10 Best Budget Acoustic Guitars Under $200 That Don’t Suck!

The-Best-Acoustic-Budget-Guitars-600x268

Last Updated: February 1, 2019
It’s not always easy to mix affordability and quality, which is why we are very careful in what we recommend in this budget-focused article. In our latest refresh, we removed a few lesser-seen guitars such as the Fender FA-100 and the Maestro by Gibson, instead adding three new models. These comprise the fantastic Ibanez AW54OPN and the Yamaha FG800, as well as the compact Yamaha JR1 FG.

Whether you are on a strict budget or just want something to bash around on, if you are in the market for ‘the best cheap acoustic guitar’, it’s important to try out as many as you can – in particular the models you are considering purchasing.

However, unless you own a guitar store (or know somebody who does), it can be tricky to try every guitar on your shortlist. This is why reading reviews – like those outlined below – can really help.

We have researched and reviewed some of the most popular steel-string acoustic guitars on the market, rating them on what we liked and what we didn’t. The charts below feature guitars that offer a blend of both quality and value that are perfect for beginners, or experienced guitarists looking for something to practice on or travel with.

Top 10 Budget Acoustic Guitars Under $200:

ImageAcoustic Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Ibanez AW54OPN Ibanez AW54OPN

Total of 4.80/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A magical mahogany acoustic from Ibanez.

+ - Yamaha FG800 Yamaha FG800

Total of 4.75/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

Solid wood and big tone from a ‘cheap’ acoustic.

+ - Epiphone DR-100 Epiphone DR-100

Total of 4.30/5   4.3 out of 5 stars

Epiphone offers you a taste of vingate in the affordable range.

+ - Jasmine S35 Jasmine S35

Total of 4.55/5   4.6 out of 5 stars

A guitar that completely redefined the budget segment in the industry

+ - Jasmine JO-36 Orchestra Jasmine JO-36 Orchestra

Total of 4.55/5   4.6 out of 5 stars

An orchestra style body, and another quality entry from Jasmine.

+ - Samick Greg Bennett GD100S Samick Greg Bennett GD100S

Total of 4.67/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

A Thunderflex-braced top leads to a guitar with a big voice.

+ - Ibanez IJV50 Ibanez IJV50

Total of 4.38/5   4.4 out of 5 stars

The quality that you can expect from Ibanez but with an unexpected price.

+ - Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway

Total of 4.45/5   4.5 out of 5 stars

A simple but effective electro-acoustic from Rogue, offering superb value.

+ - Jasmine S34C Jasmine S34C

Total of 4.06/5   4.1 out of 5 stars

Jasmine offers a lot of guitar for not a lot of money.

+ - Yamaha JR1 Yamaha JR1

Total of 4.50/5   4.5 out of 5 stars

A compact budget performer from Yamaha.

Ibanez AW54OPN

Ibanez AW54OPN

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

The popular AW54OPN from Ibanez is a new entry to this chart, but one that has become an instant favorite. However, there’s no one thing we can pinpoint about why this budget guitar is such a winner – it all works together so well.

The build and aesthetics are naturally the first things that jump out at you. It features an all-mahogany body, with a solid top and rustic open-pore finish. The 20-fret mahogany neck proves very fun to play – it is an Ibanez after all!

With a few upgraded components, this dreadnought features a loud, warm and woody tone that suits so many styles of music. There’s more on this excellent acoustic guitar in the complete Ibanez AW54OPN review.

Yamaha FG800

Yamaha FG800

Body And Neck:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

Part of Yamaha’s long-running FG Series, the FG800 is a very respected budget guitar due to its no-nonsense design and performance – as mentioned in our main review of the FG800.

While lacking some of the extra details found as you move into the higher end of the FG Series, the FG800 sports a clean dreadnought design with an elegant high-gloss finish. Most notably, the top of the guitar is made from solid Sitka spruce, which is impressive in this price range.

The 20-fret satin-finished neck makes performance a pleasure, while the tone is surprisingly full and resonant. Considering it comes in at under two hundred bucks, this popular guitar is a winner for any level of guitarist.

