Its slim, single-cutaway design is particularly comfortable for electric guitarists transitioning to an acoustic instrument. Crafted from spruce and nato, the body produces a well-balanced, rich tone with excellent projection.

    Secondly, the APX600 boasts a simple yet effective electronics system, perfect for those looking to perform live or record in a studio setting. Equipped with the System 65 + SRT Piezo pickup, this guitar offers a three-band EQ, volume knob, and midrange frequency slider that allows for easy sound customization to suit any environment. The built-in tuner adds further convenience to your playing experience.

    Moreover, the APX600 features a smooth and comfortable neck ideal for fast and accurate playing. With a rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets, and a 25-inch scale length, this guitar offers a satin-finished neck with a slim profile that feels excellent in your hands. The low action and reliable strings contribute to an overall pleasurable playing experience.

    Last but not least, the Yamaha APX600 showcases a stunning aesthetic design. Available in various colors, including black, natural, and sunburst, this guitar boasts a glossy finish on the body, a rosewood inlay on the headstock, and an abalone rosette around the soundhole, adding a touch of elegance. Its visual appeal is sure to capture the attention of anyone who sees it.

    These are just a few of the many reasons why the Yamaha APX600 is a fantastic option for an affordable acoustic guitar.

CONS

  • The Yamaha APX600 is a slim acoustic-electric guitar known for its excellent playability and sound quality. However, it’s essential to be aware of its drawbacks before purchasing. Here are two cons of the Yamaha APX600:

    1. Out of the box, the action is too high. Users have noted that the strings are far from the fretboard, resulting in difficulties during play and finger fatigue. Rectifying this issue involves adjusting the truss rod or seeking professional assistance, adding extra hassle and cost.

    2. The electronics are underwhelming. While the System 65 + SRT Piezo pickup and built-in tuner are acceptable, they lack versatility and responsiveness. Problems reported include issues with the volume knob, EQ controls, and battery life. Furthermore, the sound quality when plugged in is less natural and dynamic compared to competing models in the same price range.

    Before making a decision, it’s crucial to consider these cons. However, this doesn’t undermine the guitar’s quality entirely as it still boasts numerous pros.

5. Ibanez AW54OPN

SIMPLE ELEGANCE.

1. Solid okoume top.Open pore finish enhances natural sound.
Advantage bridge pins improve stability.Smooth, fast neck with satin finish.
Picture by Ibanez

PROS

  • If you are searching for a high-quality acoustic guitar under $400, the Ibanez AW54OPN should definitely be on your list. It belongs to the Artwood series, which fuses traditional and modern elements to create an exceptionally versatile and expressive instrument. Here, I will highlight four key advantages of the Ibanez AW54OPN that set it apart from its competitors and make it a fantastic choice for any guitarist.

    First and foremost, the guitar showcases a solid okoume top. Solid tops, like the one found on the AW54OPN, are highly regarded for their superior resonance and tonal quality. This is due to the fact that they resonate more effectively and progressively improve with time. With the okoume top, the AW54OPN delivers a rich and well-balanced sound capable of accommodating a wide range of music styles.

    In addition, the AW54OPN boasts an open pore finish, allowing the wood pores to remain unfilled by lacquer or paint. This enables the wood to breathe and vibrate more freely, enhancing the guitar’s natural sound and tactile sensation. Moreover, the open pore finish grants the instrument a rustic and organic appearance that perfectly complements its remarkable sound.

    The guitar’s Advantage bridge pins represent yet another advantage. These specially designed bridge pins have a unique construction that facilitates easy removal and replacement. Moreover, their tapered ends prevent them from inadvertently popping out, significantly improving the tuning stability and string tension of the instrument while playing.

    Last but not least, the AW54OPN features a comfortable mahogany neck. Known for its strength and stability, mahogany provides a smooth and fast feel. The neck is further enhanced by a satin finish, which reduces friction and enhances playability. Additionally, the neck boasts a slim profile that feels great in the hand and enables easy access to all frets.

