What is the Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500?
Looking for a new acoustic guitar, but restricted by a budget? Finding that perfect instrument when you have limited resources to spend can be difficult, not because there aren’t enough options, but quite the opposite: there are too many options. Most guitar manufacturers’ bread and butter is mid-range guitars within the $300 – $500 price bracket. There are literally thousands of guitars available in this small range, which makes choosing the best acoustic guitar for your budget all the more difficult. That is why it is important that you know just what to look for to ensure that you use your limited budget wisely.
What to Look For in Mid-Range Guitars
Knowing what to look for is half of the battle; knowledge about instruments is crucial in making the right decision and spending your money wisely. If you want to ensure that you choose the right guitar, and get the most for your money, then there are certain things you should look for in an instrument.
Woods can make or break an instrument tonally. In the $300 – $500 price range, you are going to get much better quality cuts than a starter guitar is made with. It is important to remember that, because a beginner guitar could very well have the same exact woods as a more expensive guitar. The difference is that the maple used in a starter guitar is going to be a much lower quality than the maple used in a $500 Seagull or Taylor, and since wood is such an integral part of a guitar’s sound, it is important not to rule out any possible selections until you have tried them for yourself.
Build quality is often overlooked in favor of other aspects of a guitar. When you are spending up to $500 on an instrument, that instrument should have a much longer lifespan than a guitar under $200. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of a guitar to inspect the quality of it–fret buzz, sharp fret edges, gouges in the fret board, a loose bridge and poor binding are the main hazards that you should watch out for when purchasing a guitar. Be sure to check out every aspect of an instrument before purchase, and if you see anything you don’t like, don’t allow yourself to commit.
Electronics are common in guitars in the middle price range, so trying the guitar you are considering through a variety of amps with a variety of settings is a must. Pickups and tone woods will react differently together through different amplifiers, and if you do not already have an amp and are still looking to purchase one, trying the guitar through a number of amps will allow you to get a better idea of what the instrument truly sounds like.
The overall feel is the deciding factor in any guitar purchase. No matter how nice a guitar is, or how much of a reputation it has, if it does not feel right when you play it, and if you can not play it comfortably, then it is not going to be an instrument that you will want to play. Specifications and reputation only account for so much; a good guitar can get by on its own merits, and when you pick up the perfect instrument and play it, you will know it almost immediately.
Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $500
Looking for the best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars? The following guitars are some of the top rated instruments available for under $500, with the best price to quality ratios. Any of them might be a suitable choice for your needs, and can serve as a good comparison point.
Big Baby Taylor
Model: Big Baby
See more on the Big Baby here.
Taylor makes some of the finest, highest quality acoustic guitars available. Considered the ‘acoustic player’s choice’ of guitars, Taylor produces guitars with high quality woods, and excellent build quality. The Big Baby is no exception; with a punchy Sitka spruce top and wild cherry sides and back, the Big Baby is a beautiful sounding instrument, with plenty of tone to spare.
Seagull S6 Original
Model: S6 Original
Check out our full review for the Seagull S6 here.
Seagull is known for making perfectly priced instruments that don’t break the bank. The S6 is an astounding achievement at any price, but for under $500, the Canadian company has truly outdone themselves; the S6 line uses high quality woods, and has astonishing build quality. For a middle price range guitar, the S6 is a steal.
Read our full review of the Entourage here.
Another example of how finely tuned and carefully designed Seagull guitars are, the Entourage is a massive sounding guitar that embraces its small size with an unparalleled playability and upper register access while still resonating loudly enough to fill an auditorium.
Taylor GS Mini
Model: GS Mini
The GS is one of the most popular offerings from Taylor, and so when it got scaled down and given a whole new tonal presence, there was little doubt that it would still be an awe-inspiring instrument. Made with high quality mahogany, the GS Mini is a wonderfully compact version of its much larger brother that still offers the familiar Taylor tone and power, but without the discomfort of an over-sized body.
Washburn is typically known for their heavy metal guitars, however the R314KK is simply too good of an acoustic to overlook! With a resonant spruce top and trembesi sides and back, the R314KK offers a somewhat exotic sound much different than other guitars in its class.