The Top 6 Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $300

Here is an updated look at the best acoustic guitars in the sub $300 price range, featuring six of what we consider as the top notch and worthy of your consideration..

Sweetwater

This page is sponsored by Sweetwater so you can click through to get the full specifications, the latest price, and purchase any of the Acoustic Guitars stocked by Sweetwater that we have recommended.

We have selected the guitars that really stand out from the pack in terms of tone, playability, quality of build, and value for money. And we narrowed down the list to just the top six while accommodating different guitar designs and shapes. New comers to this list include the top rated Epiphone AJ-220S and the stage-ready Yamaha APX500III.

If you are looking for a guitar to do some recording with then take a look at this excellent guide to acoustic guitar mics on Gearank.com.

Contents

Top 6 Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $300

Picture View on Sweetwater Overview Detailed Description
Epiphone AJ-220S

Epiphone AJ-220S

With its distinct Gibson Advanced Jumbo shape, solid sitka spruce top and elegant appointments, the affordable Epiphone AJ-220S gives you more quality and eye candy for the money. See our detailed review below
Yamaha APX500III

Yamaha APX500III

Yamaha does not shy away from innovation, as evidenced by the distinct thinline body shape of the APX500III, which makes it lighter and more comfortable to play. See our detailed review below
Fender CD-60S

Fender CD-60S

The Fender CD-60S follows traditional acoustic guitar shape and build which gives it familiar appearance, feel and tone - albeit with a solid mahogany top that gives it a rounder and balanced sound. See our detailed review below
Washburn WD7S

Washburn WD7S

Carrying specs that you would normally be priced higher and without stripping down cosmetics, the solid spruce top Washburn WD7S gives you incredible value for your money. See our detailed review below
Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54

The Ibanez AW54 combines traditional dreadnought looks and tones, with modern reliability and fast action playability. It sports a solid mahogany top that gives it an earthy appeal and a distinctly warm tone. See our detailed review below
Recording King Dirty Thirties RPH-05

Recording King Dirty Thirties RPH-05

For something so affordable, the Recording King Dirty Thirties RPH-05 gives you vintage parlor guitar style shape and aesthetics, along with a solid spruce top. See our detailed review below

Epiphone AJ-220S

Epiphone is a fierce competitor in the entry level market, and the AJ-220S is one of the guitars that keep them up top. This acoustic guitar is based on Gibson's "Advanced Jumbo" acoustic guitar shape, which has a wider lower bout, only this one is made affordable for more guitarists to appreciate. This distinct shape coupled with its mid-tier spec tone wood result in open and lively acoustic tones that impress even experienced players.

Epiphone AJ-220S
  • Pros: Good value for money with elegant sound and looks.

  • Cons: The shape maybe a bit bulky for smaller players.

Speaking of top wood, AJ-220S's comes with solid Sitka spruce top which is quite special in its price range. The top is supported by mahogany back and sides, while the neck is also crafted from mahogany. Speaking of the neck, this guitar has a "slimtaper" neck that's meant to make the guitar comfortable to play. The neck is topped by a rosewood fingerboard with 20 total frets. Other important specifications include 1.69" nut width and 25.5" scale length. Manufacturer: Epiphone | Retail Price: $249

Get the latest Epiphone AJ-220S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Yamaha APX500III

Yamaha APX500III

Yamaha does not shy away from innovation, as evidenced by the distinct thinline body shape of the APX500III. The thinner body profile strays from traditional acoustic guitar shape, with the aim of making the instrument lighter and more comfortable to the player. But it's not just about being light and easy to play because it does come with essential features that include having a spruce top, nato body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, and rosewood bridge.

  • Pros: Thinline body with built-in piezo pickup system and tuner.

  • Cons: Thinner profile changes its acoustic volume and voicing.

It also helps that the APX500III has the same appeal as modern electric guitar designs have, with its slim profile and single cut-away. Another stand out feature is the inclusion of a built-in piezo pickup and preamp system, which ups the value and usage that you can get from the instrument. It also features a nifty onboard tuner that helps you sound good on stage or while practicing. Since it's from Yamaha, you know you're getting a reliable and quality instrument at a very affordable price point. Manufacturer: Yamaha | Retail Price: $299.99.

