The Top 7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $300
From impressive standard sized, to small and parlor-sized acoustics, there are plenty of quality guitars to choose from in the sub $300 price range, but only a few meet our standards of excellence.
So we decided to narrow down the list to just the top seven, while accommodating as many sizes and designs as possible. We have chosen the guitars that make big-name brands re-think their price tags, proving that quality can be achieved at a more reasonable cost.
The Alvarez AD60 is a guitar that big-name acoustic manufacturers don't want you to know about - this is an instrument where you are actually paying for quality materials and construction rather than a hyped label. Because of its stellar bang-per-buck ratio, this low-key guitar gets the top spot in this list. Producing quality full-sized acoustics in this price range is quite a feat, but Alvarez does so with relative ease.
Pros: Best bang per buck guitar with impressive specs.
Cons: Emphasizes the mid-range frequencies more compared to other dreadnoughts
To ensure the top resonates well, Alvarez hand picks the solid ‘A’ grade Sitka spruce tops from quarter-sawn wood, which for other brands would ridiculously up the price tag. The guitar sacrifices some low end to give it a cutting voice that emphasizes the midrange. Other impressive features include having a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, real bone nut and saddle, ABS binding and mother of pearl inlays. The Alvarez AD60 is money well-spent. Manufacturer: Alvarez Guitars | Retail Price: $299 - Get the latest AD60 price and reviews at Amazon.
While other guitar makers have entry-level instruments in this price range, Yamaha offers a professional acoustic with mid-level specs - the FG730S! Comparing the specs of this guitar with other more expensive acoustics will easily make people think twice before going for overpriced guitars. If you think that this is some entry level instrument - the guitar's impressive tonewood combination will make you rethink your conclusion. It comes with a solid Sitka spruce top along with rosewood back and sides, a feature usually found on expensive guitars.
Pros: Great sound with impressive visuals.
Cons: May take a while for the guitar to "open up".
Solid sitka spruce is a feature found in many great acoustic guitars because of its ability to "open up" - improving the guitar's resonance as it ages. Although it may take a while for Yamaha's to open up, it will be worth the wait. With Yamaha's reputation of good production consistency, the FG730S is easily the safest pick in this price range. You can expect the guitar to be built to handle regular use, while having the playability and sound that even professionals can't help but admire. Another great thing about this guitar is that it comes with impressive aesthetics. While other brands will have to strip down a guitar to bare essentials in this price range, the FG730S has a very elegant look, complete with body and neck binding and a tortoise pickguard. Manufacturer: Yamaha | Retail Price: $300 - Get the latest FG730S price and reviews at Amazon.
Fender Ron Emory Loyalty Parlor
We are seeing a resurgence of interest in small-bodied vintage acoustic guitars, unfortunately not every can own one because they are rare and expensive. Fender saw this need and teamed up with T.S.O.L. guitarist Ron Emory to provide equally elegant yet affordable alternatives. The result is a carefully adorned signature parlor guitar with a surprisingly affordable price tag.
Pros: Classic Parlor body with elegant blues box looks and sound.
Cons: Because of its small size, volume is sacrificed for tone.
This parlor guitar has the '30s written all over it, featuring a great looking pre-war body style that is complemented by the guitar's elegant binding, inlays and other aesthetics. The Loyalty guitar has two versions, a sunburst finish one with mahogany body and one with an ash body finished in butterscotch-stain. Although it lacks in volume, the guitar oozes with appeal and mojo. You can easily recreate the Robert Johnson look and sound - without having to go down the "Crossroads"! Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $279 - Get the latest price and reviews at Amazon.
Breedlove Passport C200/SMP
The C200/SMP is a stripped down guitar that focuses on the things that actually matter to a great acoustic guitar - playability and tone. This guitar feature's a shape that is designed to reproduce some of the "snap" of smaller OM style bodies, while having the volume and warmth of bigger sized acoustics. The guitar's shape and craftsmanship allows the solid sitka spruce top and stained maple back and sides to resonate in unison, giving it a clear voice that has impressed even those that already own high-end acoustics.
Pros: Great craftsmanship, it has the right balance of snap and warmth.
Cons: Could use a bit more aesthetics.
Although it lacks aesthetic detail, this guitar is sonically on par with more expensive models. It has a versatile sound that can handle both aggressive and subtle playing really well. Breedlove built their reputation by ensuring quality, and their customer service is also one of the few remaining that actually gets good feedback from users. When you buy the C200/SMP, you will be happy with the craftsmanship, sound and their after sales service. Manufacturer: Breedlove Music | Retail Price: $299.
If you are looking for a great acoustic guitar that you can conveniently take on your travels, or you want a budget friendly acoustic from a reputable brand, then the Martin LX1 is for you. This small guitar has become popular with travelers and beginners, because of its distinct Martin looks and sounds. It is truly a genuine Martin instrument, only smaller and more affordable.
Pros: Easy to carry and affordable Martin sound.
Cons: Can be a bit too small and quiet for some.
Underneath its small toy-like appearance, the LX1 is every bit a Martin instrument, featuring a solid Sitka spruce soundboard and mahogany HPL back and sides. Although the small modified 0-14 body may limit the volume, it is designed to carry the distinct Martin sound, only quieter. Its tempting tag price have made it one of the most popular acoustic guitars in the market, and reviews have been unanimous in saying that this is a great all-around instrument that will not disappoint. Manufacturer: Martin Guitars | Retail Price: $299 - Get the latest LX1 price and reviews at Amazon.
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 AW300VS, which combines traditional looks and sounds with modern reliability and playability.
Pros: Great value with impressive playability.
Cons: Compromises some low end for a crisp and trebly sound.
With its traditional dreadnought shape and vintage sunburst finish, this guitar looks the part of a classic instrument. Traditional sounds on the other hand are provided by its conventional pairing of solid Engelmann spruce top and mahogany back and sides, built using efficient modern technology. Experienced players might miss the low end boom of dreadnoughts, but they will be pleased with the guitar's clarity and crisp tone. The AW300VS with its impressive tone wood selection and craftsmanship, gives you great value for your money. If budget is limited, or if you are just starting out, this is highly recommended. Manufacturer: Ibanez | Retail Price: $299 - Get the latest AW300VS price and reviews at Amazon.
Recording King Dirty Thirties 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.
Pros: Ultra-affordable parlor sized acoustic guitar.
Cons: Will lack volume due to its small size
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 - Get the latest Dirty Thirties RPH-05 price and reviews at Amazon.
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