Top Picks For Acoustic Guitars For Under $500

Best-Acoustic-Guitar-Under-$500Last Updated Nov-28-2016. A really good acoustic guitar does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Especially since the midrange market has really come alive with great instruments. Manufacturers have found ways to optimize their processes, which has lowered prices while improving quality. Finding an inspiring acoustic guitar for a decent price today is not mission impossible anymore.

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 11 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500:

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Acoustic Guitar
Summary
Rating
Seagull S6
Seagull S6

The S6 is a proven quality guitar with great price.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Takamine GD93NAT
Takamine GD93NAT
A proud representative from the Takamine family.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Recording King RD-10
Recording King RD10

Undervalued instrument that can offer a lot of variety.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
La Patrie Motif
La Patrie Motif
A compact La Patrie that outperforms many competitors.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Art & Lutherie Ami
Art & Lutherie Ami
A steel stringed parlor from A&L. Any questions?
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.4/5
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Alvarez Artist Series AF75

The instrument’s sound quality flawlessly exhibits
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
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Blueridge BR-43

The guitar produces traditional sounds enhanced with a modern touch.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
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Fender Strat-Acoustic Plus

It is an electric-acoustic wonder which serves great to electric lovers.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
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Washburn Vintage Series R314KK

It is not for everyone, but for those who are looking for this kind of instrument.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
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Yamaha LL6M

An excellent showcasing of what today’s technological advancements are capable of achieving.
4.4 Stars
Total of 4.4/5

Seagull S6 Original

Seagull S6

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.9 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 GD93NAT

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 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.


Recording King RD10

Recording King RD10

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.1 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The RD10 by Recording King has a feature that is practically unheard of at this price point, and that is all solid wood construction. Yes, you read that right, all solid wood. The top is solid Sitka spruce with solid mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The aesthetics of the guitar are kept simple with a concentric circle rosette, dot inlays, and a black pickguard. The binding around the body, front and back, is tortoise shell. The nut and saddle are both made of bone. The sound is warm with rounded note definition. The dreadnought body projects the sound of the guitar well.


Art And Luthiere Ami

Art & Lutherie Ami

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Here is a great parlor guitar by Art and Luthiere called the Ami. Parlors are great for young and small framed players that want a guitar that is not too big. The Ami has a loud voice and that tonally is very much a parlor. The top is solid cedar with wild cherry back and sides. The neck is silver leaf maple. The fingerboard and bridge are both rosewood. The nut and saddle are Tusq by Graphtech. There are three different color choices to choose from: Antique Burst, Black, and Burgundy (with a spruce top). A case is included with the price of the guitar. There is even a nylon string version in case steel strings are not your strings of choice.


Alvarez Artist Series AF75 Folk61uNdzjBHtL._SL1456__new_1

Body&Neck:4.0 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The AF75 Folk is part of Alvarez’s Artist series and has a solid cedar top with rosewood back and sides. Just like its name suggests it has a folk sized body. The rosewood fingerboard is dressed up with Paua abalone and mother-of-pearl inlays. Rosewood is also used for the bi-level bridge, which is a staple design on all of Alvarez’s acoustic guitars. Both the nut and saddle are made of real bone. Solid die cast chrome tuners keep the tuning stable. The cedar and rosewood combination warms up the folk body voice with a real nice sweetness. Each string has plenty of clarity, but there is a mid-range hump to the sound.


Blueridge BR-43

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Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.6 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

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Body&Neck:4.1 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average: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.


Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.3 Stars
Average: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.


Yamaha LL6M

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Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.2 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

Yamaha’s LL6M is an excellent showcasing of what today’s technological advancements are capable of achieving. The instrument features Yamaha’s innovative A.R.E technology to give an aged tone to the solid Englemann spruce top. You don’t have to wait decades for the spruce top to break in and get sweeter. The passive SRT pickup system captures the excellent sound of the guitar and sends it to the PA or to your amp. The back and sides are mahogany. The neck is 5-ply rosewood and mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is slim and smooth, which makes for a great playing experience. The jumbo body projects a big and sweet sound that anyone could fall in love with.


Luna Fauna Phoenix

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Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 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.


