The 11 Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars Under $1,000
Spending a grand on a guitar is serious business, so before you order, here are 11 acoustic-electric guitars that we believe are more than worth their price tag.
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Sub-$1000 acoustic-electric guitars sit in the sweet spot where price is competitive and quality is not compromised. These guitars are ideal for professionals because they are mostly the same as their high-end counterparts, save for some differences in aesthetics, place of manufacture, and the use of alternative readily-available wood. With so many great guitars to choose from, we went with 11 guitars that represent a wider spectrum of preferences.
Martin 000RSGT Acoustic-Electric Guitar
C.F. Martin & Co.'s legacy and reputation when it comes to acoustic guitars is undeniable, the downside however is that their better instruments command premium price tags. Thankfully, Martin's mid-tier guitars are getting better and better, case in point is the recently released 000RSGT, a "triple-0" shape all-solid-wood acoustic-electric. It features a polished gloss Sitka spruce top with solid sapele back and sides, and a solid one-piece sipo neck that are assembled under Martin's time honored quality standards. The soundhole mounted Fishman Sonitone pickup system ensures that the body structure is not compromised, and even features a USB output for direct recording. The Martin Road Series 000RSGT is a worthy investment for serious players. Manufacturer: C.F. Martin & Co. | Retail Price:$999
Washburn WCG25SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Whoever is behind Washburn's Comfort Series has impressive sense of aesthetics and style, and the WCG25SCE is arguably one of their best. This acoustic electric combines seamlessly mixed traditional looks with modern ergonomics, resulting in an eye-catching instrument that is comfortable to play. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with rosewood back and sides, and feature unique belly and top carves that will hug your body instead of digging into it, which result in a comfortable playing experience whether you're standing or sitting. It's interesting to note that the most elegant looking guitar of this bunch is also the most affordable, which means that if you buy this one, you have enough change to get a good acoustic amp to go with it. Manufacturer: Washburn | Retail Price:$649
Recording King RD-316-FE2
The RD-316 is a reasonably priced replica of '20s era dreadnought guitars. It features top-tier all-solid wood construction including solid Adirondack spruce top with scalloped forward x-bracing, solid African mahogany back and sides and a one-piece mahogany neck. Only high-end guitars come equipped with Adirondack spruce tops, fetching price tags that are three to four times higher! To maintain their competitive price, Recording King cuts production cost by employing a more straightforward look with minimal embellishments. So basically the RD-316 looks like a sub-$1000 guitar but sounds and feels like something more expensive. For plugging in, it comes with a Fishman Matrix preamp system that discretely attaches to the guitar. Manufacturer: Recording King | Retail Price:$950
Alvarez MD60CE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Alvarez is one manufacturer that keeps the big players of electric-acoustic guitar manufacturing in check - they do this by making well-built and great sounding instruments which are more affordable and accessible. At just over $650, the MD60CE illustrates their strategy nicely, carrying premium features that include all solid-wood construction and a dual pickup blending system. You get a guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top, solid mahogany back & sides, and a one piece mahogany neck. On top of that is Alvarez' SYS650 dual pickup system with EQ and built in tuner, which comes with one under saddle pick up and a transducer pickup placed under the soundboard. The two pickups, blend and EQ controls will let you better shape your amplified sound, while the guitar's all-solid wood construction ensures that it sounds good even when unplugged. Manufacturer: Alvarez | Retail Price:$650
Taylor 214ce GA Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Easily one of the most popular electro-acoustic guitars in this price range is the Taylor 214ce. It has the brand's unique Grand Auditorium body shape that gives the guitar a sharper tone with clear highs. The body features a solid sitka spruce top and quite underwhelmingly, laminate rosewood back and sides. Some might complain that it should have all-solid wood specs at this price point, but most of them drop their complaints soon after playing the instrument, turning into Taylor converts that stand by the guitar's balanced tone and premium feel. Another plus for the 214ce is that build and attention to details are on par with their high-end instruments. Manufacturer: Taylor | Retail Price:$999
