Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500 to $1000 (2019 Reviews)

If you have almost $1000 to spend on an acoustic guitar, you are most probably an established musician already. You may even have played a few cheaper guitars before and now you want to take it further and find an instrument that fits your playing style naturally without breaking the bank.

Our roundup will help you do it. Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000, go!

List of 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 1000 USD

For this roundup, we’ve chosen 5 current models of acoustic guitars priced between $500 and $1000, based on the aforementioned criteria.

1. Taylor Guitars GS Mini Reduced Scale Grand Symphony Acoustic Guitar

Similar to Martin Dreadnought Junior in terms of approach, Taylor GS Mini is a smaller-size version of the popular GS model, designed as a parlor guitar.

This, however, seems to be the only similarity between the two. Taylor GS Mini features somewhat shortened 23½ inch scale, solid sitka spruce top with sapele laminate back and sides. The neck is a solid sapele piece with a 20-fret ebony fingerboard. It has a different shape than Martin Dreadnought Junior, more suitable for gigging.

Pros

  • Deep, rich sound with a subdued tone, thanks to the sapele wood. Plays great and sounds just as good in a variety of alternate tunings.
  • Gorgeous looks – again, all thanks to that tonewood mix. Nice low action straight out of the box. This guitar comes with a very well padded gig bag as well, which is good for travelling.
  • Hey, they even have the serial number engraved onto the body – it’s right underneath the sound hole sticker.

Cons

  • Truss rod requires a non-standard socket, which of course can be purchased additionally, but that’s an unwanted hassle. Factory strings are a bit hard on the fingertips, so you may want to consider replacing them.

2. Martin Road Series DRS1 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural

We’ll round things up as we started them – with a trusty Martin! We are looking at the Road Series ad the DRS1 model, which utilizes a sapele spruce top, back, and sides, a sturdy mahogany neck, and a Richlite fingerboard.

True to its dual nature, it also features a Fishman Sonitone preamp with built-in tuner, three-band EQ, and gain controls. The finish is a natural gloss by default.

Pros

  • The DRS1 is a very sleek looking and sounding guitar. It plays effortlessly and the intonation is close to perfection. When amplified, it’s still spot-on.
  • The electronics really help you to enhance the sound in a natural way without compromising the acoustic integrity of the instrument.
  • Yeah, and those gold die-cast tuners are looking simply amazing on the headstock!

Cons

  • Folks tend to point out that the stock pickup isn’t exactly high-end. Therefore, to get the best results you might want to get that thing replaced, but that’s not a major fix in any way.
  • Additionally, if you’re an all-acoustic player that part won’t even bother you.

3. Martin Dreadnought Junior – Natural

Kicking off our list of best acoustic guitars under 1000 dollars, we bring you a trusty Martin. C.F. Martin & Co. has a long history of producing high-end acoustic guitars, and this model might as well be your fine entry into this legendary brand.

It’s called Junior because of the smaller size than the “real” Martin Dreadnought. This guitar features solid Sitka spruce body with Sapele back and sides, Richlite fingerboard and bridge. The hand-rubber body and neck finish also look very promising.

The main compromise here is the size, basically – all the rest is built quite up to Martin’s standards. Dreadnought Junior will give you the legendary sound and looks without breaking your bank.​

Pros

  • It stays in tune perfectly and the neck has perfect width and thickness. The gig bag that it comes with is also a nice addition to the overall great product.
  • And finally, the price/quality ratio – it’s by far the best of all guitars reviewed here.
  • Upon checking this fella out, we found that the guitar has clear and resonant sound due to the solid-wood body. The instrument’s appropriate size makes it ideal for travelling and minor gigging. The 24-inch scale gives Martin Dreadnought Junior a lot of versatility, especially when using a capo.
  • It stays in tune perfectly and the neck has perfect width and thickness. The gig bag that it comes with is also a nice addition to the overall great product.
  • And finally, the price/quality ratio – it’s by far the best of all guitars reviewed here.

