If you are reading this article, I believe that you have decided to start purchasing your first acoustic guitar and congratulations for that. Or maybe, you just want something cheap to play around.
Whatever reason you have, I have listed down the 5 best sounding cheap acoustic guitar in my opinion. These guitars is priced at $200 and below but not lower than $100.
I do not recommend guitars below $100 because guitar manufacturers cannot produce good quality products at that price. It will not sound decent and the playability will be bad that it can destroy your passion for learning because you can never sound good in those guitars.
You can check out my article on how to buy an acoustic guitar so you can have a detailed knowledge on what factors do I consider when buying acoustic guitar at any price range
Since this is a budget guitar, we know that these guitars will have a lot of flaws especially if used by a professional, but if you are a beginner, it will not matter in your learning. These criteria we considered, these must be at a decent quality for you to enjoy your guitar
1. Body Size and Style
Most of these guitars listed have a full body size. Usually, they have a Dreadnought body. This is the most popular size because guitars that have bigger body tend to have louder volume and deeper bass response.
This size can be a little big for kids and I suggest that you look for other guitar. But for your reference, I started as a kid and learned in this body size. It is a hard at first but I grew playing with this body size and now it is easier for me to play at smaller body size.
2. Sound Quality
You will never have a solid sound like Taylor or Martin because you haven’t spend a few grand in order to achieve the best sound quality. But don’t worry, the guitars we have in list sound decent and you can play a lot songs and sound good.
The guitars at this price range are mass produced. Meaning they will not be set up properly. Either they have high action (Strings are too far from the fret) or the intonation is not good. It will not hurt for you to bring it to a professional and spend $20. They will set it up properly at a lower action so that you hands will not get tired easily.
Some things you need to know before purchasing:
1. Stock Strings
Stock strings in this guitar are not of high quality. You might want to change it to a higher quality to achieve the best guitar sound you can get from these guitars. The strings provided in the package is not really good but don’t throw it away. Just keep it so you have a spare.
2. Pick up/Preamp
At this price range, you can’t get guitar with pick up and these are all pure acoustic. You can’t plug it in an amp or PA system. But you can always buy a separate preamp and put it in the guitar. Just make sure you know how to do it because you’re gonna make a hole in the top of your guitar.
The best sounding cheap Acoustic guitar:
1. Fender FA-115
Place to buy: Amazon
My Rating: 4 out of 5
– Sound quality is good for the price
– Built is high quality knowing they came from a well-known guitar maker
– It comes with a Package (Gig bag, Tuner, Straps, Strings, etc.)
– Some says there’s a fret buzz
Fender is well known for its electric guitar but it doesn’t mean they are not good at making acoustic guitar. In fact, they are producing acoustic guitar decades ago so they have a lot of experience when it comes in acoustic guitar.
Fender FA-115 is one of the best selling beginner’s guitar. At this price range, it sounds at least more than 2x its price. It uses Laminated Spruce Top and Basswood back and sides which is a good wood combination.
It has a Dreadnought body which is a little big if you have a small body but you’ll get used to it. It has low action but reported by some users that it has some fret buzz but it can be fixed easily. Sound quality is not for performance or gigs which is understandable because of the price but it is good for practice and playing with friends.
It comes with freebies like Gig bag, Tuner, Straps, Strings and many more which is very useful if you are starting out.
2. Ibanez IJV50
Place to Buy: Amazon
My Rating: 3.7 out of 5
– Set up is good
– Sound quality is good
– Ibanez Advantage Pins = Changing strings is easier
– Package included (Gig bag, Chromatic Tuner, Strap)
– There’s nothing special in it. Everything is decent
Ibanez is well-known for its electric guitar. Just like the Fender, Ibanez is also good at manufacturing acoustic guitar. And one of their acoustic guitar which is designed for beginners is the Ibanez IJV50
It has a Dreadnought body. It has a Laminated Spruce Top and Agathis back and sides. It uses the Ibanez Advantage Pins which make string changing easier compared to typical pins.
