Surprisingly, at under 500 dollars, there is a wide choice of acoustic guitars to choose from. You’d expect, at this kind of price point, a lot of well-made guitars. And you won’t be disappointed.
The very best acoustic guitars under $500 are good quality instruments capable of producing high-quality sounds.
So, if you’re a beginner, looking to upgrade from your first guitar, or maybe wanting to add another flavor to your collection, there’s plenty to choose from for under $500. But which is the best? That’s what we’re here to find out.
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect acoustic for less than $500 for you…
Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 In 2020 Reviews
1 Yamaha FS850 Solid Top Small Body Acoustic Guitar
Let’s dive in with the Yamaha FS850 acoustic guitar.
Yamaha has a long-established reputation for making some great sounding and affordable guitars. There’s no doubt about it; they make some of the best acoustic guitars below 500 dollars.
The FS range of smaller concert-bodied guitars has been in production for over 50 years. Though in the early years, it was marketed as the FG150 as part of their phenomenally and ever-popular FG range.
The Yamaha FS850 has a scale length of 25 inches, and as a smaller bodied guitar, it’s slightly narrower than its bigger brothers. It measures 4.3 inches at its widest point. The sound aside, its compact size makes it generally more comfortable to play, so a great choice for smaller or younger musicians.
This is an all-solid wood mahogany guitar. It has a Nato neck and a Rosewood fingerboard. For those of you not familiar with Nato, this is an Asian hardwood that shares a lot of similar properties to Mahogany.
The sound the Yamaha FS850 produces is that classic blend of warmth and richness that we’d expect from a Mahogany-bodied guitar. It emits a beautiful blend of punchy mids and full bass. When taken into consideration the small size of the guitar, the bass response is surprisingly powerful.
As you’d expect from Yamaha this is well constructed and nicely finished guitar.
The Yamaha FS850 uses its latest scalloped bracing design to both maintain the guitars’ integrity and enhance its sound. The binding is simple but combines beautifully with the natural, deep rich stained top, the tortoiseshell pickguard, and the abalone soundhole inlay.
It comes with a soft case, strings, guitar strap, picks, and tuner.
- Small and easy to play.
- Warm and rich sound.
- No neck strap button.
- No dot or inlay at the third fret.
2 Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Takamine is another Japanese brand, though the G series guitars are now constructed in either China or Korea. Regardless, Takamine has a strong reputation for building well-made, resilient, and great sounding guitars at an affordable price. In fact, so much so, that Takamine guitars have long been the choice of traveling musicians, who want to leave their beloved high-end Martins, Gibsons, and Taylors safely at home.
The Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar is the first of our guitars on the list to feature the classic dreadnought shape. It has a solid Cedar top and Mahogany back and sides. The neck is also made from mahogany with a rosewood fretboard. The scale length is 25.3 inches.
The combination of a Mahogany body and a solid Cedar top help to create a clear, dark, and warm sound. The Takamine is responsive to quieter playing, which makes it highly suitable for fingerstyle playing.
It has a great feel and playability thanks to its small, smooth satin neck. The necks ‘C’ shaped radius measures only 12 inches. Nice and easy to play for smaller handed guitarists.
Unlike most acoustic guitars, the Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar has a pin-less split saddle. We couldn’t hear any of the claimed superior intonation, but we certainly like the much easier process the pin-less saddles are able to offer.
Suitable for multiple styles of playing, this is a guitar with all the standard features you’d expect from a guitar at this price; synthetic bone nut, chrome die-cast tuners, bridge saddle, and basic Pearloid dot inlays.
The satin finish, pin-less saddle, and lack of a pickguard or soundhole inlays, give the Takamine an overall subtle and understated appearance. This might not be for everyone, but we like it.
- High responsiveness to quieter playing.
- The tonal combination of the Cedar top and Mahogany body.
- Pin-less saddle.
- Action is too high straight out of the box.
- No accessories included.
3 Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar Limited Edition Flat Black
Seagull is a Canadian company that actually manufacture their guitars within Canada. And the Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar is actually hand-built.
This is a dreadnought shaped guitar though it is very slightly smaller. It is built with a solid pressure tested cedar top with locally sourced wild cherry back and sides. Though wild cherry is not a common choice for guitar bodies, the combination of the semi-gloss lacquer finish makes for an amazing looking instrument.