Cons

  • The default strings feel as if they’re a little bit heavy – if you want a brighter tone, you may need to swap the original ones for the strings with a lighter gauge, like 10’s extra lights. The action is initially set a bit higher than you may want to, although it’s easily fixed.
  • The gig bag doesn’t have a neck support and generally is not as reliable as you may expect it to be for a “travel” guitar.

4. Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar

Up next on the best acoustic guitars under 1000 dollars list – a Seagull. As the most expensive guitar on the rundown, Seagull Artist Mosaic covers the stylish side of the specter. It’s a solid cedar top guitar with solid mahogany back and sides.

The fingerboard is rosewood, as well as the bridge. The scale is 25.5 inches, which is quite long, compared to the “travel” models of Martin and Taylor. Seagull Artist Mosaic is a strictly acoustic guitar with no ability to plug it into an amplifier.

Pros

  • Very rich and balanced sound which comes from a cedar top body. Wide neck allows for effortless fingerpicking.
  • High build quality, given that these guitars are manufactured in the USA, unlike Martin Dreadnought Junior and Taylor GS Mini-e, which are Mexican-made. Flawless Custom Polish finish.
  • Overall, it’s a very elegant-looking guitar.

Cons

  • The main con is the price, really. It’s not easy to spring for additional $200-300 when choosing between Martin or Taylor and Seagull Artist Mosaic. But if you do find the money, there’s probably nothing else for you to worry about.
  • Another complaint which may sound like nitpicking is that this guitar doesn’t handle heavy strumming well, so try to play gently.

5. Blueridge BR-162 Historic Series 12-fret 000 Guitar

Blueridge BR-162 is all about nostalgia, hence the name. Everything about this guitar speaks vintage, which is not necessarily a bad thing – it all depends on your preferences.

BR-162 features solid Sitka spruce body with East Indian Rosewood for back and sides. Fingerboard is also rosewood, while the neck is carved mahogany. It has only 12 frets with a 25.6-inch long scale.

Pros

  • Blueridge BR-162 is a highly versatile guitar. Due to its combination of 000 body shape, spruce top, and rosewood/mahogany neck, this instrument is capable of producing all kinds of tones, from bass to treble. The bass end is deep and full, while the treble is clear and rounded.
  • For a guitar that small, the sound depth and tone are simply amazing. You can play a wide variety of music genres on this guitar, from country and folk to bluegrass or even jazz. The 12-fret neck is great for fingerpicking and fretting barre chords.
  • Despite being made in China, Blueridge BR-162 actually boasts high quality and has few to zero imperfections in finish, which is a rare thing for Chinese imports.

Cons

  • Apart from wanting this guitar to be a little less pricey, many people would find its clear “folk” appeal a bit confusing. Going out in so many directions leaves Blueridge BR-162 without a signature tone.
  • Also, the 12-fret neck is not a universal solution and there may be some people who will find it somewhat strange and unusual.

List of 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500

Another contributing factor is the growing demand for the affordable acoustic guitars. More and more people are turning to guitars as their hobby, and they would mostly shop in the $300-500 price range.

What it means for us is that these days you have a vast selection of great quality instruments that fall just below the $500 mark. For this money, not only you can get a decent home guitar, but also a reliable instrument for the local gigs and even some recording.

Whether it’s your first-ever acoustic guitar or you’re looking for an upgrade from your current one, 500 dollars is more than enough to satisfy your needs and even get some extra.

Sure, some manufacturers do want to raise the product price above the acceptable level simply because it’s B.C. Rich. However, in this roundup, I will ignore such brands and concentrate mainly on the instruments that offer a good balance between the price, quality, and the brand.

So, without further ado, let me introduce the highlights of today’s program – best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars list, go! We’ll take a quick look at what they are first and then go into an in-depth review of each guitar below.

