Some guitar players love to explore the ins and outs of every instrument they come across. They pore over lists of guitar specs, compare price points, discuss their favorite makers, and so forth. Others just want to buy an instrument and get on with it.
I respect both types of guitarists, and I’ve tried to satisfy both in this post to a certain extent. Gear buffs will find some of the specs they’re looking for along with a healthy amount of discussion, while gear-averse folks will find some simplicity and clarity.
You should know in advance that all the guitars on this list have a good reputation in the community. You won’t find a brilliant dark horse here, but you’re also not risking your money on a sketchy guitar. All are budget-friendly as promised, with prices ranging from $99-$229 (at the time of writing).
So without further delay, here are the 5 best budget acoustic guitars for beginners!
The Yamaha FG800 is a popular choice for beginner guitar players, and for good reason. First off, the Yamaha FG line has been around since 1966, and it’s always been a major player in the beginner guitar market.
You’ll recognize this as a dreadnought-style guitar. This means it has a classic acoustic guitar shape that’s large, rounded out, and best suited for strumming and accompanying singers. The Yamaha FG800’s large body facilitates its powerful tone, however it may not be the best choice for fingerstyle players, as the strings are placed fairly close together.
Surprisingly at this price point, the FG800 actually has a solid spruce top. Normally you’d expect budget guitars to all have cheaper laminate tops, but this guitar really packs a tonal punch without breaking your wallet.
If you’re just starting out as a guitar player and you feel overwhelmed with all the options, I’d say go for this one. You definitely won’t go wrong. Think of the FG800 as one of the most established starting guitars in the field. It’s efficiently built, it sounds great, and you’ll probably look good playing it too. You can find your own right here or by clicking below:
Like the FG800 above, the Fender FA-115 stands out for being a budget guitar that’s built well, looks good, and sounds even better. Many folks including myself are impressed with the FA-115’s gorgeous voice.
You get a classic dreadnought shape here. The FA-115 should feel comfortable for most new players, who can focus on their playing right from the start. If you’re looking for a big strumming sound without a lot of effort, then you’re basically a perfect candidate for the FA-115.
Another awesome thing is that this guitar comes with a bunch of helpful accessories: for less than $200 (in addition to the guitar itself), you get access to Fender Play online lessons, the Austin Bazaar instructional DVD (perfect for beginners), a guitar strap, an extra set of strings, a clip-on tuner, a gig bag, and some extra picks. That’s a next-level deal.
Finally, I’ll mention that you actually have some options on how this guitar will look. If you check out the listing, you’ll notice that you can choose from a natural finish, a sleek black look, or a stylish sunburst design. I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to customize the look of my instrument. Think of it as the cherry on top!
You can find the Fender FA-115 right here.
The Epiphone DR-100 is definitely one of the best guitars for its price tag. It’s a highly playable instrument whose tone is powerful yet well balanced. Simply put, you can’t go wrong if you’re starting out on this guitar.
You might be wondering just what keeps this guitar as affordable as it is. Probably the main budget feature of the DR-100 is that the wood is laminate all over, as opposed to having a solid top. This usually means the overall resonance of the guitar will suffer, and its tone will have a bit less complexity.
However, the DR-100 does make a strong case for all-laminate guitars. The sounds you get out of it are as substantial as they are enjoyable, so you won’t feel like you’re missing anything. You’re essentially looking at slightly-discounted materials combined with superior craftmanship.
As the DR-100 is another dreadnought guitar, you just want to make sure that you can handle its size. Smaller players and children might feel uncomfortable putting their arms around it. But if you’ve used other dreadnoughts in the past you definitely won’t have an issue.
All in all, this guitar could well be the bargain you’ve been looking for. You can find it right here.
The standout feature of the Ibanez AW54 is its comfortable playability. Its neck is slim and easy to navigate, and the frets are smooth and well-finished. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners, since a guitar that’s fun to play is a whole lot easier to improve on.
The AW54 also has a high standard of construction. It features a solid mahogany top, which gives it a surprisingly resonant sound for a budget guitar. You’ll find that it has a certain elegant heft to it, making it not only look but feel like a significantly more expensive guitar in your hands.
The guitar’s visual appeal is also noteworthy, with its natural finish highlighting the beauty of the mahogany wood. The rosette design is intricate and adds a touch of elegance to the guitar’s overall appearance. Many guitarists have pointed out that its aesthetic combines both traditional and modern elements, making it a unique and attractive instrument.
One minor drawback of the AW54 is its lack of electronics. This means that it cannot be plugged into an amplifier or sound system, which may limit its use for some players. However, if you stay true to the acoustic life, you won’t have to think twice about this.
Overall, the Ibanez AW54 is an excellent guitar for players of all levels. Its solid construction, superb playability, and beautiful tone make it an exceptional value for its modest price point. Find your own right here.
The Jasmine S35 is arguably the best budget guitar on this list. By this I don’t mean that it’s the best guitar on this list (because it probably isn’t), but if you want to save money getting started with guitar, you won’t do better than this, period.
For me, the S35 represents a kind of line in the sand when it comes to buying new guitars. If you go lower than this in price, then you quickly get into the beginner-instrument danger zone. This is characterized by instruments that are cheap in price but also sound and feel cheap, so you’ll outgrow them too quickly.
In this respect, the S35 has legs. You won’t be too good for it in six months, basically. This instrument will allow to you play the songs you want to play without them sounding wrong because of a bad tone. As I said, most folks agree that the S35 isn’t a big compromise on sound. In fact, it’s got a nice, rich tone. You’re saving money here, not getting cheated.
Being a laminate as opposed to solid top guitar, you’ll probably find the S35 feeling a little light in your hands. If you’re used to a heavy guitar, that’s something I do feel the need to warn you about. I think anyone could get used to it, but part of saving money here is getting a little bit less material.
At the end of the day, you’re not likely to find another guitar this good at this price. (And if you do, shoot me a message so I can amend this list right away). You can find the Jasmine S35 right here.
Learning guitar is an exciting experience, but buying your first guitar can be a hassle. If this post helps you narrow down your options somewhat, or you feel less intimidated about the buying process, then I’ve done my job.
I’ll end on a simple note, since I know this subject can seem endlessly complex:
If you still don’t know which guitar to buy, trust that you won’t go wrong with any of the 5 choices above. All the guitars I’ve talked about here are well-established and highly reputable. They’re safe picks, in other words.
True to form, they really are among the best budget acoustic guitars for beginners. Choose one at random if that’s what it takes, but just start learning guitar already!
Are you looking to upgrade your gear or browse some awesome guitar learning materials? Check out my recommendations page to see all my favorite stuff.
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