Stepping Up: No Longer a Beginner

Playing the acoustic guitar brings me back into the days of the past. Not just my childhood, when I got my first guitar. It brings me back a few centuries. Yes, I know it is a cheesy thing to say, but then again, a lot of the times the acoustic guitar is just as cheesy. That doesn’t make it a bad instrument. On the contrary, the fact that playing an acoustic guitar makes me feel like one of the first spanish bards playing it, or one of the men out in the cornfield on a break, or one South American spirits of freedom, makes this instrument all the more impressive. It rich history, both bygone and contemporary is what makes the guitar one of the best instruments in existence. The guitar has given voice to those craving liberty or love, celebrating success or mourning loss. It is the voice to so many of the voiceless, to so many who have not had enough words to express what needs to be spoken. This is why it is important that the guitar you have is the best. The “cheese” that flows out of it needs to be high quality. I have composed this list of the best acoustic guitars under 500 you could get your hands on, for the purpose of assisting you in the craft of sounding your mind the best possible way.

Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 500

#ImageGuitar Model
Rating
Check Price
1Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini (5 / 5)Check on Amazon
2
The Loar LO‌-16-BK Flat Top (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
3Luna Fauna Phoenix Acoustic Guitar (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
4Blueridge BR‌-343 Contemporary Series Gospel 000 Guitar (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
5Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
6Yamaha FG730S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
7Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
8Cigano GJ‌-5 Grande Bouche Gypsy Jazz Guitar (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
9Alvarez AP66SHB Artist Series (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
10Godin Guitars Excursion Natural Folk SG (4.5 / 5)Check on Amazon

Taylor GS Mini

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini

The Taylor GS Mini is a guitar for those on the run from the usual sound. The small size of the guitar makes it perfect on the road since it is easy to carry and easy to pack. It is also easy and comfortable to play. But these are not the virtues for which I have brought the guitar onto the list. The guitar has a beautiful sound, something you would not expect out of such a small being. Though knowing about birds and their ability to produce beautiful sounds, we should already have changed our expectations of the world. Yes I am comparing this guitar to a song bird and yes it does deserve such an honor. The songbird I mean. The thing is, no matter what you compare it to, once you get your hands on this guitar, you will probably not drop it (please don’t drop guitars) for a long time.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, Comfortable
  • Affordable
  • Good Sound

Cons:

  • Bone nut wear
  • Sound is not too flexible

The Loar LO‌-16-BK

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

The Loar LO‌-16-BK Flat Top

Robert Lee Johnson, the man who lives in the Mississippi delta, played the blues that would result in the many genres we love today. Thing is, there were rumours that he sold his soul to the devil to be able to make the sounds he did. You don’t have to do that. The Loar LO-16-BK flat top has a beautiful bluesbox design that allows the guitar to have the deep tones and the high soul scratching sounds that Robert Lee Johnson and people like me covet. The beautiful guitar design is a combination of vintage and modern, the best of both worlds. The only thing missing from it is the right musician and since Robert Lee Johnson unfortunately had to repay his debts, you could be the one to take over. Just don’t attempt to sell your soul, hard work will have the same result.

Pros:

  • Great look
  • Tuning stability
  • Nice sound

Cons:

  • Some models are sub par

Luna Fauna Phoenix

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Luna Fauna Phoenix Acoustic Guitar

A romantic name does not always mean that the guitar is going to be anything special. It is an unfortunate fact that fortunately does not apply to this piece of art. Just in case you are like me and had a hard time discerning, Luna is the guitar maker while the Fauna Phoenix is the name of the guitar. This means that this guitar is a phoenix birthed of a moon, and it looks like it. The mahogany body in black, with a beautiful decal and an impressive country cutaway. The body is not the only thing that looks magical though. The guitar sounds like the beautiful end song of a phoenix, twangy and biased towards mid and high tones. Perfect for any soul sitting in the open field, looking to play a tribute to the world and the illuminating light of the moon in the dark times.

Pros:

  • Good Sound
  • Affordable
  • Great Design

Cons:

  • Sound isn’t flexible

Blueridge BR‌-343 Contemporary Series Gospel 000

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Blueridge BR‌-343 Contemporary Series Gospel 000 Guitar

In the olden days of Christianity the gospels were not told or read, they were sang so that the world would heal itself at the beautiful notes. This guitar was made in mind with the idea that the best way to heal a soul is through music. This guitar is a call back to the past, with vintage designs taken from before the world war 2 world. Maybe the designer believed that the world was purer or more innocent then? Blueridge BR-343 is adorned with Christian imagery for those looking to add a little bit of their spirituality into their music. The guitar sounds great whether traveling on the high notes or the low notes. When played it feels like the guitar produces an invisible force onto the soul, a calming, relaxing and soothing presence of sonic palpitation. It is perfect for those seeking to add a little bit of colour into their lives.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Great volume
  • Good looks

