- 1. Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle
- 2. Jameson Guitars Full Size Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar
- 3. Fender Squier Dreadnought Guitar
- 4. Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Guitar
- 5. Epiphone DR-100 Guitar
- 6. Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Guitar
- 7. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Guitar
- 8. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Guitar
- 9. Yamaha FG820L Left-Handed Solid Top Folk Guitar
- 10. Yamaha FS850 Solid Top Small Body Guitar
- Acoustic Guitar Selection Tips
- Types of Acoustic Guitars
- Top Acoustic Guitar Brands
- Common Questions and Answers
Top acoustic guitars! No easy matter to deal with considering the thousands of models that are out there. However, we are going to narrow down the candidates for this list by focusing primarily on affordable acoustic guitars that are ideal for beginner to intermediate level players (although even professionals would like to check on at least a few of the models mentioned here—unless, that is, they want to miss out on something precious!). We’ve also tried to include as many bundle offers as are currently available with some of the best models that fall on our chosen category as these guitar+kit bundles are ideal for starters as they can dive in right into their guitar playing without any further ado.
1. Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar Bundle
One of the recent models from Fender, this entry-level 20-fret dreadnought is a decent enough model and provides good value for money. The guitar gives a loud and vibrant sound, especially in the mid to high ranges while the low bass strings produce a sweet and mellow hum. Nothing too overwhelming about this model, but it is still a great one in its price range. Like most guitars on this list, this model, too, features a laminated top [We understand that you'd like a solid top better and for good reasons, too. However, keep this in mind that laminated tops, even if it compromises the sound quality and the overall profile of the guitar to some degree, fare better when it comes to the durability of a model. So, if we're not talking models in the range of $500 or above, a laminate top model can often prove to be a wiser choice for a beginner]. In this case, it is laminated spruce top with nato neck, basswood back and sides, a rosewood bridge and chrome hardware. One thing that we don't quite like (or understand!) about this model is its laminated hardwood fingerboard. For all that, however, the model enjoys highly positive reviews across many guitar forums and now that it is offered with this starter kit bundle, we thought it would be a worthy investment for anybody starting out on their guitar journey.
Pros & cons
More than decent sound for its price
The starter kit bundle offer makes it ideal for beginners
Laminated fretboard, while it could easily be the standard rosewood
2. Jameson Guitars Full Size Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar
Don't expect too much of a tonal depth or exceptional sound from this model. However, if you are on a fist-tight budget, this one may be the best bail out option for you. At a paltry $85, you get an electro-acoustic with built-in EQ, pick-up, preamps, etc. This one is actually a good option as a traveling guitar. Being a thinline (with a 3 inch of body depth), it is easier to carry around and the fact that it is an acoustic electric means that you can play different styles on this one, too. Also, the thinline body makes for easy playability and comfort---something that would be of value for beginners. The models comes in six different finishes, but we like this dark blueburst high gloss finish the best, although you may check out the other options as well. Also, the binding on this guitar is of high quality as well. In short, a full scale cutaway at an extremely affordable price and which still delivers more than a decent performance.
Pros & cons
Great value for price
Appealing look and design
High quality binding
Somewhat low profile in terms of sound and tone
3. Fender Squier Dreadnought Guitar
If you want a good solid dreadnought that holds its own well even after long practice hours day in and day out, this model is a superb one considered its extremely reasonable price. This Fender has an all-laminate construction that contributes to the sturdiness and the durability of the model which is why we particularly recommend it for the beginners. The model uses lindenwood as the tonewood on its laminated top; has mahogany back and sides; a maple fingerboard and mahogany neck. The sound and tone is pretty much what you would expect from a full-bodied dreadnought of this price range. The good sound, resonance and a high sustain is also achieved thanks to its superior construction quality with traditional scalloped X bracing inside the soundboard. The guitar also has a comfortable action and holds its tuning well---again things that rookie strummers would appreciate! This Squier model is available in five attractive finishes. However, the current bundle offer applies only to the sunburst model.
Pros & cons
Ideal for long hours of play
The neck of the guitar feels a bit thick and this may come in the way of comfort playing.
4. Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Guitar
Another Fender FA dreadnought and another that is available with a bundle kit. Well, since we've already mentioned that this list is chiefly aimed at beginner to intermediate level players looking for budget-friendly options without however compromising on the profile of the model, it is hard to ignore the Fender dreadnought series models under $200. Well, anybody who loves that full, deep dreadnought tone, will understand why we keep coming back to these Fender dreadnoughts. Simply because, in this price bracket, you would be hard put to find better dreadnoughts than these Fender models. Another thing is that a dreadnought is a good place for a beginner to start with, unless we are talking small children. Small body parlor guitars or thinlines certainly make for more comfortable playing. However, if you want to pursue your guitar career with any seriousness, you'll have to familiarize yourself and to learn to play with ease a full size guitar and this is where a dreadnought becomes particularly useful. On the other hand, jumbo guitars will be a bit too much to handle and you don't need to do that either since jumbos are meant for some specific styles and if you're not into them, practising with a jumbo will be, for the most part, a waste of your time and energy.
Now, as for this particular model, there isn't much of a difference between the Fender FA-115 and this one. It is the same laminated spruce top with hardwood back and sides and a scalloped X bracing. The present model, however, (happily enough) uses a rosewood fretboard instead of a laminated one as well as a compensated synthetic bone saddle and these features contribute to the somewhat better sound and tone that you get out of this model.
Pros & cons
Sturdy and durable, ideal for long practice sessions
Beginner's bundle kit
Great value for money
Action is a bit on the higher side, though this is adjustable
5. Epiphone DR-100 Guitar
Epiphone, a sister brand of Gibson, is well enough known for their budget Gibson replicas. But the brand is just as good at churning out original models---both high-end as well as more wallet-friendly ones. Our present model falls in the second category. The DR-100 is actually a quite popular acoustic and it sports a slim profile characteristic of Epiphone models. The body is of select spruce top with mahogany back and sides and there is a rosewood fingerboard supported by a mahogany neck. The slim profile makes for comfortable playing but more importantly, the model comes with a well-balanced tone and a deep, clean sound. In addition, you have an angled headstock which means that the nut is able to withstand greater pressure. This makes the guitar ideal for somebody who prefers hard strumming. The scale length is 25.5 inches.
Pros & cons
Slim profile, good design points
Great build quality
According to some users, the tuning does not hold for long, especially during heavy strumming
6. Yamaha F325D Dreadnought Guitar
To come back to dreadnought and bundle (a staple feature of the present list), here's a dreadnought from Yamaha. It is slightly higher priced than the Fender dreadnoughts mentioned on this list and for good reasons, too. Although Fender dreadnoughts are awesome enough for their price, Yamaha separates itself thanks to its superior design points as well as careful selection of woods. The model has a laminated spruce top with Meranti back and side, nato neck, and rosewood bridge and fretboard. Then, coming to design points, there is the compensated saddle and solid chrome die-cast tuners and these together do a great job in holding string tensions well and in ensuring accurate intonation. In fact, the quality of this guitar cannot be explained by the specs alone. You'll have to try it yourself and recognize the difference in sound, when compared to similarly priced models. In fact, even many experienced players prefer this dreadnought for its high tonal range.
Pros & cons
Great design points that truly deliver
High tonal range
Overall a great instrument and excellent value for price
Nothing much to say against this model unless you were expecting a profile characteristic of extremely high-end models!
7. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Guitar
Yamaha's FG series has become a standout name in the field of acoustic guitars. Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the brand has come up with a great number of excellent models and the Fg800 is one of the most popular of them---both for its great quality as well as for its relatively inexpensive price tag. The model comes in a solid Sitka spruce top (an excellent quality tonewood) with nato back and sides. The fretboard is made of smooth rosewood with a nato neck. For wallet-friendly model, this guitar has a great dynamic range, a rich dreadnought tone and excellent projection. Coming to the playability factor, the model excels there as well thanks to its slick design and then the advanced patented Yamaha scalloped bracing not only aids the overall sound quality of the model but also serves to ensure high durability of the guitar.
Pros & cons
Excellent projection and a dynamic range, suitable for many different styles of playing
Solid excellent tonewood top
Action is a bit high out of the box, but you can right it using the adjustable truss rod
8. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Guitar
One of the most affordable Taylors you can lay your hand on, Taylor BT2 falls somewhere between the dreadnought and travel/parlor guitar category. Its lightweight and compact design makes it ideal as a travel guitar, but it's not the standard concert size guitar and has a dreadnought body, though smaller in size than standard dreadnoughts. However, you'll be hard put to recognize that by its sound alone. There is warmth, definition and clarity plus the volume you'd expect from a full sized guitar. And crucially enough, the model somehow retains that unmistakable Taylor tone even when it comes at a paltry price compared to standard top-tier Taylors. The body is a combination of layered Sapele back and side and a solid mahogany top. The neck also features a Sapele design with a rosewood fretboard culminating in a compensated Nubone saddle.
