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Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500 Reviews
Some of the most experienced guitar players in the world will tell you that there are expensive guitars that legitimately sound terrible, and inexpensive guitars that sound amazing. In all my years of playing guitars of all types, I agree completely.
If you have been looking for a quality acoustic electric guitar, you have probably noticed that there are some great looking models on the market today.
You really don’t need to go broke to find an affordable guitar. The dilemma is finding a cheaper electric acoustic, that doesn’t sound cheap.
As with any instrument, we highly recommend investing your hard-earned cash in a quality acoustic guitar. We focused this review on the best acoustic electric guitar under $500, which is a good price point that removes the beginner options, and takes the sound quality up a few steps.
Our top choices focused on some important features that can really make or break an acoustic electric. These were some of the bigger points that guided our picks for the top acoustic electric guitar under $500:
Top Acoustic Electric Guitar Features
- Pickup Technology – Most electric acoustic guitars today use a piezoelectric pickup that is located inside the body of the guitar. Optimal placement for piezoelectric pickups is directly beneath the bridge, which is where the strings anchor into the body of the acoustic guitar. Piezoelectric pickups vary in their technology which effects the sound output, as well as the other electronics that are made available from model to model.
- Electronics – An acoustic electric guitar is the meeting of two worlds: the marriage of an acoustic guitar with electric guitar. Ideally, an electro-acoustic guitar will produce a pleasing sound whether played acoustically, or plugged into an acoustic guitar amplifier or sound system. Classic acoustic models that offer long-established sound quality, like the Epiphone Hummingbird, have been fitted with electronics that greatly enhance the ability to sculpt the sound output. The inclusion of on board pre-amps and EQ faders allow you to adjust the sound output to fit with your preferences and please the ears of your audience.
- Body Style – By far the most popular body style for acoustic guitars is the dreadnought style. Sometimes referred to as “dreads” or “D-style” guitars, dreadnoughts are a large-bodied guitar that produce full and rich sound. Concert bodied guitars are smaller bodied than dreadnoughts, and they produce a more crisp and punchy sound with enhanced midrange frequencies. They are also lightweight and easier for smaller musicians to play and handle. If you are looking for a very small bodied guitar, you might want to look at the Parlour body style. Parlour guitars are very small and portable, which makes for easy traveling as well as a great acoustic option for kids to learn the strings.
- Wood Species – Today’s builders of acoustic electric guitars are using a huge variety of wood species to make their guitars. Among those species, Sitka Spruce is one of the most popular types of woods used in acoustic guitar construction and it is known for producing loud and clear tones. Dense mahogany is another popular option that emphasizes the low punchy overtones, particularly when used as a guitar top. In the body and back, mahogany accents the treble and bass frequencies. Several species of maple are used in guitar tops, which is a type of wood known for it’s beauty and transparent sonic nature, in that it tends to allow the top to dominate the sound spectrum while reducing the tonal influence of the back and sides.
- Playability – Most musicians don’t know how to make truss rod adjustments or sand down the nut without risking damage, or only worsening the problems instead of fixing them. Ideally, there are no problems to begin with. A good quality setup out of the box is important, and a quality manufacturer will accomplish tasks like lowering the action, and eliminating string buzz prior to shipping the guitar.
- Accessories – For your needs, accessories might make a difference, or they might not. Some guitars in this price range do not come with a case of any sort. Protecting your investment is smart, so we highly suggest at least purchasing a gig bag, if not a hard case for the best protection. With that said, a few of the acoustic electric guitars we reviewed come with some pretty useful accessories, like extra strings, picks, a strap, and even a gig bag. You might want your money going toward the very best acoustic guitar for your money, and forget the accessories. But don’t forget how much more enjoyable and safe your acoustic electric guitar will be with a few important items.
Top Acoustic Electric Guitar Comparison Chart
Best Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500
When it comes to guitars are affordable prices, Epiphone is definitely one of the best brands on the market today. The Hummingbird PRO is an electro-acoustic upgrade of the steel-string classic Gibson Hummingbird that was made famous by a number of famous musicians. This includes the likes of Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, U2, Lenny Kravitz, and Keith Richards.
The shape of the Hummingbird’s body is something we are all already familiar with. The classic design points of the 1960’s version are retained in this product. You can expect a big, imitation tortoiseshell pickguard, which is decorated elaborately, alongside a big dreadnought body with square shoulders with plenty of vintage charm.
A solid spruce top, with mahogany laminated on select areas on the sides and the back are features of this guitar. You can choose from a number of different designs and colors. There is a stylish all-black model, as well as a beautiful Faded Cherry Burst finish. When you consider the price tag, this guitar really is a pleasure to play with. It displays exceptional craftsmanship and it feels well built.
Aside from the iconic look of this guitar, it also boasts great hardware too. The NanoFlex under-saddle pickup and the Shadow ePerformer preamp are part of the impressive electronics set-up. You will enjoy versatile controls, including treble and bass controls, master volume, a dynamics control, and a handy mute button. It is an excellent system, although one drawback is that there is no tuner built-in to the guitar. However, aside from this, there is nothing to complain about!
Finally, the preamp system and the tonewoods mean that there is plenty of tone on offer with this guitar. The sounds are bold and big thanks to the quality solid spruce top.
- A Country / Rock Classic Plugs In
- Solid Spruce Top with Mahogany Back and Sides
- SlimTaper "D" Profile Neck
- Fishman Sonitone pickup system
Another guitar that comes highly recommended is this instrument from Guild. This comes in the most popular acoustic shape. It has an all-round performance quality that makes it a good choice for all needs.
In terms of features, it has a great collection of them! The guitar also boasts a very balanced sound. When alternating tunings, the sound remains stable. You can expect to turn in a fine performance when using this instrument. For a spruce-topped guitar, it is notably warm without losing any harmonic definition.