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100

Body And Neck:4 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.3 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars

Just like Fender, Epiphone – the Gibson subsidiary – know a thing or two about budget acoustics, and this DR-100 (reviewed in full here) more than proves that! With a range of finishes, the DR-100 features a classic dreadnought body shape, with back and sides made from laminated mahogany, with a select spruce top, and black pickguard sporting Epiphone’s iconic E logo.

The neck is also constructed from mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets. The tuners leave a little to be desired, but hold their tuning well enough, while the carved rosewood bridge is a nice touch.

As for sound, it has enough tone for beginners and offers plenty of punch – well balanced and good for everything from blues to bluegrass!

Jasmine S35

Jasmine S35

Body And Neck:4.4 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.6 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

Takamine’s subsidiary Jasmine have put together a fantastic budget model in the S-35, which we review in full here. For such an affordable guitar, the look is very classy – a natural satin-finished dreadnought shape body, with a spruce top and advanced X-bracing, with agathis back and sides.

You’re getting a big sound for your money, with the finish and bracing going a long way to adding stability while allowing the top to vibrate more, providing good resonance.

There’s also a slim nato neck, with a slick rosewood fretboard and 20 frets, while the hardware is chrome and the bridge is rosewood. It’s suitable for beginners, looks great, has a big sound, and is very affordable – what’s not to love?

Jasmine JO-36 Orchestra

Jasmine JO-36 Orchestra

Body And Neck:4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

Models from Takamine’s budget subsidiary Jasmine appear several times in this chart, and for good reason – they show great value. And the highly-playable JO-36 Orchestra is another guitar that’s worthy of your time, whatever your skill level.

With a 24.75” scale length, the JO-36 sports a comfortable orchestra body shape, and is crafted with laminate select spruce on the top with laminate sapele back and sides. The neck is made from nato and houses a rosewood fretboard, with 20 frets.

Hardware is decent and includes a rosewood bridge and die-cast chrome tuning machines, while the sound is very acceptable – rich enough in tone, but well-balanced with plenty of projection. You can read more about Jasmine’s JO-36 Orchestra in the full review .

Samick Greg Bennett GD100S

Samick Greg Bennett GD100S

Body And Neck:4.6 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

While the name Samick may not rival that of Yamaha, Ibanez or Epiphone in terms of prestige, the major Korean brand have developed the Greg Bennett GD100S, which proves a worthwhile consideration if you are searching for a budget six-string.

Designed by the respected guitar designer Greg Bennett, this dreadnought features a wonderful performance and upgraded components that make it a bargain in this price range. Notably, the top is made from solid Sitka spruce, which features Thunderflex scalloped bracing.

This bracing, combined with the quality materials, lead to a boosted resonance and rich tone. Not bad for under $200! Want to read more on the GD100s? Head over to the full review.

Ibanez IJV50

Ibanez IJV50

Body And Neck:4.4 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.6 out of 5 stars

While Ibanez have a great history in the electric guitar market, their acoustic offerings are also very good, and the IJV50 is their budget model that stands up to the rest on this page. The guitar features the classic dreadnought body, mixing a spruce top with agathis back and sides.

It also sports a mahogany neck, with rosewood fretboard and matching rosewood bridge. At the bridge, the IJV50 also features Ibanez’s Advantage bridge pins, which help make changing the strings an easier process.

There’s an excellent tonal quality that would please any beginner. In all, this is a great value model from Ibanez, proving they are a force to be reckoned with in the acoustic market. Make sure to check out the full review of the IJV50.

Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway

Rogue RA-090 Concert Cutaway

Body And Neck:4.2 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.2 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.6 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

An electro-acoustic acoustic for around $100? It must be garbage, right? If you’re talking about the RA-090 Concert Cutaway, you’d be wrong. Very similar in build and style to the RA-090 that also features on this list, this model features a laminated whitewood top, back and sides, with a glossy finish and a range of color choices.

There’s also a comfortable C-shaped nato neck, with a ‘simulated rosewood’ fretboard and 20 frets.

As we mention in our complete review of the RA-090 Concert Cutaway this guitar is fitted with a simple but more than functional Eden MET-A06 undersaddle pickup system, allowing a versatile experience when plugged in to an amp – controls include volume, 3-band EQ, and an on-board tuner.