6. Taylor Guitars Big Baby Taylor, BBT, Natural

Kicking off our best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars list is the mighty Taylor. This guitar is peculiar in so many ways that I don’t even know where to start from, making it a strong contender for the title of best acoustic guitar for the money.

First of all, I don’t believe it’s a guitar at all. It might as well be a con or some social experiment by Taylor (offering great guitars at unbelievably low prices to see how people ready), considering how good this guitar is. Taylor Big Baby is a bigger-size companion of the Baby Taylor. This guitar is indeed a little smaller than a regular guitar (hence the same).

It has a 15/16-scale Dreadnought-style body with a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany neck and Sapele-laminate back and sides. The fretboard is ebony. There’s no need to go on about the overall quality and feel – it’s the real Taylor. Big Baby not only looks great but plays smoothly as well. It sounds nowhere near cheap.

The sound is bright, crisp, and clear, with a very warm, full-bodied tone. Fret buzz is minimal, even on the upper frets. Is there anything not to like about Taylor Big Baby? Unfortunately, yes.

  • First of all, there are no electronics – if you want to go “plugged,” you will have to pay an extra 100 dollars but that will send you over the $500 price range. There are cheaper acoustic guitars with electronics on the market and Taylor should be aware of that.
  • Secondly, it’s the size of the guitar – what some people may consider extremely fitting other people would find disappointing. Big Baby is simply not big enough for those who played full-size guitars before.​

Pros

  • Bright and crisp sound with no fret buzz
  • Excellent price/quality ratio
  • Quality materials, feels very solid

Cons

  • Relatively small for people who are used to play full-sized guitars

Overall, it’s a great guitar for the money asked. I can’t see a better entry- to mid-level acoustic guitar.

7. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

Another anomaly on our list – just like Taylor Big Baby, this guitar is definitely a bang for the buck. Interestingly enough, even the prices are the same.

Seagull S6 Original is a solid Cedar top guitar, which adds a lot of warmth to the sound. Cedar is not the first choice wood for most manufacturers, but it’s definitely worth it. No other wood can produce such a deep, warm tone – you’ve got to hear it to believe it.

The neck is made of silver leaf maple, while the back and sides are wild cherry, which is, again, quite unusual. On top of that, there’s a rosewood fretboard. The semi-gloss finish adds a nice touch to the overall gorgeous look and feel of this guitar.

So, how does Seagull S6 Original sound? Very deep, soft, and warm is the answer. Its sound is much different than that of the other guitars on the list (due to the solid Cedar top), and that’s what I like most about Seagull S6 – this guitar really stands out.

Another great thing is the headstock design – it’s very slim and beautiful. The pain and finish are also near-perfect.

However, for a near $500-guitar, Seagull does not stay in tune as well as you would expect it to. The frets are smaller than on most guitars, which may also be a problem for people with big hands and fingers.

Pros

  • Deep, warm tone (very different from most guitars on the market)
  • Has electronics installed
  • Great design and look

Cons

  • Does not stay in tune that well
  • Small frets

If you want a truly remarkable entry-level acoustic guitar with deep, rich, and warm sound, go after Seagull S6 Original.

8. Blueridge BR-143 Historic Series 000 Guitar

Wait, this guitar is over $500 – why is it even on this list?” you may ask. Hold on a second and I’ll explain why you might want to cough up additional 50 or so dollars to get this guitar. So, up next on our best acoustic guitar in the under 500 dollars list is the Blueridge.

Blueridge BR-143 is a smaller-size sibling of BR-162, one of Blueridge’s flagship guitars. For some reason, I can’t help feeling nostalgic every time I play this guitar. Everything about it speaks vintage – the look, the decoration, and, finally, the sound.

BR-143 features solid Sitka spruce body with choice solid mahogany for the back and sides. The fingerboard is made of East Indian rosewood, and the neck is carved mahogany.

