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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're looking for a distinct looking and sounding acoustic guitar in this price range, you should check out the Fender CD-60, 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-60 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-60. Manufacturer: Fender | Retail Price: $229.99 - Get the latest Fender CD-60 price and reviews at Sweetwater.
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 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
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 - one of the very best parlors available.
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.
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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