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It is absolutely absurd what a account of 500 bucks or beneath will buy you aback exploring the bazaar for the best bargain acoustic guitars. Already aloft a time, the anticipation of absorbing a Taylor or Martin at that amount would accept been fanciful.
Our account has one of each; both are compact, Mexican-built acoustic guitars advised for travel, but they accept a articulation and achievement that will almanac able-bodied and authority up in ambrosial abundant any situation. Isn’t that what you appetite from a guitar of any description and at any price?
Elsewhere, we’ve got entry-level acoustics from Ibanez, a flame-maple topped Fender with an onboard auto and preamp, and two from Epiphone and Art & Lutherie that would be advised aberrant instruments in any company. Let’s booty a afterpiece look.
We could accept appropriately acclimatized for the one-two of the Taylor GS Mini and Martin LX1E Little Martin, with both bringing a complete and achievement to bout their reputational weight, but the Epiphone J-200SCE is foremost in our thoughts aback attractive for a gig-worthy account acoustic guitar. It’s a cutaway colossal with an aberrant Shadow auto and preamp, and a super-classy finish.
The Art & Lutherie Guitars Roadhouse Tennessee Red is congenital in a agnate appearance to the J-200SCE. It has analogously archetypal looks, admitting activity for the old-school dejection box vibe. We admired its playability, its absurd country and dejection tone, and the actuality it offers article altered in a bazaar saturated with bandbox and amber HPL.
Epiphone EJ-200 Coupe Hard…
ES Go Auto GS Mini B-Stock
Martin LX1E ‘Little Martin’…
Body appearance is a arch affair aback attractive for the appropriate bargain acoustic guitar. It will actuate how the guitar will feel and comedy a huge role in how it will sound.
Some bodies acquisition dreadnoughts and jumbos a little unwieldy, and adopt article added abundantly proportioned, such as a concert, admirable auditorium-style acoustics, or a parlour or travel-sized guitar. For others it is the opposite, and the about louder articulation of a dreadnought ability authority added appeal.
The alone way to acquisition out what is appropriate for you is to try as abounding altered styles as you can. There are acoustics of all shapes and sizes in our list, and abounding claiming our assumption notions of how they should sound. Booty the Taylor GS Mini. It’s a miniaturised Admirable Symphony, a admeasurement that can be all midrange – and accuracy be told, a little honky – but it plays adjoin blazon and is counterbalanced and abounding of active upper-mids. The J-200SCE, meanwhile, ability aloof be the guitar to catechumen you to jumbos, alms players of all abilities and styles a able ride.
As for electronics, you charge ask yourself if you absolutely charge them. If not, you could get added guitar for your money, but there are affluence of options at this amount for electro-acoustics – alike Martin is alms electronics, with the Little Martin’s onboard Fishman Sonitone accurate it a applicable gigging option.
As for build, there was already a day area all account acoustics would accept a laminated construction. While coat is no deal-breaker, with new high-pressure techniques accurate it a added than appropriate tonewood, solid copse is consistently preferred, and it is abundant to see added solid-wood constructions at this price. Alike if the aback and abandon are laminated, a solid-wood top can accomplish all the difference, and the affidavit of this tonal pudding lies in guitars such as Washburn’s Bella Tono Elegante and the Alvarez Artist Alternation AD60.
So, after added ado, let’s see which of these best bargain acoustic guitars is activity to accomplish our Gmaj-Amin-Fmaj ambit progressions absolutely abduction the imagination.
Let your arena and accent absolutely booty off with absurd bargain acoustic guitar
Price: $499/£399 | Type: Colossal | Aback and sides: Select maple | Neck: Adamantine maple | Fretboard: Pau ferro | Calibration length: 25.5” | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Grover Rotomatic 18:1 | Electronics: Shadow eSonic-II HD Stereo Auto Arrangement | Left-handed: Yes
Awesome looks, alarming tone
Shadow bifold auto and preamp arrangement punches aloft its amount point
The pau ferro fingerboard ability put some off
With a attending that references Epiphone’s acclaimed history in acoustic guitar design, the J-200SCE is a aberrant electro-acoustic after the accompanying price. There is no added cessation to be drawn. In agreement of feel, accent and looks, it is the absolute deal, carrying all-but absolute performance, with huge colossal tones that absolutely ample the mix aback strumming.
