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When you’re just starting out playing the guitar, it can be tempting to buy an expensive guitar. The cold reality is often that our budgets simply do not allow for such an expense.
Fortunately, a pretty decent and playable guitar can be had without having to spend a fortune. Let’s take a look at some of the best acoustics currently available for under $300.
Table of Contents
Ibanez AW54OPN – Best Overall
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, be sure to check out the Ibanez AW54OPN. This dark natural colored guitar will give you a great platform to build your skills.
The AW54OPN is a dreadnought acoustic with a solid Okoume top. This guitar’s sides and back are also crafted from Okoume. Standard X-bracing architecture is used in the body’s construction, allowing for a pronounced natural resonance.
A Nyatoh neck with a 25.62” scale length is also featured on the AW54OPN. On this neck, you’ll find a fretboard made from Ovangkol, with a radius of 15.7”.
The AW54OPN has 20 frets, with traditional white dot inlays provided for fret identification.
Elsewhere on the guitar, you’ll find an Ivorex II nut and saddle, an Ovangkol bridge, and chrome tuners.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of the AW54OPN is the natural color. This guitar has an open pore finish, allowing the natural color of the wood to be more pronounced.
Furthering the aesthetic appeal of this guitar is a black binding found on the edges of the guitar’s body. A thin rosette is featured around the soundhole, as is a pickguard.
What Makes This Guitar Worthwhile?
The Ibanez AW54OPN is a fairly basic guitar by most standards. Its simplicity does not imply inferior playability by any means.
This guitar will give you the deep, rich tones that you are looking for in an acoustic. You’ll also look great with this natural-looking guitar in your lap.
Another reason this guitar is an excellent choice is that you’ll have a value-packed guitar while being under budget. It’s always a plus to save some money wherever you can.
Item Weight: 4.5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41 x 15 x 4 inches
Ibanez ALT20 – Best Premium
If you’re primarily used to playing the electric but are looking for an acoustic, consider the Ibanez ALT20. This guitar is constructed to combine the best of both worlds, resulting in a very playable guitar. You might also notice that the headstock resembles that of an Ibanez electric.
The ALT20 is a dreadnought acoustic with a thin profile. You’ll be able to play this quite comfortably for long periods of time without any issues.
One thing to note about this guitar’s body is that it has a cutaway design. You’ll have access to every single fret on this neck.
This guitar’s body is constructed completely of Sapele. A gloss polyurethane finish is applied to the guitar, with the option of 2 different color choices. These include:
- Weathered black
- Open pore natural
You’ll also find a 25.5” scale Maple neck with a 22-fretted Walnut fretboard at a 15.7” radius. This alone will make you feel right at home if you are more accustomed to playing electric guitars.
Small white dot inlays are provided for easy fret identification. These are placed at the edge of the fretboard for a more discreet and streamlined look.
The ALT20 is equipped with an AEQ-2UT pickup and preamp system. This features a built-in tuner, as well as controls for volume and EQ.
For hardware, the ALT20 has a Walnut bridge, a plastic saddle and nut, and chrome tuners.
What Makes This Guitar Worthwhile?
The Ibanez ALT20 is the perfect middle ground for guitarists. All too often, acoustic guitars are quite a bit more difficult to play than electrics.
If you should find yourself in these shoes, this guitar was made for you. The schematics are tailored to feel like an electric, but designed to provide that classic acoustic sound.
This guitar is definitely not a traditional style guitar by any means. It does take some modern liberties in its design. Ultimately, these are provided to enable a more comfortable and familiar playing experience.
The fact this guitar is loaded with pickups makes this guitar ready for the stage right out of the box. You might find a gig-worthy guitar with this model.
Item Weight: 6 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 17 x 6 inches
Yamaha JR1 – Best Budget
If you’re a fan of smaller-sized guitars, the Yamaha JR1 might be worth checking out. This 3/4-sized guitar is perfect for children and those with smaller hands.
The JR1 is a dreadnought acoustic with a Spruce top, with the sides and back made of Meranti. A gloss finish is applied to the body to accentuate the wood’s natural color.
Nato is used to craft the JR1’s neck. This has a scale length of 21.25”, which is considerably shorter than what is found on a full-size guitar.
Despite its short length, the guitar still has 20 frets on its Rosewood fretboard. Dot inlays are also provided on the fretboard, allowing for easy fret identification.
For hardware, the JR1 features a Rosewood bridge, a saddle and nut made of plastic, and chrome tuners.
The JR1 has a very classic look to it, with black binding on the edges accenting the guitar’s natural color. A thin rosette adorns the soundhole, as does a dark tortoiseshell pickguard.
Another thing adding value to this guitar is that a gig bag is included with the purchase of the guitar.
What Makes This Guitar Worthwhile?
