The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 (Ultimate Guide 2023)

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Looking for the best acoustic guitars under $500? This ultimate guide for 2023 will help you find the perfect instrument for your budget and skill level. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, you will discover the top brands, models, and features of acoustic guitars in this comprehensive blog post. Learn how to choose the right guitar for your style, sound, and comfort. Don’t miss this opportunity to upgrade your musical experience with the best acoustic guitars under $500.

1. Martin LX1E                           

COMPACT VERSATILE GUITAR

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2. Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst

BEAUTIFUL RESONANT GUITAR

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3. Yamaha FS850                          

WARM-TONED GUITAR

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4. Epiphone Hummingbird

ICONIC POWERFUL GUITAR

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5. Fender Redondo Acoustic

BOLD RESONANT GUITAR

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6. Fender CC-140SCE                   

PREMIUM BALANCED GUITAR

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1. Martin LX1E

COMPACT VERSATILE GUITAR

Easy to play, versatile, portable, affordable.Versatile with pickup system.
Portable, lightweight Martin LX1E.affordable solid wood Martin guitar
Picture by Martin

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • If you’re in the market for a fantastic acoustic guitar that won’t break the bank, consider the Martin LX1E. This small-bodied instrument packs a punch with its solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides. We’ve rounded up a few standout features that make this guitar worth your attention:

    First and foremost, the LX1E is incredibly easy to play. Its modified low oval neck shape and 23-inch scale length make it comfortable for beginners and seasoned players alike. The fretboard, made from durable and smooth-richlite, provides a luxurious playing experience reminiscent of ebony.

    Versatility is another key advantage of the Martin LX1E. With its Fishman Sonitone pickup system, you can effortlessly connect it to an amplifier or PA system and enjoy the guitar’s natural acoustic tone projected through any venue. The discreetly housed volume and tone controls right within the soundhole offer easy adjustments to achieve that perfect sound.

    Portability is a significant factor for many musicians, and the LX1E delivers on this front. Weighing just 3.4 pounds and measuring 34 inches in length, this guitar is built for travel. Additionally, it comes with a padded gig bag that safeguards it from accidental damage, so you can take it with you wherever your musical journey leads.

    Despite its outstanding qualities, affordability is not sacrificed in the LX1E. As one of the most reasonably priced options in Martin’s lineup, this guitar remains a top choice without compromising on sound or quality. Boasting a rare solid wood top, which is uncommon within this price range, the LX1E also proudly displays the iconic Martin logo on its headstock.

    The Martin LX1E stands out as one of the best acoustic guitars available for under $500, and you can explore more about it online through reviews and videos. Better yet, visit your local music store and get hands-on experience to determine how the LX1E matches your unique style and needs.

CONS

  • The Martin LX1E is a popular choice for guitarists seeking a small, portable, and affordable acoustic-electric option. However, it is not without drawbacks. Consider these two cons before purchasing:

    1. The laminated back and sides lack the sound quality of solid wood. The LX1E’s solid spruce top provides a bright and clear tone, but the high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides lack the warmth and resonance of solid wood. HPL is durable, yet its limited vibration affects the guitar’s projection and sustain .

    2. The Fishman Sonitone pickup system lacks versatility. The LX1E features this system with an undersaddle piezo pickup and a soundhole-mounted preamp. While easy to use with a decent amplified sound, it lacks customization. The simple tone control only affects treble frequencies, and the pickup may sound thin or quacky with high volume or bright tone .

    These are important factors to consider, but they may not be deal-breakers. The LX1E remains a great guitar given its size, price, and features, with positive aspects that outweigh its flaws.

2. Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst

BEAUTIFUL RESONANT GUITAR

1. Bright, balanced tone with spruce and maple.Durable dovetail neck joint.
Fishman Sonitone pickup system“Violinburst finish with vintage look.”
Picture by Epiphone

PROS

    • If you are in the market for an acoustic guitar that is both high-quality and affordable, look no further than the Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst. Priced under $500, this guitar offers a unique look and sound that will undoubtedly make you stand out from the crowd. Let’s delve into the significant advantages of choosing this exceptional instrument.

      First and foremost, the Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst boasts a solid spruce top and maple back and sides. This combination results in a well-balanced and bright tone, making it a popular choice among musicians. The spruce top provides strength and resonance, while the maple contributes clarity and projection to the overall sound.

