Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars: These Affordable Options are still Worth Your Money

Maybe you’re hoping to pick up a new skill to entertain yourself at home during social distancing measures. Perhaps you’re an experienced musician ready to add to your collection, but don’t have a lot of extra income right now.

Whatever your reason, this list will help you find the best cheap acoustic guitar for you. You’ll learn what to look for and which characteristics matter most.

Scroll on to find your new, best acoustic guitar under $200.

Buying Guide – How to Choose a Budget Acoustic Guitar

There’s a lot that goes into choosing the best acoustic guitar for you. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the instrument. Here’s a list of important considerations for selecting an inexpensive acoustic guitar.

Pay attention to the type of wood.

The material used to construct your guitar affects its sound, durability, and lifespan.

If your chosen model is cheap, but continuously breaks, then you will have to purchase more repeatedly. This process doesn’t save you any money in the long run. Similarly, if you choose an instrument with a harsh tone, then you’ll have to upgrade sooner than if you purchased a guitar that sounded great initially.

Wooden guitars develop their sound as they age. They also tend towards more vibrant, robust sounds from the beginning. Frankly, these guitars look better (1).

Most lower-cost instruments have laminated wood on part or all of the body. Their sounds never change throughout the lifespan of the guitar. Try to choose a setup with as little laminate as possible.

Best Cheap Acoustic Guitar

Size and body shape matter.

The size and body type of your guitar can make or break your learning experience. However, there is no one best setup. The ideal guitar is the one that fits your hands, body, and playing style.

Most acoustic guitars have either a single or double cutaway design. This extra space allows the player to reach the upper frets more efficiently (2).

Similarly, the overall size of the guitar depends on you. Consider the size of your hands, the length of your arms, and the sound you’re hoping to achieve. Typically, bigger guitars have a deeper tone and more projection. However, they are uncomfortable for some players.

Ultimately, your preferences matter most.

Often, people buying a guitar get caught up in finding the absolute best instrument they can afford. Then, it ends up not matching their playing style or sound preferences (3).

Even if you’re just learning, think about the type of music you hope to play and where you plan to play it. Would you prefer an acoustic guitar? Or would an acoustic-electric model suit you better?

Related: Acoustic-electric vs Acoustic vs Electric Guitar

Best Acoustic Guitars of 2020 – The Reviews

Best Choice Products 41in Full Size Beginner Acoustic Cutaway Guitar

Best Choice Products 41in Full Size Beginner Acoustic Cutaway Guitar
Best Choice Products 41in Full Size Beginner Acoustic Cutaway Guitar close up image
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Dreadnought
  • Timber used: Plywood
  • Brand: Best Choice Products
  • Extras included: neck strap, capo, digital tuner, polishing cloth, guitar picks, and steel strings

The Best Choice full-size acoustic is a quality guitar that both beginners and advanced players will enjoy. This model is the best inexpensive acoustic guitar available on the market.

Many budget instruments sound cheap. Not this guitar! It has a rich, full sound.

The steel strings might be hard on beginner’s hands. However, they are durable. Your hands will adjust, or you can restring the guitar with softer cords. This instrument is a great deal, even if you need to purchase another set of comfortable strings.

Often, beginner guitars are small and intended for children. This model is slightly bigger than average. This size creates room for adult fingers to avoid unnecessary frustration while learning chords and transitions.

Additionally, this guitar comes with everything you need to get started. Other guitars require you to spend the extra money and purchase these items separately.

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar

Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar full set
Fender FA-115 Acoustic Guitar close up image
  • Type of guitar: Unknown
  • Build: Dreadnought
  • Timber used: Rosewood bridge with a compensated synthetic bone saddle and laminated spruce top
  • Brand: Fender
  • Extras included: tuner, strings, case, picks, strap

Brands matter when purchasing an instrument. When it has a name you recognize, you expect a quality that you can trust. The FA-115 lives up to your high expectations of a Fender guitar.

Other brands sacrifice appearance to keep the cost affordable. Here, Fender combines spruce and rosewood to make the guitar’s exterior pop. It pairs the looks of an expensive music maker with a more affordable cost.

This package comes complete with everything you’ll need to master the instrument. You’ll even have a soft travel case and strap to protect your investment.

The only thing you may have to buy is a capo for changing keys. Some people purchase different strings to alter the sound of the guitar or make it more comfortable to play. However, this choice comes down to personal preference and is not necessary. Most beginner players or listeners without formal music education won’t know the difference.

A bonus in this package is the instructional DVD. Even though the production value isn’t great, the lessons are helpful. With a set education plan, you’ll learn faster than figuring it all out as you go.

Donner 36” Dreadnought Acoustic 3/4 Size Beginner Guitar

Donner 36 Dreadnought Acoustic 3-4 Size Beginner Guitar
Donner 36 Dreadnought Acoustic 3-4 Size Beginner Guitar close up
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Dreadnought
  • Timber used: Combination of AAA African Mahogany and Spruce
  • Brand: Donner
  • Extras included: Case, strap, capo, tuner, picks, polishing cloth

Some learners need a smaller guitar. For children or those with smaller hands, a standard size makes it a challenge to reach across the neck. Consequently, it becomes frustrating to master chords.

This 3/4 size guitar reduces the reach necessary to make the instrument sing. This design shrinks the distances both across the neck and between frets. As a result, mastery becomes much more achievable. With the right setup, the guitar is an instrument anyone can pick up.

To further aid learning, there are marks at key fret positions. Specifically, you’ll know at a glance which is the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, or 17th fret along the guitar’s neck. This notation prevents the need for counting and reduces the number of missed notes.

Donner prides itself on the quality of its products. Every design comes informed with years of experience from both making and playing the instrument. The intention shows in the rich, full sound of this guitar.

Each Donner 3/4 size beginner instrument comes with a package of necessary tools to sweeten the deal. In the box, you’ll find a carrying case, strap for secure playing, a capo to change the tuning key, a clip-on digital tuner, guitar picks, and a polishing cloth. You won’t have to spend any extra money until you know your unique style and preferences.

Jasmine S35

Jasmine S35 full image
Jasmine S35 close up image
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Dreadnought
  • Timber used: Spruce top, laminated Nato back and sides, Rosewood fretboard
  • Brand: Jasmine
  • Extras included: None

Many discount guitar sellers focus on how many items they include in your box. They add value through extra picks or sets of strings instead of the instrument itself.

Jasmine, instead, puts their complete attention to detail into the guitar. The result is a product that looks great and sounds even better. They don’t need to woo you with a cheap tuner or instruction book. This guitar is worth your investment on its own.

The entire body has a smooth, satin finish. This styling not only makes it look like a more expensive acoustic guitar model but also gives it optimum sound quality.

Additionally, the Spruce top and laminated back and sides work together to give the Jasmine S35 an impressive, full sound. This guitar has a deep tone that you don’t find in many beginner or budget-friendly instruments.

The perks don’t stop with the sound. Jasmine also managed to create an affordable guitar that is fun to play. The neck is smooth and comfortable.

Furthermore, the strap attachment rests in an atypical location that balances the instrument better than the traditional spot. This original design feature makes the playing experience more comfortable overall.

The overall scale length is 25 1/2 inches, slightly smaller than most full-size guitars. It also has a slim neck design that makes it easier to reach the finger positions. These elements combine to create an accommodating instrument for musicians of all sizes and skill levels.

If you’re looking for a guitar that will grow with you and that doesn’t come with unnecessary bells and whistles, then this is the choice for you. The durability and sound are unmatched by any other guitar on this list.

Best Choice Products 38in Beginner Acoustic Guitar

Best Choice Products 38in Beginner Acoustic Guitar
Best Choice Products 38in Beginner Acoustic Guitar close up image
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Dreadnought
  • Timber used: A combination of Sapele, Spruce, and Rosewood
  • Brand: Best Choice Products
  • Extras included: Tuning tools, picks, strings, case, strap

Often, children are the ones learning an instrument. That’s why many entry-level options are smaller in size. Manufacturers assume anyone new hasn’t yet hit their growth spurt.

However, when you’re an adult picking up a new skill, a tiny guitar that doesn’t fit your hands is just as frustrating as if you couldn’t reach. Best Choice Products recognizes this and produced the perfect acoustic guitar for adult beginners.

This model is 38 inches long. You have plenty of room to squish your fingers between the frets as you make new chords. With this, you can focus on learning proper technique instead of fudging it to make the right sound.

The goods don’t stop there. Everything you need to get started comes packaged with this great-sounding, easy-to-play guitar. You’ll receive the following: a soft carrying case, a digital tuner and pitch pipe, extra strings, picks, and a strap. This set proves that you don’t have to spend tons of money to learn how to play guitar.

The Best Choice Products 38 inch is not only a guitar for beginners. It has a look and sound that players of all levels will appreciate. The entirely wooden body lets out a bright sound. There are no muted or dull overtones like other cheap guitars.

Your style as a musician includes both how you sound and how you look. With this guitar, you can choose from a variety of colors, including bright blue or pink, if you’re ready to stand out.

Gretsch Guitars Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic

Gretsch Guitars Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic full image
Gretsch Guitars Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic close up
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Flat Top
  • Timber used: Laminated Agathis
  • Brand: Gretsch Guitars
  • Extras included: None

Most budget guitars look identical. The color or finish may vary, but that’s it. As a result, they sound similar as well.