The Yamaha JR1 is tailored for young beginners as well as those with smaller hands. Its short-scale neck allows for complex chords to be fretted much easier, without the massive finger stretches.
One unique thing about this guitar is that it has Rosewood components. This is a material not often found on guitars in this price range. Its inclusion is a great touch.
Overall, the JR1 is a traditional dreadnought through and through. The fact that it comes with a gig bag is perfect for those who have to travel for lessons.
Item Weight: 4.75 pounds
Package Dimensions: 35.5 x 16.25 x 4.75 inches
For those searching for a worthwhile acoustic for classical performances, be sure to check out the Cordoba C1M-CE. This classical-style guitar is set up and ready to go for any situation you may find yourself in.
The C1M-CE has a cutaway design, which is a unique feature compared to most classical-style guitars. This guitar’s body has a Spruce top, with Mahogany used for the sides and back. Fan bracing is used in the body’s construction.
A 25.6” scale length neck made of Mahogany is featured on the C1M-CE. The fretboard is made from Pau Ferro and has 19 fully playable frets.
Elsewhere on this guitar can be found a composite bridge, nut, and saddle. The tuners are colored gold and have Pearl buttons, dressing the guitar up quite a bit.
You’ll be able to plug in and play live, thanks to the under-saddle pickup and GP-2 preamp system.
As this guitar is a classical guitar, it is equipped with Savarez Cristal High Tension nylon strings. These will give you that rich and snappy tone inherent with these types of guitars.
Aesthetically, the C1M-CE features a satin polyurethane finish accenting the guitar top’s natural bright blonde color. Black binding around the edges is the perfect dividing line between the complimentary wood colors of the sides and top.
A decorative rosette with a mosaic pattern is adorned around the fretboard. This gives the guitar a professional look.
Overall, you really cannot go wrong with this classical-style guitar if you have aspirations to play such music. This guitar will be able to take you well into more advanced stages of playing without any issues.
Item Weight: 3.19 pounds
Package Dimensions: 39.25 x 14.63 x 4 inches
Another excellent option to consider in this price range is the Fender FA-125CE. This acoustic guitar will allow you to start performing on stage without any issues.
The FA-125CE is a dreadnought acoustic guitar with a cutaway design. You’ll have access to all of the frets thanks to this cutaway.
A laminated Spruce top is used for the guitar’s top, with laminated basswood used for the sides and back. What results is a guitar that produces a pretty balanced tone, overall.
The FA-125CE’s neck is made of Nato, and has a scale length of 25.3”. An interesting thing to note here is that this is actually a set neck. As such, you won’t have to play around a heel joint when in the higher registers of the guitar.
Walnut is used for the FA-125CE’s fretboard, which has a radius of 11.81”. You’ll find 20 frets on this fretboard, as well as traditional white dot inlays.
This guitar also comes in a variety of different colors. These include:
Regardless of your color choice, this guitar also comes with a decorative rosette and pickguard.
You’ll be able to plug in and play live thanks to its pickup and preamp system. This has a built-in tuner, as well as controls for EQ and volume.
The bridge of this guitar is also made of Walnut, while the nut and saddle are both plastic. Die-cast sealed tuners are installed for a premium tuning experience.
Overall, the Fender FA-125CE is a worthwhile guitar if you love Fender’s line of acoustic guitars. It has everything you need to hit the ground running. The color choices are a nice option if you are interested in customization.
Item Weight: 9.68 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 20 x 6 inches
If you love Fender’s dreadnought body, but don’t need a cutaway, check out the CD-60S. This guitar makes a perfect candidate for a trustworthy companion, no matter where you may play.
The Fender CD-60S features a top made of solid Spruce, with the back and sides made of Mahogany. You’ll find that this guitar is very responsive and can produce a large tone.
Mahogany is also used to craft this guitar’s neck, which has a scale length of 25.3”. This neck features a Walnut fretboard with 20 frets outlined in dot inlays.
An interesting thing to note is that Fender has taken the time to roll every fret end on this neck. The result is a surprisingly smooth playing experience without any haphazardly sharp edges to worry about.
To match the fretboard, the CD-60S’s bridge is also made of Walnut. Plastic is used for the guitar’s nut and saddle, while the tuning machines are die-cast chrome.
You won’t find any pickup/preamp system installed with this guitar. However, this can easily be added via an external pickup, which can be found in any guitar shop.
Aesthetically, this guitar features a gloss polyurethane finish. It also has an attractive binding on the edges, as well as a rosette and pickguard around the fingerboard.
The guitar comes in either natural coloring or black. All of the build components are the same regardless of your color choice.
Overall, the CD-60S is perfect for a beginner’s first acoustic guitar. It might not have electric capabilities, but this can be easily remedied. This is one of those guitars that you’ll likely have around the house for years, with the name “old reliable”.