Although not as popular as the sub-$500 acoustic-electrics like the APX and CPX series, the "A Series" is actually Yamaha's professional level best bang-for-your-buck line. The AC3R is a great example, featuring all-solid wood construction that does not sacrifice aesthetics. It has a solid sitka spruce top with solid rosewood back & sides, ebony fretboard & bridge, and mahogany/rosewood bindings and rosette, premium features that you normally only expect at higher-tier instruments. Another impressive feature of the AC3R is the System 63 S.R.T. preamp pickup system, which offer deep control over your plugged-in sound. With the Yamaha AC3R, you are getting more that your money's worth. Manufacturer: Yamaha | Retail Price:$899
Breedlove Stage Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The Breedlove Stage concert is a sometimes underrated instrument that you should check out before you decide on buying your workhorse guitar. It features a refreshing original shape and look that stands out in a market that's dominated by traditionally styled instruments. Matching the guitar's unique look is a distinct voice that helped put Breedlove on the map. For its price, the guitar comes with premium specs that include a solid Sitka spruce top paired with solid east Indian rosewood back and great looking stage diamonds inlay. Finally, Breedlove teams up with L.R. Baggs for the Stage Concert's pickup and preamp system. You will stand out from the crowd with this acoustic-electric. Manufacturer: Breedlove | Retail Price:$999
Seagull Maritime SWS Folk HG QI
The mellow, round and midrange emphasis of the Maritime SWS Folk HG has a distinct type of musical appeal. Its enhanced mid-range response is due to the guitar's smaller & narrow body size, making it ideal for fingerstyle players. Aside from great sounds, the guitar's premium all-solid wood configuration comes at a non-premium price point, featuring select pressure tested solid spruce top and solid mahogany back & sides. The only complaints that I share with other players have more to do with aesthetics, specifically the non-traditional headstock shape, other than that this is simply a great sounding and playing guitar that you can have for less. Manufacturer: Seagull | Retail Price:$829
Guild D-125CE Mahogany
Check out the D-125CE now at Guild Guitars.
Mahogany top and body acoustic-electrics have a distinct balanced sound that can provide a good contrast to the typical spruce top equipped instruments on the market. The Guild D-125CE Mahogany does all that and more, having an all-solid mahogany top, back and sides, with the top supported by a scalloped spruce bracing. The resulting sound is clear with tight bass tones, with the highs having enough air and warmth to work for a range of musical styles. For plugging in, Guild equipped the D-125CE Mahogany with a Fishman Sonitone under-saddle pickup, featuring an end-pin mounted active preamp, volume and tone controls. Rounding off its likable feature set is the D-125CE's satin-finish mahogany that makes playing the instrument more enjoyable. Manufacturer: Guild | Retail Price:$750
Luna Vista Eagle Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Tired of the same old plain looking guitars? Do you want an instrument that is as distinctive as your personality? Then you should check out Luna Guitars with their artsy instruments. One of their newer offerings is the Vista Eagle, with a top that showcases an impressive soaring eagle graphic that will surely turn heads. The cool thing about this guitar is that the graphic is not just a simple paint job, rather different types of wood where combined to form the graphic. The top itself is a complicated amalgamation of movingui, padauk, bubinga, koa and spalt maple wood. Other features of this guitar include koa back and sides, mahogany neck and a B-Band T55 preamp. Alternative designs are also available within the Vista series, including the Vista Wolf (wolf graphic) and Vista Mustang (horse graphic). Manufacturer: Luna | Retail Price:$699.99
Takamine P1DC Acoustic-Electric Guitar
If you prefer the warm and rounder sound of solid cedar tops over traditional spruce tops, then you should check out the Takamine Pro Series P1DC. This traditional looking dreadnought has a solid cedar top and sapele back & sides. It has an asymmetrical neck profile that improves comfort and playability, and it features Takamine's distinct split bone saddle bridge that improves intonation. Rounding out the features of this acoustic-electric is the CT4BII Preamp that brings the brand's renowned clarity along with a 3-band graphic EQ, a volume control and a built-in chromatic tuner.
Although the Takamine P1DC may not be as visually stunning as some of the others, it more than makes up for anything it lacks in that department with its distinct sound. Manufacturer: Takamine | Retail Price:$929
If you're looking for a smaller sized option then check The Best Acoustic-Electric Parlor Guitars.
If you have any questions about these acoustic-electric guitars, or other models which you feel should be mentioned, then have your say in the comments below.
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