The neck is made from silver leaf maple and matt finished. The fretboard is a rosewood shorter scale measuring 24.8 inches. It has a relatively wide nut of 1.8 inches.
The nut, as well as saddle, are made from tusq. This helps to accentuate its tonal qualities. We’re sure you’ll agree, a step up from the standard kind of plastics you usually find on a nut and saddle at this price point.
These are well made and well-finished guitars, but if black is not your thing, check out the other three color variants. They’re really great options. We love the Tennessee Red. But if you want to see the full beauty of the woods used, then take a look at the natural finish.
The Seagull S6 sounds bright and precise, with high levels of sustain. The bass is not as pronounced as other dreadnought shaped guitars. The mids are well-balanced. The trebles are clear and cut through without being shrill.
Punches above its weight…
Seagull claims that the tapered headstock helps to maintain stable tuning. This is hard to refute as the guitar does indeed stay in tune over extended playing sessions. Along with the tapered headstock, the well-engineered tuners undoubtedly have their part to play in this.
This is a well put together guitar punching above its weight for the cost.
If you like the sound of the S6 and want to find out more, check out our in-depth Seagull S6 review.
- A bright and precise sounding guitar.
- A hand-built guitar.
- Beautiful use of wild cherry and cedar.
- Maintains its tuning.
- Tusq saddle and nut.
- Good action out of the box.
- Low level of bass.
- No neck strap button.
- No accessories.
4 Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Fender is one of the oldest and best-known names in the guitar making business. Founded by Leo Fender in 1946, they have a rich heritage of innovation in design and quality. They are better known for their electric guitars but make some great acoustic guitars too.
So, let’s take a close look at the Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought and see how they got on…
A classic dreadnought shape, the Fender has a 25.3” fretboard and a slimline neck radius of only 12 inches. The slimline neck and the slightly rolled fretboard edges combine well to make this easy and comfortable to play.
This is essentially an all-Mahogany guitar. It has a solid Mahogany top, which is well supported by means of scalloped x-bracing. It has laminate back, sides, and neck with a rosewood fingerboard. For the lefties out there, or those preferring a solid Spruce top, both options are available.
There’s plenty of projection and power in this guitar. Though lacking a little brightness and precision, it has a strong, full bass with a pleasing warmth and richness. Though suitable for playing a large variety of musical genres, this is another good choice for fingerstyle and blues players.
The Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought has a gloss finish. It has a black pickguard and a Pearloid soundhole inlay. It has basic dot-shaped Pearloid inlays on the fretboard and functional chrome-plated tuners. We’re pleased to see it also has a neck strap button.
The guitar comes with a decent bundle of accessories for a guitar of this quality and price. The accessories include; hard case, guitar stand, tuner, strings, picks, and strap.
The Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought deservedly fits into any list of top acoustic guitars under 500 dollars, but in reality, it’s much cheaper than this, much. It’s a lot of guitar for well under 500 dollars and would be a nice first guitar for a beginner.
So, well-done Fender. A nice guitar at a nice price and easily one of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 currently available. Interested? Then please check out our Fender Classic Design CD 60s review.
- Warm and rich sound.
- Good sound projection.
- Easy to play.
- Very affordable.
- It has a neck strap button.
- Good bundle of accessories.
- Lacks some brightness.
- High action out of the box.
5 Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
At under a mere 500 dollars, the big boys of the acoustic world have come out to play.
The Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor is a 15/16 the size of a dreadnought and additionally around half an inch shallower than its big brother. That’s not a great deal, but the fact is it’s still sufficient to have an effect on its sound and playability.
This is a Sitka spruce solid top guitar with X bracing. It has laminate Sapele back and sides. The back and sides are made from a center poplar core, which is sandwiched between Sapele layers. The neck is made from solid Sapele and the fretboard from African ebony. It has a 25.5” fretboard and a nut width of 1 11/16”.
All in all, this is a very well-made guitar…
Why can’t all the best acoustic guitars for $500 be made this well?
The choice of using Sitka spruce for acoustic guitar tops is very popular and for good reason. It’s a light and strong wood. Additionally, and more importantly, together with its weight and strength, it’s frequently chosen for its ability to produce clear and resonating sound.
