8 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Want to get straight to our top choices for acoustic guitars under $500? Here they are!

  1. Yamaha CSF1M
  2. Ibanez AEG550 Bocote
  3. Fender CD-60S All-Mahogany
  4. Epiphone J-200 EC Studio
  5. Fender Newporter Player
  6. Yamaha Storia I
  7. Martin LX1E Little Martin
  8. Epiphone Dove Studio

The acoustic guitar is easily the most popular instrument in the world.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or an aspiring musician-to-be, it’s usually the first piece of equipment you pick up. We get why, though — it’s affordable, portable, and super fun to play. Knowing just a handful of chords on the acoustic guitar can provide a pretty decent backing track to all your one-man jamming sessions, and it sounds effortlessly wonderful (depending on the player, of course). 

But with that said, the researching and shortlisting process is always stressful. Don’t worry, though, we’re here to help you out. Here’s our selection of top-quality guitars you can buy for under $500. Let’s jump in!

1. Yamaha CSF1M

Price: $449


  • Loud and rich output
  • Produces organic sound with amp
  • Highly reliable brand


  • Lacks tone controls for piezo pickup

The Yamaha CSF1M is a compact parlor acoustic guitar that falls well within the $500 range. It goes up against similar products from manufacturers like Martin and has fought for its well-deserved place in that market segment. 

We love its rich, loud, and smooth output, which you wouldn’t expect from a budget-category instrument. It sounds almost as sublime as premium travel guitars from Taylor, like the GS Mini (but not quite). 

If you like your guitars to be multi-dimensional, this one’s got you covered with a passive piezo pickup offering plugged-in organic sounds. Plus, its satin neck looks and feels awesome. 

Overall, it’s a well-rounded choice for the price and fits the script for anything from bonfire jamming to studio recordings. Grab yours here!

2. Ibanez AEG550 Bocote

Price: $399


  • Great design and aesthetics
  • Comfy neck
  • Made with premium-quality woods


  • The bold design isn’t for everyone

When you think of acoustic guitars, an image of mahogany and spruce automatically pops into the mind. Right? Well, the Ibanez AEG550 Bocote breaks that norm like it’s nothing. It features a slender design that’s made out of exotic woods like Nyatoh, Bocote, Maple, and Ebony. 

That’s not even it — it also has accents of the gorgeous motif flower on its fingerboard and headstock, making the $399 price tag seem jaw-dropping. The brand is famous for its easy-to-use and thin necks, and the AEG550 shows it. 

If you’re an electric player finding it hard to transition to acoustics due to their bulkier necks, this guitar is ideal for you. It’s slim, reliable, and most importantly — giggable — so get one here.

3. Fender CD-60S All-Mahogany

Price $299


  • Very affordable 
  • Has a bright mid-range
  • High-quality intonation
  • Great value for money


  • A pretty basic-looking guitar

We just talked about how spruce and mahogany are the default combo for imagining an acoustic guitar, and the Fender CD-60S All-Mahogany comprises precisely that combo. Looks aren’t its strong suit, that’s for sure (unless, of course, you’re actively looking for a basic design in traditional colors). 

With that said, this guitar is a delight to play and sounds heavenly, all at an unbelievably low price of just 300 bucks! It has a chime to die for, which is partly because a mahogany construction often comes with an underlying promise of mid-range brightness. 

The guitar also handles lower notes and bass exceptionally well, so feel free to try out some drop tunings with this big boy. Aside from that, the tuning, strumming, and intonation all feel great on the CD-60S. 

You can get an even better deal on this guitar in the online marketplace as it often comes bundled with essential accessories like strings, straps, gigbags, and tuners — so keep your eyes peeled. For now, the guitar is available here.

4. Epiphone J-200 EC Studio

Price $429 – $500+


  • Great even for advanced players
  • Large guitar with jumbo sounds
  • Very loud enough even when played unplugged


  • The bulkiness isn’t for everyone

The Epiphone J-200 EC Studio’s jumbo body is probably the biggest one on this list. It’s still much like a Dreadnought, but louder and bigger — and you can really tell that by just listening to it, thanks to its jumbo tones.

Its sides and back are made out of maple wood, while the top consists of Sitka spruce — a material that’s known for its wonders in the world of guitars. As Spruce is a type of wood that matures with age, the guitar gets better and better as time passes — just like fine wine! 

Its fingerboard is Pau Ferro, while the neck consists of SlimTaper — i.e. a special type of maple wood that apparently has some unique implications in guitar design. The configuration of this guitar naturally makes it versatile enough for many different playing techniques, including fingerstyle.

We love how despite the bulky size, the guitar is still pretty comfortable to play, thanks to its ergonomic neck. The playing experience is elite as it flows light and easy, while the tapered neck sits snugly in your hand. 

Overall, it sounds warm and punchy and also super loud since there’s lots of room for the sound to bounce around. You don’t even have to plug it in if you ever feel like playing on the streets, and that’s saying something.

It’s balanced well (whether you play while standing or sitting) and has enhanced playability thanks to its cutaway. It’s the ideal pick for guitarists who are somewhat experienced and need an upgrade, but you can still get a lot out of it as a complete beginner. 

All right, we’ve gone on long enough on this one — guess you can tell we’re a fan! Get yours here.

