With a seemingly endless slew of options, and you have $500 budget, how do you find the best acoustic guitar under 500 on the market?
Well today I’m going to help you making the buying decision easy.
Our experts spent the entire day playing many guitars out there and selected the top 10 rated guitar that fix your budget.
All you need to do is carve out a few minutes of your day and tackle one of them below
Let’s dive right in.
Top manufacturing brands like Yamaha, Fender, Taylor, Takamine, and Seagull, who is known to produce world-class, highly expensive guitars, are just some of the companies who create guitars at the $300-$500 price range and are hungry to get your attention. Today, this price range is the bread and butter of companies that always look for a way to innovate their guitars just for you to buy them.
Looking for the best acoustic guitar under $500 would require a lot of research and patience. Not only would you like to spend your money on a guitar that would last for years and you’re proud of bringing to go anywhere, but it’s also important that the guitar has the right materials, features and sound quality that is entirely worth it for its price.
Acoustic guitars at the $500 price range are the most versatile ones. You’ll find guitars that have cheap materials and quality that should be available in the $300 price range and lower. Some guitars have decent materials and quality that are just so-so in the eyes of everyone. But there are also guitars in this price range that can outdo guitars at the $1000 prices and these are the ones you need to find and are included in the list below.
In this article, I’ll show you the top 10 best guitars under $500 that will surely blow your minds. The finest guitar manufacturers make these guitars and surely have the best quality you’ll find on the market today.
But first, you need to know 05 things to consider before making your buying decision:
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500
When doing this article, I had to do a lot of research and tests to ensure that I include only the top guitars for the list and choose the best acoustic guitar under $500. For the guitars to be evaluated, I created my own criteria for judging the guitars. This includes the materials used for the hardware, features, electronics, action, value for money and sound quality.
There are a lot of types of woods that are used for a guitar. Although some of the woods with a $300 can be the same as for the $500, it’s important for you to know and understand if it’s real wood or just laminated. This can make a lot of difference in the tone of the guitar and the overall sound quality. For the guitars I’ve chosen for this list, they have used different types of woods, some are real, and some are laminated, but they have combined different woods in order to create unique tonal qualities.
Just like in hardware, the materials for the guitars are a lot like the same. But you should expect that the materials on the guitars under $500 should be better compared to the cheaper ones.
Some of the guitars that I’ve chosen have built-in electronics in them. I’ve also included this in my criteria because it’s important for these guitars to have high-quality electronics with decent to excellent sound quality once plugged into preamps.
When you expect low movement in a $300 guitar, then you should expect the same or better for a guitar at a price range of $500. It should be low and close to the frets. Plus, you shouldn’t hear any buzz.
- Sound quality:
The guitars on this list are tested and proven to have excellent sound quality. Some of them even have better tonal qualities compared to guitars at a higher price range.
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 – Top 10
I Know We Are All Busy So… Here Is The List 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 500
- Seagull S6 Original
- Takamine GD30CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Takamine GD30CE-12NAT Dreadnought 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Recording King ROS-06 Classic Series 12th Fret 000 Acoustic
- Fender T-Bucket 300CE Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar Antique Burst Acoustic Guitar
- Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Acoustic Guitar
- Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
- Alvarez AC65HCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Yamaha LL6-Natural
Keep reading to see our in-depth analysis and reviews
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Analysis and Reviews
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 #1: Seagull S6 Original
Considered as one of the best beginner guitars in the market, the S6 is famous for its simplicity and outstanding sound quality. It has a cherry wood for the back and side, rosewood for the fingerboard, maple for the neck and cedar for the top. The guitar has a semi-gloss lacquer finish that just keeps the looking beautiful for a long time.
What makes the S6 better compared to its competitors at the same price range is its ability to produce high-quality sound. Because of the Godin Quantum IT, electronics with built-in tuner, the guitar produces full and dark sounds that are better suited to the folk music.
The playability is great, and you can really tell that the craftsmanship is reliable. As what I have noticed, the sounds get better when you’re already playing it for years. I don’t know the science behind the wood is getting better, but there’s no doubt that the S6 is some of the special ones.
After a couple of months to a year that I’ve been playing my Seagull S6, I’ve noticed that the strings depreciate too fast which means it’s low quality, so I changed my set to Elixir Light Phosphor Bronze strings which made the guitar sung more beautifully. One more thing is that the guitar doesn’t have a second peg for a strap which can be troublesome, but you can solve this with just a couple of dollars.
Best Acoustic Guitar under 500 #2: Takamine GD30CE-NAT Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural
Takamine is known for their absolute craftsmanship toward their guitars. Not only that, but they also use premium woods and materials to ensure that the tone and sound quality of their guitars are top-notch.
