The first-ever guitar can make or break the dreams of an aspiring musician. The right instrument can make playing enjoyable by staying in tune throughout the practice, or you risk that it becomes frustrating. It must also be rugged, and it needs to sound great.
All at a more than affordable entry-level price point. With this in mind, finding a guitar that fits the bill is far from easy, and that’s where our guide comes in. So, if you want the thrills of owning your first guitar to be something you’ll never forget, check out our recommended acoustic guitars for beginners below…
Our Top 10 List – Beginner Acoustic Guitars In 2021
- Our Top 10 List – Beginner Acoustic Guitars In 2021
- 1. Yamaha JR1 Steel Strung Acoustic Guitar
- 2. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar
- 3. Yamaha Fg830 Solid Top Folk Guitar
- 4. Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar
- 5. Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
- 6. Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
- 7. Taylor Academy 12e Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- 8. Donner DAG-1C Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
- 9. Ibanez 6 String Acoustic Guitar
- 10. Alvarez Artist Series AD30 Dreadnought Guitar
1. Yamaha JR1 Steel Strung Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha is one of the most prolific manufacturers of musical instruments in the world. They make guitars for all levels, so they are an ideal brand to help you develop as a musician.
First up, we are looking at the Yamaha JR1 3/4 size acoustic guitar. Being a 3/4 size makes it ideal for younger players to get grips with the physicality of the guitar. But it’s not just for youngsters; it makes a fantastic travel guitar for players of all ages and sizes to practice anywhere.
The JR1 has a familiar look because it’s modeled on Yamaha’s successful FG series guitars. It has a spruce top with meranti back and sides that deliver plenty of natural resonance despite the small size.
Even when you start to play more complex chords, the tone is clean and crisp. The volume and projection you get from the JR1 is something that will surprise a lot of people. Both the bridge and fingerboard are rosewood, and the neck is slim enough for young beginners to reach around easily.
The Yamaha JR1 comes with a fantastic bundle, including a gig bag, spare strings, a string winder, and some picks. All you need to start practicing!
2. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar
The Seagull S6 Original has been around for some time now, and it’s still going strong. The foundation of this longevity is that the man behind Seagull is none other than Robert Godin. Seagull offers some of the beautiful sound and craftmanship of a Godin guitar at a more affordable price.
The S6 Original has a pressure-tested cedar top with a silver leaf maple neck. The back and sides are both Canadian wild cherry, something not found on many guitars.
Much of the S6 Original’s appeal is the high-quality and unusual tonewoods used in construction. The combination of the selected woods and the classic dreadnought body shape provide a sound that goes beyond its price tag. That typical Godin-like crisp midrange and tight bottom end are evident with the S6.
It’s a lovely guitar to play, too, and is very comfortable. The rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlays is very smooth under your fingers. Another thing that’s worth saying is that the tonewoods don’t just look and sound pretty, they are incredibly durable; which is always good news for beginners.
If there’s any downside, it might be that the bright, crisp sound doesn’t leave many places to hide when you make mistakes. However, the worst thing you can do when you are learning is muddy your sound to mask mistakes. With all these qualities, the S6 Original can stay with you from beginner to pro, no problem.
3. Yamaha Fg830 Solid Top Folk Guitar
Yamaha developed its FG800 series instruments to blend the latest technology with the characteristics of the original FG range. The FG830 is a prime example, sporting Yamaha’s redesigned scalloped X bracing. The new X bracing system not only improves volume and tone, but it also makes the guitar much more robust and improves intonation, too.
This dreadnought acoustic has a solid spruce top with rosewood back and sides. Those woods are used together to create quite a heavy yet bright sound.
It’s heavy in the sense that the projection is very powerful when you want it to be. It doesn’t have the lows that a dedicated blues player might want, but it has all the midrange clarity and sparkling highs that any aspiring singer-songwriter needs.
In terms of playability, it’s as comfortable for a beginner as any dreadnought. Yamaha has made sure that the nato neck and rosewood fingerboard are slick and playable for all levels. The build quality is typical of any Yamaha FG acoustic guitar; it’s built to last and won’t fall apart at the first bump or ding.
Yamaha’s die-cast tuners also showcase the build quality and hold tune very well. The FG830 acoustic guitar is a solid choice, whether it’s your first guitar or an upgrade.
4. Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar
Fender might be the most universally known brand in the guitar industry. The reason they have earned such a reputation is that they are innovators and not followers.
While the FA-115 was never intended to take the guitar world by storm, it does offer an alternative to the average beginner acoustic guitar. It comes with a solid spruce top, which is very uncommon in such a cheap guitar.
So, Fender took a bit of a gamble there because it means cutbacks in other areas. The cuts come in the form of basswood back and sides, with a laminated hardwood fingerboard.
What that means for the performance is that you get some of the classic dreadnought characteristics, but not all. The solid spruce top and dreadnought body do give you the brightness and loudness, so that’s a positive. But, the basswood does lack some clarity in the low midrange. Then there’s the way it feels; the laminated hardwood fingerboard isn’t great, there’s no way to dress that up.
Here’s the catch, this acoustic guitar comes at a bargain-basement price. So, is the solid spruce top worth the cutbacks? Yes, we think so. The Fender FA-115 won’t stay with you when you get to intermediate level and beyond, but it’s a fantastic beginner option. It even comes in a bundle with a gig bag, tuner, strings, a strap, and an Austin Bazaar instructional DVD, so you can hit the ground running.
5. Fender CD-60S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
The CD-60 is one of Fender’s most popular acoustic guitars ever. That popularity made them revise the line to include this solid top version that we are featuring.
This redesigned CD-60 offers upgraded features at a reasonable price. As well as the solid spruce top, the CD-60S features mahogany back and sides. Overall, it delivers a full-bodied tone with ample projection.
