The acoustic guitar market has always been a competitive one - especially if you are trying to find the best acoustic guitar under $1,000. In recent years there have been massive leaps forward in manufacturing, design, and quality, meaning you don’t have to break the bank to get an absolute gem of a guitar.
In addition to all-solid construction, onboard electronics, and other high-end features, there’s also a fair amount of innovation to be found among the best acoustic guitars at this price point.
So, it’s excellent news for those of you looking for a juicy deal on a stunning strummer, as we’ve rounded up our pick for the best acoustic guitars under $1,000, as well as giving you the best prices from around the internet.
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Best acoustic guitars under $1,000: Our choice
Combining price, playability, and impressive build quality, the Taylor Academy 10E is our top pick for the best acoustic guitar in this category. Don’t worry if the dreadnought size isn’t for you, as there are currently three models in this entry-level electro-acoustic range. The more compact Grand Concert 12E is the best choice for finger pickers, and the nylon-strung 12e-N is perfect for the player looking for a classical option.
If you are looking for something a little different, then the technical wizards over at Yamaha have created the mind-blowing FS-TA Trans-Acoustic. This highly innovative guitar has built-in reverb and chorus that adds a beautiful sense of space to your acoustic guitar sound without needing to be plugged in.
Best acoustic guitars under $1,000: Product guide
The Academy aesthetic is simple. The notably light hue of the solid Sitka spruce here won’t be to some traditionalist tastes, but it gives the guitars a clean, defined look that, as we’ll find out, is reflective of performance. Nevertheless, despite the simple acrylic dot fret markers, it’s not completely utilitarian; the laminated birch and fiber rope braid design rosette is understated but stylish.
This guitar isn’t lacking Taylor’s spruce top hallmarks - bright and resonant trebles with assured projection. The low action is extremely welcoming across the ebony ’board, too, and will help break boundaries for aspiring players. Combined with the response of this instrument, it creates an immediately enjoyable playing experience.
The 10e offers lower mid presence alongside the deeper bass response in comparison to its smaller bodied sibling, the 12e’s, higher range energy. It will come down to personal preference for players between those two models, with shape and tonal balance, but both guitars fare very well as all-rounders at either end of the spectrum for delicate picking, and their projection doesn’t lose its clear definition under heavy strummed playing, either.
Plugged in, the ES-B represents the qualities of this guitar well. Indeed this model it sounds and feels superior acoustically and plugged in than most models we’ve played in its class. The Academy Series represents a very clear vision, and in many ways, a dream beginner guitar, as well as potential trade-up for some existing players – one that can inspire and go the distance with a guitarist’s from bedroom to stage.
Read our full Taylor Academy Series 10E review
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The Hummingbird doesn’t need much of an introduction. It has been a firm favorite of the biggest rock stars of all time, from Tom Petty to Bob Dylan, Keith Richards to Chris Cornell. It’s fair to say that the Hummingbird has left a lasting mark on the world of music.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have the money to drop on the Gibson version, so the next best thing has to be the Epiphone Inspired By Gibson Hummingbird - and we must say this is a fantastic option for a guitar player of any ability.
From its all-solid construction, incredibly comfortable neck, and drop-dead gorgeous looks, this guitar is easily one of the best acoustic guitars under $1000.
Read our full Epiphone Hummingbird review
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Every now and then, an instrument comes along that turns the entire guitar industry on its head. That guitar was the Yamaha TransAcoustic. Not only is this a beautiful guitar to look at and to play, but it has a rather clever surprise under the hood - the ability to generate its own reverb and chorus, with no need for an amp, no seriously, no need for an amplifier!
You would be forgiven for thinking that this concept is just a gimmick, but we can assure you that Yamaha has delivered a genuinely inspiring guitar that, quite frankly, is a joy to play. It is genuinely perplexing how Yamaha can produce a guitar of this quality at such a low price.