The GD30CE is made of mahogany for its back and sides, solid spruce wood for the top, rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge which is pin-less. The neck is also made of mahogany which has a slim neck profile which is perfect for people with small hands.
I actually love the Takamine TP-4TD preamp system that comes with a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls because it’s very easy to use and makes adjustments a breeze with perfect accuracy. Plus, the guitar already includes battery on its package, and it has a quick battery change access that saves your battery.
The action is low, and the tuners really work very well, which is extremely good for its price range. The guitar has an amazing setup right out of the box, and the overall sound is really excellent which includes the resonance, warmth, brightness, and tone.
The only complaint I have with the GD30CE is the set of strings already included in the guitar because it’s a bit rough. So it’s better for you to replace the D’Addario strings with Light Gauge Elixir Polywebs which can improve the sound of the guitar in both tone and resonance.
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 #3: Takamine GD30CE-12NAT Dreadnought 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Again, another Takamine guitar is included in this list because of their excellent quality guitars. An upgrade to the last guitar is the GD30CE-12NAT which has the same wood materials in the last guitar. Plus, it’s also equipped with the same electronics which is the TP-4TD preamp system that includes a built-in tuner with three-band EQ and gain controls.
The only difference between these two guitars is the two-piece saddle which works perfectly and gives the guitar better intonation. It can quickly achieve full and deep bass, which I actually like because it can still balance the entire spectrum even with its power.
The tuner is also accurate, and the action is still low as the other guitar. Plus, you can expect not to experience any buzz on the frets. The auto-off feature of the tuners comes very handily because it saves the battery life of the guitar.
Just like the other guitar, you can expect a fantastic setup when you first take it out of the box. The craftsmanship of Takamine is still unbeatable, and the GD30CE-12NAT is durable enough to stay with you in your common experience until when you reach the stage.
There’s a little setback, however, on the automatic off feature of the tuners because there are times that it activates too early. But you don’t have to worry about it because it doesn’t hurt or make any difference in the sound of the guitar which makes this as a contender for the best acoustic guitar under $500.
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 #4: Recording King ROS-06 Classic Series 12th Fret 000 Acoustic
The neck, back, and sides are made from mahogany, solid Sitka spruce for the top and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge. It’s comfortable to play because of the contemporary “C” shape of the neck, which is excellent for people with small hands.
What makes the ROS-06 different from other guitars is that it produces great sounds, that’s not too loud compared to another dreadnought, but still perfect for fingerstyle players. The intonation is spot on and is really great for its price range. Like other guitars that were mentioned above, the action is really good, and you won’t feel any buzz on the strings.
Because it’s best for fingerstyle kind of playing, you’ll notice that the strings are farther apart from each other compared to other regular guitars. What I noticed the most out of the ROS-06 is the overall construction of the guitar. There are some minor flaws on the guitar itself.
There are some pre-finish dents on some of the woods; ink runs on the soundhole, and there’s this particular glue smell coming out of it which can irritate your nose once you play the guitar for a long period.
Best Acoustic Guitar under 500 #5: Fender T-Bucket 300CE Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
It used laminated mahogany for the neck, back and sides, maple wood for the top and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge and finished off with an elegant natural gloss. First things first, there’s a big difference on real and laminated woods. Although this guitar uses laminate for the back and sides, it still produces great sounds.
Fender chose high-quality electronics, Built-in Chromatic Tuner with On/Off Switch, Bass, Volume, Treble and Mid, and sacrificed real tonewoods in order to achieve a guitar that has great quality sound at an affordable price range. Still, the action is low, and the neck feels comfortable because of the “C” shape.
The big plus on the guitar is the strap nuts found on the body, and the tuners make the guitar stay in tune for extended periods of time. One thing I’ve noticed on the 300CE is that it makes you play cleaner because making mistakes are quite noticeable.
What I don’t like about this particular guitar is that the back and side wood shows every mark it has which is quite troublesome because it affects the overall look of the guitar. Plus, it doesn’t have the perfect setup when you take it out of the box so you’ll need to work it for yourself or go to a local store.
Best Acoustic Guitars Under 500 #6: Art & Lutherie Ami Cedar Antique Burst Acoustic Guitar
Known for their handcrafted guitars, Art & Lutherie uses only excellent materials. The Ami Cedar uses wild cherry for the back and sides, and pressure tested solid wood for the top, silver leaf maple for the neck and rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge.
The guitar has a semi-gloss custom varnish for the finish which gives it a beautiful look. Because of the chosen tonewoods, the guitar has rich, loud sound that’s great for blues and folk genres. It almost has the same loud sound as a dreadnought guitar, but smaller in size which is perfect for traveling.
