12 Brilliant Acoustic Guitars for Under $500

What do you like?

A traditional acoustic? One with a pickup? A funky re-issue? A cool classical?

Whatever you have a hankering for, we’ve found a solid choice for under $500.

What? Yep. Today’s manufacturers have developed some ingenious production techniques in order to bring you these wonderful instruments at an easy on the pocket price.

Looking for your first guitar? A gift for someone special? Or a new option for your guitar arsenal? Check out these twelve acoustics and then try ‘em for yourself.

Martin LX1E

Play what Martin Ambassador Ed Sheeran plays!

While the Martin LX1E is their smallest guitar, it is very big on tone, quality and versatility.

The LX1E acoustic electric model features a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides, and a warm satin finish.

It’s ideal for travel, student practice or for just playing around the house or campfire.

Great Martin Guitar tone in a compact package! This guitar simply ROCKS!

The LX1E lists for $519 MSRP but you can buy it for less than $500. Shop around!

Find out more here>>

Breedlove Pursuit Concert Mahogany

Breedlove’s Pursuit Concert Mahogany is for the musician that is newly committed to pursuing their music career and is ready to share their music with the world.

The popular Concert body’s top is made of solid mahogany, producing tones that are pronounced and warm.

The laminate sapele back and sides create a sound with attributes similar to mahogany.

The asymmetrical headstock is specifically designed to keep the strings in a straight, even line from the nut to the tuning pegs.

The result is even tension, stable tuning, and ease of alternate tuning.

A built in USB port allows for easy interfacing with GarageBand or your favorite recording software.

The Pursuit Mahogany is also available in a dreadnought body shape.

MAP: $499

Find out more here>>

The Taylor GS Mini Guitar

A marvel of scaled-down design, the GS Mini is a fun little acoustic cannon that has taken the world by storm.

Sporting a rich, full voice that belies its compact size, the Mini is ultra-portable, yet just as comfortable to cradle in the comfort of your home, making it the ultimate modern-day parlor guitar.

Featuring the Taylor NT® neck, the Mini comes with either a solid spruce or mahogany top.

Street Price: $499

Find out more here>>

Cordoba C5-CEBK

The Cordoba C5-CEBK is a nylon string guitar with a solid Canadian cedar top, mahogany back and sides and a jet-black finish.

The design is based upon the traditional Spanish classical guitar with the exception of a soft cutaway and a slightly thinner neck.

The Fishman Isys+ 2band pickup system produces a rich and natural sound when amplified — perfect for gigging and recording.

The C5-CEBK has a truss rod built into its neck and is also available with a natural or sunburst finish.

MAP: $419.99

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Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

Based on Tim Armstrong’s beat-up old ’60s Fender® acoustic — on which he writes all of the songs for his legendary punk band, Rancid — the Tim Armstrong Hellcat acoustic is ready to slam.

Armstrong has given his acoustic some modern mojo with pearl acrylic "Hellcat" logos on the third, fifth and seventh frets, with a pair of skulls adorning the twelfth fret.

Other features include a solid mahogany top, scalloped bracing and Fishman®Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic preamp.

Sells for $349.99

Find out more here>>

Ibanez Artwood Series Tenor Guitar

With solid tops, superior hardware and carefully chosen tonewoods, the Artwood Series is respected around the world for the excellent sound they produce as well as the great value they represent.

For 2014, Ibanez looks to classic, turn-of-the-century Americana instruments for inspiration with their new line of historically influenced instruments, the Artwood Vintage Series.

The Tenor Guitar has been around for about 100 years and is considered a “transition instrument” between Dixieland Banjo and 6-string swing guitar.

Recently its popularity has begun to rebound as it is becoming more commonly utilized by contemporary artists. Tuned in 5th’s, it’s considered akin to the violin and mandolin family of instruments and can be played using the same scales and chord shapes.

The Ibanez AVT1NT is a parlor-sized, 4-string Tenor guitar featuring a solid Sitka Spruce top, mahogany back and sides and bone nut and saddle for a well-balanced tone.

It also includes a Mahogany neck, Rosewood bridge and fretboard, black and white multi-rosette and a natural high gloss finish. Chrome, turn-of-the-century, Butterbean open gear tuners complete the vintage vibe while providing modern day tuning stability.

List price: $449.99.

Find out more here>>

The Loar Brownstone LH-204

You don't have to go down to the crossroads to get vintage-style blues sound any longer.

The new LH-204 Brownstone has tone as dark and meaty as the turned earth you can see from your front porch.

You want the blues? The LH-204's got 'em.

Based on the award winning LH-200, the Brownstone has a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck and a rosewood fretboard in a classic pre-war body style.

It's finished in brown satin with a vintage-style bound soundhole. The low-key headstock design is a simple gold logo decal that gives a nod to the guitar's rootsy heritage.

With a 1-11/16” bone nut, 25.4” scale and comfortable C profile neck, the tone and vibe of the LH-204 drip with the blues style that many consider to be the foundation of all guitar music since.

Such a deal! Street price $299.99

Find out more here>>

Recording King Torrefied RP1-16C

Recording King's Torrefied RP1-16C delivers the benefits of a torrefied top to everyone.

Torrefaction is a specialized process used on Recording King’s Adirondack spruce tops where the wood is heated at a precise temperature in an oxygen-free environment.

The curing reduces impurities and results in weight reduction and increased top stiffness, producing a similar chemical transformation as wood that's been dried for decades.

The result is a lightweight, resonant top that produces similar tone to a vintage instrument you've loved and played for years.

These solid torrefied tops are the foundation for the RP1-16C, a 12-fret single 0 cutaway with dreadnought scale.

These guitars benefit from the vintage tone of the torrefied top, but the dreadnought scale gives them additional punch and projection beyond a traditional 0 guitar.

The RP1-16C is the perfect instrument for fingerstyle players thanks to the cutaway and 1-3/4” nut, delivering even, vintage-style tone everywhere on the fretboard.

Street price $499.99

Find out more here>>

Ovation Celebrity Standard Plus CS24P-NBM

The Celebrity Standard Plus series is your first step into the world of Ovation, with select figured tops, beautiful abalone appointments and first-rate sound, features and value.

The Celebrity Standard CS24P-NBM guitar has the classic mid-depth Lyrachord® cutaway body with a handsome burled maple top featuring quartersawn scalloped “X” bracing.

Ovation evaluated earlier bracing patterns extensively to arrive at this remarkable design, which borrows from the past and is voiced for the present with natural tone and optimal response and power.

Together, body and top create the classic Ovation sound, resonating with full projection, remarkable note clarity and balance, and nuanced tonal complexity.

The guitar also features an Ovation Slimline pickup and OP-4BT preamp system with three-band EQ, volume/gain control, onboard tuner and low-battery light.

MSRP is $649.50, but street price is around $449.

Find out more here>>

Epiphone “Inspired by 1964” Texan

The Epiphone “Inspired by 1964” Texan reproduces a vintage classic loved by legends like Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.

Now featuring a state-of-the-art Shadow NanoFlexTM pickup system with sound-hole mounted controls for volume, High and Low EQ, and phase.

Featuring the same timeless profile of the original including a Solid Spruce top, a Mahogany back, and a Mahogany neck an easy-fit 1960s SlimTaperTM shape.

Available in both Antique Natural and Vintage Cherry finishes.

Street price: $399

Find out more here>>

Washburn WG26SCE

The Tahoe Deluxe Series features one of the most popular and desirable back and side woods, rosewood.

Rosewood imparts a full low end along with strong mids & highs.

A Solid Cedar top supported by quarter sawn scalloped bracing and surrounded by abalone purfling with wood binding make the Deluxe Rosewood series a popular choice for acoustic musicians.

This beauty has a mahogany neck that is topped with a rosewood fingerboard. An under-the-saddle piezo pickup and a Fishman Isys+ Tuner/Preamp System give you the freedom to perform at any venue.

Quality construction features include quartersawn scalloped bracing, rosewood bridge, chrome die-cast tuners, and bone nut and saddle.

Street price: $449

Find out more here>>

Yamaha LL6M

The new Yamaha LL6M is the perfect instrument for the player looking for traditional style with real performance.

The model features a Yamaha pre-aged A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) solid Engelmann Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides and an all-new bracing design that creates warm and rich tones.

Traditional styling and finishes echo Yamaha’s heritage of creating fine acoustic guitars played by legendary musicians.

An all-new 5-ply neck profile feels instantly played-in and effortlessly comfortable.

Yamaha’s Zero Impact pickup system gives high-performance, high-fidelity output without complicated controls or electronics.

MSRP: $820, but we've seen it sell for $499

Find out more here>>

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Acoustic Nation

Acoustic Nation is written by Laura B. Whitmore, a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, who has contributed to Parade.com, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.