Projection is boosted thanks to the quartersawn scalloped bracing that helps push more air while you play. The mahogany isn’t quite as bright as some other tonewoods, but that’s not a negative. After all, that’s what gives this guitar a fuller sound.
Another new feature is the “Easy-to-Play” mahogany slimline neck shape, which is perfect for beginners. The new neck shape is complimented well by a rosewood fingerboard with rolled fretboard edges. It’s very much a professional guitar that is built with beginners in mind.
There are a few bundle options available with this, one of which comes with a tour-ready hard case. The bundle also includes a clip-on tuner, a strap, polishing cloth, extra strings, and instructional DVD. Basically, it has everything you need to make your guitar sound good, look good, and stay in good condition.
6. Bristol BD-16 Dreadnaught Acoustic Guitar
The idea behind the Bristol BD-16 dreadnought acoustic guitar is to bring the traditional sound of the mountains and high-quality construction to an entry-level guitar.
The foundation of the quality construction is the parabolic shaped X bracing. This tradition style X bracing adds strength to the body while increasing the projection of the guitar.
Building on that strength, Blueridge opted for a spruce top with mahogany back and sides. The familiar combination of these tonewoods is ideal for a classic dreadnought acoustic guitar.
The BD-16 lends itself to a full, rich tone that is clear right through the ranges. It comes with the standard 20 frets on a rosewood fingerboard that looks and feels great. The neck is also mahogany, like the body, and its slim design is playable even for smaller hands.
The mahogany neck features an adjustable truss rod to maintain perfect alignment at all times. Small details show Bluerisge’s intentions to set high standards, like the modern sealed-gear tuners. It’s capped off with a natural high gloss finish, so it looks as good as it feels.
7. Taylor Academy 12e Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar
A Taylor acoustic guitar is something that every guitarist wants. Taylor’s Academy Series makes the legendary playing experience available in an affordable package.
The most apparent differences between this guitar and most on our list are the body shape and that it’s an electro-acoustic.
The 12e has a grand concert body shape, which is smaller than the standard dreadnought shape. This shape is loved by classical guitarists or players who are generally more into fingerpicking than strumming. The body features an ergonomic armrest that enhances the player’s comfort. It doesn’t stop here; Taylor’s patented slim-profile neck has a slightly shorter 24-7/8 inch scale and a very low action to suit beginners.
The top wood is Sitka spruce, known to produce a broad dynamic range. As for the back and sides, it’s layered Sapele, which is both light and durable. Taylor seems to have found the right blend of affordable and versatile materials.
Now, the electronics; the 12e houses an ES-B (Expression System) pickup and onboard preamp that has a built-in chromatic tuner. The preamp unit has an LED display for tuning and to show when battery life is low.
Despite being more expensive than the average beginner guitar, the Taylor Academy 12e bridges the gap between entry-level and professional.
8. Donner DAG-1C Acoustic Guitar For Beginners
The Donner DAG-1C is everything that a beginner acoustic guitar should be. It comes with all the necessary accessories to get you started, and it’s cheap – job done!
It’s a full-size dreadnought, but this time we have a cutaway body. Donner has gone for the tried and trusted combination of a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The result is a rich, bright sound that is more vibrant than you’d expect from such a cheap acoustic guitar.
It comes with a C-shape mahogany neck that should be comfortable for most players. The DAG-1C also has die-cast steel tuners that, again, surpass expectations for a guitar of this price.
Donner is all about value for money, and with this guitar, you’ll get a whole list of accessories. Including, a gig bag, a strap, a capo, Donner’s DT-2 tuner, a polishing cloth, and four guitar picks; everything you could need as a beginner.
9. Ibanez 6 String Acoustic Guitar
Ibanez guitars are often known as much for their good looks as they are for their sound. The JamPack guitar bundles with some useful accessories.
The tonewoods used here are a little different. Ibanez has gone for the popular spruce top, but it has to be said; this guitar is more function over quality. Meaning that it’s built to do a job and keep the price low; it doesn’t aim much higher than that. As cynical as that sounds, it’s not all bad, because this is a starter pack, and that’s how it should be judged.
The overall tone isn’t as bright as you would get with a mahogany body, though it does have natural sustain, and it projects well. The neck is made from nyatoh with a nandu wood fretboard. Standard white dot inlays mark the fretboard, and despite the cheaper wood, the fretboard feels nice and smooth.
Now that we’ve gone through the negatives, let’s talk about why this could be the best acoustic guitar for beginners. As we said, it’s built for that specific purpose, so it’s incredibly comfortable to play. It feels good, it looks lovely, it sounds good enough, and it’s from a reputable brand. For such a low price, you can’t ask for more.
10. Alvarez Artist Series AD30 Dreadnought Guitar
Wrapping up our list is another classic dreadnought style acoustic guitar, this time from Alvarez. The Artist Series AD30 highlights why Alvarez has been making guitars for over 50 years!
The AD30 has one of the best solid Sitka spruce tops that you will ever find on a budget guitar. It’s also one of the most naturally resonant entry-level guitars, thanks to the mahogany back and sides along with the FST2 X bracing.
To stay consistent with the body, Alvarez has chosen to go with a mahogany neck with a richlite fingerboard. If you aren’t familiar with richlite, it has very similar qualities to ebony. In terms of build quality, the AD30 ticks all of the boxes.
The sound has plenty of natural sustain, with a tight midrange, and articulate high-end. It’s got you covered for strumming away or fingerpicking as you learn more techniques. The high-quality build is sealed with a 50/50 satin/gloss finish that provides extra durability and looks fantastic.
In our opinion, the AD30 is one of the best-built and most versatile beginner acoustic guitars on the market.