Read our full Yamaha FS-TA TransAcoustic review
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When Fender launched the Paramount series in 2016, it represented a new commitment to winning over players from a company that’s arguably not traditionally a go-to for acoustics. And this guitar delivers on the quality we’d hope for from the iconic brand.
The mahogany tops have an indented texture to the grain that looks and feels vintage; a thin ‘open-pore’ satin finish leaves their organic looks unhindered. While we’re encountering more guitars in this price territory that aim for vintage Americana-style heritage, these models set a new standard for their price range. And the checkerboard purfling for the top, rosette and back strip takes on influence from further back in time and recalls the old Weissenborn Style 4 rope binding. It really gives these models a premium vintage touch.
In many respects, the PM-1 is a textbook example of an all-mahogany dreadnought boasting a lot of the character that attracts players to this wood choice, but it feels notably livelier than some we’ve encountered. This guitar’s relatively light weight for a solid build seems to aid an airer tonality without losing muscular projection.
That mahogany mid voice is there in abundance with a thumpy and defined low-end, rather than the boom that we’d hope to find from mahogany. Sustaining notes shine in the upper-mids with a pleasing, rounded bluegrass quality playing with a pick. For flatpickers and those pursuing a woodier tonality, rather than steely chime, look no further.
This guitar’s top, back and sides are formed from solid sheets of sapele. This African wood is often used, not least by Taylor, as a more eco-friendly alternative to mahogany. Its light-coloured grain is punctuated with thick darker stripes that contrast beautifully with the ebony-like fingerboard and bridge, plus the ‘Faux Tortoise’ pickguard and a simple white multi-stripe soundhole rosette.
Some users describe the Performing Artist/High Performance Taper setup this guitar has as having an electric-guitar feel. For us, the 44.45mm nut takes us out of that mindset. There’s no question we’re grappling with an acoustic guitar here. It just happens to come fitted with an exceptionally playable neck.
The diminutive 000-10E is at its happiest when you tickle its strings with your fingertips and the 000’s lively midrange and warm treble of the top strings make for an addictive package for roots styles. The response is what we’d expect from a mahogany body acoustic. Projection is terrific. Once again, sapele’s qualification as a noble stand-in is well justified. This will be a great guitar for the recording studio, especially if your talents stretch to folk and Delta-style blues.
Fishman’s new MX-T preamp is a blast. Running in connection with the brand’s Sonicore under-saddle pickup, it features a master volume, master tone, a phase switch (the feedback killer) and an onboard tuner. All are neatly stuffed inside the soundhole.
Solid woods can sometimes make all the difference. Thanks to experience and precedence, we can assume this guitar will grow old gracefully. As it stands, it’s off to a great start.
PRS’ affordable SE series instruments perform well beyond the usual standards of other acoustic guitars in their price range, delivering tone that’s comparable to the company's Private Stock acoustics.
The SE Tonare T40E boasts a solid Sitka spruce top, ovangkol back and sides, a mahogany neck, ebony bridge and fretboard with “bird” inlays, plus a bone nut and saddles. Cosmetically, the guitar sports beautiful tiger acrylic purfling and rosette and cream body binding. The built-in Fishman GT1 electronics, meanwhile, are virtually “invisible,” with only a small block for the output jack, and battery compartment access mounted on the lower treble side and rotary volume and tone controls mounted above the low E string inside the soundhole.
Sound-wise, the T40E is an expressive, dynamic instrument with an outstanding bass-to-treble balance that’s powerful, sweet and rich thanks to its ingenious combination of X-bracing and classical fan-style bracing. Furthermore, the cathedral reverb-like resonance is stunning. A great fingerstyle acoustic for any price, in particular the sub-$1,000 bracket.
Read our full PRS SE Tonare T40E review
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Art & Lutherie may not be a brand that is on everyone’s radar, but for familiarity’s sake, the company is a division of the more well-known Godin Guitars. That doesn’t change the fact that, with the Roadhouse, you get what appears to be a boutique instrument at a budget price.