Sound quality is decent. Many people love it and they can’t sell this guitar even though they have already upgraded. If you are a beginner, I believe that you will love it too. Set up is good out of factory. Playability is easy, you can change chords faster because the neck is beautifully made.
It also comes with a package with gig bag, chromatic tuner and strap. Just like I said, there’s nothing special in this guitar that will make it stand out but for beginner, you won’t regret buying this guitar.
3. Jasmine S35
Place to buy: Amazon
My Rating: 3.9 out of 5
– Cheapest but Sounds good
– Not a well-known brand but managed to be at the top in this price range
– No Case included
Jasmine S35 is the cheapest guitar in this category. At the price of almost $100, you can get a very nice guitar that outperform some guitars which have higher price.
It is also a Dreadnought guitar which has Laminated Spruce Top and Nato (Eastern Mahogany) back and sides. Its sound is not really for performance but good enough for beginners or even professionals who are looking for something cheap to play around.
It has low action but probably needs set up. Unfortunately, this guitar has no gig bag included which you can buy separately. Jasmine S35 is a real deal, and you won’t regret having this guitar.
4. Yamaha FG800
Place to buy: Amazon
My Rating: 4.2 out of 5
– Solid Top at this price range
– Very warm sound and well balanced tone
– Highly Recommended as the first guitar
– Priciest in this category
Yamaha FG800 comes with a Solid Spruce Top. That reason alone is what makes this my no. 1 recommended guitar in this category. It is the priciest of all these guitar but if you can afford this, choose this one. Having a Solid Top is enough reason because compared to laminated guitars, this one will sound better as it age.
Some users said that this guitar is set up with a high action and can be harder to play especially for beginners but it is not a widespread complaint. If you have encountered with a high action guitar, you can either return it and ask for another or just bring it to professionals to fix this issue.
Since Solid top guitars is a little bit expensive, you can’t expect this to have a package. So at $200, you can only get the Yamaha FG800 without any freebies. Still, having a solid top is enough reason for me to choose this. But if you are really tight on budget, any guitar in this list can do its job well.
If you want a slightly better specs you can also check out the Yamaha FG830. It has better tonewood but pricier. People often choose the Yamaha FG830 because of this reason. Here is a full review of Yamaha FG830 if you are interested.
5. Epiphone DR-100
Place to buy: Amazon
My Rating: 4.1 out of 5
– Beautiful mid tones and high tones
– Epiphone’s Slim Taper Profile
– Low action right out of the box
– Lacks deep bass response
– No Case included
Epiphone, a subsidiary of Gibson, is a well-known guitar maker especially in Acoustic guitar. They are making guitars in different price range and the Epiphone DR-100 is one of the best selling guitar they have made
Its body is made of Select (Laminated) Spruce Top and Mahogany back and side. Some reviews say that it has a Solid top but I would like to tell you that it is not. Look at the official site of Epiphone and it clearly states that it has a Select Spruce top.
The neck is clearly a winner because of the Epiphone’s Slim Taper Profile which makes the neck slimmer than normal which allows faster chord change. It has low action but if you want to make sure, it doesn’t hurt to bring it to a professional.
Sound quality is fantastic. However, it lacks a little low end but has superb mid and high tones. There is no package included which is unfortunate for the users but still, this guitar is one of the recommended starter guitars.
Fender FA-125 is the newest sibling of the FA-115. It is better in everything than the FA-115 AT THE SAME PRICE. However, you won’t get any accessory except the gig bag. Here is the best deal in Amazon
My Overall Recommendation:
1. Yamaha FG800 – If you have good budget
2. Epiphone DR100
3. Fender FA-125 or Fender FA-115
4. Jasmine S35
5. Ibanez IJV50
These are my top recommendations for the best sounding cheap acoustic guitar. You will never get a fantastic sound because you can only get it if you are willing to spend a few grand. But don’t get me wrong, these may not be fantastic guitars for expert, these are decent guitars that can get you started in guitar career. So don’t let lack of money stops you from learning.
Is your top guitar in the list? I would like to know what’s in your list. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about this guitars.
If you have budget, I recommend that you go a little higher. Check my list of the best acoustic guitar under $500.