I guess it wouldn’t be a surprise if I said that this guitar is the ultimate folk and country instrument. However, don’t let that fool you – it’s actually much more versatile than that.

The sound of Blueridge BR-143 is the epitome of what an acoustic guitar should sound like – bright, crisp, with just enough highs to make it cry and enough lows to make it resonate through your soul. It’s equally great for strumming and fingerpicking alike.

Are there any flaws to Blueridge BR-143? Well, yes. Unlike Seagull S6 guitars (which are US-made), the fact that this guitar is made in China, which does affect the overall quality a little bit, I have to admit. Also,the nut is a bit wider than on other guitars (1 and ¾ inches wide), which may feel uncomfortable for some players.

Pros

  • Bright and crisp sound, with deep lows and pronounced highs
  • Very versatile, suitable for most music styles

Cons

  • Some minor production and finish flaws
  • Wide nut

If you have an extra $60 to spend on a guitar, I strongly suggest you get Blueridge BR-143 – it’s the most versatile acoustic guitar you’ve played for the money.

9. Yamaha LL6 – Natural

With just a dollar south of a $500 mark, Yamaha LL6 stands proud against it competitors by offering a great quality acoustic-electric guitar at a “musician-friendly price.

Yamaha LL6 is a jumbo-style body guitar. It features solid Engelmann spruce top, rosewood back and sides, and mahogany/rosewood neck. The fretboard is, of course, rosewood.

The overall sound is somewhat huge and massive for an acoustic guitar – it’s very resonant, I have to say. This may have something to deal with the patented A.R.E. (acoustic resonance enhancement) system used in Yamaha LL6 – this nifty thing gives the instrument it big, auditorium-quality sound.

There are some electronics featured as well – Yamaha LL6 has a passive SRT Zero impact pickup (requires external preamp for plugging in) to complement the electric-acoustic side of this guitar.

However, this guitar (just like any other) does not come without flaws. First, you may find it a little hard to do bends and vibratos on this guitar, even with the lighter strings. The action is relatively high, so some people would want to adjust it before playing. Also, Yamaha LL6 is hardly a perfect choice for people with smaller hands due to the neck curve design.

Pros

  • Huge, auditorium-quality sound of jumbo guitar
  • Excellent electronics (A.R.E.)

Cons

  • Action is not perfect, requires adjustment
  • Unusual neck curve, may be unsuitable for people with smaller hands

If you want to sound big even in the small room, go for the Yamaha LL6 at a “musician-friendly price.

10. Alvarez Artist Series AF75 Folk Guitar

And finally, summing up our list of best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars is the Alvarez.

Apart from the hand-selected cedar top, everything else in Alvarez AF75 seems to be made of rosewood. That includes the back, sides, neck, and fretboard.

The 1 ¾ inch nut makes it equally good for strumming and finger style while the fretboard design makes it easy for those with smaller hands to fret chords (especially barre chords). There’s nothing bad to say about the finish and build quality – they seem to have no flaws.

The sound is somewhat generic, though, with no distinct highs or lows – it’s all somewhere in the middle. That’s why I couldn’t rate this guitar as highly as four previous ones – for such price, you would expect something brighter and clearer.

Pros

  • Feels very comfortable when playing, especially for people with smaller hands
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Lacks distinct, pronounced lows and highs

If you’re afraid to invest much in the acoustic instruments, grab an Alvarez Artist Series AF75 – it does the job of a great entry-level guitar quite nicely.

Should You Know Some Features When Buying Acoustic Guitars

When you go from easily affordable guitars, which are below $500 mark, to the next tier, you’ll notice a big leap in build quality and sound. Unlike most electric guitars, acoustic guitars in the $500-1000 price range can give you a very high overall quality.

That includes solid body/neck woods, tuners, and fittings which are all close to premium. Oh, and the looks – some of these guitars are real beauties!

Of course, investing up to $1000 in an acoustic guitar is a big deal, so you might want to take some time while comparing the options.