I noticed that the strings that came with the guitar were a little bit stale so I changed it to D’Addario which enhanced the sound of the guitar, and it resonates very well. Everything about the quality of the guitar was well thought off and will satisfy you for its price.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the guitar is that it didn’t have a right setup when I got it from the box, so I had to make a little adjustment. This was a little disappointment because some of the guitars in this price range are already setup great.
Best Acoustic Guitars under 500 #7: Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar, Sapele, Mahogany Top
What I really like about this particular guitar is that it matches the volume on how light or hard you strum the guitar. Because of the solid mahogany top, Genuine African Ebony for the fingerboard and Sapele for the neck, the guitar produces clear, warm tone on the midrange section, and still gives bright trebles and bass.
The strings have clear, crisp sound to it which is kind of like a snappy tone. Plus, it has an even and balanced tone and can play almost any genre you throw at it. I personally love the size of the guitar because even if it’s a little smaller, I don’t get any problems when playing it. Whether sitting or standing, or when I’m trying to reach difficult chords, the GS Mini gives me total flexibility.
I only find it difficult to play with the slippery tuners because it needs constant adjustment. It’s a miniature version of the standard tuners of the Taylor which is why it’s sometimes difficult to tune.
Best Acoustic Guitars under 500 #8: Cordoba C7 SP Acoustic Nylon String Classical Guitar
One of the best guitars in this affordable price range is the Cordoba C7 SP. The back and sides are made of layered Sapele, and the top is solid European spruce, Genuine African Ebony for the fingerboard and bridge and mahogany for the neck.
It has a high gloss Polyurethane finish and a Spanish fan bracing that gives the guitar more space to respond and vibrate to the tension of every string to give the guitar more volume and better tone. What I like about the guitar is that it has gorgeous, deep, round and full sound quality which is kind of surprising for the Cordoba C7.
The action is small like the other guitars and is very easy, no matter the choice of string tension. For a $500 guitar, the playability of the C7 is outstanding. It’s one of my travel buddies because it’s lightweight and its sound quality is perfect for any occasion.
The C7 is actually one of my favorite guitars because it delivers quality over the top so I can’t find anything bad about it. For its price, the sound and built quality are outstanding which can be easily compared to guitars at $1500-$2000 price range. This makes the C7 a top contender for the best acoustic guitar under $500.
Best Acoustic Guitars under 500 #9: Alvarez AC65HCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Artist is the award-winning series of Alvarez because of its traditional Spanish heel construction and their scalloped bracing helps the guitar to deliver volume, sustain and balance. I personally like the neck profile of this guitar because it’s slender which makes it easy for players to reach full barre chords even if they have small hands.
The neck, back, and sides of the guitar are made from Mahogany, Solid A+ Western Red Cedar for the top, rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge and a premium high gloss for the finish. Even if this guitar uses D’Addario EXP for the strings, it has a pretty good action which is low and just right for any user, even for beginners.
The guitar produces warm, sweet sound that sounds better when you’re playing solo or in a band. When plugged in with a preamp, the mid, treble and bass gives the guitar a wider tonal range. Plus the controls work extremely well. The only downside of the guitar is that it doesn’t have a loud projection and volume compared to other guitars in its price range.
Best Acoustic Guitars under 500 #10: Yamaha LL6-Natural
The last guitar that’s included in this list is the Yamaha LL6. Everybody knows that Yamaha is one of the best manufacturers when it comes to musical instruments, whether it’s as cheap as $200 to the most expensive ones of $2000.
The LL6 is famous for its full and bright sounding tones because of its jumbo shape body, laminated rosewood for the back and sides, Solid Engelmann spruce wood which is known to produce a warmer and richer type of wood, and ebony for the fingerboard and bridge.
Because of the gold die-cast tuners, the guitar stays in tune for long periods of time, even if you play it a couple of hours a day. It has great balance and a good volume that you can expect from a Jumbo type guitar.
Although Yamaha is a famous brand, they have the tendency to hide their imperfections. In particular, the LL6 is composed of the plastic saddle, bridge pins, and nuts, which you won’t be able to find in the specification of the Yamaha website.
The action is a bit high even for its price range because some of its competitors are very keen and detailed when it comes to these matters. Even the neck is wider at 13/4-inch and needs improvement because, again, their competitors have better construction quality.
The Final Thought
If you’re looking for the best acoustic guitar under $500, I recommend that you choose between the Seagull S6, Takamine GD30CE-12NAT, and the Cordoba C7. They have all the right built that you can expect for its price and offer you more than the money for their sound quality.
Which do you think the best acoustic guitar under 500, let me know your opinion