The sound is crisp, clear, and precise with an excellent mid-range. The sound projection is good though not quite as loud as that of a full-sized dreadnought. The bass response is also less pronounced. This is a very well-balanced sounding acoustic guitar.
It’s also every bit as playable as you’d expect from a Taylor. It’s got smooth frets and smooth fret edges and a narrow neck. Additionally, it’s playable straight out of the box with no adjustment to its action needed.
A highly versatile, great sounding and playable guitar, there’s really not much to dislike here.
Want to find out more? If so, check out our review of the Taylor BBT Big Baby.
- Excellent build quality.
- Crisp, clear, precise, and well-balanced sound.
- Easy to play.
- Easy to transport.
- Great value.
- Lower levels of bass than a full-size guitar.
6 Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar
We have a total of three Taylors in our best acoustic guitars under $500 dollars list. Given their amazing build quality and sound, and at such a reasonable price, it’s hardly surprising. The second on our list, and hopefully without spoiling your next couple of minutes, is undoubtedly going to find yet more love.
This is a small guitar. It has a small-scale length to match of only 23.5 inches. Though the nut width is pretty much standard at 1 11/16. Measuring 18” x 42” x 8,” you’ll have no problems moving this around. It’s definitely a travel-sized guitar.
The Taylor GS Mini Mahogany acoustic guitar has a solid mahogany top with layered back and sides. It has a Sapele neck and an ebony fretboard. As you’d expect with Taylor, this is another nicely put together guitar.
Essentially, a scaled-down version of the ever-popular grand symphony shape, the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany, mimics much of the versatility of the larger guitar. Additionally, the volume and bass it’s able to produce really defies its diminutive size.
The combination of Sapele and Mahogany makes for some tonal warmth and richness, particularly in the mid-range. The Taylor GS Mini Mahogany also has a precision and clarity that we’re accustomed to with Taylor acoustics.
There’s no doubt about it; this would be a great guitar to sit in the mix within a group of musicians.
Superb for younger players…
It’s small body size, narrow neck profile, smooth frets, and fret ends make this easy to play. This would be a nice guitar for anyone with small hands or small in stature. Further, the action from the factory is also nicely set up which makes it playable right out of the box.
It has a lovely matt finish with a simple soundhole and fretboard dot inlays. All of which easily make it one of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500.
No accessories with this one.
If you want to find out more, please check out our in-depth review of the Taylor GS Mini.
- Easy to play.
- Easy to transport.
- A rich and warm sound, particularly in the mids.
- Build quality.
- No case.
- It lacks the projection and bass of larger guitars.
7 Yamaha Fg800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha continues its tradition of making some inexpensive yet good sounding guitars with the Yamaha Fg800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar. This is one of their best-selling guitars and most affordable guitars. In fact, it’s one of the best-selling guitars in the world.
This is a dreadnought shaped guitar. It has a regular 1 11/16” nut width and a 25 9/16” scale length.
A fine collection of woods…
For a surprisingly low price, you still get a solid Sitka spruce top featuring their latest scalloped bracing. The latest bracing is designed to further improve the strength of the guitar and enhance its sound. The back and sides are a combination of Nato and Okume. The neck is made from Nato, and the fretboard is Rosewood.
Okume is a hardwood known for its ability to project sound, and when combined with the FG800’s dreadnought shape, it does a nice job of helping to create loud and resonant sounds.
Listen to the bass end…
At times it can lack clarity, but there’s a warmth and richness to this guitar. It’s bright, without being overly so, and has a good depth to the bass without booming. Also balanced and smooth, the Yamaha FG800 is punching well above its weight in this list, given its entry-level price.
The Yamaha Fg800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar has a simple matt finish together with black binding and pickguard. It is fitted with diecast chrome tuners, which do a decent enough job, and a plastic nut and bridge — all decent and functional enough.
This is a really popular choice of guitar with beginners. Hardly surprising since it offers so much for so little. Find out more in our full Yamaha FG800 Solid Top review.
- Very affordable price.
- Good resonance and projection.
- A balanced sound.
- New, improved scallop bracing.
- No accessories.
- No neck strap button.
- At times lacks clarity.