Item Weight: 5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44 x 17 x 7.4 inches
If a full, rich tone with emphasis on the low end is what you’re after, check out the Yamaha FG800. This dreadnought guitar is built for beginners but given professional-grade treatments.
The FG800 features a solid Spruce top, with Nato and Okoume used for the back and sides. Scalloped bracing architecture is used to allow more air movement and resonance to be more pronounced.
Nato is also used in the construction of the neck, which has a 25.5” scale length. This neck features a Walnut fretboard with 20 frets and a radius of 15.74”.
The FG800’s neck is fairly slim and features a tapered contour designed to provide a more comfortable playing experience.
To match the fretboard, the bridge is also crafted out of Walnut. Both the saddle and the nut are made of Urea. Affixed to the headstock are die-cast chrome tuners.
Aesthetically, the FG800 features black binding on the edges of the guitar, which accentuates the guitar’s natural colors. A decorative rosette and a pickguard are also some nice aesthetic touches, giving the guitar a complete look.
Overall, the Yamaha FG800 is another worthwhile affordable option to check out. It provides an excellent platform for a beginner to start building and utilizing their guitar skills.
Despite its lack of electronics, this guitar can get you started towards where you want to go. You can always add a pickup later if you need one.
Item Weight: 6.38 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.5 x 20.7 x 6.1 inches
If you’re after a unique-looking smaller-sized guitar, don’t let the Yamaha APXT2 pass up your radar. This guitar is built for performances, despite its affordable price tag.
The APXT2 is a 3/4-sized guitar with a cutaway body design. You’ll be comfortable playing this guitar for hours, without any fatigue issues to have to worry about.
This guitar features a Spruce top with the sides and back made from Meranti. The result is a very balanced tone with enough resonant projection to play in any setting.
Meranti is also used in the construction of the neck, which has a shortened scale length of 22.81”. You’ll get a 21-fretted Rosewood fretboard outlined in traditional dot inlays with this model.
The APXT2 also features a System 68 pickup with an ART preamp. This features a built-in tuner as well as controls for tone and volume.
Elsewhere on this guitar can be found a Rosewood bridge, a saddle and nut made of Urea, and covered tuners.
To top it all off, the APXT2 comes with a gig bag. This makes this a worthwhile affordable candidate if you’re looking to start playing live.
Overall, the Yamaha APXT2 is a very unique guitar. It has a sharp aesthetic that is primed for acoustic shredding.
Its smaller size is highly appropriate for those with small hands or those that want an easier playing experience. The inclusion of Rosewood is a very pleasant surprise on a guitar priced in this range.
The APXT2 seems as if it is ready to go right out of the box. Yamaha has really outdone themselves by offering such a playable model at an affordable price. You really can’t ask for much more.
Item Weight: 5.29 pounds
Package Dimensions: 36.22 x 16.46 x 4.53 inches
Gretsch 9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top
If the ultra-traditional guitar is what you’re after, the Gretsch 9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top may be for you. This guitar throws it back to the olden days of the 1930s with its retro design.
The 9500 has a very small body design, taking inspiration from parlor guitars that were popular in the past. This body is made completely of Basswood, with X-bracing architecture used in its construction.
Nato is used to craft the 9500’s neck, which has a C-shaped contour and a scale length of 24”. The fretboard is made of Walnut, with a 12” radius, and features 18 frets with white dot inlays.
As was traditional in the 1930s, this guitar’s neck joins the body at the 12th fret. This ultimately seems to give the guitar a more personal playing experience.
The 9500 sports a Walnut bridge, with a nut and saddle made of synthetic polymer. For tuners, this guitar has open-gear die-cast tuners for a pretty standard tuning experience.
Overall, the Gretsch 9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top is a very unique guitar compared to what the modern market offers. Despite its smaller size, this guitar produces quite a bit of volume. Tonally, it is very warm, yet balanced, and is a perfect companion for someone that sings.
On the surface level, this guitar might seem more like something you would hang on a wall for decoration. To do so would be a sin, as this guitar is very playable, despite its affordable price tag.
Retro-style acoustic guitars are not something we see manufacturers producing every day. Gretsch’s willingness to tip their hat to their roots is definitely applaudable with this model.
Item Weight: 2.2 pounds
Package Dimensions: 35.43 x 14.96 x 3 inches
If you only need a simple acoustic guitar without any frills, be sure to check out the Yamaha FD01S. This guitar packs in quite a bit of value per cost, making it a viable option for any guitarist.
The FD01S is a dreadnought acoustic with a body that features a solid Spruce top. Nato is used to construct the back and sides of the guitar’s body.
Nato is also used in the neck’s construction, which has a scale length of 25.24”. Rosewood is used for the fretboard, which has a radius of 15.75” and 20 frets with white dot inlays.