Top 6 Nylon Acoustic Guitars under 500$:

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Acoustic Guitar
Summary
Rating
Cordoba C7
Cordoba C7
The C7 is a great classical guitar from quality brand
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
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Luna Fauna Phoenix
The instrument has a dazzling sound output that will keep you engaged for years.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
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Kremona Soloist S65C
The high quality hardware keeps the strings at bay, staying in tune is a non-issue with superb stability.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
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Fender CN-240CVE (V2) Thinline
Raw sound output it delivers is a thing of well-deserving praise.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
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Alvarez Artist Series AC70
The instrument delivers authentic mellow tones backed up with rich depth packing an optimal balance.
4.5 Stars
Total of 4.5/5
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Yamaha CG192S Spruce
The instrument’s vibrating sound potential gives off an impression.
4.4 Stars
Total of 4.4/5

Cordoba C7

Cordoba C7

Body&Neck:4.9 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

The Cordoba C7 is a classical style guitar. It is a great instrument for a beginner, because it is affordable and well crafted. A new player won’t be struggling to get notes out since the C7 almost plays itself. The top is spruce with traditional Spanish bracing, which helps with resonance and projection. Rosewood is used for the bridge, fingerboard, binding, sides, and back. The gold tuners have a floral pattern so they are not only very stable, but pretty, too. One non-traditional aspect of this guitar is that it has a truss rod. It adds all the benefits without any of the drawbacks of poor balance. The tone is warm and well balanced.


La Patrie Motif

La Patrie Motif

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The La Patrie Motif is a rebel. It goes against the grain of what a nylon string classical guitar should be. It has cherry back and sides with a solid cedar top. The body size is that of a parlor guitar which is non-traditional. Continuing with the non-traditional, the neck has a truss rod and the fingerboard has a slight radius. All of these add up to a good guitar, but not a good classical guitar for someone wishing to use it in performance. The treble strings have the louder voice of the bass, and the tone does not project as well due to the smaller body size. A very good guitar for a beginner or small framed player.


Kremona Soloist S65C

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Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The Kremona Soloist S65C is the full-sized version of the companies Fractionals. There are six models that make up this series ranging from 440mm to 650mm scale lengths. They all use the same components and woods to create a line of guitars that can literally grow as young players grow-up. The top is cedar with sapele back and sides. The neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard. The bridge is also made of rosewood. The wood purfling and rosette makes this a very good looking classical guitar. The sound projects well with very good treble and a sharp low-end that does not disappear in the mix. It also includes a gig bag so the S65C can travel to lessons unscathed.


Fender Classic Design CN-240CVE (V2) Thinline

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The Fender Classic Design CN-240CVE (V2) Thinline is a modern classical guitar with just a dash of traditional design. The top is solid cedar, while rosewood is used for the bridge, fingerboard, back, and sides. The guitar’s bacing is traditional fan. Bone is used for both the nut and compensate saddle. The mahogany neck has a thin profile with a flat radius with no fret markers. It sports electronics with the Fishman III Isys preamp that has a volume, bass, mid, and treble controls. There is also a built-in tuner. Given the thin body design the bass register is well define, but the treble does not have the depth you would expect.


Alvarez Artist Series AC70

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Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

If you have an aspiring classical guitar player in your life, then the Alvarez Artist Series AC70 is the guitar for you. It is an entry level instrument that both looks great and sounds wonderful. That sound starts with the ‘A’ grade Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides. Rosewood is also used for the fingerboard and Alvarez’s unique bi-level design bridge. The neck is mahogany and has all the traditional classical design features. The finish gives the AC70 high gloss, which is thin enough to allow the voice of the guitar to really resonate. The scalloped X-bracing helps with the excellent projection. Every string is easily heard on this well balanced musical machine.


Yamaha CG192S

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Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.4 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The CG192S stands atop of Yamaha’s G series. It hits many of the tropes of a classical guitar with the flat radius fingerboard, wide neck, and open gear tuners with mother of pearl buttons. The top is a solid Englemann spruce, and has rosewood back and sides. The neck is mahogany with an ebony fingerboard. The bridge is made of rosewood. The sound is complex with plenty of dimension. It can get to whispery soft to boldly proclaiming its presence while maintaining great tone though out the dynamic range. There is also the GC192C that has all the same specs, except it comes with a solid cedar top instead of spruce.


What To Look For While Looking For An Acoustic Guitar With a $500 Budget?

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.

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.

What About Used Guitars At That Price Range?

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 acoustic-electric 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.