Pros & cons
Excellent sound and build quality
Distinguishable Taylor tone
Extremely affordable for a Taylor model
It requires a good deal of maintenance to retain its original tone
9. Yamaha FG820L Left-Handed Solid Top Folk Guitar
FG820 is one of the popular Yamaha acoustics that comes in a dedicated left-handed model as well. So, if you're a lefty and you don't want to go through the complications of reversing the strings and so on, you may well settle for this great model. The body of this guitar features the classic spruce and mahogany combination with a sold spruce top for the soundboard and the rest, mahogany. The amazing sound, tone and projection you get from this guitar are primarily owing to this combination as also to Yamaha's excellent construction quality. The model also comes with an angled headstock that does a good job of holding the strings tight and helps with things like fret buzz, barre chords, etc.
Pros & cons
Left-handed model available in a bundle offer
Great sound and construction
The binding is not up to the mark, considering the overall quality of the guitar
10. Yamaha FS850 Solid Top Small Body Guitar
Another awesome Yamaha to round off our list and still another that comes in a bundle offer! This concert sized model is suitable as a travel guitar and also for anybody who does not feel too comfortable playing a standard sized guitar. The guitar has an amazing look with its all mahogany construction. The woody design can easily lead you to believe, albeit falsely, that this is a custom luthier guitar. The model comes with a mellow sound characteristic of parlor guitars and in particular, has a distinctive richness of tone in its mid frequencies. Check this out at a guitar store when possible and like as not, you'll end up lugging it back home!
Pros & cons
All mahogany construction
Distinctive look and sound
Excellent build quality, enhanced by the newly developed scalloped bracing
Again, high maintenance is about the only difficulty you'll face with this guitar
Acoustic Guitar Selection Tips
The acoustic guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. It is the one type of guitar countless beginners turn to in hopes of learning the guitar, and it is the instrument of choice for plenty of professional singers as well.
With so much versatility, it is no surprise that the acoustic guitar comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, price points and more, for all ages. Where does a person start when shopping for the right fit for them?
Types of Acoustic Guitars
These types of guitars are used in pretty much any type of music out there. With that being the case, it should come as no surprise that there are a bunch of different types to choose from. By considering all of the different options that are out there, a person can feel confident in knowing that they are ultimately investing in the best option for them.
Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric?
A true acoustic guitar is not going to have any type of plug on it. That means in order to get an amplified sound, the guitar needs to somehow be rigged with a microphone. This is a little bit more problematic to do on a consistent basis, which is why most performers who use amplifiers or are recording will go with an acoustic-electric model.
It is more expensive to purchase an acoustic-electric guitar, but the convenience, as well as the ability to tune the guitar much more easily, is convincing for a lot of people. Even if you are not planning on using an amplifier now, maybe in the future it could be needed, so the extra cost is worth looking into.
Laminate or Solid Wood Top?
After the initial decision, a person should see if they want to go with a laminated top on their guitar, or a solid wood top. A laminated top is going to be a more affordable option for people to consider. The drawback is that it will not have the same type of rich sound that a solid wood top has.
What Body Type?
Acoustic guitars breakdown into three pretty basic body styles. Each one has a slightly different layout, and therefore a different sound.
Classic guitars works best with classical guitar playing. If you plan on doing quite a bit of finger picking, this is likely to be the preferred option. There is a bit more freedom to move around the high mids and lows.
Dreadnaught guitars have a louder sound than classic options. Most performers tend to lean towards dreadnaught, since they sound better live in a show.
Jumbo guitars are basically a hybrid of classic and dreadnaught. It is shaped more like a classic guitar, but it still has a sound that is closer to the dreadnaught.
Other body shapes that are not as common these days include:
Range (a mini Jumbo meant for people who might have trouble handling larger guitars)
Parlor (another small option, with a puncher sound than a range)
Auditorium (almost identical to dreadnaught, but a bigger waste
Grand Concert (a full sized guitar with a smaller body, but a full waist
Top Acoustic Guitar Brands
There are hundreds if not thousands of brand options for these guitars, but a few well-known names have really dominated the scene for quite a while.