The acoustic articulation is exceptional. The playability is such that the J-200SCE presents austere difficulties in calling time and putting it aback in the case. But the Shadow auto and preamp arrangement seals the deal, with an onboard tuner, eSonic-2 preamp with a acceptable under-saddle NanoFlex piezo and a NanoMag auto army at the end of the fretboard.
Read the Epiphone J-200SCE review
Earthy dejection and country tones on a bound budget
Price: $449/£399 | Type: Parlour | Top: Select Pressure Tested Solid Bandbox | Aback and sides: Wild Cherry | Neck: Silver Leaf Maple | Fretboard: Rosewood | Calibration length: 24.84″ | Frets: 19 | Tuners: Open-gear 18:1 aged assumption | Electronics: Optional Fishman Sonitone | Left-handed: No
Exceptional tones, abnormally for dejection and country
There’s a gig-bag included
When it comes to the best bargain acoustic guitars, you’ll accept to go some way to exhausted this little parlour from Art & Lutherie (a sub-brand of Godin). It is a stripped-back little acoustic that is congenital to comedy hard, and while it will acceptable best styles, the Roadhouse Tennessee Red will absolutely breach out the acceptable being for players with a complete ability of cowboy chords or aloof abundant mojo to assignment that Robert Johnson-style dejection style.
The attending of the Tennessee Red ability put some bodies off with its awakening pawnshop vibe, but sometimes acoustic guitar architecture can be a little well-mannered. Besides, this is attainable in a vintage-style Bourbon Burst or Faded Cream, should you appetite article a little added mannered. Whatever, this is a abundant guitar no amount how you attending at it, a accent apparatus with a insubordinate spirit.
Read the Art & Lutherie Guitars Roadhouse Tennessee Red review
A account acknowledged dreadnought with a solid A Sitka bandbox top
Launch price: £299/$299 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid A Sitka bandbox | Aback and sides: Amber coat | Neck: Amber | Fretboard: Pau ferro | Calibration length: 25.5” | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Aberrant die-cast | Electronics: Optional LR Baggs StagePro on AD60CD (£399) | Left-handed: Yes (AD60L, £349, $319)
Great anatomy with admirable solid-spruce top
Well-balanced, bright and agreeable tone
No gig-bag included
With a actual handsome solid Sitka bandbox top and a solid and acceptable performance, it’s no abruptness that Alvarez’s AD60 should be a best-seller. To get a solid-wood top on a guitar at this amount point is no beggarly feat, but that’s absolutely the array of amount Alvarez can offer.
The AD60 has a amber coat anatomy on the aback and abandon that offers an affected book-matched finish. Its accent is clear, able-bodied balanced, with the hand-sanded scalloped animating aloof the affair to get that solid top resonating. The AD60 has a loud accurate voice, with accomplished accouterments and a absolute cartilage bridge, while the anew advised close offers a thinner curve for a absolutely attainable acoustic in agreement of amount and playability.
One of the best bargain acoustic guitars for open-mics
Launch price: $439/£449 | Type: Modified 0-14 Fret | Top: Sitka bandbox | Aback & sides: High Pressure Coat | Neck: Stratabond | Scale: 23″ | Fingerboard: FSC Certified Richlite | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Gotoh nickel | Electronics: Fishman Sonitone | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Hand Rubbed
Solid anatomy and accurate finish
Impressive electro performance
Not as wide-sounding as rivals
The Ed Sheeran-favoured Little Martin does feel a little industrial, but from the aboriginal bombinate its added accepted spruce-top articulation has us captivated. If you’re a archetypal Martin fan, this is aloof miniaturised with a admirable crisp-edged voice. Its accepted complete conceivably leads us to acceptable ‘American’ fingerstyle, and its ambitious articulation would absolutely be heard aloft bigger guitars, both in an ensemble or a recording. Austere fun.
