10 Top-Rated Acoustic Guitars For Under $500 – Looking For Value

Best-Acoustic-Guitar-Under-$500

Last Updated: Apr-27-2017
As availability regularly changes in this affordable premium acoustic market, we decided it was time to remove a few older models and replace them with some very worthy guitars. Gone are some acoustics such as the Recording King RD10 and the Yamaha LL6M, and in have come the stunning Ibanez Exotic Wood AEW40ZW, Taylor’s respected Big Baby Taylor, the classic Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT, and the striking retro G5022CE Rancher from Gretsch. We also moved the classical guitars in this price bracket to their own dedicated article.

If you do your homework, and aren’t afraid to try some lesser known brands you should be able to find a steal. It is all a matter of knowing what you want and need in a new guitar. You can skip certain features if they just don’t matter to you, but just make sure that you buy an instrument with quality parts. If you don’t know what to look for, then we are here to help. Let’s get this list started…

Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500:

ImageAcoustic Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Seagull S6 Seagull S6

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

The S6 is a proven quality guitar with great price.

+ - Takamine GD93 Takamine GD93

Total of 4.60/5   4.60 Stars

A proud representative from the Takamine family.

+ - Ibanez Exotic Wood AEW40ZW Ibanez Exotic Wood AEW40ZW

Total of 4.67/5   4.67 Stars

The AEW40ZW makes use of exotic zebrawood for a true eye-catching look.

+ - Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

Oh Canada! Another excellent electro-acoustic performer from Seagull.

+ - Taylor Big Baby Taylor Taylor Big Baby Taylor

Total of 4.72/5   4.72 Stars

A superb travel-friendly acoustic from Taylor with tone and style aplenty.

+ - Blueridge BR-43 Blueridge BR-43

Total of 4.42/5   4.42 Stars

The guitar produces traditional sounds enhanced with a modern touch.

+ - Fender Stratacoustic Plus Fender Stratacoustic Plus

Total of 4.42/5   4.42 Stars

It is an electric-acoustic wonder which serves great to electric lovers.

+ - Gretsch G5022CE Rancher Gretsch G5022CE Rancher

Total of 4.65/5   4.65 Stars

A brilliant cowboy classic electro-acoustic from the kings of retro.

+ - Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic

Total of 4.42/5   4.42 Stars

It is not for everyone, but for those who are looking for this kind of instrument.

+ - Luna Fauna Phoenix Luna Fauna Phoenix

Total of 4.78/5   4.78 Stars

The instrument has a dazzling sound output that will keep you engaged for years.

Seagull S6

Seagull S6

Body And Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars

Seagull is making great guitars and the S6 Original is no exception. It has a solid cedar top with Canadian wild cherry back and sides. The wood is highlighted with the semi-gloss finish. The neck is silver leaf maple with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also made of rosewood. It has a strong and bright sound with the boom-y-ness contained by the modified dreadnaught style body. The neck is slightly wider than a standard acoustic, and finger pickers will really enjoy the extra spacing. There is also a “slim” version with a narrower neck for those who prefer a slimmer neck width. Additional options include adding electronics, a left-hand version, or a case. This guitar is the overall winner in the beginners acoustic guitars chart as well.

Takamine GD93

Takamine GD93

Body And Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

Takamine’s GD93 is a dreadnaught style steel string acoustic. It has a solid spruce top with rosewood sides. The back is really special with a three piece rosewood-quilted maple-rosewood design. The looks are helped further along with abalone fret markers, rosewood headcap, maple purfling, gold hardware, and a dark wood rosette. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. Takamine’s split saddle design is also incorporated into this guitar helping it to maintain its intonation. The tone is bright with plenty of string definition. The slim neck profile is comfortable and fast. This is a great guitar for playing country style licks or strumming lush chords along with the rest of the band.

Ibanez Exotic Wood AEW40ZW

Ibanez Exotic Wood AEW40ZW

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars

Spruce and cedar too bland for you? You’ll be keen to read more about this eye-catching Ibanez AEW40ZW, which makes full use of exotic zebrawood on the top, back and sides. With a distinctive jumbo body shape and soft Florentine cutaway, this electro-acoustic model also features a satin-finished C-shaped mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 20 easily accessible frets. As for electronics, the AEW40ZW comes loaded with an Ibanez-designed AEQ-SP2 preamp with a Fishman Sonicore pickup. This system includes simple volume, bass and treble controls, an on-board digital tuner, and both Balanced XLR and 1/4” outputs for plenty of versatility. It looks great, plays great, and offers a big vibrant tone with plenty of brightness.

Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT

Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

Offering vintage style and modern playability, Seagull’s Entourage Rustic CW QIT is a superb choice in this Under $500 category. There’s a single-cutaway dreadnought body shape made from pressure-tested solid cedar on the top, with wild cherry back and sides. The guitar sports a slim C-shaped set neck, with rosewood fretboard, a slim 1.72” nut width and 21 frets. Finished in a thin semi-gloss, this Canadian-made model shows adept craftsmanship and is a joy to play. The sound is also pretty great too – warm and clear, with the rich acoustic tone amplified naturally thanks to the included Godin Quantum IT system, using simple controls and a built-in digital tuner. Check out our complete review of Seagull’s Entourage Rustic CW QIT for all the details.

Taylor Big Baby Taylor

Taylor Big Baby Taylor

Body And Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars

The Big Baby Taylor is a near full-sized, travel-friendly guitar that really impresses! Built in Taylor’s Mexican factory, it shows off great style, craftsmanship, playability and sound – as we highlight in the full review. It features a solid sitka spruce-topped body, with a 15/16th-size dreadnought shape, 4” deep body, and 25.5” scale length. The back and sides are made with layered sapele, and the slim profile sapele neck has a genuine African ebony fretboard and 20 frets. The sound – while not as big and bold as a full-sized dreadnought – is still excellent, with a rich crispness that is hard to fault. Coming shipped with an excellent padded Taylor gig bag, this Big Baby Taylor shows off great value.