Jasmine S34C

Jasmine S34C

Body And Neck:4 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.1 out of 5 stars
Value:4.2 out of 5 stars

Here we have another beautiful budget jumbo acoustic from Jasmine – the S-34C, which is a true performer. It features a very attractive satin-finished grand orchestra-style body, crafted with a select spruce top (featuring Jasmine’s Advanced X-bracing) with sapele back and sides.

The neck is slim and comfortable to play, and has a rosewood fretboard with 21 frets – all easily accessible thanks to the deep Venetian-style body cutaway. The jumbo body, paired with the top bracing and satin finish, combines for a big, resonant sound that would please guitarists of all levels.

Superb value for an acoustic that looks and sounds a lot more expensive than it is. Make sure to check out the full review of this jumbo beauty.

Yamaha JR1

Yamaha JR1

Body And Neck:4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.1 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars

While it’s a very popular travel guitar due to the smaller proportions, the Yamaha JR1 FG is an equally impressive affordable guitar in its own right.

It sports a reduced 3/4-size body with the same simple but stylish aesthetics that are on offer in the rest of the FG Series. As highlighted in the full JR1 FG review, it’s an all-laminate guitar, with spruce and nato used for the body, while solid nato is used to craft the 20-fret neck.

The compact size won’t appeal to every player, especially as the projection is quieter than a full-sized dreadnought, but it’s a worthy consideration for those wanting a smaller guitar on a budget.

You’ll notice throughout the summaries, we rarely used the word ‘cheap’. That’s because the word is usually associated with things that are low-quality, plasticky and easy-to-break. Thankfully, none of the guitars on the list above fall into any of these categories, and – as such – are better described as:

  • Affordable
  • Value
  • Budget
  • Low-cost

The reason there are so many good quality, affordable entry-level acoustics these days is because some of the biggest brands have entered this budget market, producing guitars of quality and durability. Beginners no longer have to settle for a generic ‘Acoustic Guitar’ when they can have a real Epiphone or Fender!

What to Look for in a Budget Acoustic

Firstly, you’ll want to decide whether you want a nylon-string or steel-string guitar, as they are technically two different instruments.

The easiest way to determine your instrument is to figure out what style of music you’ll be playing. If you are planning to play classical music or Latin styles such as flamenco, a nylon-string guitar – with its mellow, rich tones – our article on the top budget classical guitars is perfect for you.

However, if you are looking to learn rock, pop, country and blues, a steel-string acoustic will suit you best, as you get that lovely crisp, clear, twangy sound. If you can’t decide, go with a nylon-stringed guitar – they are slightly easier on beginners’ fingers, and much more comfortable to learn and progress on.

If you are a beginner, you may have heard of electro-acoustic models. In the future you may want to consider one of these, as they will allow you to plug into an amplifier and project your sound across a room, concert hall or stadium (well, you have to dream big!). However, for now it’s wise to stick with a solely acoustic model, which will be cheaper and less complicated to use.

It’s also worth looking out for – and avoiding – guitars with plastic components, such as tuners, bridges and saddles. While very cost-effective, they are prone to snapping and offer nothing when it comes to tone. Steer clear!

The Final Word

If you are on the hunt for a low-cost entry-level acoustic, chances are it’s either your first one, you are looking for something else to practice on, or you want a travel guitar.

Whatever your reason, as you have seen, there are some fantastic affordable guitars out there, that look and sound great. Having a cheaper guitar is good, as it won’t bother you if they get scratched, dinked or dropped (although you’d prefer this didn’t happen!).

However it’s worth considering whether you can stretch your budget further, because buying in a slightly higher price range can give you a better selection of styles, construction methods, tone woods, and playability, than the variety you’d find in the budget bracket.

Buying cheap, just because it’s all you can afford at the moment, may end up being false economy if you find yourself wanting to upgrade in the next year after you progress with the instrument. Whatever price range you choose, good luck with your new purchase!


Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. My son wants to learn to play. he wants a blue guitar if there is one (??) idk why, he’s 18. anyway looking for a good sound and value knowing that he may lose interest quickly, and if he sticks with it i can upgrade. Any suggestions? I was thinking rogue but no blue (really? he wants blue?) Thanks, Mom (Terri)

  2. Thank you very much for posting this article. It was extremely helpful to me when selecting a budget second guitar that I could keep at my girlfriend’s place to have handy for the odd time that I might want to play.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *