What is the best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars in 2018? On this page we provide a list of contenders for the title. With pictures, manufacturer’s specs, and links to reviews, our top ten guide will help you find your dream guitar!
Best Acoustic Guitar Under $500 2017: Our Top 3 Quick PicksThese guitars are our top three suggestions in this price range. Check out reviews and prices, or scroll down for more info on these and seven more awesome acoustic guitars.
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500 Dollars 2018: Top Ten List
Welcome to our best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars list, newly updated for 2018 and full of awesome instruments to suit all players and playing styles. The list isn’t in any particular order; all of the guitars featured below are well worth trying out.
You can either click on the links below to view a particular instrument, or scroll down the page to see all of the guitars on the list.
- Seagull S6 Original
- Yamaha LL6
- Taylor Big Baby Taylor
- Yamaha FG850 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany
- Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top
- Alvarez Artist Series AP70 Parlor Guitar
- Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
- Seagull Entourage Grand Acoustic Guitar Rustic
- Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic Guitar
- Martin Dreadnought Junior
Best Acoustic Guitar For Under 500 2018
1. Seagull S6 Original
- Body Depth 4.9 inches
- Body Length 19.8 inches
- Nut Width 1.8 inches
- Scale 25.5 inches
- Waist 10.54 inches
- Top: Solid Cedar
- Back: Wild Cherry
- Neck: Silver Leaf Maple
- Finish: Semi-Gloss
“Winner of several awards, the S6 is perhaps the instrument that best represents the Seagull philosophy. The S6 offers entry level players the opportunity to experience the great feel and superb sound provided by a hand finished neck, select solid Cedar top and a Custom Polished Finish.” Read more here.
At this price point, it’s hard to look beyond the Seagull S6. Made in North America, the S6 is a lot of guitar for the money.
With wild cherry back and a cedar top (spruce is an option), all the ingredients for a great sounding acoustic guitar are there. And the proof is in the pudding. The Seagull S6 is an award winner and attracts glowing reviews online. The best acoustic guitar for under 500 dollars? Could be!
- You can see the current price & read reviews here: Seagull S6 at Amazon.com
2. Yamaha LL6
- Jumbo Body
- Solid Engelman Spruce Top
- Rosewood Back & Sides
- Mahogany and Rosewood 3ply Neck
- Neck: Mahogany, Rosewood (3 ply)
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Bridge: Ebony
- Body Depth: 100-125 mm (3 15/16″-4 15/16″)
- Nut Width: 44 mm (1 3/4″)
- String Length: 650 mm (25 9/16″)
“Boasting a modified dreadnought body style, perfect for chord or fingerstyle work, and many premium features shared with the rest of Yamaha’s flagship L-Series, the LL6 offers a winning combination of style, performance and outstanding value.” Find out more here.
We love the look of Yamaha LL series guitars, especially in the ‘natural’ finish. They’re big, traditional, no-nonsense instruments. We do admit to being slightly biased, having played a Yamaha LL series acoustic for many years.
Yamaha apply their ‘A.R.E.’ (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) process to the tops of their acoustic guitars. This is supposed to make the guitars sound ‘aged’. We’re not 100% sure this isn’t more of a ‘marketing process’ but your ears can be the judge of that.
The LL6 is the only guitar on this list with a pickup. It has a built-in passive pickup system with no ugly controls. Think of it as buying a purely acoustic guitar that has the option of being amplified further down the road.
Yamaha’s build and finish quality is unparalleled at this price point. A serious contender for best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars. If pushed, this would be our pick for the best acoustic guitar under $500.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Yamaha LL6 at Amazon.com
3. Taylor Big Baby Taylor
- Body Length: 19 1/2″
- Body Width: 15″
- Body Depth: 4″
- The biggest of our small bodies, the Big Baby is just shy of a full-size guitar.
- Big Dreadnought tone and volume in a portable package.
