Nothing beats playing that tune on an acoustic guitar on a calm day, wouldn’t you agree?
It is relaxing for the mind and soul and helps to take the stress away. Finding the best acoustic guitar, however, is not as simple as it might otherwise appear.
With so many models available on the market, picking the right one for you might turn out to be quite the daunting task.
luckily, we’ve done the hard part for you by spending countless hours testing the different guitar models to bring you our review of the 5 best acoustic guitars under $500.
Without further ado…
Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500 of 2018
5. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar Limited Edition
Seagull S6 limited edition is a very well-constructed guitar and most owners say that it could be mistaken for a much more expensive guitar. The strings are high quality and the gig bag though not a hard shell is well padded to provide optimum protection during storage.
The guitar has a select pressure tested top for durability and features a Tusq nut, double action truss rod and a compensated saddle which provides easy and effective intonation. Seagull S6 also comes with a tampered headstock which allows for a more precise and accurate tuning.
However, the guitar produces a dull sound during certain types of weather and is not ideal for humid conditions. The Seagull S6 produces a softer sound that is not very loud and we also found that it requires regular tuning.
- Durably made guitar
- Simple to tune the guitar
- Good looking guitar
- Is not ideal for humid conditions
- Produces a soft sound
- Requires regular tuning
4. Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar
The Taylor mini is constructed from mahogany on both its back and sides. The neck is thin which allows for a more comfortable grip. A smaller size also makes it simple to play for people with small frames and smaller fingers.
The fact that the neck is short means that there is less buzz which results in a higher quality sound that is clear and crisp. Not to mention how easily portable this small guitar is.
Taylor GS mini features beautifully crafted lines and is a pleasant guitar to look at.
However, we found a few drawbacks with the guitar. Since it has shorter scales, this results in greater string tension which makes fretting chords quite difficult. It does require a bit of setting up and may not be ideal for beginner guitarists.
- Good looking guitar
- Smaller size makes it ideal for people with small frames
- Produces good quality sound
- Shorter scales make fretting a bit hard
3. Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic Guitar
Let’s start with how this guitar is constructed. It features a mahogany body that is very nicely made and is beautiful to look at. The knobs are made from chrome and the neck is black and white. It also comes with a hard-shell case which will keep it safe during storage.
We liked the clear and crisp quality of sound and the good bass. The tuner is simple and effective to use and the guitar is a great choice for left-handed people.
However, there are a few low-quality features that we noticed. First off is the stand. It looks weak and flimsy. The strap is also not very well made even while it will do its job.
- Beautiful and well-made guitar with a mahogany construction
- Comfortable on the hands
- Produces clear and crisp sounds
- The stand is not very strong
- The strap is low quality
2. Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Folk Acoustic Guitar
The Yamaha FG830 produces very loud sounds. It features a solid spruce top, a traditional western body and a back and sides made from rosewood and scalloped bracing. Mini tuners lighten the head top which also improves the sounds and makes it easy to play. The guitar also comes ready to play straight from the box. The guitar case is solid and does well to keep the guitar protected.
The strap is strong and durable and the package also comes with extras. This guitar is nicely made and looks good.
The downside is that the tone sounds a bit high and the guitar is quite light almost like a kid’s guitar. The guitar also needs truss rod adjustments.
- Very beautiful looking guitar
- Easy to play and comfortable on the hands
- Can be played out of the box with little to no setup
- Requires truss rod adjustments
- The sound is a bit high
1. Martin X Series 2015 LX Acoustic Guitar
The Martin X series is a smaller sized guitar that is very comfortable to hold and play. The material construction is high quality and performs well in humid weather. We found the quality of the strings to be just right and the sound is clear and crisp.
This little guitar comes with a gig bag that will protect the instrument in case of a fall ensuring that it is well tucked away when not in use. The design is sleek and stylish but also extremely high quality and can be expected to last a good long while.
On the other hand, the colouring on the neck is not the usual maple that is often found with most martin acoustic guitars. Instead, it features a grey colour which some people may not find attractive.
- Simple to play even for people with large finders
- Small size is comfortable to hold
- High-quality build
- The grey colour of the neck is not very pretty
Whether you are a seasoned guitarist or just starting out, the right acoustic guitar will serve you for a long time to come and brings with it all the benefits that playing the guitar offers to the mind and soul such as deep relaxation, relieving stress all while offering a great way to spend your free time.
What’s more, as you get better with your fingers, you can even entertain your friends around a campfire.
However, getting the right acoustic guitar for you is not the simplest thing to do especially when you consider the many elements that come into play to make the entire guitar.
