The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300 - Gearank Rated

Here are our 2019 updated recommendations for acoustic guitars between $200 and $300.

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've taken a different approach with this update of our recommendations by basing our selection on Gearank ratings in order to show you which guitars in this price range are the highest rated options on the market.

If you're curious, you can see the current ratings for each of these guitars on Gearank.com.

If you want you can skip past our recommendations to our buying guide: What to Look for in a Sub $300 Acoustic Guitar.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

Order Picture View on Sweetwater Overview Detailed Description

1.

Ibanez AC240 OPN

Ibanez AC240

With its grand concert solid-top body, this guitar combines loud projection, warm tone and Ibanez' brand of easy playability. See our detailed description below

2.

Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS

An affordable dreadnought with a solid cedar top, built to Takamine's quality standards including their proprietary split-saddle bridge. See our detailed description below

3.

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830

A great value traditional style dreadnought from Yamaha, with a solid spruce top, rosewood for the back and sides, and a slimmer neck profile. See our detailed description below

4.

Yamaha FG820

Yamaha FG820

This budget friendly dreadnought features a solid spruce top, and is backed by Yamaha's reputation for student-friendly reliability and quality. See our detailed description below

5.

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 description below

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 from our guide to The Best Acoustic Guitar Brands, or if you're looking for less expensive options then take a look at our guide to The Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under $200.

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 their 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.

Detailed Descriptions of The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

Ibanez AC240

Ibanez AC240

Back when amplifiers were not yet available, orchestra profile acoustics were in demand for their natural loud projection that can be heard even in big-band settings. Their relatively bigger body helps balance the lower and higher frequencies resulting in a louder and fuller sound that is still in demand up to this day.

The AC240 is a modern take on the classic orchestra design, providing the benefits of a big body along while adding Ibanez' brand of playability into the mix. For the body, Ibanez utilized a non-traditional tonewood called okoume, which shares a very similar look and feel to mahogany, but lighter and more sustainable. The use of solid okoume on the top and laminate okoume on the body give the guitar a distinctly earthy appearance, and it also warms up the resulting tone.

Ibanez equipped this guitar with neck that's a bit wider at 45 mm, which makes sense because it fits the guitar's body profile. It also makes it easier for those with bigger hands to play. Scale length is shorter at 24.96', which lessens the tension slightly for easier fretting.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Grand Concert
  • Top: Solid Okoume
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Okoume
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Ovangkol
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim (21mm at 1F)
  • Fingerboard: Ovangkol
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75" / 400 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 24.96" / 634 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.77" / 45 mm

While there is no replacing the sound of traditional spruce-topped guitars, many are finding the warmer tone of okoume to be just what they need. Coupled with its orchestra body and Ibanez' smooth action neck, the AC240 should be at the top of your list if you're looking for an affordable and highly playable acoustic guitar.

The Ibanez AC240 has enough projection and warmth for blues style playing, as shown on the video below:

Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS

While Takamine is better known for their acoustic-electric guitars, they have a great line up of affordable acoustics with no pickups, the GD20-NS being a prime example. This is a dreadnought acoustic with some interesting twists added to the design, most notable of which is the use of Takamine's distinct split-saddle.

Another noteworthy feature is the use of solid cedar on the top, a type of tonewood that's usually seen on classical guitars. Compared to spruce, the use of cedar adds a bit more warmth and low-end to the resulting tone, something that fingerpickers will appreciate. And since the top is crafted from solid wood, the tone is expected to sound better as it ages, and this is reflected on many user reviews.

The guitar's mahogany neck doesn't stray much from familiar territory, with its satin feel, 25.3" scale length, and 1.6875" nut width. It is topped by a 12" radius rosewood fingerboard and features basic fretmarker inlays.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Slim
  • Fingerboard: Ovangkol
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12” / 304.8 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.3” / 642.6 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.6875" / 42.8 mm

While the Takamine GD20-NS' price tag is aimed at beginner to intermediate players, even experienced players have mostly good things to say about it. Some even compare this guitar favorably over those that are priced more than five times its price tag. Goes to show how minor details like the split saddle design and Takamine's attention to detail positively affect the overall feel and sound of the guitar.

The video below showcases the balanced tone of the Takamine GD20-NS, be it in strumming or plucking:

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha is world renown for their student-friendly instruments, and the FG830 expands their entry-level market presence even further. Like its predecessor (the Yamaha FG730), the FG830 does not stray away from classic design, but it does have some notable changes which include having a slimmer neck, and scalloped bracing.

Right at the onset, it'll be hard to beat the FG830's specs given its price, with its solid spruce top supported by scalloped bracing, both of which are normally only available at higher price tiers. Along with its rosewood back and sides, the FG830 looks more expensive than it actually is, not to mention that it has the potential to sound better as its solid top ages.

The slimmer profile of its nato neck, together with its 25.56" scale length rosewood fingerboard and 1.69" nut width - makes this guitar easier to play and more attractive to beginners and students.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminated Rosewood
  • Finish: Natural, Tobacco Sunburst, Autumn Burst
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim Tapered
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75" / 400 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.56” / 650 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.69" / 43 mm

If you're looking for a high-quality yet cost-effective solid-spruce top acoustic guitar, then this is your best bet.

Much like its specs, the sound of the Yamaha FG830 stays true to classic dreadnoughts:

Yamaha FG820

Yamaha FG820

The Yamaha FG820 is just a step below the FG830, and is even more affordable than its sibling. The main difference being the use of standard profile neck and laminate mahogany on the back and sides (instead of rosewood). Everything else is the same, from its traditional dreadnought profile, down to the small details of its build quality.

For its price, the FG820 gives you quite a lot, most noteworthy of which is its solid spruce top. And while the solid top by itself is nice, it works even better when paired with good craftsmanship, as one would expect from Yamaha.

To allow the top to resonate better, Yamaha equipped their FG series with scalloped bracings, which provides better resonance without compromising structural integrity. Again Yamaha is able to make premium features more accessible for students to enjoy. The neck follows what Yamaha describes as a standard profile, which looking at the specs means that it simply follows familiar dreadnought neck shape.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminate Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge:Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Standard
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75" / 400 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5" / 647.7 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.6875" / 42.86 mm

Value for money is the obvious strength of this guitar, it also helps that it comes with cream colored bindings on the body and fingerboard, which prevents it from looking like a stripped-down budget instrument.

See the Yamaha FG820 in action below:

Epiphone AJ-220S

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 tonewood result in open and lively acoustic tones that impress even experienced 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.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Jumbo
  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Laminate Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Neck Profile: SlimTaper
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.5" / 647.7 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.69" / 42.93 mm

If you want a quality budget-friendly acoustic and you're tired of the same old dreadnought shape, then this is for you.

The Epiphone AJ-220S's quality and versatility is put to the test by musicians of various styles in the video below:

About the Author: Alexander Briones

Alexander teaches guitar and bass and also has extensive experience performing live. He has also recorded in studios and records at home. Over the last few years he's been a leading music equipment researcher and writer at Gearank, and serves as a music director at his local church.

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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/#7b.

Hope that helps!

Fender CD-60S

I personally find the Fender CD-60S to be one of my favorite. I think the sound quality that it produces is superior to most other models on the market. The price is also quite reasonable.

The Fender CD-60S is a nice guitar

The Fender CD-60S is a nice guitar, however Fender seem to have withdrawn it from the market:
https://shop.fender.com/en-US/acoustic-guitars/dreadnought/cd-60s/0961701021.html

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