- 15/16-size Dreadnought
- Arched back for added strength
- Great for all playing styles
“Slightly bigger than a Baby Taylor but just shy of a full-size guitar, the Big Baby Taylor is ideal for easy-playing, great-sounding guitar fun. The overall size keeps you in the “portable” category, yet with an extra dose of volume and fullness. Like the Baby, the Big Baby has an arched back that provides strength and contributes to its big tonal output.
The Baby Taylor’s super-sized sibling responds with a full-size sound. The 15/16-scale Dreadnought features layered sapele back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, making it a handy and affordable songwriting partner for anyone.” Read more here.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you; there really is a Taylor in a list of the best guitars under $500! The Big Baby Taylor is a 15/16 scale guitar, making it a slightly more manageable size for smaller players. According to numerous reviews, however, there’s nothing small about the sound!
The Big Baby Taylor has a solid spruce top. Its laminate sides are a slight concession to the low (for a Martin) price. However, guitars are often more than the sum of their parts. We’re not sure we could tell the difference between laminate and solid sides without looking. Actually, even with looking.
If you want a well-made travel guitar, of if you want something a little more substantial than the highly-regarded Baby Taylor (see below), then this guitar should be high on your ‘to play’ list. With solid Sitka spruce top, the sound should be light and ‘zingy’, with a touch more depth than the Baby.
- Check out the current price & read reviews here: Big Baby Taylor at Amazon.com
4. Yamaha FG850 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany
- Traditional Western Body
- Solid Mahogany Top
- Mahogany Back & Sides
- Newly Developed Scalloped Bracing
- Warm and Woody Design
“A new FG has louder and stronger sound in the low- to mid-ranges, thanks to cutting-edge acoustic analysis technology developed by the Yamaha R&D Division. Yamaha’s engineers have achieved this sound by utilizing analysis and simulation to arrive at the best bracing design without depending on tradition or guesswork.
The history of Yamaha‘s FG series started in 1966 with the release of the FG180 and FG150. Over the 50 years since its introduction, we have developed and produced several generations of FG – all of which have made FG the ideal acoustic for contemporary players. In all, there have been over 200 FG models since 1966.” Read more here.
In production since 1966, the FG series perhaps deserves more recognition from players and press. The FG850 seems to be a solid instrument with a nice folksy look. It’s attracted many glowing online reviews, too.
- You can see the current price & read reviews here: Yamaha FG850 at Amazon.com
5. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany Top
- Body Length: 15 3/4″ / Body Width: 12 1/2″ / Body Depth: 3 3/8″
- A versatile, small bodied guitar that delivers an authentic Taylor playing experience.
- 3/4-size Dreadnought
- Arched back for added strength
- Great for travel, alternate tunings, and kids
- A ¾-size Dreadnought that’s big on tone.
“The Baby Taylor acoustic guitar is the ultimate travel companion, delivering volume and tone that surprise for its diminutive dimensions. At three-quarters the size of a full-size guitar, the Baby Taylor lives for the road. It also loves little hands, which makes it an irresistible choice for kids taking lessons. Available with either a solid spruce or solid mahogany top.
A ¾-scale Dreadnought, the Baby Taylor is designed to yield a ton of volume for its small size. A layered sapele back is pressed into a slight arch, providing strength and helping produce the Baby’s full, rich tone. It’s also remarkably versatile for special applications, whether played in alternate tunings or high-strung; with a capo or a slide. And it’s the perfect travel companion or starter guitar for young kids.” Read more here.
