Best acoustic guitar under 500

Searching for the best acoustic guitar under $500 can present many challenges. It’s no secret that there are thousands of guitars in this category, all of varying sizes, shapes and quality.

Now, if you’re new to the acoustic guitar market this can be overwhelming and quite frankly, confusing.

However, you needn’t worry, as in this article you will learn what the best acoustic guitar under $500 is, as well as a whole host of information about other price-competitive axes that are guaranteed to keep your bank balance in check and keep you feeling satisfied!

Best Acoustic Guitar

TC Electronic Polytune Clip


The TC electronic polytune clip is arguably one of the best clip-on guitar tuners available on the market today. Not only is it small and compact, (weighing just 32g and measuring 60mm in length), its polyphonic, chromatic, and strobe mode are features that are unheard of in a guitar tuner of this size. As well as this, you can change the reference tone to A440 and switch to bass tuning mode.

This tuner is great for guitarists who don’t want the hassle of plugging in an extra tuner, for guitar teachers and students who want a simple tuning solution, or for musicians who use acoustic instruments and have to travel light

In practice, the regular modes are great and the TC electronic polytune clip is one of the more accurate tuners available. This tuner works great on acoustic guitars and electric guitars, however, bassists have found that their results have varied.

The polyphonic mode isn’t as accurate as we’d like and often displays inaccuracies, despite the string being in tune. Furthermore, some users may find the small buttons difficult to press, especially if you have large hands.

Overall, this is a decent tuner that works much better than other competitors.

Pros

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  • test3 prod

Cons

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  • test 4

Best Acoustic Guitar

TC Electronic Polytune Clip


The TC electronic polytune clip is arguably one of the best clip-on guitar tuners available on the market today. Not only is it small and compact, (weighing just 32g and measuring 60mm in length), its polyphonic, chromatic, and strobe mode are features that are unheard of in a guitar tuner of this size. As well as this, you can change the reference tone to A440 and switch to bass tuning mode.

This tuner is great for guitarists who don’t want the hassle of plugging in an extra tuner, for guitar teachers and students who want a simple tuning solution, or for musicians who use acoustic instruments and have to travel light

In practice, the regular modes are great and the TC electronic polytune clip is one of the more accurate tuners available. This tuner works great on acoustic guitars and electric guitars, however, bassists have found that their results have varied.

The polyphonic mode isn’t as accurate as we’d like and often displays inaccuracies, despite the string being in tune. Furthermore, some users may find the small buttons difficult to press, especially if you have large hands.

Overall, this is a decent tuner that works much better than other competitors.

Pros

  • test1
  • test2
  • test3 prod

Cons

  • test 1
  • tes 5
  • test 4

Buying Guide

As a buyer, it can often be extremely challenging to find a decent acoustic guitar in the $500 and under price range. However, there are some key factors that you can look out for.

In this buying guide, we’re going to break down the core features of an acoustic guitar, what type of body shapes you should be looking for, what different wood types offer and other contributing factors that will help you master your acoustic guitar purchase. Let’s dive in.

Acoustic Body Shapes

There are many body shapes available, from small to large. These all produce slightly different tones and can work well for a variety of genres.

Let’s learn more about the main types of acoustic body shapes.

Parlour/Travel Guitars

This is the smallest body shape of all acoustic guitars. They work fantastically for styles of music such as folk, blues and fingerpicking. Popular models of this guitar include the Martin LX1, Baby Taylor and Fender PM-2.

The smaller nature of these guitars means that the acoustic body shapes work well for children or females. Tonally, these guitars are much brighter and have a focused midrange, however lack the bottom end found on larger bodied guitars.

Dreadnought

This is easily the most common guitar shape and was famously used by guitarists such as Johnny Cash, Neil Young and John Martyn.

This type of guitar has a much larger body than triple 0 and parlour guitars, therefore resulting in a much louder instrument with an increase in bass frequencies.

Grand Auditorium

Grand Auditorium style guitars were famously made and designed by Taylor guitars and boast a more modern design. 

These guitars aren’t as cumbersome as a dreadnought, however, their unique design enables them to retain a tight bass, with present mids and sparkling highs.

This style of guitar is the choice of axe for artists like James Taylor, Tori Kelly and Jason Mraz.

Jumbo Guitars

Jumbo guitars are the largest acoustic guitars available. Some popular models include the Epiphone Hummingbird and Guild F250E. As you might have guessed, this guitar has the largest sound out of all our body types. With such a full-bodied sound, these types of guitars are a great addition to any player arsenal of guitars.

Body Wood Types

In the acoustic guitar world, there are many different types of woods used. However, the main types are:

  • Spruce. 
  • Mahogany,
  • Rosewood.
  • Maple.
  • Sapele.
  • Walnut.

All of these woods provide the player with different tonal qualities that enhance the overall musical experience. Let’s learn more about each wood type.

Spruce

Spruce is regularly used as a top wood on many acoustic guitars. Tonally, it has a fairly neutral sound. Although this might sound like a negative, what it does mean is that you can use a more tonally prominent wood on the back and sides to enhance the overall frequency spectrum of the instrument.

Rest assured, if you end up purchasing a guitar with a spruce top, you are in safe hands.

Mahogany

Mahogany is a very dark wood tonally and has a rich mid-range. This is often used on smaller-bodied guitars such as parlours as it gives the tone of the acoustic guitar more focus and direction.

Rosewood

Rosewood is extremely popular as a tonewood. It’s used frequently on the back and sides and has a rich sparkly tone.

In the under $500 range, it would be rare to see a fully solid version of this wood as it can be very expensive, however, you may see a laminate version or cheaper alternative such as east Indian rosewood.

As well as this, a rosewood fingerboard is also extremely popular on many instruments.

Maple

Maple is the brightest of tonewoods, although it isn’t often used as a top wood. It’s frequently used as a side wood to brighten up larger-bodied guitars such as jumbo style guitars.

Sapele

A tonewood hailing from Africa, Sapele is very similar to mahogany, and as a result of this shares similar tonal traits.

Its mid-range and low end are extremely prominent making it a very versatile wood for acoustic guitars.

The mid-range makes this a great guitar for strumming, soft playing and lead parts

Walnut

Walnut is a wood that sits somewhere between mahogany and rosewood. Just like many kinds of wood, walnut tends to get much better with age and has a lovely warm tone.

This type of wood is often featured on lower budget guitars as it is easy to access and work with.

Laminated or Solid Woods?

There is often a regular debate between which wood type is better, solid or laminate?

Laminate woods are often used to bring the costs down on acoustic guitars. All this means is that thinly veneered layers of wood are used to create your acoustic guitar. These are glued together to create a thick surface. The tone of laminate wood isn’t as loud as a solid wood guitar, however, if you’re happy with the tone of your laminate guitar, who’s to say you need anything else?

However, one downside of laminate woods is that cheaper woods are often covered up by fancy finishes. This isn’t great and is something to watch out for.

Solid woods are generally a good investment and if you’re serious about your acoustic guitar playing, there are worse things you could spend your money on.

What about electro-acoustic guitars?

Electro-acoustic guitars are a must if you’re a gigging musician. Having the ability to plug straight into the PA system/recording interface is a fantastic feature.

However, if you just want something to jam with at home, you might not need it. Opting out of this can save you money too.

FAQ

What is a good $500 guitar?

There are many great dollars in the $500 range, however, some of our favourites are:

  • Epiphone Hummingbird.
  • Fender CD60s.
  • Taylor Baby Taylor.

How much is a decent acoustic guitar?