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 and well known brands to choose from in the sub $300 price range, but only a few meet our standards of excellence.

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.

So we decided to narrow down the list to just the top seven, while accommodating as many sizes and designs as possible. We have selected the guitars that really stand out from the pack in terms of tone, playability, quality of build, and value for money.

Washburn WD20S

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 WD20S is a great example, carrying specs that you would normally be priced higher, without stripping down cosmetics like other manufacturers do.

Washburn WD20S
  • Pros: Best bang per buck guitar with impressive specs and looks.

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

The Washburn WD20S does not stray from the tried and tested dreadnought tradition, featuring a solid Alaskan Sitka spruce top supported by Quartersawn scalloped bracing and Rosewood 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 Sitka spruce, you can only expect it to resonate and sound better as the guitar ages, making the WD20S far from other cheap 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 WD20S. Manufacturer: Washburn Guitars | Retail Price: $299 - Get the latest WD20S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Yamaha FG730S

Yamaha FG730S

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: $299.99 - Get the latest FG730S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Fender Sonoran S

Fender Sonoran S

If you're looking for a distinct looking acoustic guitar in this price range, you should check out the Fender Sonoran S, with its solid spruce top construction and Fender Strat style headstock shape. I normally do not like the headstock shape on acoustics, but the Sonoran S was able to blend it properly with the guitar's shape and overall aesthetics, resulting in a retro looking acoustic that looks and sounds cool !

  • Pros: Great craftsmanship, it has the right balance of snap and 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 Sonoran S 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. While the look is unique, the guitar's construction follows traditional format, having a solid spruce top and back and sides crafted from mahogany, giving the guitar a straightforward tone that will be useful for various playing and musical styles. Other features include 1-5/8" nutwidth, 25.3" scale length and it comes complete with top and back body binding, comfortable cutaway and a retro looking rosette. Stand out from the crowd with the Fender Sonoran S. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $299.99 - Get the latest Sonoran S price and reviews at Sweetwater.


Martin LX1

Martin LX1

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 Sweetwater.


Ibanez AW400

Ibanez AW300VS

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 AW400, 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 Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, built using efficient and reliable modern technology. For its price, this acoustic guitar will please even experienced players, thanks to its clear and crisp tone. The AW400 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: $299.99 - Get the latest AW400 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.


Fender Ron Emory Loyalty Parlor

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.


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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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