If you’re of smaller stature, or want a nice guitar that you can take on holiday, then the Baby Taylor is well worth a look. There are some compromises: the guitar has a bolt-on neck and the body is unbound. Buy hey, it’s a Taylor, and as we’ve said before, a guitar is often more than the sum of its parts.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor at Amazon.com
6. Alvarez Artist Series AP70 Parlor Guitar
- Top Wood: Solid A+ Sitka Spruce
- Back & Sides Wood: Rosewood
- Shape: Parlor
- Neck: Mahogany
- Bracing System: FST2M – Forward Shifted, Scalloped X
- Bridge: Bi-Level Rosewood
- Inlays: Abalone & Mother of Pearl
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
“One of Alvarez’s best selling models. The AP70 is a based on a traditional parlor guitar but built to offer a more modern sound with greater projection. All Alvarez parlor guitars have a big voice and are dynamic guitars that can be used for any style of playing.
Artist Series is now “The Award Winning Artist Series” – winning competitions and receiving rave reviews in the States, Europe and around the world. It’s a truly designed line of guitars that stands tall and sounds sweet in the solid top guitar market.
Hand selected solid tops; forward shifted scalloped bracing, awesome tone and player experience….
The sound is warm, open and powerful, and both the treble and bass registers are clearly present and balanced in relation to each other. These guitars feel right and are exciting to play and responsive. Dig in and they shout right back at you, treat them gently and they whisper and respond instantly to the lightest strum or pick.
The solid ‘A’ grade Sitka spruce and cedar tops are hand selected from quarter-sawn wood. This ensures consistent quality, and its no secret better guitars are made from better wood. Our tops not only look great but they are stiff and strong and finely grained.” Read more here.
The Alvarez has got a lovely small-bodied vintage look. It’s made with a selection of good materials and has attracted many admiring reviews. Check it out if you like the vintage look and don’t want a dreadnaught-sized guitar.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Alvarez Artist Series AP70 at Amazon.com
7. Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
- Model: LX1 Little Martin Construction: Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint
- Body Size: Modified 0-14 Fret
- Top Material: Sitka Spruce
- Top Detail: N/A Rosette: Multi-Stripe
- Bracing Pattern: X Brace
- Brace Shape: Non-Scalloped
- Brace Material: Sitka Spruce
- Brace Size: 5/16″
- Back Material: HP
- Back Detail: Mahogany Pattern
- Back Purfling/Strip: N/A
- Side Material: HPL
- Side Detail: Mahogany Pattern
- Neck Material: Rust Birch Laminate
- Neck Shape: Modified Low Oval
- Neck Taper: Standard Taper
“While the Little Martin is our smallest guitar, it is very big on tone, quality and versatility. The LX1 model features a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate HPL back and sides. It’s ideal for travel, student practice or for just playing around the house or campfire. This model includes sustainable wood certified parts.” Read more here.
The Little Martin is also in our list of the best acoustic guitars under $300, but we thought that we’d remind you about this great little guitar on this page too.
Yes, it’s unbound and perhaps prone to picking up knocks and scratches, but it seems nicely put together and will do the job if you can’t stretch to the full $500.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Martin LX1 at Amazon.com
8. Seagull Entourage Acoustic Guitar Rustic
- Top: Solid cedar
- Back: Wild cherry
- Neck: Silver leaf maple
- Finish: Semi-gloss
- Body Depth: 4.9 inches
- Body Length: 19.8 inches
- Lower Bout: 15.87 inches
- Nut Width: 1.72 inches
- Scale: 24.84 inches
- Upper Bout: 11.38 inches
- Waist: 10.54 inches
“In the tradition of the award winning S6 Original, the Entourage Rustic brings incredible value to players looking for undeniable sound and craftsmanship in an acoustic guitar. Features include the beautiful Rustic Burst Custom Polished finish, Seagull Slim neck with slimmer nut width, cream double binding and select pressure tested solid cedar top.” Read more here.