8 Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
This is the last Taylor on our list, and as you expect, it’s another beautifully put together guitar. For guitars of this quality, it’s surprising to have found three under $500.
This is a Mahogany solid top guitar with layered Sapele back and sides. It has a Sapele neck and an Ebony fretboard. It has a varnish finish to its top and neck with a matte finish to the rest of the body.
Like most Taylor’s, the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar has a bolt-on neck, which is held in place at the 16th fret. So, it’s easy to remove the neck and place the guitar in your bag, should the need arise.
It’s a ¾ sized dreadnought shaped guitar. There’s no doubt about it; this should easily fit in the lap of even the smallest guitarists. The increased curvature to its sides helps to facilitate this further. The scale length is a shortened 23 3/4,” and the neck width is a standard 1 11/16”.
As you’d expect for a ¾ sized guitar, it does lack some lower-end response. However, the bass is still relatively punchy and combines with the mids and trebles to give an overall balanced sound. The mids and trebles are clear and precise. The guitar sounds warm and rich with plenty of projection for a smaller guitar.
The neck is small and feels smooth. The fret ends, and frets are also smooth. The action is nicely adjusted form the factory. These factors, together with its shorter scale length, make it easy to play.
No pickguard, simple fretboard dots, and soundhole inlay, together with the near-invisible binding, and mahogany finish, all make the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar a bit of a plain jane. Still, if you fancy something a bit more bling, you could always go for the Taylor Swift signature model, or maybe pimp it up yourself.
- Excellent playability.
- Well-balanced precise sound.
- Comfortable for smaller players.
- Build quality.
- Easy to transport.
- Lacks some lower-end response.
- Plain jane looks.
9 Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin Acoustic Guitar Natural
It’s great to be able to include a Martin in the list, let alone one at such an affordable price. The Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin has a high-pressure laminate Spruce top with high-pressure laminate Mahogany back and sides. It has a rust stratabond neck and a Birch laminate fretboard.
That really is a lot of laminate and not something you’d expect from Martin. Certainly, when it first came out, there were a few eyebrows raised. But thankfully, despite the spec sheet giving the impression you might be able to buy this at Ikea, it’s a very well-made guitar.
But what about the sound?
Here again, Martin has got it right. For a small ¾ sized guitar, it’s able to offer plenty of volume and projection. There’s the normal warmth and richness you’d expect from a guitar with Mahogany back and sides. The trebles are not as pronounced or as overly bright as with other guitars of a comparable size. What’s more, it has a surprisingly strong depth and bass for such a small guitar.
This is a 23” short scale guitar with a standard 1 11/16 nut width. But, happily, the size of the guitar and the quality of the finish and neck make it easy to play.
More good news is that despite the controversial wood choices, it’s still got some good quality hardware. This includes the tusq saddle and nut and Martin’s own tuners, which do a great job of maintaining stable tuning.
This is a functional go-anywhere guitar. The choice of materials makes it robust. Additionally, the use of laminates means there’s little worry about sudden temperature and humidity changes.
If the natural finish is not for you, then you should check out the black finish. It looks great. Alternatively, you could always take a look at the Ed Sheeran signature model.
We sue you’ll all agree that we can’t all afford the cost of many of Martin’s high-end guitars. However, it’s nice to know, with the Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin; there’s still an option to have one of the big names in our collection.
- It’s a Martin.
- Build quality.
- Good bass response for a small guitar.
- Good projection and volume.
- Easy to play.
- It’s a laminate guitar.
A list with the best acoustic guitar for 500 dollars has to have an Epiphone. So here it is. The Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar. And what a beauty.
This is a full-sized dreadnought guitar based on the iconic Gibson Hummingbird. It has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The neck a slim ‘D’ shaped profile with a 24.75” scale length with a 1.68” nut width. The fingerboard is rosewood fretboard.
Lacks a little in the bottom end…
It has a nice rich tone with good balance in the mids and trebles with ample brightness. However, the bass was a little muted, more than would be expected for a full-sized dreadnought. Despite the lack of bottom end, there’s still plenty of volume and resonance.
This is the only electro-acoustic guitar on the list. The pick-up system is in collaboration with Shadow Germany. The Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar uses its proprietary Shadow NanoFlex pickup system. The preamp controls include the ability to mix treble, bass, EQ, volume, and dynamics.