Cons:

  • Coating is a bit thick
  • Might need to change strings fall ultimate sound

Seagull S6 Original

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

Have you ever put a shell to your ear and heard the ocean from hundreds of miles away but right beside you? Seagull S6 sort of reminds me of that. Not of the ocean and the sound of the waves. It reminds me of a sound that lingers hundreds of miles away, something unreachable and unattainable, something you want but can’t have at the moment. Picking up this guitar is like regaining your voice after a week long cold that resulted in you losing your vocality. It is both the relief that yes, you can sound like this and the excitement that finally, you can speak your mind in the noise without the pain. This might not be close to a mid level guitar in price, but it is definitely capable of standing up to some of the best examples of that category. Which is why the guitar makes this list.

Pros:

  • Rich sound
  • Stays in tune
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Narrow headstock which in itself is not a bad thing but some people prefer bulkier ones
  • Tusk nut (some people consider that if a guitar does not have a bone nut it’s a no-no)

Yamaha FG730S

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Yamaha FG730S Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

There is not a lot of things, this elegant, you can get for under 500, especially acoustic guitars. Thing is, Yamaha has a history of elegance. This time around they geared up and as much of their design genius as they could into a guitar that would not demand an arm and a leg to play or own. An especially good thing since you will need that hand (not so much leg) to play any guitar. This guitar is beautifully built, not only in the sense of simple grace of beauty, but in the sense of how well it is able to produce sound. Yamaha FG730S is pure in its tone. Ranges from low to mid to high do not bother this pale beast. Taking them on with ease, the guitar resonates them effortlessly, exploding them into the world with a vibrant and vigorous roar.

Pros:

  • Easy to play
  • High quality
  • Rich sound

Cons:

  • Nato neck is not the most beloved material
  • A lot of the online stores do not have it

Martin LXK2 Little Martin

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Martin LXK2 Little Martin Koa Pattern HPL Top

Little Martin was born in a world of over and over again. Little martin did not like what he saw, so he sang that he was never gonna grow up again. And when the old voice told him you’ll reap what you saw Little Martin said: I’ll make a guitar that might be small but will carry my voice through rooms and the hall just like my voice carries through the whole world. So Little Martin made the LXK2, the Koa pattern little miracle guitar. This small sized guitar is perfect for children and adults alike who like the adventure of making the world a playground. This guitar is the spirit of fun contained. It is lightweight and easy to carry, easier still to play. The sound it makes is light, warm and very pleasant. And the price of the guitar is just as light as the guitar itself, making it the perfect kind of fun. Highly recommended for anyone looking to play a fun but still sophisticated sound.

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Great for beginners and kids
  • Great sound for such a small model

Cons:

  • Not solid top
  • High action

Cigano GJ‌-5 Grande Bouche Gypsy

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Cigano GJ‌-5 Grande Bouche Gypsy Jazz Guitar

The name of the guitar series, Cigano, is a foreign language way of saying Gipsy. The series takes its inspiration from the traditions of the gipsy guitar players. These mystical bards, outcasts of Bohemia, carry with them a strong tradition of music, revered in the world. Legends of magic and mysticism follow these people and most of these legends are inspired by their supernatural sounding music. It carries mirth and happiness as much as it carries sadness with it. The GJ-5 Grande Bouche Gypsy Jazz Guitar is inspired by these qualities. Influence from the gipsy tradition is seen in the D-shape sound hole and the ambient, warm sounds of the Gipsy jazz. It is bound to bewitch both the player and the listener into a trance-like state, transporting them into the sonic world in a way they haven’t experienced before. An exceptional guitar for an exceptional price, this guitar is as unique as it is amazing.

Pros:

  • Great price
  • Great build
  • Comfortable for beginners

Cons:

  • Not as versatile with genres
  • Might think about changing the strings that they come with

Alvarez AP66SHB Artist Series

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Alvarez AP66SHB Artist Series

It’s been 50 years since Alvarez started making guitars. AP66SHB Artist series is a testament that they have elevated the process of making a guitar into art. Humble beginnings to ambitious projects and incredible acoustic guitars. This guitar is perfect for any artist looking to produce music that is lively and resonates with the mind on a wavelength beyond that of sonic waves. The expressiveness of the guitar is far superior to what is expected of this price range. The outstanding mid ranges are mesmerizing and inspiring. The comfort of playing the guitar is top notch, so that spending days with this guitar in hand, be it during practice, live or recorded sessions, feels like minutes. It is a great piece of equipment for a great price, acquiring you value beyond what you are expecting to receive.