Get the latest APX500III price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Fender CD-60S

Fender CD-60S

If you're looking for a distinct looking and sounding acoustic guitar in this price range, you should check out the Fender CD-60S, with its all mahogany body construction and earthy look. Thankfully this one does not have the Strat style headstock shape, and instead sports a classic 3-per-side headstock design that blends well with the guitar's shape and overall aesthetics. This is truly an affordable retro looking acoustic that looks and sounds cool !

  • Pros: Great craftsmanship, complex overtones with great warmth.

  • Cons: Could use a bit more aesthetics.

It's interesting how the Fender brand is slapped on a sub $300 acoustics while you can only get the "Squier" label on cheap electric guitars. This makes the CD-60S an affordable way to own a legitimate Fender branded instrument, and it's not just about the brand, because the build and quality of materials used on this acoustic is definitely up to the Fender's standards. The guitar's construction mostly follows traditional format, with the main difference being its solid mahogany top instead of the usual spruce. This paired with its mahogany back and sides produce a complex tone that compliments other acoustics well and useful for various playing and musical styles. Other features include 1.69" nutwidth, 25.3" scale length and it comes complete with top and back body binding, along with a retro looking pickguard and rosette. Stand out from the crowd with the Fender CD-60S. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $199.99

Get the latest Fender CD-60S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Washburn WD7S

Washburn WD7S

Founded in 1883, Washburn is one of the few really old guitar brands that are still in operation. As such, they have extensive experience in guitar building which they combine with efficient modern production techniques, resulting in affordable instruments that have impressive quality. The WD7S is a great example, carrying specs that you would normally be priced higher, without stripping down cosmetics like other manufacturers do.

  • Pros: Best bang per buck guitar with impressive specs and looks.

  • Cons: Emphasizes the mid-range frequencies more compared to other dreadnoughts

The Washburn WD7S does not stray from the tried and tested dreadnought tradition, featuring a solid spruce top supported by Quartersawn scalloped bracing and mahogany back and sides. This combination results in a well balanced sound that has great projection, without sacrificing your attack and playing technique intricacies. Since the top is crafted from solid spruce, you can only expect it to resonate and sound better as the guitar ages, making the WD7S go beyond other entry-level acoustics that would sooner be out of commission. Other cool features include real bone saddles and nut, 25.5" scale length and it has a comfortable 1.69" nut width. If you are looking for a great value traditional acoustic guitar in this price range, then get the Washburn WD7S. Manufacturer: Washburn Guitars | Retail Price: $199

Get the latest Washburn WD7S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54

Ibanez is not one to shy away from new technology when it comes to guitar building, however they also know how to retain traditional design while implementing more efficient and practical building techniques. This results in guitars like the Ibanez AW54, which combines traditional looks and sounds with modern reliability and playability.

  • Pros: Great value with impressive playability.

  • Cons: Compromises some high end for a more mid-focused warm tone.

With its traditional dreadnought shape and open pore finish, this guitar looks the part of a classic instrument. It's warm voice is produced by its all solid mahogany body, with the top being crafted from solid mahogany for a more open sound. Build wise, this acoustic guitar will please even experienced players, with Ibanez' high quality standards, even for their affordable line up. With its impressive tone wood selection and craftsmanship, the AW54 gives you great value for your money. If budget is limited, and you're looking for a warm sounding mahogany top guitar then this is highly recommended. Manufacturer: Ibanez | Retail Price: $199.99

Get the latest AW54 price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Recording King Dirty Thirties RPH-05

Recording King RPH-05

The Dirty Thirties RPH-05 guitar is a 1930's inspired instrument that looks like it came straight out of the past via Doc Brown's De Lorean time machine! It features a single O parlor body and vintage sunburst finish that gives it an authentic golden era look. This guitar is inspired by the old Montgomery Ward mail order guitars, ideal for folk players, songwriters and traveling troubadours.

For something so cheap, its impressive to see that the guitar features a solid spruce top and rosewood fretboard. This helps provide that classic steel string acoustic tone as heard on vintage parlor guitars. Other features include aged ivoroid body binding, extra-large fingerboard dots, vintage-inspired tuning keys and the historic shape headstock. This ultra-affordable guitar will make a good and easy addition to any guitarist's arsenal. Manufacturer: Recording King | Retail Price: $199.



What to Look for in a Sub $300 Acoustic Guitar

  • Tonewood

    The top wood of an acoustic guitar greatly affects the overall tone, thankfully there's really not much to choose from in the sub $300 price range - spruce is the most common, while mahogany comes in at second. Spruce top acoustics are characteristically brighter sounding and have more punch, highly recommended if you prefer traditional tones. On the other hand, mahogany top acoustics are characteristically warm sounding with more emphasis on the mids and bass, ideal for mellow tones and for complementing other guitars. For the back and sides, most guitars come with laminate mahogany, nato and other close variants, so there's really not much to choose from.