Here are some of the things you might want to look out for when searching for the best acoustic guitars under 1000 bucks:

1. Shape

acoustic-guitar-body-shapes

Depending on your preferences, you can choose between dreadnought, auditorium/concert, and jumbo body shapes.

Dreadnought is by far the most popular, although there are some other variations possible, such as OO and OOO shapes.

2. Body Wood

best-acoustic-guitars-under-1000-body-wood

On mid-to-high-range guitars, bodies are usually made of Sitka spruce, which is an excellent sound conductor. Some models may also feature less obvious body wood choices such as mahogany, cedar, and koa (a tree originating from Hawaii).

If your guitar body is made of a single piece of wood (most manufacturers do that on their mid to high range models), it’s even better, because this gives your instrument a richer, fuller and colorful sound with a better resonance.​

3. Neck Wood

Two most popular neck/fretboard wood combinations are mahogany/ebony and mahogany/rosewood.

The difference between them is that mahogany neck and ebony fretboard give a punchier, more screamy sound with a bright attack, while the mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard usually result in more relaxed, warm tone with distinctive midrange and thick lows.

Again, some acoustic guitars have a solid neck (made of a single type of wood, e.g. rosewood), which gives an additional depth and resonance, not to mention extra durability.​

4. Finish

The main purpose of finish is to make your guitar look good, it doesn’t really influence the way your instrument sounds.

​There are three basic types of acoustic guitar finishes – high gloss, flat, or satin (somewhere between the first two). It may also be colored or clear, as well as transparent or opaque.

On $500-1000 acoustic guitars you will mostly find natural gloss finish with almost no flaws. The color choice can only be limited by your fantasy and options available from the manufacturer.​

5. Sound/Tone

best-acoustic-guitars-under-1000-tone

This may be the most important factor by far. You should realize that tone, in fact, depends on two things:

  • Materials used for body, neck, sides and top + their quality
  • Build quality.

Generally, within $500-1000 price range you shouldn’t come across any problems with materials and build quality. All you have to figure out is what kind of tone you’re after and choose the appropriate body/neck wood.

If you’re looking for warmer, richer tones, go for the mahogany/rosewood combination. If your goal is bright, clean attack and distinctive punch, pick an instrument with ebony/rosewood neck.​

6. Electronics

By electronics on an acoustic guitar we usually mean built-in tuner, EQ and gain control, as most acoustic guitar nowadays are not strictly acoustic, so to say – they can be plugged in an amp.

What you have to look out for here is that the options are sufficient and you get your basic stuff like tuner and 3-band EQ. All the rest is a matter of style and taste. Go for “less is more” principle, if you don’t want to get caught in the process of constant knob-tweaking instead of actual enjoying the instrument.

Note: So now that we’ve outlined some of the basic things to consider when buying an acoustic guitar in $500-1000 price range, let’s talk about the guitars that might deserve your attention a bit more than the others due to their high quality, durability, looks and money’s worth.​

Conclusion

Of all the beautiful guitars we’ve got the chance to review in this article, the winner is Martin Dreadnought Junior for several reasons. Firstly, it has all the characteristics of a high-end Martin model (sound, look, feel), yet it costs “only” $600, which is an unbeatable price/quality ratio here.

Secondly, it’s build quality is amazing and virtually flawless. And finally, it’s versatile enough for any kind of music and style of playing. Congratulations!

Feel free to take our recommendations into consideration while choosing the best acoustic guitars under 500 to 1000 bucks for yourself, but remember one thing: the only person who knows what’s best for you is you. So, listen to your heart and be sure to try out every guitar before you buy it. Good luck!​

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Natalie Wilson
 

I've been an avid guitar fan for as long as I can remember and the day I embarked on my six-string journey at the young age of 5 truly defined the course of my entire life. I work as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher, and would like to use this blog as a personal outlet to share my six-string knowledge with the world. Welcome to MusicalAdvisors.com

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