This article will feature my personal best acoustic guitar under $1000. I tried to be objective in choosing and took time researching and the guitars included are my personal favorite. Still, a $1000 is big if used in purchasing an acoustic guitar. This will be a bold decision so make sure that you really need this guitar and you’re not buying impulsively.
Before sharing my personal list to you, I would like to share something to you that is very important before spending a fortune just for a guitar.
Law of Diminishing Return – $1000 guitar will never be 5x better than $200 guitar
I would like to share this information with you since you might be thinking that it is better to buy the cheaper guitars than buy expensive guitars because you can’t get the most out of it. You certainly have a point and it’s up to you since it’s your money, but in every thing that you’ll buy, not only in guitars, we have this law of diminishing return.
A $1000 guitar will never be 5x better than the $200 guitar because the quality will never be 5x better. It will only be slightly better as it goes higher in price. You might think that it is not worth your money but think again. It might not be 5 times better but you will never get that quality in a $200 guitar. That’s why professional guitar players spend a fortune just to get the quality that is only exclusive for those with higher price.
I am not saying this to trick you in buying expensive guitars, like I said, it’s your money so it’s up to you. I just want to share this information so that you’ll understand that the quality is not directly proportional to the price. You can stay in playing the cheaper guitars but you’ll never have that slightly better quality guitar sound.
The Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar under $1000
1. Seagull Artist Mosaic
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Place to Buy: Amazon | Zzounds
- Sweet and Warm tone thanks to the Cedar Top and Mahogany Back and Sides
- Pure Solid Wood Guitar
- 1.8″ nut width which is perfect for large hands
- A premium guitar that can compete to guitars 3x its price
- Hard Case included
- Many people doesn’t love the Headstock
- Some reports say that it has high action right our of factory
Seagull, which is owned by the Godin Company, is one of the companies that dominate this price range and lower. The famous Seagull S6 is also included in my personal favorite at acoustic guitars under $500. They are based in Canada and usually makes handcrafted guitars and their craftsmanship is a real deal.
The Seagull Artist Mosaic is also a beast and really worth the price. As mentioned in my full review here, it is a Dreadnought guitar featuring a Solid Cedar Top and Solid Mahogany Back and sides which is the source of its warm and sweet tone.
Cedar is said to have darker tone and less clarity compared to the bright tones and clarity of Spruce. However, Cedar is better in expressing the character of each tone. This quality will benefit the Fingerstyle players as they rely in character rather than clarity of tone.
It has dual-action truss rod and a rosewood fretboard and also its famous 1.8 inches nut width which is sought by a lot of guitar players. There are models that is pure acoustic and Acoustic-Electric so before purchasing, make sure you have the right model.
Seagull Artist Mosaic is a great guitar and it’s a pure solid wood guitar which will improve greatly as it age. Playability is good but some people had encountered high action but it can be solved by setting it up.
2. Martin D-10e Natural Sitka Spruce – Formerly the Martin DRS2
My Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Place to Buy: Amazon | Guitar Center | Musician’s Friend
- Well balanced tone thanks to the combination of Solid Sitka Spruce Top and Solid Sapele back and sides
- Pretty Good set up right out of factory
- White Corian Nut and Tusq Saddle
- Electronics are soundhole mounted and no holes were made in the wood
- It has no decoration and may be a negative for some
Martin D-10e is a Dreadnought sized guitar which uses Solid Sitka Spruce Top and Solid Sapele on its back and sides as its tonewood. This combination of tonewood often results in a well-balanced tone and you can have this “Martin” Acoustic sound that is popular among guitar players.
Since Martin make great quality guitars, they often priced high but this guitar is included in the “affordable” side of Martin. As mentioned in my full review of Martin D-10e, they had to cut corners that’s why it has no decoration and retains the simple and classic design. It is also made in the Mexican factory but it doesn’t mean it is subpar, you’ll still notice the excellent craftsmanship of Martin.
The nut and Saddle are made of plastic but not the worst material so you have 2 less things to upgrade. They used the White Corian nut and Tusq Saddle. Set-up is also pretty good right out of the factory. One thing you’ll also notice is the electronics system is soundhole mounted and Martin avoided making a hole in its wood.
3. Epiphone DR-500MCE
My Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Place to Buy: Amazon | Zzounds
- Sound is between Warm and Bright because of the Solid Sitka Spruce Top and Solid Mahogany Back and Sides
- Uses two pickups for flexibility in shaping the amplified sound
- Uses Bone material for nut and saddle
- 1.72″ nut width is perfect for fast playing
- No individual bass, mid, treble eq in the control panel
- Electronic system can be a little tricky at some
Epiphone, a subsidiary of Gibson, is a well-known manufacturer of guitar especially in the entry-level guitars. They are known in making quality guitars that are very affordable. However, they also made guitars that can be considered as Premium quality and one of it is this guitar.