To match the fretboard, the bridge is also made from Rosewood. Both the nut and saddle are made of Urea, while the tuners are made of die-cast chrome.
Aesthetically, this is a pretty traditional dreadnought, with the wood’s natural colors taking the forefront. This is accented by the guitar’s gloss finish.
Furthering the guitar’s aesthetics is a black and white binding at the guitar’s edges. This is complemented by a black and white rosette around the fretboard, as well as a black pickguard.
Overall, the Yamaha FD01S is perfectly suited for the beginner. This guitar is well-built and will allow a beginner to learn all of the fundamentals quite easily and comfortably.
Should you wish to use this guitar on stage, you could always attach an external pickup with relative ease. However, at this price point, you really cannot deny an instrument of this quality.
Item Weight: 6.49 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 18.5 x 5.7 inches
Another attractive and very affordable option to consider is the Ibanez PC12MHOPN. This Grand Concert-style guitar is sure to look great on your lap, producing tones to match.
The PC12MHOPN features a body made completely of Mahogany. This ultimately results in a guitar that produces a very warm and rich tone. All of your intricate subtleties will be accurately pronounced.
Mahogany is also used in the neck’s construction, which has a scale length of 24.96”. Rosewood is used as the guitar’s fretboard, which has a radius of 9.84” and 20 frets with dot inlays.
Elsewhere on this guitar can be found a Rosewood bridge, as well as a plastic nut and saddle. Open-gear chrome tuners are used to provide excellent tuning stability.
Furthering the tuning stability is the inclusion of Ibanez Advantage bridge pins. These do not push the ball end of the string down into the guitar. Instead, these pins lock the string ball in place just below the bridge.
Aesthetically, this guitar has a very dark, natural color. This is a sort of combination between coffee brown and cigar brown.
The distinct dark color is in part thanks to the open pore finish. Ultimately, this seems to pair quite well with the Mahogany used in the guitar’s construction.
A tortoiseshell rosette and a black pickguard add the finishing touches to the guitar’s distinct look.
Overall, the PC12MHOPN is another worthwhile option that any beginner should definitely consider. Its warm tone will be useful for any aspiring singer-songwriters who need an accompanying guitar.
Item Weight: 5.94 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41 x 19 x 6 inches
What To Look For In An Acoustic Guitar Under $300
Because you are looking for a guitar under $300, it is obvious that this is your working budget. There are actually quite a few guitars available in this price range, but any special features tend to be limited.
To find the best guitar, you’ll want to buy the guitar for the kind of player you wish to be. Doing so will ensure that the guitar can accommodate the playing styles you wish to employ.
For the sake of examples, let’s say you wish to perform live. You’ll likely want some built-in electronics. The same goes for a cutaway design if you frequently play solos in the higher frets.
Guitars in this price range are usually built for beginners. The build quality is not as you would find with higher-priced guitars.
However, there are a couple of reasons for this. The first reason is that beginners tend to be a fickle bunch and are prone to quitting. An inexpensive guitar is less of a sunk investment in this case.
The second reason is that a beginner likely would not be able to appreciate the finer aspects of high craftsmanship. As with anything, experience is required to discern how well a guitar is built and how it affects your playing.
When buying any guitar, be sure to try them out in the store before hitting that purchase button. You’ll need hands-on experience to determine if a guitar’s feel and sound are right for you.
Like buying a pair of shoes online, there’s nothing worse than realizing you could have opted for a better fit. The only way to avoid this instant buyer’s remorse is to get your hands on each guitar.
Best Brands For Acoustic Guitars Under $300
When you’re looking for a new guitar in this price range, you can easily be overwhelmed with options. Fortunately, there are a few different brands that have established reputations for producing value-packed guitars under $300.
If you’re ever in doubt, it might be wise to lean on these companies' reputations for some insight. After all, a good reputation isn’t built overnight.
Yamaha originally began as an organ manufacturer in 1887. Since then, the company has expanded into other areas of the music market.
While Yamaha is still known for its pianos, they produce excellent budget-friendly guitars. Many of the guitars in this range have received critical acclaim for providing an extreme amount of value.
Ibanez is a Japanese company that originally got its start as a guitar importer. Eventually, they took the name of Ibanez (the luthier whose guitars they imported) and crafted their own guitars.
Today, Ibanez is well-known for its detailed eye used in the craftsmanship of all its guitars. Many virtuosos endorse the Ibanez product line for its accessibility and premium playability.
Best Acoustic Guitars For Under $300, Final Thoughts
Just because a guitar is affordable does not mean that it isn’t playable. In fact, guitarists will find themselves picking up their old reliable (and affordable) guitars more often than not.
These are the guitars that stick with you through a lifetime. They take your beatings and emotional outpourings and are always there for you in joy and sadness. Do not overlook a guitar simply because of its affordability.
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