The 12” slimline neck makes it easy to play, and the Nickel Grover tuners do a great job in keeping it in tune.
Classic Hummingbird looks…
The Hummingbird style Pearloid parallelogram inlays and beautiful pickguard, combined with the faded cherry sunburst finish, make this an amazing looking guitar. Even if you don’t play guitar, with those looks, it’s worth buying just to hang on the wall.
Sadly, the truth is that most of us can’t afford the price of a Gibson Hummingbird. However, an awful lot more of us can afford an Epiphone Hummingbird. For those that are able to compromise over the few differences and of course, the Epiphone name, this is a really great guitar.
- Rockstar/model looks.
- Good volume and resonance.
- 12’ low profile neck.
- Nickel Grover tuners.
- The Shadow NanoFlex pickup system.
- High action out of the box.
- Lacking some bottom end.
Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 Buyer’s Guide
The good news is that there’s plenty of choice when spending 500 dollars on an acoustic guitar.
So, what’s best for you?
Let’s start with size. Size matters. In fact, it might be the most important factor when choosing an acoustic guitar.
Generally speaking, the larger the guitar then, the more volume, resonance, and bottom end bass you’re going to create. The smaller the guitar, then the reverse of this will be the case. With the larger jumbo shaped guitars, it can be a challenge to get trebles to cut through. Conversely, with the ¾ and mini-sized guitar, it can be a challenge to get the bass to cut through.
Manufactures have worked with a good degree of success in recent years to produce ¾ sized guitars that create a more well-balanced sound with punchy bass to tie in with already clear mids and treble.
The impact of celebrity…
The huge popularity of the Little Martin and Baby Taylor range of guitars is a testament to this success. In no small part, both Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have helped to accelerate this growth. We’d have no hesitation in recommending either the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar or the Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin. Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran’s respective choices of ¾ sized guitar.
This size of guitar has proved increasingly popular with singer-songwriters looking for a stand-alone instrument to accompany their voice, without overwhelming it.
Another reason for their popularity is the fact that they are physically easier to transport, and also their reduced size does make them easier to play, particularly for people with smaller frames.
Wood matters. And it plays a key role in determining the tone of the guitar. Though usually different wood combinations are used on all parts of the guitar, and will all have some effect on its sound. The woods used in the body and the top of the guitar will have the greatest tonal impact.
Certain woods have a specific tonal quality…
Mahogany, a wood we’ve seen a lot in our list today, can help to produce warm, rich, and darker sounds. Other hardwoods such as Nato and Okule have similar qualities.
Spruce is a frequently used wood for the tops of guitars. It produces a very clear and resonating sound.
Sapele, another popular hardwood, produces a more balanced sound. It has a slightly brighter sound than Mahogany, with more top-end, making it a nice choice for a wide range of musical genres.
There are, of course, plenty of other woods used in guitar building, but these are the most common woods in the guitars we’ve looked at today.
We particularly like the tonal combination of Sapele back and sides with a spruce top. So, for this reason, the Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar gets our top pick for its use of wood.
Though traditional origins of manufacture still dominate at the high end of the market, most of the guitars we’ve looked at today have been made on the far east. However, these days, in the middle, and at the more affordable end of the market, the quality of guitar manufacturing has never been higher. And, this is very much the case for all of the guitars we’ve looked at today, which are predominantly made in Asia.
The quality of the guitar manufacturing, which will obviously include the quality of materials used, will definitely have an impact on both its playability and tone. Whilst we genuinely applaud the quality of far eastern guitars, we feel that the quality of the only hand-built guitar on our list, the Seagull S6, is worthy of recognition.
The Seagull S6 is indeed a very well made and beautiful guitar.
Looking for even more choices?
So, What’s The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500?
Despite there being plenty of choice for guitars at around the $500 mark, our top pick has been an easy choice. The clear standout is the…
Here’s a guitar that is easy to play and well put together. It sounds amazing too. Also, it has the typical clarity and precision that we’d more normally expect from a more expensive guitar in the Taylor range.
This is a well-rounded and versatile guitar.
It’s a fantastic choice, but if it’s not THE one for you, we do hope you find the right guitar for your style.