Blueridge BR-43

Blueridge BR-43

Body And Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars

The BR-43 is a ooo body sized acoustic by Blueridge. The ooo body style is the original folk size brought to you by Martin during the prewar era. The top is solid Sitka spruce with mahogany back and sides. The bracing is forward X-pattern that is consistent with the vintage body style. The slim neck is made of mahogany with an East Indian Rosewood fingerboard. Mother of Pearl inlay is used for both the dot inlays and headstock ornate inlay. Southpaws will be able to enjoy this guitar too since it comes in a left-handed model as well. The sound has a focused midrange tone with plenty of vintage vibe.

Fender Stratacoustic Plus

Fender Stratacoustic Plus

Body And Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars

If a Fender Stratocaster and an acoustic guitar were to have a baby together the Fender Statacoustic Plus would be that offspring. It has a laminate spruce top with fiberglass back and sides. The 21 fret neck is made of maple with a rosewood fingerboard. The vintage style bridge has a compensated bone saddle. Since one of this guitar’s parents is an electric there are, of course, electronics onboard. The Fishman Isys III System handles the preamp duties with a built-in tuner, volume, bass, mid, treble, and mini-USB output. It has a sound that has a synthetic ring to it, because of the fiberglass construction. The durable materials would make this a great travel guitar.

Gretsch G5022CE Rancher

Gretsch G5022CE Rancher

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars

Inspired by the 1950s cowboy classic 6022 Rancher, this modern G5022CE Rancher electro-acoustic from Gretsch offers retro style in bucket loads, with an eye-catching Savannah Sunset finish, distinctive triangular soundhole, gold-plated machine heads, and thumbnail inlays among other vintage additions. The guitar itself has a jumbo body with a deep single cutaway. The top is crafted from solid spruce with laminated flamed maple on the back and sides. The neck is mahogany, with a rosewood fretboard and 21 frets. Acoustically it sounds bright and vibrant, although can be a little quieter than you’d expect. However through the Fishman Isys III preamp system this is less of a problem. Make sure to check out the complete review of the Gretsch G5022CE Rancher.

Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic

Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic

Body And Neck:4.3 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars

With the Vintage Series of guitars Washburn is going for a used but not abused look and feel. They are resurrecting their original designs from the late 19th and early 20th century. The Washburn R314KK is a parlor sized instrument with a spruce top and trembesi back and sides. The mahogany V-shaped neck has an ebony fingerboard. 1800s style inlays are used to further that old look that Washburn has captured so well. The hardware is distressed and the finish has a vintage look to it. The tone is very good and it projects well. If you are looking to add a parlor style acoustic then the R314KK is a great addition to anyone’s collection.

Luna Fauna Phoenix

Luna Fauna Phoenix

Body And Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars

The Luna Fauna Phoenix is a scaled down guitar with a smaller body and thin neck profile. I can’t go any further without talking about the abalone Phoenix that is the aesthetic focus of this instrument. It is a beautiful piece of art that really makes the guitar pop. Abalone is also used for the crescent moon rosette, the moon phase fret markers, and the headstock logo. The Fauna Phoenix also has built-in electronics with volume, treble, mid, bass, and phase controls. There are also three different outputs with a ¼” jack, XLR, and USB. The smaller body effects the sound, but the electronics gives you the option to plug it in and allow it to project.

$500 budget? Here’s What To Look Out For!

In this price bracket are some real good guitars that are stage worthy. They are made with nicer materials and better quality, which means better tone. These guitars will also be dressed up better with nice rosettes, abalone accents, and better wood grains. In this price range good is the norm and not the exception.

Those who are buying in this range are new students who want to start out on a better guitar, performers looking for something that has good tone and sturdy construction, and hobbyists who want more than an all laminate to play around on. These guitars can cover all those wants and needs, and even provide a bit more if you take your time and research your purchase. This is where guitars really start to get good. Also don’t forget to check out our article on the best classical guitars under $500.

Don’t be afraid to make aftermarket upgrades to your new guitar. If you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself, then find a good tech to do the work for you. Don’t make the upgrades with an eye to sell the guitar for more money. Do the upgrades to make the instrument work better for you. What you might think is an upgrade someone else may not like or they might want an unmodified version to do their own upgrades to it.

Should I Buy A Used Guitar?

Buying used is definitely an option, but I would definitely suggest you do your homework. A new guitarist might want to take along a friend who knows more about what is out there, than going it alone. Stay off the auction sites, and stay away from pawn shops. Take the time to go to your local music store, and talk to someone who works there. They are interested in having you coming back so they aren’t going to sell you a piece of junk just to make a commission.

You can a get a bit more guitar for your money by going used, but you are taking a risk. Not everyone is good about taking care of their stuff. Stay away from the obviously used and abused. Be ready to pull the trigger on a used guitar when you find it since there is no guarantee that it will be there the next time you go back. Be smart and you just might get a really good deal.

Before You Go…

The under $500 models are really good with plenty to crow about. You can get an instrument that sounds fantastic, looks great, and has all the bells and whistles you want without breaking the bank. The premium models have not changed much over the years, but this mid-range group is having a revolution of quality and tone. The winners are us, the guitar buying public. You can even look into getting electro-acoustic guitars, but remember you will have to think about an amp, cables, and possibly pedals. Take your time, look through our list, figure out what works for you, then go and buy the right guitar for you. Just remember guitars are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.


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