Pros:

  • Amazing Sound
  • Good for Travel
  • Comfortable to play

Cons:

  • Not too flexible

Godin Guitars Excursion Natural Folk SG

Build Quality:
Hardware:
Sound:
Value:
Average:

Check on Amazon

 

Full Review

Godin Guitars Excursion Natural Folk SG

Folk music is that which has been handed down through ages. It is the music of the land, forest and lakes, rivers and the sea. It is the music that captures the spirit of the people and fuses it with something otherworldly, something fantastic, something that is part imagination part spiritual transformation. This is why it is always hard to produce an authentic folk sound. It is simply hard to capture the tone and the feeling of the folk spirit. The Godin Guitars Excursions Natural Folk SG decide that one of the best ways to allow musicians to capture the folk sound is to give them an instrument specifically made to do so. Which is why this guitar is host to rich, warm tone mixed with powerful sonic ejection. This guitar sounds equally pleasurable to humans and creatures of legend, while refraining from being a burden on the pocket of the musician.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great Mid and High tones
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Not a Flexible Sound
  • Synthetic Nut and Saddle

Acoustic guitars contain the magic of the old world that spills over into the new marvelously. It’s place in the modern musical ensemble is undeniably constant. Persisting as a central or integral part of genres such as country, blues, rock and roll, and pop effortlessly while insisting on its irreplaceability for any musical group with an ambition for a classical sound, be they orchestras, flamenco bands or any number of others. Which makes it no surprise that you have come in search of the best acoustic guitar under 500.

The thing is, even guitars of top of the line construction and impeccable sound will have trouble keeping up with any performance if the player is not up to the challenge. The guitar might seem simple in the hands of the best players, and might seem like it is simple to learn. For some, that might even be the case, but to master the instrument means to spend years dedicated to it. It means to be able to use techniques that are both mainstream and not that often seen. It means to be aware of what your ambitions musically are. It means being ready and open to criticism and never succumbing to slumps and ruts.

In my attempt to assist you in understanding the acoustic guitar, I have realized that often new and old players make the same mistake They forget to keep learning and improving. This is why I would like to give you a quick run down of musical techniques that might interest you. Go ahead and challenge yourself on the best acoustic guitar you can currently get your hands one!

Techniques

  • Sweep Picking – Means using straight up or down motions similar to strumming, but with muting of strings involved.
  • Palm Muting – Palm Muting or muting means using your fingers to mute all or some of your strings fully or partially so the sound they produce is, obviously, muted when the string is struck
  • String Bend – This technique implies bending the string either up or down on the fretboard in order to produce a change in the sound it produces. Rather hard to master, but an incredible asset to your music once you have it.
  • Vibrato – Is the wiggling of the string in order to produce a fluctuating sound in the guitar after it is struck. Produces a very emotional sound and, despite its slightly complicated nature, is a great technique to master.
  • Fingerpicking – AKA fingerstyle, this technique implies playing each note with an individual finger. This technique is fairly common but takes a long time to master.
  • Pinch Harmonics – This enhances the overtones of the guitar, producing a slightly otherworldly sound. Achieved by lightly touching the string and striking it with a pick.
  • Sliding – Implies sliding the fingers along the fretboard, while pressing down on a string or strings, from one fret to the other. This results in a change of tone and an amazing effect.
  • Hammer On – This technique implies striking the string on the fretboard to produce the desired sound. When combined with sliding the technique results in a unique way of playing the guitar.
  • Hybrid Picking – Using both a pick and the three remaining fingers of the right hand to play individual strings on the guitar. This technique allows the player to express their full creativity and mastery.

Some of these techniques you might already be aware of while others may turn out to be new to you. Whichever it is, I have added these here hoping that you find some that you might have fun with once you pick up a guitar.

Conclusion

The acoustic guitar, despite its beautiful sound, is an intimidating instrument. The details needed to know when purchasing one and all the techniques involved in playing it seem overwhelming to any new comer. The history and pride of the instrument may also seem a little on the burdensome side. This should not make you consider quitting. It should actually encourage you to keep practicing, because someday your mastery of the techniques will be the envy of all those who hear it, be they alive or dead (I am not saying that the dead will be listening to you, but if they were, I’m sure they will be grateful).

The acoustic guitar is the instrument that brought me into the world of music. I was 13 when I first realized that I wanted to play an instrument. What I wanted was an expensive guitar, something in vogue at the time. Something electric with a huge amp and a lot of flare. I could not afford it. Instead, I got a guitar recommended to me by one of the older boys in a band. I got it and I played it every day, and every day I realized how much I enjoyed my brand new, inexpensive acoustic guitar.

Years later, with my first acoustic resting in corner, staring at me, I know that it was by far not the best guitar I have ever owned. But it was my favorite, which is why I got it renovated recently and played it. Sounded mediocre, but I still love it. Which is why I got inspired to write a guide for the best acoustic guitar under 500. So every one of you could find you first love easily here, without having to think about how unimpressive the guitar is many years later. So you could love something and know that it will never betray your expectations of being good.

Anyway, hope you find the list useful and Good Luck!

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.