    These are just a few of the numerous advantages that the Ibanez AW54OPN acoustic guitar offers. If you would like to learn more about this exceptional instrument, consider exploring the web search results or watching some video demonstrations. The AW54OPN truly represents an incredible package of quality, performance, and value for money, establishing it as one of the finest acoustic guitars available under $400.

CONS

  • The Ibanez AW54OPN is a solid, affordable acoustic guitar with a warm and resonant sound. However, it does have a couple of cons to consider.
  • Firstly, the open pore finish may not suit everyone’s taste, as some may prefer a glossy or matte finish for better protection against scratches and dirt. Additionally, the open pore finish can make the guitar more vulnerable to humidity and temperature changes, affecting its tuning stability and sound quality.
  • Secondly, the action may be too high for some players, making it harder to press the strings and causing finger fatigue. Adjusting the truss rod or lowering the saddle can remedy this, but it may be challenging for less experienced individuals. Despite these drawbacks, the Ibanez AW54OPN remains one of the best acoustic guitars under $400, with numerous positive features that outweigh its shortcomings.

6. Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought

WARM AND DETAILED.

1. Sound: Warm, mellow, detailed, responsive.Slim, comfortable neck reduces fatigue.
Simple and elegant design.Affordable with impressive sound quality.
Picture by Takamine

PROS

  • If you are in the market for a high-quality acoustic guitar that won’t drain your wallet, look no further than the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought. This outstanding instrument stands out from the competition and is one of the best choices under $400. Here, we delve into four key reasons why the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought should be at the top of your list:

    Firstly, let’s talk about sound. The Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought boasts a solid cedar top and mahogany back and sides, resulting in a warm, mellow, and remarkably detailed tone. Thanks to the cedar top’s softness and responsiveness, you’ll experience a unique and enjoyable timbre. The added richness and depth provided by the mahogany back and sides make this guitar suitable for various musical genres.

    Next up is playability. The slim and comfortable C-shaped neck of the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought reduces hand fatigue and facilitates seamless chord transitions. The low and smooth action, along with well-polished and seated frets, ensures that you experience effortless playability. Although the nut width is narrower than most dreadnoughts at 1 11/16 inches, there’s ample room for fingerpicking. Furthermore, the two-part saddle enhances intonation, while the pin-less bridge simplifies string changes.

    Now, let’s appreciate the design. The Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought boasts a simple yet elegant appearance that beautifully showcases the wood’s natural allure. The reddish hue and fine grain pattern of the cedar top, combined with the subtle feather figuring on the mahogany back, create a visually pleasing aesthetic. Additional tasteful touches include a maple heel cap, rosewood rosette and headstock overlay, and multi-ply crème-and-black binding. The smooth and inviting satin finish on the body and neck adds to the overall appeal.

    Lastly, consider the value. At an affordable price range, the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought delivers outstanding sound and exceptional build quality. It even comes with a limited lifetime warranty, covering any material or workmanship defects. Accompanied by a gig bag for protection against dust and scratches, this guitar offers remarkable value, easily fooling anyone into thinking it’s a far more expensive instrument.

    In conclusion, the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought is an absolute dream for beginners seeking a high-quality acoustic guitar that won’t break the bank. With its impressive sound, comfortable playability, elegant design, and outstanding value, it’s an instrument that will bring endless joy and musical fulfillment for years to come.

CONS

  • The Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought is a beginner-friendly acoustic guitar with a warm and mellow sound. Yet, it has a couple of downsides to consider before purchasing:

    1. The cedar top is prone to damage as it is a softer wood than spruce. It can easily dent or scratch and is more affected by humidity and temperature changes, resulting in potential tuning and sound quality issues. Those seeking a more stable and durable guitar may prefer a spruce top.

    2. The narrow nut width and slim neck may not suit everyone’s taste. While it makes playing easier for some, particularly those with smaller hands, others may find the neck too thin or the string spacing too tight, especially for fingerstyle playing. If you desire a wider nut width and thicker neck, another guitar might be more suitable.

    These cons should be considered before purchasing the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought. Although they may not be deal-breakers for everyone, it is essential to explore our other reviews on “The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $400 (Ultimate Guide)” to find the best fit based on your needs and preferences.

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