Whether you’re a beginner trying to pluck the right notes to “Stairway to heaven”, a seasoned player looking for a mid-priced upgrade, or an enthusiast somewhere in between, you’re going to want a good acoustic guitar that won’t make your audience wish your strings would snap.
There are plenty of acoustic guitars to choose from, and if you’re new to the market let me tell you, you’re going to want to spend at least $250 to avoid strumming lousy-sounding notes of regret. If you’re a long-time pro then a guitar under $1000 is probably not the best choice for you, but for anyone looking for a simple, smooth-playing acoustic guitar that will do just what you need it to do, this list is a great place to start.
Our Top 10 List – Affordable Acoustic Guitars In 2021
- Our Top 10 List – Affordable Acoustic Guitars In 2021
- 1. Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
- 2. Ibanez AW54OPN Artwood Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
- 3. Samick Greg Bennett Design GD100S Acoustic Guitar
- 4. Yamaha Student Series CGS103AII Classical Guitar
- 5. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
- 6. Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar
- 7. Donner DAG-1 Beginner Acoustic Guitar
- 8. Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Electro-Acoustic Guitar
- 9. Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar
- 10. Yamaha C40 GigMaker Classical Acoustic Guitar
1. Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
The Fender FA-115 is possibly the best cheap acoustic guitar that you’ll ever own. Fender has done a great job of getting the most out of a small budget instrument.
The FA-115 has a solid spruce top, which is a considerable part of its appeal. Its top and X bracing are the foundation of its bright, resonant tone and powerful projection. The build is somewhat let down by the basswood back and sides, but it’s a fair trade to get the solid top. Its classic dreadnought body shape adds to that powerful projection and resonant tone.
This model has a 20-fret walnut fingerboard with white dot inlays. Visually, the walnut fingerboard looks fantastic with the sunburst, gloss finish body.
As for playability, the walnut fingerboard feels much better than the laminated hardwood found on many other budget guitars. In fact, other than the basswood back and sides, much of the materials used are better than the typical budget guitar.
For example, the robust modern-style tuners hold tuning even through the liveliest playing.
Whether this is your first guitar or you want a cheap second/travel guitar, the FA-115 is an excellent choice. The sunburst finish looks fantastic, and it comes with a useful bundle that includes a clip-on tuner, a strap, a gig bag, replacement strings, and some Fender guitar picks.
2. Ibanez AW54OPN Artwood Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Ibanez manufactures some of the best affordable acoustic guitars, and we particularly like this one. The AW540PN Artwood Dreadnought is one of the best looking, budget-friendly acoustic guitars you will ever see.
It has a solid mahogany top, which is almost unheard of for such a cheap price tag. The solid top is coupled with mahogany back and sides; mahogany is known to be a very resonant tonewood. What you end up with is a rich, warm tone that can be loud and powerful or as subtle as you like.
The neck is also mahogany, keeping consistency throughout the entire build. It’s a very thin neck for a dreadnought guitar, which makes it a joy to maneuver around. A rosewood fingerboard enhances the playability further and adds to the stunning looks of this guitar.
We should say a little more about the beautiful looks of the AW540PN; it’s absolutely gorgeous and by no means looks like an affordable guitar.
The mahogany has a natural open-pore finish that gives it a vintage feel. That vintage quality gets a little modern design touch from the chrome die-cast tuners that provide fairly consistent intonation. The Ibanez AW540PNN is the best looking and possibly the best built cheap acoustic guitar on the market.
3. Samick Greg Bennett Design GD100S Acoustic Guitar
The GD100S may be a budget-friendly acoustic guitar, but it’s designed for serious players. At first glance, it looks nothing like a typical cheap guitar at all. Small details, like the cutaway headstock, give it a sense of being a more high-end guitar.
The body is a standard dreadnought shape with a solid spruce top. Having a solid spruce top on a cheap guitar is fantastic, but it really is the small details that set the GD100S apart from the others.
For example, the multi-ply white binding that joins the top and the mahogany back and sides. The binding on the body makes it look like a much more expensive guitar. It’s a full-size dreadnought with a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays.
This guitar is reasonably versatile, but it’s aimed mainly at finger pickers. It suits a picking style because it has such a well balanced and articulate sound. Even in the lower range, it doesn’t get muddy whether you are playing complex chords or single-note lines, everything is crystal clear.
It’s said that you should never judge a book by its cover, but in this case, what you see is what you get. The GD100S looks a little bit fancy, and it’s best suited to players who have a little flair in their style.
4. Yamaha Student Series CGS103AII Classical Guitar
One of the best things about Yamaha as a manufacturer is that they make guitars for every player and situation. This classical guitar has a 3/4 length scale, so it’s perfect for new players, young players, or traveling.
The classical body shape has a more defined waist than a dreadnought body, and it’s smaller overall. Yamaha has gone for a spruce top with nato back and sides on this guitar. What that means for the tone is that it delivers a crisp, articulate tone, especially in the high range.
It doesn’t have the same natural sustain as you’d get with a dreadnought or perhaps even different tonewoods.
The short-scale has enough space for 18-frets, which is just two less than full length; so, if you are a beginner to an intermediate player that shouldn’t be a problem. The rosewood fingerboard is well suited to playing fast runs or complicated patterns.
This guitar is perfect for practicing scales and other techniques. It’s so comfortable to play, and if you do want to take it on the road, it’s easy to get around.
5. Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
If you want a sure thing that you know will be a quality yet cheap guitar, Yamaha’s FG series is as safe a bet as any. The Yamaha FG800 is one of the most popular acoustic guitars in the world, and rightly so.