The Jim Dandy Flat Top Acoustic by Gretsch Guitars is a budget instrument with a truly unique style. They have made it so that you can branch out to a different type of guitar without forking over lots of cash. You can try this design to see if that’s the direction you want to take with your playing.

Parlor guitars were popular in the United States between 1930 and 1950. These small guitars have a quieter sound and are typically easy to play. The tone of a parlor instrument stands out when compared with other, more common guitars.

This specific design carries a warm, light sound. The chords balance the bass and treble well. You won’t have the lower drone that some guitars put out while you play.

The case and accessories may be purchased separately. You don’t get an entire starter kit with this instrument. The manufacturer lures you with a beautiful, great-sounding guitar that doesn’t need extra gimmicks or freebees.

For a guitar that fits your budget without sounding like everyone else, consider this instrument. Its resonating sound, gorgeous exterior, and playing comfort make it an enjoyable choice for seasoned players and newbies alike. Particularly if you plan to write songs or perform at open mic settings, the quieter sound and memorable appearance will help your performance shine through the rest of the crowd.

Yamaha Fd01S Solid Top

Yamaha Fd01S Solid Top
Yamaha Fd01S Solid Top close up
  • Type of guitar: Cutaway
  • Build: Solid Top
  • Timber used: Solid spruce top with Eastern Mahogany back & sides
  • Brand: Yamaha
  • Extras included: None

You’re not a beginner just because you’re looking for an instrument that fits your budget. You shouldn’t have to choose between your playing preferences and the guitar you can afford. Similarly, as a guitarist with experience, you don’t want your performances held back by a setup with subpar sound quality.

Intermediate-to-advanced players who want an affordable guitar should consider the Yamaha Fd01s solid top. It creates the opportunity to grow and progress in your playing without putting you into debt. You can spend less than $200 and play an appropriate instrument for your skill level.

This guitar is not recommended for beginners. It requires some setup before being ready to play. If you’ve committed to learning on a guitar you can grow into, then contact a local repair shop to complete the initial work for you.

This Yamaha instrument comes highly regarded for its ability to project and cut through a venue. When you’re playing for larger crowds or in bigger spaces, this ability is vital.

Yamaha is a brand name most people know. The manufacturer ensures that you remain satisfied by offering a lifetime warranty. If anything happens to the guitar, it will be either fixed or replaced. They stand by the quality of their instruments.

There is an optional “Gigmaker Deluxe” package option that comes with everything a new player might need. It includes a case, extra strings, a chord chart, instructional DVD, tuner, and more. Even if you don’t choose this addition, consider purchasing a carrying case for transporting your guitar.

The Verdict – Which Budget Guitar Should You Choose?

It’s essential to look at the bigger picture when picking the best affordable acoustic guitar on the market. You need the instrument and vital accessories to work well and match your budget. It’s not enough to buy the guitar and nothing more.

You want the Best Choice Products 41in Full Size Beginner Acoustic Cutaway Guitar.

It has a rich, quality sound that pleases experienced and new players alike. The size works for both adults and children. This guitar is one that will grow with you while you progress and grow as a musician.

Plus, it comes with everything you need to play, including extra strings and a case.

FAQ

Yes! Thanks to advances in computer cutting and manufacturing, cheap guitars are not necessarily low-quality instruments (4).

This combination of manufacturer automation and precision technology reduces the labor costs involved in creating a guitar. Therefore, it brings down the price.

Keep in mind, more expensive guitars will have higher quality and more desirable components. These elements, like the type of wood or strings, can positively affect the sound. So if your budget for an acoustic guitar is around $300, consider these guitars instead.

Most players expect to spend between $100 and $200 on their first guitar. However, many quality guitars on this list sell for even less than that.

You’ll want to choose an instrument that will stay in tune and be enjoyable to play. If it meets those criteria and is comfortable for your stature, then you’ve got the perfect first guitar for you. Or if you’d like to skip the starter guitars, you can also learn more about mid-range acoustic guitars here.

  1. Gill, C. (2019, September 2). How to buy a great acoustic guitar for beginners – a guide for first-time buyers. Retrieved from https://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation/acoustic-nation-how-buy-acoustic-guitar-guide-first-time-buyer
  2. Sweetwater. (n.d.). What to Look for in an Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved from https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/acoustic-guitar-buying-guide/#look_for
  3. Musician’s Friend. (2020, February 11.). Choosing an Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved from https://www.musiciansfriend.com/thehub/choosing-an-acoustic-guitar#preference
  4. Guitartricks.com. (2012, June 7). Cheap vs. expensive guitars: four common misconceptions. Retrieved from https://www.guitartricks.com/forum/thread.php?t=37083
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