5. Fender Newporter Player

Price: $449


  • Features a fishman pickup system
  • A body shape that stands out
  • Slim, comfortable, and easy-to-play neck


  • Aesthetics aren’t its strong suit (though some people still love its looks)

If you’ve had enough brown and beige acoustic guitars, the colors on this Fender Newporter Player will be a breath of fresh air for you. From livid and sky blue to blood red, the manufacturers have gone out of the way to make this ax look particularly unique — and it does. In fact, a bit too unique because a lot of people even pass on the guitar because of its looks alone. But keep reading if that doesn’t instantly turn you off because this guitar has a lot to offer for the price.

While the brand has paid some deliberate thought to how the Newporter looks, they haven’t prioritized form over function. From its C-shaped neck to the slim taper, it has components that come together to provide a comfortable and responsive playing feel to pros and newbies alike.

Its neck is also super easy to work with, and the guitar itself is smaller than your average dreadnought. You also get a punchy, clear tone thanks to the exceptional resonance this guitar draws from its optimized bracing. Phew, that was a mouthful!

Lastly, we love how the guitar’s mahogany neck wears an iconic 6-in-line headstock which adds to the uniqueness of its looks. If you’re sold, get one here!

6. Yamaha Storia I

Price: $453


  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Has a solid top
  • A classic, minimalist look


  • Slightly pricey for its simple configuration

Next up, we have another solid offering from Yamaha!

Now, let’s be honest, Yamaha doesn’t make “sexy” guitars per se, which is why it would be unfair to expect that from the Storia I as well. But, the brand is a respected name in the world of acoustics — known for creating some of the finest pieces of equipment out there. 

Their Storia range aims to “transform the traditional acoustic guitar into a one-of-a-kind statement piece” — and that’s exactly what it seems to have achieved here. The attention to granular details is evident in every aspect of the guitar, and that’s rare to see in this price range. Its light blue interior and off-white top are unique for an acoustic guitar, to say the least. 

On top of that, it has champagne-gold bridge pins and machine heads as well as a synthetic ivory rosette — making it look like the most luxurious-looking guitar on this budget-friendly list! You could see it in the poshest of apartments or the hands of a mainstream pop star and not be surprised.

Having said that, the guitar’s configuration is still pretty basic — but very easy to navigate for beginners thanks to its comfy design and relatively shorter scale. It sounds wonderful and will last you years before you even have to think about upgrading, so it’s a solid buy in our books. Have a closer look here!

7. Martin LX1E Little Martin

Price: $499


  • Premium build
  • Ed Sheeran approved 
  • Travel-friendly, compact design


  • Sounds conventional when plugged in (not necessarily a bad thing)

The LX1E Little Martin also fits within our $500 price range, but only just. Being one of the most expensive guitars on this list, it features a premium-quality build consisting of Sitka Spruce, Mahogany, and a Morado fretboard. In the world of acoustic guitars, materials directly impact the quality of sound you get, and it makes sense that the LX1E doesn’t disappoint. Its contemporary tones are bright and can be easily heard and distinguished over even bigger guitars. Even Ed Sheeran has sung its praises, and that’s all the reassurance you need for your first guitar!

Being a travel guitar, it’s pretty handy and compact, as the name suggests. Even though it’s called “Little Martin” — it’s not sonically little by any means, and its crisp-edged conventional voice proves it. Check it out here.

8. Epiphone Dove Studio

Price: $449 


  • One of the thinnest neck profiles on this list
  • Has the classic Dove acoustic sound
  • Has rich harmonic overtones


  • Too flashy for some
  • Not compact or travel-friendly

The Gibson Dove is an iconic guitar that almost all players swear by, but it’s pricey — expensive enough to keep beginners away. 

Lucky for you, Epiphone still offers the exhilarating output of the Dove within a much more affordable range. Say hello to the Dove Studio!

It amassed quite a name for itself when it was first known as the Epiphone Dove Pro, but has since been rebranded to “Studio” — but with all of the same specs we know and love.

You get maple back and sides, as well as a solid top made out of spruce. The guitar is filled with bright melodious sounds, especially when you’re in the mid-range. Take the super thin neck into account, and you’ve got a delightful playing experience at hand. Its onboard Fishman electronics also help boost performance, making this whole package a steal at just 449 bucks. Grab one here!

Pro tip when choosing a guitar

Before we round this up, here’s a pro tip to keep in mind when you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar: make sure to choose a suitable body style! 

Allow us to elaborate.

Players with long arms and large fingers (i.e. taller folk in general) should look for a large dreadnought form factor as the fretboard is going to be wider and longer on this. 

If you’re an aspiring young learner, on the other hand, you should start with an ax that’s compact and has a short fretboard. It’ll make your user experience way easier — from chord transitions to changing strings. It’s also way easier to hold a compact guitar without a strap when you’re standing up, so keep that in mind!

Final thoughts on affordable acoustic guitars

That’s it for our top picks!

Since you’ve read this article till the end, we’re guessing you’re not just a window shopper. You’re either in the market for your first-ever guitar or an upgrade that doesn’t break the bank. Either way, you’re in for a ton of fun. That’s because the budget-friendly category in acoustic guitars is more competitive and diverse than ever! With this careful selection of high value-for-money acoustic guitars, we’ve shown you that there are lots of options to choose from, even in the budget category, and you won’t have to make any compromises on the important stuff like build quality, sound, aesthetics, and tonal characters. Wish you all the best in finding the ax of your dreams!

The post 8 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 appeared first on Two Story Melody.

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