      Additionally, this guitar features a dovetail neck joint, a traditional and robust method of joining the neck and body. By ensuring a proper transfer of vibrations, this joint enhances both the sustain and tone of the guitar, resulting in a truly immersive playing experience.

      Furthermore, the Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst is equipped with a Fishman Sonitone pickup system, offering the ability to plug in and amplify the guitar without sacrificing its natural acoustic sound. The discreetly mounted pickup inside the soundhole and conveniently located volume and tone controls on the upper bout provide unprecedented ease and versatility.

      Not only does this guitar sound phenomenal, but it also sports a stunning violinburst finish, a timeless color scheme popular among acoustic guitars. This finish accentuates the natural grain of the wood and gives the instrument a charming vintage appearance. Further enhancing its aesthetic appeal, the guitar includes a distinctive dove-shaped pickguard and pearloid parallelogram inlays on the fingerboard.

      In conclusion, the Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst is undeniably one of the finest acoustic guitars available for under $500. To learn more about this exceptional instrument, visit its official website or peruse customer reviews to gain insight into the experiences of other musicians who have had the pleasure of playing this remarkable guitar.

CONS

  • If you’re in search of acoustic guitars under $500, consider the Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst. This guitar boasts a solid spruce top, maple body, and Fishman electronics system. Its unique features include a violin burst finish and a dove-shaped pickguard. However, beware of a couple of downsides before purchasing:

    1. Quality control issues have been reported. Some customers received guitars with worn-out strings, loose hardware, or faulty electronics. You may need replacements or professional repairs.

    2. The Dove Studio’s slim taper neck might not suit your playing style or preferences. Additionally, its bright and crisp tone may not align with warmer or mellower genres. To be sure, try it out before buying online.

    The Epiphone Dove Studio Violinburst isn’t bad, yet other options in its price range may offer better quality, comfort, or versatility. Make an informed decision by researching and comparing various models.

3. Yamaha FS850

COMFORTABLE WARM-TONED GUITAR

Numerical features: solid mahogany, compact.Compact body shape for easy play.
Smooth, fast neck for fingerstyle.gloss finish, enhances appearance, protects
Picture by Yamaha

PROS

  • If you are searching for an exceptional acoustic guitar under $500, the Yamaha FS850 is worthy of your consideration. This guitar possesses a multitude of features that render it an excellent choice for both novice and intermediate players. Allow me to highlight the various advantages of the Yamaha FS850:

    To begin, this guitar is equipped with a solid mahogany top, back, and sides, resulting in a warm and resonant tone. Besides its delightful tonal properties, mahogany is renowned for its durability and stability, ensuring the instrument’s ability to withstand fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

    Additionally, the FS850 boasts a comfortable and compact body shape, affording players with an effortless playing and holding experience. Though smaller than a standard dreadnought, this guitar still manages to deliver ample volume and projection.

    Moreover, its neck is designed to be smooth and fast, making it particularly suited for fingerstyle playing. With a neck comprising a 24.9-inch scale length, a 1.69-inch nut width, and a 50mm string spacing at the bridge, the FS850 offers optimal playability. The fretboard, crafted from rosewood, encompasses 20 frets.

    Furthermore, the FS850 is coated with a glossy finish, enhancing its overall appearance and providing protection against scratches and dents. Notably, this guitar features an exquisite abalone soundhole rosette, wood binding, and chrome die-cast tuners.

    Undoubtedly, the Yamaha FS850 is a remarkable guitar that both sounds incredible and boasts an appealing aesthetic. It offers exceptional value for its price range and can accommodate various musical styles.

CONS

  • The Yamaha FS850 is an excellent acoustic guitar offering great value under $500. Nonetheless, it has a couple of drawbacks that should be noted:

    1. The smaller body size of the Yamaha FS850, in comparison to most dreadnought guitars, results in reduced volume and projection. Those seeking a louder and more robust sound may not find this guitar to meet their preferences. Moreover, individuals with larger hands or a preference for bigger guitars may find it less comfortable to play.

    2. The Yamaha FS850 boasts a solid mahogany top, back, and sides, lending it a warm and rich tone. However, this also renders it more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes compared to guitars with laminated woods. To avoid cracking or warping, proper care and storage in a case with a humidifier are necessary.

4. Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic

ICONIC POWERFUL GUITAR

Spruce top, mahogany back/sides.Distinctive pickguard and floral inlays.
Comfortable slim taper neckreasonable price for high quality
Picture by Epiphone

PROS

  • If you’re in the market for a quality acoustic guitar under $500, the Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic is definitely worth considering. This guitar is a faithful replica of the iconic Gibson Hummingbird, which has been played by legendary musicians like Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, and John Lennon. Here are four major advantages of the Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic:

    Firstly, it boasts a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, creating a warm and balanced tone. Spruce is a popular wood choice for acoustic guitar tops due to its strength and responsiveness, while mahogany, being dense and dark, adds richness and depth to the sound.

    Secondly, it features a distinctive hummingbird pickguard and elegant floral inlays on the fingerboard, setting it apart from other guitars. The hummingbird pickguard, a signature feature of the Gibson Hummingbird, adds a touch of sophistication and style to the instrument. Additionally, the floral inlays are both beautiful and unique, enhancing the visual appeal of the guitar.

    Thirdly, its slim taper neck and 24.75-inch scale length contribute to a comfortable and effortless playing experience. The neck is smooth and fast, fitting perfectly in your hand. Moreover, the shorter scale length lessens string tension and finger fatigue compared to most acoustic guitars.

    Lastly, considering its exceptional quality and features, the Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic comes at a reasonable price of around $400. This is a fantastic deal considering the guitar accurately mimics the sound and appearance of much pricier models. Without breaking the bank, you can enjoy great value and immense pleasure from this guitar.

    In conclusion, the Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic is undoubtedly one of the finest acoustic guitars available for under $500. If you’re interested in this instrument, I recommend checking out some online reviews and demos, or better yet, trying it out firsthand at your local music store. Don’t miss the opportunity to own a guitar that epitomizes both excellent sound and aesthetics without exceeding your budget.

CONS

  • The Epiphone Hummingbird is an affordable acoustic guitar that mirrors the classic Gibson model. However, it has its flaws. Here are two cons to consider before purchasing:

    1. Sound quality lacks the richness and warmth of the original Gibson Hummingbird. Users report a somewhat boxy and thin sound, particularly in lower frequencies . This could be due to cheaper materials like the Indian laurel fretboard and bridge, along with the polyurethane finish .
    2. Not everyone will appreciate the pickguard graphics. While the Epiphone Hummingbird showcases the same floral and hummingbird design as the Gibson version, some may find it flashy or gaudy. Moreover, the pickguard covers a significant portion of the soundboard, potentially affecting resonance and vibration.

    These drawbacks should be considered, but keep in mind the benefits, such as a solid spruce top, easy playability, and an attractive price point . Ultimately, your personal preference and budget determine if the Epiphone Hummingbird is the right acoustic guitar for you.

5. Fender Redondo Acoustic

BOLD RESONANT GUITAR

1. Solid Sitka spruce top.Slim-tapered mahogany neck with satin finish.
Onboard pickup/preamp system by Fender and Fishman.gig bag with storage pockets
Picture by Fender

PROS

  • If you are in search of a fantastic acoustic guitar that falls under the $500 price range, look no further than the Fender Redondo Player. A part of the California Series, this guitar comes with captivating finishes, impeccable additions, and convenient onboard electronics. Let’s explore the key advantages of the Fender Redondo Player:

    Firstly, it boasts a premium Sitka spruce top, which offers a bright and balanced sound. The back and sides are crafted from mahogany, which adds warmth and richness to the overall tone. The body is finished with a glossy polyurethane coating, ensuring a stunning appearance.

    Secondly, the guitar provides a comfortable mahogany neck with a slim-taper “C”-shaped profile, typically found in Fender’s electric models. The satin finish and matching 6-in-line headstock contribute to the guitar’s unique vibe. The fingerboard and bridge are made from pau ferro, a sustainable alternative to rosewood, offering a similar feel and sound.

    In addition, the Fender Redondo Player is equipped with an onboard pickup/preamp system designed by industry-leading brands Fender and Fishman. This collaboration ensures pure, rich, and resonant tones, even when connected to your sound system or PA. The system also incorporates a built-in tuner, volume, bass, and treble controls for easy adjustments.