We love the balanced voicing and classic acoustic sound with this guitar. It has an arched mahogany back, mahogany sides, and a solid spruce top. The powerful and full-bodied tone is something you will be delighted with.
The famous arched back design that has come to be associated with this brand enables a full and lush sound, long sustain, excellent volume, and great projection.
The D-240E model features a matte polyurethane finish, a period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, Pearloid rosette, bone nut and saddle, an Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and the AP-1 pickup.
If you purchase this model from Amazon, you are also going to receive a new deluxe and lightweight gig bag with your guitar, ensuring that you can store it and carry it in the best possible way in order to protect the longevity of your exciting new investment.
- Built with a solid spruce top, mahogany sides, and arched mahogany back, the full-bodied and powerful tone of this Guild dreadnought provides guitarists with a classic acoustic sound and balanced voicing
- Guild’s signature arched back design allows for great volume and projection, long sustain, and a lush, full sound
- The D-240E features Guild’s Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics, a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, mother-of-pearl rosette, period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, and a matte polyurethane finish
- Available in Natural
If you are looking for a greater guitar at a low-entry price, this is definitely one to check out. The guitar boasts a mixture of premium tonewoods, which make excellent value for players with a good amount of experience. It is a combination of rosewood sides and backs, solid Sitka spruce top, and a smaller folk body. This results in a beautiful tone, with the sound being enhanced through the Yamaha System-66 electronics.
Let’s discuss the tone in more detail. The Sitka spruce top has been chosen for this guitar because it not only looks good but it delivers excellent tone. Sitka spruce has an articulate and well-rounded sound with exceptional projection. These qualities have resulted in it being one of the best acoustic guitar tops across the marketplace. And, thanks to the solid-wood top is that is it is going to age gracefully in terms of tone, with improved tonal balance and enhanced harmonics as the years go on. Plus, the scalloped bracing has been used on this model, enabling more top movement, which results in more projection and larger low-end projection.
In addition to this, another element that is definitely impressive is the Yamaha System-66 electronics. When it is time to take to the stage, you will be ready with this model. The true sound of your rosewood tonewoods and spruce will be delivered through the System-66 pickup and preamp electronics. There is a three-band EQ with sweepable mids on the onboard preamp, which helps notch out feedback that is unwanted. It also features a reliable and fast tuner to ensure that your performances sound amazing. You can also access the battery compartment with ease on the guitar’s upper bout, meaning quick changes can be made.
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Rosewood Back and Sides
- Rosewood Fretboard and Bridge
- Diecast Tuners
- System 66 feature an under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ, an adjustable mid-range frequency control, and a precision chromatic tuner for optimum sound tailoring
Another guitar that you should consider is this model from Seagull. Seagull guitars have long had a good reputation in the industry since they were established in 1982. This is because they make use of sustainable timbers from North America. These guitars are certainly easy to distinguish from other branded guitars.
One thing you can certainly notice about this guitar is that there has been supreme attention to detail. The company realizes that they could create a wider surface area for gluing by not routing into the kerfing. This extra strength resulted in the brace ends not needing to be tucked under the kerfing. This means the top vibrates more like a drum skin. This is one of the unique features of this guitar, not only in relation to other guitars on the market but with regard to other Seagull guitars as well.
In terms of sound, the sound that is created with this guitar is very impressive. It is lively, clear, loud, and bold. Rather than veering too towards twanginess and brightness, there is a warm woodiness with this guitar that is very impressive.
The classic dreadnought voicing is emphasized through the gentle midrange scoop, yet this is not exaggerated. So the G and D strings are set a bit back, yet not enough to the extent whereby this guitar loses its status as a true all-rounder. For less than $500, you are certainly going to have a very impressive guitar on your hands if you go for this instrument. It is one of the most impressive models out there today.
Overall, this is a guitar that offers access to higher frets thanks to the single-cutaway, as well as delivering exceptional plugged-in tone through the System-66 electronics. Projection and clarity are delivered through the rosewood sides and back. The instrument also ages gracefully thanks to the solid Sitka spruce. The body style is comfortable to play and focuses on the tone. Overall, it is an excellent model, with so much to offer.
- Spruce Top with Wild Cherry Back & Sides
- Silver Leaf Maple Integrated Set Neck with Rosewood Fingerboard
- Rosewood Bridge and Compensated GraphTech Tusq Saddle & Nut
- Fishman Sonitone Electronics
- Case Not Included
Last but not least, we have this Fender model, and there is certainly a lot to love about, especially the design of it. It looks great, with a flamed maple top. The body of this model is laminated fully and it has a concert body shape.
Laminated mahogany is used on the sides and the back of this guitar. It is very comfortable to hold thanks to the nato neck. Rosewood is used on the bridge and fretboard. There are three different colors to choose from. You have the classic natural finish, as well as 3-Tone Sunburst and The Moonlight Burst.
There are a number of different onboard controls, including treble, bass, and volume. Whenever you go to play gigs and concerts, this guitar will never let you down. The sound itself is pretty high in trebles. Overall, it is lively and warm. It can be compared with some of the higher-end models available from a number of other brands.
Another great thing about this guitar is that it can be used throughout your music playing career. No matter whether you are a beginner or you are a professional, this guitar is a good choice.
If you are not dedicated, though, then it is probably not the best choice for you. It is a valuable instrument, even though it may be affordable, so make sure you treat it as such. Overall, this is a guitar that delivers great value for money, an excellent design, and it is suitable for all types of players – both advanced and beginners. It really is a versatile guitar that has a lot to offer.
- Concert Body style
- Flame Maple top
- Rosewood Fingerboard
- Mahogany back and sides
- Fishman preamp and built in Tuner