Compare this with the Seagull S6 Original to see which one you prefer. The Entourage Rustic has a nice dark finish and gets extremely good reviews on Amazon.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Seagull Entourage at Amazon.com
9. Washburn Vintage Series R314KK Acoustic Guitar
- MODEL: R314KK
- SHAPE: Parlor
- TOP: Spruce
- BACK: Trembesi
- SIDES: Trembesi
- BRACING: Quarter Sawn Scalloped Sitka Spruce bracing
- ROSETTE: Abalone
- NECK MATERIAL: Mahogany V shape
- FRETBOARD: Ebony with 18 Frets
- INLAYS: Fancy 1890’s style
- NUT: Bone
- NUT WIDTH: 48mm
- SCALE: 24.75
“The Vintage Series recreates or resembles some of the great Washburn instruments that were crafted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Included are parlor sized models as well as a jumbo, southern jumbo and several mandolins available in our mandolin section here. In order to create the “vibe” of a 100 year old instrument that has been well played but not abused, we have added a vintage finish and distressed hardware. Because these guitars are built using modern techniques and materials, the resulting instruments are more durable and in many cases better sounding than their century old counterparts.” Read more here.
Another ‘parlor’ guitar, the Washburn R314KK has a nice-looking ‘aged’ finish. If you like the vintage look and want a smaller guitar, give it a try.
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Washburn Vintage Series R314KK at Amazon.com
10. Martin Dreadnought Junior
- Construction: Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint
- Body Size: D Junior-14
- Fret Top Material: Sitka Spruce
- Back Material: Sapele
- Side Material: Sapele
- Fingerboard Material: FSC® Certified Richlite
- Scale Length: 24”
- Neck Joins Body At: 14th Fret
- Number of Frets Total: 20
- Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1 3/4”
- Fingerboard Width at 12th Fret: 2 1/8”
- Neck Material: Select Hardwood
“The D Jr. is a pure acoustic guitar, crafted from a Sitka spruce top paired with sapele back and sides, Richlite fingerboard and bridge, and a hand-rubbed body and neck finish. Every D Jr. model includes a form-fitted nylon gig bag for easy transport. Affordably priced, the D. Jr. is ideal for smaller players, students, travelers, or anyone who aspires to the clarity and depth of tone that has defined Martin instruments for more than 180 years.” Read more here.
A really nice baby Martin. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a Martin, but have always been put off by the high price tags of their full-sized acoustics, why not give the Martin Dreadnought Junior a try? You may find that you fall in love with the slightly smaller size and Martin sound!
- Check out the current price & reviews here: Martin Dreadnought Junior at Amazon.com
Best Acoustic Guitar Under 500: Conclusion.
Although choosing the best acoustic guitar under 500 bucks sounds like a tough call, it’s actually quite hard to go wrong. Pretty much any acoustic guitar in this price range is going to be able to handle virtually anything you throw at it.
The best acoustic guitar under 500 dollars is going to be a ‘workhorse’: an instrument that can handle most situations, but that you won’t need to wrap up in cotton wool.
A scratch won’t be a disaster. You can leave it in the bar between soundcheck and gig without having to check up on it every five minutes.
You could even let someone else play it now and again …
When choosing an acoustic guitar, remember that no two are the same, even if they’re the same model from the same manufacturer.
Another thing to know when buying an acoustic guitar is that one guitarist’s idea of a good instrument is not always the same as another’s.
We’ve played mid-range acoustic guitars that we’ve thought were pretty much perfect. The action, feel and sound all seemed better than our own guitars. However, the owners of the guitars in question would regard their instruments as average, and would quite happily have traded them ‘up’ for an instrument from a boutique brand.
The moral of the story? Guitars under $500 can sound every bit as good as those costing over twice as much.
As for the best acoustic guitar under 500 2017? On this page we’ve listed ten guitars that have attracted decent online reviews. It’s likely that any one of them would do you proud.
We like Yamaha acoustic guitars, and the LL6 is the one we’d try first. The Seagull S6 is a great guitar by all accounts. Those who are smaller in stature may prefer the Big Baby Taylor. The other seven guitars in this list are all worth trying.
If you decide to take the plunge with a $500 acoustic guitar in 2017, let us know which one you chose and why!