    Finally, the package includes a sturdy and plush-padded gig bag with ample storage pockets, strap buttons, and access to Fender’s online guitar lessons. This enables you to conveniently carry and safeguard your guitar wherever you go, while also acquiring new skills and songs from Fender’s esteemed experts.

    With its versatility, affordability, and numerous features, the Fender Redondo Player is an excellent choice for all styles and skill levels. It stands out as one of the best acoustic guitars under $500.

CONS

  • If you’re in the market for the best acoustic guitars under $500, the Fender Redondo Player may catch your eye. It’s a sleek and stylish instrument with a solid spruce top and a Fishman pickup system. However, it’s important to be aware of some drawbacks before making a decision. Here are two cons to consider:

    1. Some players find the action too high. The action, or distance between the strings and fretboard, affects playability. Due to its high action, the Fender Redondo Player can be uncomfortable and difficult to play, especially for beginners or those with smaller hands. Adjusting the truss rod or lowering the saddle may offer a better feel, but this could impact intonation and sound quality.

    2. The black finish is susceptible to smudges and fingerprints. The jet black finish gives the guitar a cool and edgy look, but it easily shows dirt and grease. Regular cleaning is necessary to maintain a shiny appearance, as neglect can lead to a dull and messy look.

    Consider these cons alongside the many pros of the Fender Redondo Player, such as its exceptional sound, comfortable neck, and versatile electronics. Weigh the pros and cons carefully and try out the guitar firsthand before making your final decision.

6. Fender CC-140SCE

PREMIUM BALANCED GUITAR

Solid spruce top, laminated ovangkol sides.“Comfortable neck, smooth fingerboard.”
Fishman Presys Plus preamp and tuner.Hardshell case included for protection.
Picture by Fender

PROS

  • If you are in search of a high-quality acoustic guitar that falls within the $500 budget, the Fender CC-140SCE is an option worth considering. It offers numerous features that make it an excellent choice for both beginners and intermediate players. Here are four key advantages of the Fender CC-140SCE:

    One advantage is its construction. The guitar boasts a solid spruce top, a premium tonewood known for producing a bright and clear sound. The back and sides are crafted from laminated ovangkol, a durable and visually appealing wood that adds warmth and richness to the tone.

    Another advantage lies in its playability. The Fender CC-140SCE features an easy-to-play neck and rolled fingerboard edges. The neck is made of mahogany, accompanied by a rosewood fingerboard that prioritizes comfort and playability. The slim profile and dual-action truss rod allow for easy adjustment of the action to suit personal preferences. Additionally, the rolled fingerboard edges provide smoothness and roundness, facilitating thumb placement on the neck.

    Furthermore, the guitar comes equipped with a Fishman Presys Plus preamp and tuner. This built-in system offers a range of functionalities, such as volume control, a three-band EQ, a phase switch, and a notch filter for tone shaping and feedback elimination. Additionally, the onboard tuner is user-friendly and accurate.

    In addition to these benefits, the Fender CC-140SCE includes a hardshell case, ensuring the guitar’s protection against damage and dust. The sturdy case features metal latches and a plush interior, preserving the instrument’s condition. Moreover, it has a convenient storage compartment for accessories like picks, strings, and a capo.

    While these are just a few of the advantages, the Fender CC-140SCE offers numerous other reasons to admire it. It features a beautiful sunburst finish, a cutaway body for effortless access to higher frets, a tortoise-shell pickguard, and a pearloid rosette that adds elegance and style. Additionally, it produces a full-bodied sound with exceptional projection and resonance, catering to various music styles. For further information about the Fender CC-140SCE, we invite you to explore our comprehensive review here.

CONS

  • If you’re searching for the best acoustic guitars under $500, consider the Fender CC-140SCE. It features a solid spruce top, laminated ovangkol back and sides, a cutaway body, and a Fishman Presys Plus preamp with a built-in tuner. Its bright, balanced, and loud sound is complemented by a protective hardshell case. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of.
  • Firstly, the cutaway design may be uncomfortable for some players as it affects the guitar’s size, volume, and tone.
  • Secondly, the rosewood fretboard demands regular maintenance to prevent cracking or warping. Despite these cons, the Fender CC-140SCE remains an excellent guitar in its price range. For other options, check out our comprehensive guide here: .

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