That is where we come in!
This buyers guide will provide you with everything you need to know to make the best buying choice.
What to look for when buying an acoustic guitar
Even for guitarists who want to graduate to electric guitars, the acoustic guitar offers the best choice for beginners.
One of the reasons why this is the case is thanks to the basic design of the acoustic guitar. The strings are thick which means that once you move on to the electric variety, everything feels so much easier.
And the great thing is your fingers will have gotten stronger by playing the acoustic guitar.
Now, this seems to be the obvious thing that comes to mind when looking to buy an acoustic guitar. A point to note is that while it is easy to go for the cheapest guitar you can find at a music store, often the quality of these cheap models, some which cost less than $100, is really low.
Seasoned guitarists know to stay away from cheap guitars and you should too.
When you make the choice to buy one, even if you are on a budget, try to go for the most expensive model you can afford.
Imagine practising to play on a poor-quality model. Your ears and fingers will get accustomed to poor quality sound and performance while you could achieve so much more with a good quality model.
See what I Mean?
The guitar shops:
Where you actually buy your guitar matters. Again, if you are not careful, your mind might trick you into thinking that the biggest guitar shop you can find is the best.
Well, while there is a large variety of acoustic guitars to choose from, often these huge shops are trying their best to push sales.
The fact that the order in bulk means that some of the models might have been shipped in from colder climates. If you live in a warm climate area, this is bad news since the warm temperature will cause the fretboard to bend or warp which drastically reduces the quality of the guitar.
What you want to do instead is visit a smaller store that specializes in selling quality guitars. Often a lot of care will have been put into stocking the guitars here so it’s highly likely you will find a quality model.
If on the other hand, you choose to buy online, which is a great way to purchase a quality guitar, find a reliable source which provides you with the basic know-how on what to look for, like say, this one!
Reading other customer reviews to find out what their experience was like with a chosen model is often a very good idea.
Perform a physical inspection:
Thoroughly look at the guitar to ensure it is in pristine condition. The first place you need to pay attention to is where the fretboard comes into contact with the body. Ensure there are no gaps and that there are no lumps of glue sticking out.
Everything should be neatly held in place.
Don’t be afraid to check the guitars robustness by shaking it in your hands a little.
Look at the bridge. Are the seams done well around the bridge?
Tap the body gently with the side of the thumb and listen for any rattling. If you notice any rattling, this could be as a result of loose struts inside the guitar.
Then there are the machine heads. They will help tune the guitar just right. Don’t be afraid to turn them to find out whether they are smooth or produce a squeaky sound. Be careful not to turn them too tightly that they snap the strings. The machine heads should feel smooth.
Play a tune:
You do not have to be a professional guitarist to play a tune. In fact, if you are buying your guitar from a physical store, hold it in your hands and run your finger through the strings.
Is the sound pleasing to the ear?
If not, then obviously you will want to choose another. But if it sounds right then it’s time to move on to the next item on the checklist.
Check the Action:
The action is how far the strings are from the fretboard. The further away from the fretboard the strings, the harder it is to play the guitar.
Taking you back to what we said about guitars having a warped fretboard, if it is curved inwards, then this negatively affects the quality of the sound and makes playing very difficult.
The first metal bar on the first board should also have enough clearance with the string. Otherwise, the guitar will produce a more buzzing sound. What you need is a clean and crisp sound.
Get a hard case:
There are two types of cases that you will most commonly find with guitars, a hard case, and a soft case.
The former is the better alternative as it provides more protection to the guitar when stored away. It is also able to keep most of the humidity out thus keeping the guitar in top position.
Soft cases however often feature plenty of cushioning to keep the guitar safe in case of a drop.
When making that all-important buying decision, ensure that you are getting a guitar case with your bargain. See if you will get any other accessories such as a tuner or some picks.
Check the quality of the guitar strap and stand:
The strap of the guitar should be tough enough to last a good long while but should also be comfortable enough to protect your shoulder from the weight of the guitar and arms.
The best quality material for a guitar strap is leather.
Next is the guitar stand.
There are many varieties of guitar stands available on the market. A-Frame stands are simply built and are quite affordable. When collapsed they can also be easily transported with the guitar.
The most popular type of guitar stand is the tubular stand. They provide more stability than A-frame stands.
Wall hanging guitar stands, as the name suggests are designed to hold the guitar near the wall. They save on floor space and help keep the guitar away from danger.
Now that you know everything you need to when buying the best acoustic guitar under $500, go ahead and click on any of the top 5 products above and get yourself a reliable top performing guitar.
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