2019's Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under $200

Whether you're a beginner, or a more experienced player looking for a budget option to play around the campfire, you'll find just what you need in this guide.

The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

I've based our recommendations partly on my 30+ years of guitar playing experience, and partly from what I've learned over the last few years as the main editor and overseer of product research for Gearank.

Although I did take Gearank Ratings into account when selecting the guitars recommended below, I also gave a little extra preference to guitars that are well suited for beginners to learn and practice on.

If you want, you can skip past the recommendations to our buying guide: What to Look for in a Budget Acoustic Guitar or to About the Author.

Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

Order Picture View on Amazon Overview Detailed Description

1.

Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54

This is the Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar Under $200. It comes with a solid okoume mahogany top, fast action, and full dreadnought size - in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they raise the price above $200 at some future time. See our detailed description below

2.

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100

This has been Epiphone's top selling acoustic guitar for many many years, and having stood the test of time recommending it comes quite easily. See our detailed description below

3.

Fender FA-100

Fender FA-100

This is essentially Fender's answer to Epiphone's DR-100 and it comes bundled with a gig bag and guitar strap resulting in a value proposition that gives Epiphone a run for their money! See our detailed description below

4.

Ibanez IJVC50

Ibanez IJVC50

This is great value beginner package, it has a body shape and size well suited shorter/younger players, and includes a gig bag, tuner, guitar strap and more... See our detailed description below

5.

Jasmine S35

Jasmine S35

A budget friendly, yet visually appealing, dreadnought with specifications that make it easier on those with small fingers as well as players transitioning from electric guitars. See our detailed description below

Other Worthy Acoustic Guitars Under $200

I chose to keep the recommended list above short and sweet to avoid overwhelming beginners or parents buying guitars for their children, however there are a few other highly rated options to look at if none of those suit your tastes:

If there's a guitar you think should be included in this guide 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 your budget can stretch a little further then take a look at our guide to The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Budget Acoustic Guitar

  • Playability

    Playability is affected by the guitar's neck and string setup. The nut width tells you how how far apart the strings are with a larger value meaning the strings are further apart - smaller nut widths are easier for smaller fingers as are guitars with thinner necks. The scale length basically tells you how much tension the stings will have with a longer scale requiring tighter strings than a shorter one. Shorter scale lengths with lower tension make the strings easier to press down onto the frets at the expense of making it more difficult to play fast runs - something that won't bother beginners. Since acoustic tone is affected by string tension, many prefer standard size scale lengths (25.5" / 648 mm) for their sound. String height is also important with this often being referred to as the 'action' or 'action height' - again lower strings are easier to press down with the trade-off that you'll get more fret buzz when playing hard and loud. All the guitars recommended in this guide have fairly standard string heights and playability characteristics.

  • Types of Wood and Tone

    Experienced guitarists can debate the merits of different woods and their combinations used on different parts of guitars at great length, however you don't really need to worry about this too much if you're just starting out - simply listen to the videos below and choose a guitar with wood that sounds good to you. The wood on the top of the guitar (the front-facing part with the soundhole) will have the most influence on its tone with Spruce sounding 'bright' and Mahogany sounding a bit 'warmer'.

  • Solid vs Laminate Top

    A solid top is made from a single piece of wood, while a laminate top is made from several layers of wood pressed and glued together. The wood used on the top of a guitar has the largest influence on tone, sustain and projection (loudness) compared to the wood used on body and neck. Although a solid-top guitar produces more volume and sustain because it's not losing acoustic energy to the glue/joins between the layers of laminated wood, they tend to cost more than guitars with laminated tops and can require more care - particularly if you live somewhere prone to large changes in temperature and humidity. Don't worry about top woods too much if you're buying for a beginner, just chose whichever guitar from our recommendations that you like the most. However, more experienced guitar owners will generally prefer to go for solid tops when budget allows.

  • Body Shape and Size

    There are many different shapes and sizes of guitar with the most common being the Dreadnought in this price range. Although different types have subtle tonal differences (and not so subtle to a trained ear), when starting out I believe it's best to go with one of the standard types like a Dreadnought or Concert shaped guitar as these have the most versatility in terms of musical styles they're suited to. If you'd like to learn more about the characteristics of different kinds of guitar then I recommend this article I edited for Gearank.com: The Different Types of Acoustic Guitars Explained.

  • Which one is Best for Small Hands?

    For younger players or those with small hands I recommend choosing between the Ibanez IJVC50 and the Jasmine S35.