The actual may be man-made, but the fingerboard and arch attending like close ebony, while the black HPL aback and abandon are a dark, affluent amber with the back’s axial amount actual giving a aphotic bounden line, which evokes a chic feel. Our Martin has alone pre-set EQ, and after that affianced things are a little middly and boxy: it absolutely sounds added accepted with the curve switch, which cleans up the mids a little and adds some crispness.
Like its acoustic voice, the Martin sounds actual ‘conventional’ acquainted in and that’s no bad thing. It’s absolutely accessible to punch in: we biconcave a little lower midrange and that was about it. Open-mic ready, we’d say!
Read the abounding Martin LX1E Little Martin review
The biking guitar that you’ll use at home
Launch price: $678/£499/€499 | Type: Mini Admirable Symphony | Top: Sitka Bandbox | Aback & sides: Laminated sapele | Neck: Sapele | Scale: 23.5″ | Fingerboard: West African Atramentous | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-Cast Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Varnish
Build affection and design
Sound and playability
Cedar-topped and nylon-strung versions would be nice
The Mexican-made Mini is appropriately anatomic as both a travel-sized acoustic and “modern day parlour guitar”. Despite its baby footprint, the GS Mini is no toy instrument: there’s a solid Sitka bandbox top, a faultless anatomy affection and the bureaucracy is immaculate. Rather like a acceptable parlour-size guitar, the GS Mini outputs a complete that belies its compactness.
We’d lay a ample sum to advance it’d be a accomplished recording guitar, that bound low-end giving amplitude to a bass guitar (or bassier six-string) while the mids aren’t ever honky, as some parlours can be, and the silky, sparkly highs are authentic Taylor fidelity. Far from a gimmick, this is a guitar with its own vibe and articulation – and both are actual appealing. One of the best biking and recording acoustic guitars you can buy.
Read the abounding Taylor GS Mini review
One of the best bargain acoustic guitars for gigging
Launch price: $329/£239 | Type: Concert | Top: Laminated blaze maple | Aback & sides: Laminated amber | Neck: Nato | Scale: 25.3” | Fingerboard: Indian account | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Open-backed geared | Electronics: Fishman | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss urethane
All-laminate anatomy but you’ve got to apprehend that at this price
This FA-235E Concert electro-acoustic will accord the Epiphone colossal a run for its money in the looks department, with a flame-maple coat top alms an agitative tiger band that’s aloof on the appropriate ancillary of attenuate to be aberrant after advancing beyond as over-dressed.
It has a coat amber aback and sides, too, with an Indian account Viking bridge. The onboard Fishman electronics accept a two-band EQ and are added than able for gigging. And this is the thing; actuality you’ve got a playable, gig-ready electro-acoustic with for beneath than £300. That’s value.
Italian for “good tone”, and a new anatomy shape
Launch price: £439/$469 | Type: Studio | Top: Solid bandbox | Aback & sides: Pau ferro coat | Neck: Amber | Scale: 25.5” | Fingerboard: Atramentous | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast gold | Electronics: None | Left-handed: No | Finish: Gloss Natural
Great tones, composed and lively
Solid-sitka top and absolute finish
The abalone is overkill
Washburn’s Bella Tono Alternation welcomes the admission of the Chicago giant’s new Studio anatomy shape. It measures a bank four-inches abysmal and sits about amid a admirable concert and amphitheater appearance body. You’ll be addled by aloof how able it feels, and absolutely how aberrant the Elegante feels. There is a lot of abalone about the purfling, on the abundance arena fingerboard, and while that’s not everyone’s bag, solid-wood acme are, and this solid bandbox top is immaculate.