For starters, there’s a solid spruce top and rich, crimson laminated wild cherry back and sides, covered with a pearloid pickguard, off-white binding and a semi-gloss finish that allows a bit of grain to show through – a nice touch. Coupled with the parlor-size body, the Roadhouse exudes a classic old-timey feel right out of the box.
And it plays and sounds great to boot. The middle and upper ranges of the guitar are very strong, with plenty of clarity, definition and warmth. What’s more, the instrument rings out in a way that belies its small size, making it perfect to cut through the mix in an ensemble setup. The fretboard is clean and the strings are nicely spaced, making the Roadhouse a pleasure to pick. A perfect companion to playing some country, blues, or – why not? – some country blues.
The return of Yamaha’s CSF series marks its most determined move yet into the compact acoustic market. While it doesn’t have the slimmest of necks, compared to some of its rivals in the compact acoustic market, but we think that’s a strength - and the 406mm (16-inch) fretboard radius will be welcome news for anyone alienated by the more cramped playing experience of some so-called travel guitars.
Like many of Yamaha’s current builds, the CSF3M features scalloped bracing with the aim of producing a “louder, richer acoustic sound” but that’s not the only spec feature that could be to its advantage on paper; the 105mm body depth is deeper than most of the compact competition, but strikes a comfortable balance with the neck dimensions in play. And, as we soon discover, that equilibrium is well reflected in the tonal character of the guitar, too.
Its voice is strong with a rich bottom end that’s immediately rewarding for fingerstyle bass notes. The sinewy high end makes for a great definition in choppy folk rhythm work with surprisingly powerful projection on single notes, while the satisfying neck dimensions also help to mask the sense this is a scaled-down instrument in terms of its playability.
The CSF3M walks the line between a standard parlour and a lightweight compact traveler in both specification and feel, and it does so confidently. The performance and build rise above any niche concept and it could be an instrument you keep returning to both at home and away, albeit something you may treasure too much to risk denting at that campfire sing-along.
With a market as crowded as this, it’s crucial to stand out - and the D’Angelico Excel Bowery does just that. This guitar definitely delivers from the art deco stylings to the fantastic amplified sound of the Fishman Presys+ preamp.
Featuring a very playable slim C neck profile and large cut-away, the Bowery is perfect for beginners or electric players looking to enter the world of acoustic guitar. The solid top delivers a bright attack and shimmering high-end, which makes this guitar great for strumming.
If you are looking for a guitar that is effortless to play and has a unique look, then it’s worth seeking this one out.
If Seagull guitars are known for one thing, it’s their impeccable build quality - or perhaps the rather unique headstock shape. If you were wondering, the tapered headstock is designed to ensure straight string pull through the nut and ultimately aid in tuning stability.
The use of wood on this acoustic guitar is absolutely stunning. Pairing a solid cedar top and wild cherry back and sides, the Entourage delivers a robust and punchy sound perfect for strumming or fingerpicking. If you are looking for a guitar that will stand the test of time, then the Seagull Entourage Autumn Burst is well worth considering.
Best acoustic guitars under $1,000: Buying advice
Acoustic guitars under $1,000 come in all shapes and sizes, from the classic deep-bodied dreadnought to the compact parlor. At this price point, there are also various construction techniques from all-solid guitars such as the Epiphone Hummingbird to the D’Angelico, which uses laminated backs and sides. Usually, an all-solid acoustic is more sought after, as typically they have a fuller sound. Still, with advancement in manufacturing, you can now get a laminate guitar that sounds just as good.
As well as the guitar's construction, it’s equally as important to decide the size that’s right for you. 0, 00, 000 Martin shapes and parlor-style guitars are smaller bodied and often accentuate mid frequencies at the expense of the low end. These are often the go-to size for finger-pickers.
Jumbo acoustics, on the other hand, are larger, deeper guitars famed for their loud volume and are perfect for strumming. While a dreadnought body shape sits between and can be a great all-rounder.
Many brands put their own spin on body dimensions for flat top acoustics, and there can be many variations and variables on tones outside of these shapes, so our advice is to try them out and see what works best for you.