It is the first of the redesigned FG series guitars, offering consistent, reliable performance at an affordable price.
One of the most loved features of the FG800 is the solid spruce top that creates a warm, rich sound that the dreadnought body projects exceptionally well. It also features the newly developed scalloped bracing system that makes the FG800 one of the most robust guitars in its price range, without losing the authentic sound.
The back and sides are made from nato, which has similar tonal qualities as mahogany. The nato wood enhances the warmth that comes from the spruce top.
The neck is also nato with a rosewood fingerboard; the bridge is rosewood, too. As for the hardware, the tuners are die-cast chrome with a modern design. The FG800 has a gloss finish with black binding, making it look as good as it sounds.
6. Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar
This lovely acoustic guitar from Jasmine is all about value for money. It’s right down there in the bargain price range, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a lot to offer.
It’s another dreadnought acoustic guitar with a spruce top. It isn’t the same quality as something like the Yamaha FG800, but it comes at around half the cost. Agathis is used for the back and sides, which is another wood commonly used in cheaper guitars. Continuing with budget woods, the neck is nato with a rosewood fingerboard.
However, the sum of this guitar is definitely worth more than its parts. For a cheap acoustic guitar, it’s fantastically well put together and feels like it will last a long time. Some of that robust stability comes from the advanced X bracing.
The Jasmine S35 delivers a big and bold sound with lots of natural resonance. If you want to be a bit more subtle, it’s not the most articulate guitar, but for the typical singer-songwriter, it’s fantastic. The best part is that you can get it all for under one hundred bucks, so you can’t lose!
7. Donner DAG-1 Beginner Acoustic Guitar
Some manufacturers are better at creating instruments that are suitable for beginners; Donner is one of them. The DAG-1C Beginner acoustic guitar is a no-frills, get the job done, instrument.
Interestingly, it has a mahogany back and sides, rather than something like agathis, which is more common in cheaper guitars. It also has a spruce top and mahogany neck, so straight away, it’s off to a good start in terms of value for money.
Another feature that we are glad to see is the steel tuning heads. At this price, we could have expected plastic, but what you get is much more robust.
While it might not sound like a high-end dreadnought, it does share the standard characteristics. It delivers a warm, vibrant tone that has more than enough volume when you dog in.
If that’s not enough, the included bundle of accessories should be. It comes with a gig bag, a capo, a clip-on tuner, a polishing cloth, and more! The DAG-1C is a full-size dreadnought guitar that’s perfect as a first guitar or for anyone upgrading from a junior (3/4) guitar.
8. Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Electro-Acoustic Guitar
The Fender FA-125CE is the ideal guitar for a busker or open mic performer. It’s a great looking electro-acoustic guitar that is as versatile as it is stylish.
Although this is a dreadnought guitar, it has a cutaway body. So it’s still large, but the cut section makes it easier to play higher up the neck. It comes with a laminated spruce top with laminated basswood back and sides.
These materials are not the most desirable but more than fine for a budget product. The nato neck has the standard Fender C shape slimline profile that is ideal for new players. Rather than rosewood, Fender chose to go with a walnut fingerboard, and it works well for this guitar.
The main selling point for the FA-125CE is its dependability. It produces a warm, resonant tone that is as consistent as any cheap acoustic guitar. The consistency comes from the solid die-cast sealed tuners and classic Viking bridge.
Yamaha’s FA-125CE is a workhorse that will get you through any performance situation. For that reason, it’s still one of the best affordable acoustic guitars out there.
9. Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar
Epiphone sells an awful lot of guitars at the low to mid-budget range. So, when we say the DR-100 is Epiphones best-selling dreadnought acoustic, it’s a big deal!
The back and sides are crafted from dense mahogany that helps the dreadnought shape generate a massive low to mid rumble. It has a spruce top, crafted from select pieces of spruce, to ensure the highest quality.
The brightness of the spruce top is the perfect partner for the resonant mahogany. The combination and quality of the tonewoods give the DR-100 a well-rounded, versatile sound.
The DR-100 is also a very responsive acoustic guitar that reacts well to various styles of playing. The neck is mahogany to match the body with a rosewood fingerboard. The rosewood fingerboard feels luxurious and offers highly articulate notes with natural sustain.
Epiphones premium die-cast tuners provide stability and peace of mind while performing. The tuners are, of course, found on the iconic Epiphone dove wing headstock. This guitar is the only dreadnought that comes with an Epiphone Limited Lifetime Guarantee; if that’s not enough, it also comes with all year round support from Gibson customer service.
10. Yamaha C40 GigMaker Classical Acoustic Guitar
Yamaha offers a few of these all-in-one starter packs for guitarists who want to dive right in. The C40 GigMaker Package is ready to hit the stage straight out of the box – make sure you are in tune first, of course!
The C40 classical guitar utilizes the popular combination of spruce and mahogany, often found in dreadnought guitars. You get the warmth of the mahogany and the brightness of the spruce top without the overbearing power of a dreadnought body shape.
The 19-fret neck is nato with a rosewood fingerboard, which is another tried and tested combination. Everything about the C40, from the tonewood to the body shape, make it feel incredibly playable.
It’s the perfect guitar for someone who is just starting out or someone who wants to develop a technical fingerpicking style.
For the money, it’s difficult to fault Yamaha’s C40, especially when it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Along with the gorgeous classical guitar, the pack includes a gig bag, a digital tuner, and an instructional DVD. Unless you prefer a dreadnought body shape, you can’t go wrong with this guitar pack. It’s Yamaha doing what they do best, making it easy for people to make music!