Epiphone DR-500MCE is one of the Masterbilt Series of Epiphone. It has a Dreadnought body and a pure solid wood guitar that uses Solid Sitka Spruce top and Solid Mahogany back and sides as the tonewood. Sound is right between warm and bright and very responsive in a lot of playstyle.
It’s neck is also slim with a 1.72 inches nut width. Chord transition is easy and you can run your fingers across the fretboard easily without sweating. Nut and Saddle are also of high quality. They used bone material which is the best material in my opinion.
What Epiphone DR-500MCE has that most guitars don’t have is that it uses two pickups. It uses the Nanoflex under-the-saddle pickup and NanoMag pickup which is located at the end of the fretboard. This offers a lot of flexibility in terms of shaping the amplified sound. You can read more here about this guitar
4. Yamaha A3M – A series
My Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Place to Buy: Amazon | Zzounds
- Yamaha A.R.E pre-ages the Solid top wood and you can get a decade worth of sound
- Sound quality is warm and focused mid ranged with a quick response thanks to the combination of Solid Sitka Spruce top and Solid Mahogany back and sides
- Uses Urea nut and Saddle which are less things to upgrade
- Uses both piezo pickup and microphone that achieves studio sound onstage
- No notable cons except for the less decorations
Yamaha is well-known in making high quality guitars at a very low price. Yamaha A3M is no exception of this. This guitar has a Dreadnought size body and features Solid Sitka Spruce top and Solid Mahogany back and sides.
You can be sure that you can have that full and powerful sound out of this guitar. Clarity is good and it resonates well. It has rich tones and it is really good when you strum it with power. It can be used for fingerpicking but you won’t get enough character out of it since dreads are better when strummed.
Yamaha A.R.E is used in this guitar and it means that you’ll have a vintage sound in a brand new guitar since this technique pre-ages the wood making it like a decade-aged wood. And since solid wood sounds better as it age, the wood of this guitar will sound better compared to brand new ones. Learn more of this in my full review. I explained this technology in detail.
Another thing that you should know in this guitar is that it uses Yamaha SRT2 preamp and piezo pickup that is modeled after a Neumann condenser microphone and Royer active ribbon microphone. It means you can get a studio sound onstage and it is remarkable.
5. Yamaha LS16 – L series
My Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Place to Buy: Amazon
- Concert-Sized guitar which is good for fingerstyle
- Punchy mids and bright tones
- Relaunched last 2014 and made various improvements such as Yamaha A.R.E, 5-piece neck, and Zero Impact pickup
- Features Engelmann Solid Spruce Top and Solid Rosewood Back and Sides
- Modified non-scallopped bracing enhances the low end tones
- No preamp included means you have to use DI box or outboard preamp to achieve good amplified sound
- Plastic Nut and Saddle
We have two Yamaha on this list and it clearly shows that they can really produce high quality guitars at a very low price. While the Yamaha A3M is good for strumming, the Yamaha LS16 is good for fingerstyle.
Due to its Concert-Sized body, it has less volume and less low end tones compared to Dreadnought. But this is not necessarily a negative attribute. When it comes to fingerstyle, Yamaha LS16 is a clear winner. It has punchy mids and bright tones that is perfect for fingerstyle.
Yamaha A.R.E was also applied in the tonewood and you can get a vintage sound right out of the box. It also uses 5-piece wood on its neck which was previously 3-piece only and the added pieces add strength and rigidity to the neck. It also improve the overall resonance of the guitar.
Yamaha did not put a preamp on this guitar and this means that you have to use a DI box or outboard preamp to get a good amplified sound when using onstage. the pickup alone is decent but you will surely want to shape your guitar tone using a preamp.
There is a slightly cheaper version of this guitar and it is the Yamaha LS6. It’s also one of my personal favorites on the acoustic guitars under $500. The only difference between the two is the Yamaha LS16 is a pure solid wood guitar while the LS6 is solid top + Laminated back and sides. If you are interested in Yamaha LS16, it’s a good thing that you know its qualities. You can check it here.
What Should you expect from guitars under $1000
The guitars under this price range can be considered premium guitars. There are guitars that are not yet pure solid wood guitars and this is the reason why they are not included in the list. In my opinion, since you are spending a big amount already, the guitar should be a pure solid. So if your favorite guitar is not included here, maybe because it is not pure solid wood.
This doesn’t mean the Solid top + Laminated back and sides are not good. It’s just I’d rather have a solid wood guitar when investing a great amount of money.
You can also expect that guitars in this range have good quality materials since guitar makers are not supposed to cut corners and you should take care of these guitars more to enjoy it for a lot of years. Putting these guitars in a hard case is a must so having a case included in the purchase is a plus.
Spending a grand for an acoustic guitar is a big decision you have to think carefully. This will be an investment and you can expect that at this price range, you can get a high quality guitar already.
The list above are my personal opinion. I made a research and based my decision on a lot of factors. I can assure that if you choose any of the guitars on the list, your money will not be wasted.
Is your guitar included in the list? What are your personal list as the best acoustic guitar under $1000? I would like to know it so please leave it in the comment box.