The Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500 — The Most Value For The Money

When they first came to me, most of my students asked “what acoustic guitar should I get?” Would-be students still ask that, so I thought of making this guide where I can refer them to.

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Below, I discuss the important things to consider when buying a guitar. As you shop around, you’ll see that there’s a lot to choose from and it’s time consuming to consider them all. So if you want a quick suggestion, I recommend the best acoustic guitar under 500 US dollars. Value for the money is important for beginners, and below $500 is where it’s at.

If that price still sound too much, take note that top of the line acoustic guitars actually cost thousands. Thankfully, competition in the 500 bucks range is forcing major brands to lower prices without sacrificing quality. These days, stumbling upon a great acoustic guitar with a reasonable price is not at all impossible.

Things to Look for in Acoustic Guitars Below $500

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Whether you’re searching for your first instrument or for an upgrade, the critical factors you should look at are the same. Unfortunately, stores are packed with acoustic guitars that are priced above their real worth. But fret not — with persistence and thorough research, you’ll stumble upon a guitar that’s like a diamond in the rough.

That’s not to say that you’ll have to dig very deep just to get to that shining shimmering axe. In the $300 to $500 range, there’s a lot of options with admirable craftsmanship, so don’t make do with anything less. Actually, getting a guitar made of nice tonewoods is really possible. In addition, you might even get a nut and saddle made of bone and a bridge and fretboard made of Indian rosewood (plus much more).

Found a great axe around the lower end of the price range, but it has one or two minor flaws? Don’t scratch it off your options list just yet. For example, a nice sounding guitar that requires bridge replacement is actually still a great deal. You shouldn’t ignore options that can gain significant performance improvements by just doing minor adjustments. Veteran guitarists do it most of the time. If you’re a complete novice though, it’s better to buy an acoustic guitar that works well right off the bat.

Now you might ask, “how about used, top of the line models that are sold within the same cost bracket? Unless you really know what you’re looking for, I generally advice against going that route. For novices to practice with, and for artists to perform with, a brand new acoustic guitar is ideal. The risk with used axes is that you’ll never know when it will suddenly break down. You can’t afford that to happen when you least want it to.

Picking “The One”

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Still can’t make up your mind about which acoustic guitar to finally buy? I personally recommend the Seagull S6 Original (shown in the video above) or the Taylor GS Mini. Either of them can be considered as the top acoustic guitar for under $500. And for the money, beginners can’t go wrong with any of the two. 🙂

About Me, Myself and I

If I remember it right, my first ever guitar was below the price of two budget meals and had Disney characters on its top. My second axe had bonafide steel strings, but still, the weird finish and a fake knob on its Stratocaster wannabe body hindered my head banging potential. My first “real” guitar didn’t came until I was around eleven. That’s when my folks realized that my Amy Grant obsession indeed deserved an acoustic guitar as an upcoming birthday surprise. That’s when my music journey finally progressed one note at a time.

Wannabe rockstar

Wannabe rockstar

After finishing high school, I went to northern Germany to further my studies. During my stay in Oldenburg, I began to seriously experiment with fingerstyle guitar and its beautiful complexities. When I got back to the US, I started playing in Southwest university and community venues. While a college student at Penn State, I became a regular performer at university events and nearby bars and coffeehouses. After completing my philosophy degree around 2001, I started to concentrate much more of my energy on my music.

Around May 2002, I went to Provincetown, Massachusetts and performed on the streets and in local clubs and bars. My experience in Provincetown have been so awesome that I kept coming back in the next three summers. I had a blast getting steady gigs during those summers, which included a mix of show hosting and as a headlining performer. Soon thereafter, I was finally considered as a feature acoustic folk-rock musician on Lower Cape Cod. I then moved to Richmond, Virginia to pursue a life immersed in Americana music, with a healthy dose of some folk-rock flavor.

I still play anywhere from coffee shops and clubs, to colleges and community centers. But in addition, I now also teach music on the side, particularly acoustic guitar playing.