There is pau ferro on the aback and sides, with quartersawn scalloped animating inside, bulging a composed accent with abundance of accuracy in the low-end. The atramentous fretboard and bridge, and cartilage nut and saddles complete a aberrant feel.
A adventurous new-look abreast acoustic with an onboard piezo
Price: £354/$399 | Type: Concert admeasurement | Top: Solid amber | Aback and sides: Amber coat | Neck: Walnut | Fretboard: Walnut | Calibration length: 25” | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Open-gear albino gold | Electronics: Passive piezo | Left-handed: No
Imaginative anatomy and abreast look
A player-first architecture that accommodates all styles
Excellent tonal response
No accent controls for the piezo
Yamaha alien the Storia alternation in 2019 able “designs that arm-twist the accustomed colours of your day.” To that end, we accept got albino gold tuners, brass-topped arch pins, and adorned applique on the bond that absolutely accomplish you admiration what array of day the Yamaha R&D administration has. But we accept to accept that all that albino gold and assumption absolutely does accompaniment the all-mahogany top, aback and sides. It’s a nice abandonment from the light-blonde bandbox and amber template. Heck! The close and fretboard are walnut.
Feel-wise, the Storia II has a super-comfortable avant-garde C-profile that’s absolutely carved with the abreast amateur in mind. There are no accent controls for the under-saddle piezo but that’s no big deal. Adventurous looks, a able bevel-edged anatomy and airy upper-midrange makes the Storia a acute new accession to the affordable acoustic market.
An accomplished entry-level acoustic-electric
Price: £159/$229.99 | Type: Dreadnought cutaway | Top: Bandbox coat | Aback and sides: Amber coat | Neck: Amber | Fretboard: Rosewood | Calibration length: 24.96” | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome die-cast | Electronics: AEQ2T preamp w/onboard tuner | Left-handed: Yes
A admirable account option
At this price, not much
If your account won’t amplitude to 200 bucks but you absolutely would like an acoustic-electric, article from Ibanez’s Achievement Alternation is consistently a solid option. The evocatively blue-blooded PF15ECE (what is it with acoustic nomenclature?) runs with the archetypal dreadnought bandbox coat top, amber coat aback and abandon template, with a affable amber close and rosewood fretboard.
A hardly shortish calibration breadth aloof adds to the accessible feel. The X-bracing helps in bulging a befuddled tone. The Ibanez AEQ2T preamp, with its tuner and two-band EQ is an accomplished assemblage for this price.
Old-school air-conditioned at a bargain price
Price: £159/$229.99 | Type: Dreadnought cutaway | Top: Agathis | Aback and sides: Agathis coat | Neck: Amber | Fretboard: Rosewood | Calibration length: 24.96” | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome die-cast | Electronics: AEQ2T preamp w/Onboard tuner | Left-handed: Yes
It’s a little awakening fun and accomplished value
It’s not the best versatile
For a cheap-as-chips acoustic with abundance of best kudos, the Jim Dandy Flat Top from Gretsch’s Roots Alternation is as acceptable an advantage as any. Based on the archetypal 1930s Rex-era acoustics, aback Rex congenital ‘em and Gretsch alien ‘em, this agathis-bodied Best Sunburst archetypal was formed out at Winter NAMM 2020.
The agathis acclimated for the anatomy is accompanying to ache but is a little added hard-wearing. Tonally, it’s about amid alder and mahogany. While you won’t aberration it for a high-end acoustic, the Jim Dandy is a bunched little 12-fret acoustic with an continued anatomy to advice it activity a accent that belies the amount tag.
Epiphone EJ-200 Coupe Hard…
Alvarez AD60 Artist 60 Series…
Martin LX1E ‘Little Martin’…
ES Go Auto GS Mini B-Stock
Gretsch Jim Dandy Flat Top…
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