  • Solid vs Laminate Top

    Solid top guitars are preferred by many for its open and vibrant sound, and for how they sound better with age. The downside is that they are more expensive to use, so they are not as abundantly implemented as we'd like, especially in the entry-level market. Laminate tops are not all bad, because they are more sturdy and resilient to weather/temperature changes, something that makes them ideal for many situations. Build quality of the bracing and guitar structure also plays an important role, so don't be surprised when some laminate top guitars sound better than solid top ones.

  • Body Shape and Size

    While there are shape and size variants, most of them are derivatives of classic acoustic guitar shapes like the Dreadnought, Concert, Jumbo and Parlor. A good rule of thumb to follow is that bigger bodies have more volume and bass, while smaller ones emphasize mid to high frequencies. Dreadnoughts and Jumbo acoustics are well loved for their punchy and low end thump, with the downside being their bulky size which can be uncomfortable. Smaller body shapes like the Concert, Thinline and Parlor are preferred for their clarity and pristine sound, and for their comfortable body shape, just don't expect them to be as loud as their bigger bodied siblings.

  • Playability

    Playability is affected by the guitar's neck and string setup. Nut width is a good indication of how wide a neck is, if you have big fingers and large hands, you'd want a wider fingerboard, while those with smaller hands will enjoy ones with narrow neck. Scale length describes the length on which the strings are stretched on a guitar, shorter scale length requires less tension and are easier to play. Since acoustic tone is affected by string tension, many prefer standard size scale lengths for their sound. String height is also important, and this has most to do with how the guitar is setup at the factory. Thankfully many of the guitars in this price range come set up properly, but there are times when you'll need to have it setup by a professional to get the most out of the instrument.

  • Appearance

    An instrument that is pleasing to the eye will inspire you to practice and play better, and since many guitars in this price range come with many color and finish variants, you have a wide variety of designs to choose from. Build quality is also important, and this is where brand reputation and recognition factors in.

If there's a guitar you think we've missed then please let us know in the comments below. You can also get further advice at Best Acoustic Guitar Guide.

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Guitar reviews

I wondered if you've heard of Freshman guitars, they are a relatively new compant based in Scotland who make a really good range of affordable acoustic guitars, well worthy taking a look at. I have bought one and for the price paid(including hard case) it is very impressive.
Regards,
Frank.

Freshman Guitars

I just had a look at their website, and based on the specs it looks like they do have some nice models in this price range (all prices are in Pounds).

If anyone's interested you can see their range at http://www.freshmanguitars.net/products/acoustics-guitars/

"will lack volume due to

"will lack volume due to it's small size" ??????? Smaller guitars are louder surely? The whole point of a parlour guitar is it's loud.

Compared to the bigger

Compared to the bigger guitars in this list which include dreadnoughts, the parlor guitar's volume will naturally be lower.

which parlor guitar to buy

Im looking to buy a parlor in the 5 to 600 dollar range but cant decide on what to buy. I was looking at the AP70E by alvarez and the reviews seem good.Any other suggestions would be appreciated.THANKS.

Parlor Guitars

The Alvarez AP70 is a great choice in that price range, another one you can check out is the Breedlove Passport Parlor which is available in solid spruce or solid mahogany top versions. Check out our recommended parlor guitars at: https://parlor.guitars/blog/roundup-best-parlor-guitars

breedlove passport

I took a look at the breedlove passport parlor guitar and itis a decent guitar and has a nice sound to it in the video.I will consider this model when i decide. Thanks for the reply

Have you done any research

Have you done any research with the epiphone hummingbird pro? I would love to see your opinion. I'm looking at it as a intermediate guitar

Customer reviews of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

We didn't research the Hummingbird Pro for this roundup but we did write about it back when it came out in 2012 in this article:
Epiphone Hummingbird Pro Acoustic-Electric.

There are also a lot of positive reviews on Sweetwater for it at:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EEHBFCNH/reviews

Our analysis of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

I spoke too soon in my previous comment - just a few hours after I posted we published an analysis of the Epiphone Hummingbird Pro at:
http://www.guitarsite.com/best-acoustic-guitar/#6.

Hope that helps!

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