Fender and Yamaha are known as two of the most budget friendly, yet quality options for guitar players to consider. While they have some pretty expensive models, they also have affordable ones for beginners not wanting to spend a lot. Since these are two of the most well-known names in the industry, customers know they will be getting a quality guitar.
After graduating from a beginner guitar, people might up to go with more expensive models from Fender and Yamaha. Another option is to look at Takamine and Epiphone as well. They have always been able to secure great reviews for their guitars, and the difference between a beginner and an intermediate guitar is noticeable.
High end acoustics can be hard to pin point, simply because some people have different ideas about what makes something high end. As mentioned earlier, Fender and Yamaha make guitars that are top-of-the-line and extremely expensive. They just have a wide array of options, so they are not exclusively made for the talented guitarists. Martin and Taylor are two brands that really focus on almost exclusively higher end models. Just be prepared for a pretty expensive investment when looking at these models.
Average Acoustic Guitar Pricing
The most common number a lot people throw around is to not even consider a new acoustic if it is under $150. While there might be some exceptions to the rule, most of the cheaper models are simply not going to deliver. Having a guitar that does not perform or sound well can be detrimental for beginners as they get discouraged more easily.
For those really on a tight budget, shopping for quality used guitars might be the best option. Playing acoustic is not a super cheap endeavor, so just make sure to put some money aside for the purchase at first.
The price make can start to really creep up for some top quality acoustics on the market. Some of the most well-known brands have options that can be thousands of dollars in the end. With that being said, a concert quality acoustic guitar can usually be found for less than $1500.
Common Questions and Answers
From time to time, we will get a lot of questions from readers. Here is a look at some answers to the most common questions we seem to be getting from readers.
What is a Acoustic Guitar?
An acoustic guitar is the truest form of a guitar. It relies on producing sound acoustically by using the vibration of the strings. When a person strums the strings on the guitar, the waves go into the body of the guitar, producing the sound people hear.
A standard acoustic guitar has its six strings tuned to E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4. The string is responsible for the soundboard and sound box on a guitar to vibrate, which creates the different types of frequencies heard.
What is the difference between a classical and acoustic guitar?
Classical and acoustic guitars can sometimes be hard to tell apart for beginners. While they share some similarities, it is important to know the biggest differences before shopping.
A classical guitar uses nylon strings, which differs quite a bit from the steel strings found most of the time these days with acoustic models. Not only do they sound differently, but the feel when playing both types of guitars is different as well. Most people start on acoustic guitars because they are easier on the fingers.
The fretboard is another way to tell a classic guitar from an acoustic. Classical options usually do not have fret markers at all, and they are significantly wider than an acoustic.
Finally, the shape can be an easy indicator. The most common shape for an acoustic guitar is dreadnought, while classical options like to utilize cutaways. At first glance these guitars might look similar, but the differences are there.
What is the best acoustic guitar for kids?
An acoustic for a kid, first and foremost, needs to be properly sized. It is pointless to give a full sized guitar to a kid who can’t stretch their fingers that far yet. Fortunately, many of the top names in the industry have options specifically for little hands.
The Martin LX1 Little Martin, the Yamaha JR1 and the Fender MA-1 are great starting points for any shopper looking for an option for a child. There is really no reason to spend more than $500 for a child’s guitar, and often times, quality options are much less than even that price point.
What is the best acoustic guitar for beginners?
Beginners should look at options like the Fender CD-60S (or any Fender option in that price range), the Yamaha FG800 and for a slightly more expensive model, the Takamine GC5CE-NAT. These are all affordable options, with even the Takamine coming in under $500. They are durable, have strong sound and are manufactured by well known companies.
An acoustic guitar that performs well will continue to motivate beginners. That is the real key to success when trying to get out there and play on a consistent basis. Motivation is always needed when selecting an acoustic guitar to try to eventually master.
How much does a good acoustic guitar cost?
There is a pretty wide range of prices for acoustics, but $150 should be the minimal amount spent on an adult guitar brand new. The price can be cheaper when shopping new, but the extremely cheap options will lack in sound quality and durability.
Top of the line, performance models can easily get into the $1000 range and more. Beginners should not invest too much money though, as there is no telling just how much use it will actually get in the end if motivation is lost.
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.