  • How do you Choose a Guitar for Children Under 10?

    I wrote an article on Parlor.guitars about this topic a few years ago which is still relevant: A Parlor is the Best Acoustic Guitar for Kids - Here's Why..., and Bobby at Guitar Chalk has some advice worth reading: What’s the most functional acoustic guitar size for a seven year old?

Detailed Descriptions of The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200

Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54OPN Ibanez AW54: Highest Rated Acoustic Guitar Under $200 - 2018.04

Firstly let's clear up some potential confusion, the guitar is known by several names including AW54 OPN, AW54OPN and simply AW54 (which is what Ibanez officially calls it).

This gets the top spot on our recommended list, not only because it's currently the highest rated acoustic guitar under $200 with a Gearank rating of 95/100 (as at publication Aug. 2019), but also because it has maintained that status since November 2016 in this very competitive price bracket!

I do need to point out that Okoume Mahogany isn't what a wood-working expert would call a true Mahogany because it comes from a different biological genus, however it is a light wood that produces a pleasing tone and using Okoume is one of the ways Ibanez has been able to keep the price under $200.

Ibanez isn't afraid of applying 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 a guitar like the Ibanez AW54, which combines traditional looks and sounds with modern reliability and playability.

With its traditional dreadnought shape and open pore finish, this guitar looks the part of a classic instrument. It's warm voice is produced by its laminate okoume mahogany body, with the top being crafted from solid okoume mahogany for a more open sound.

Build wise, this acoustic guitar will please even experienced players owing to Ibanez' high quality standards.

Ibanez AW54 Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Solid Okoume Mahogany
  • Back and Sides: Laminate Okoume Mahogany
  • Finish: Open Pore Natural
  • Bridge: Ovangkol - similar to Rosewood
  • Neck: AW Nyatoh
  • Neck Profile: Slim (21 mm at 1st Fret)
  • Fingerboard: Ovangkol - similar to Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 15.75" / 400 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Frets to Body: 14
  • Scale Length: 25.63" / 651 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.69" / 43 mm

With its impressive tone wood selection and craftsmanship, the AW54 gives you great value for your money. If you're looking for a warm sounding solid top guitar, with strong projection (meaning it can go loud), then this is highly recommended.

Have a listen to its warm tones:

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100

The DR-100 is not only Epiphone's best selling acoustic, it has also been on top selling lists for this price range at online music gear stores such as Sweetwater and Musician's Friend.

It has a traditional dreadnought body and design put together with reliable construction resulting in a guitar that many beginners have cut their teeth on and still have sitting around even after they've progressed to more advanced models years late

Although you can't expect advanced features at this price point it does have the familiar combination of spruce top, mahogany body and neck, and rosewood fretboard. It is however a surprisingly versatile guitar and is well suited to a range of musical styles from rock to folk and pretty much everything else in between.

Epiphone DR-100 Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Laminated Select Spruce
  • Body: Laminated Mahogany
  • Finish: Gloss - Natural, also comes in Ebony and Vintage Sunburst
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: SlimTaper
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.5” / 648 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.69” / 43 mm

Prices tend to fluctuate, however it usually sells for well under $200, and you can't go far wrong buying this as a beginner guitar as many have before.

This video provides an excellent idea of how it sounds:

Fender FA-100

Fender FA-100

Fender are the world's biggest guitar manufacturer and although this is their entry level acoustic guitar designed primarily for students, it still well and truly deserves the Fender logo it carries.

This guitar has been extremely well received over the years by both students and guitar teachers alike. As expected, the Fender FA-100 does not feature exotic woods, but it makes up for this with its modern x-bracing and top-notch construction resulting in a remarkably good looking and sounding instrument.

It sports a nice looking rosewood fingerboard and bridge as well as two strap buttons so you can use any standard guitar strap with it.

Fender FA-100 Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Laminated Spruce
  • Body: Basswood
  • Finish: Natural Gloss
  • Bridge: Rosewood with Compensated Bone Saddle
  • Neck: Maple
  • Neck Profile: "C" Shape
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 11.81" / 300 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.3" / 643 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.65" / 42 mm

The FA-100 includes a gig bag and guitar strap - if you want to go with the biggest brand in guitars then this is definitely a worthy choice in this price range.

Here's a good FA-100 review video that showcases its sound quite well:

Ibanez IJVC50

Ibanez IJVC50

This is a great value package for beginners including a gig bag, guitar strap, set of guitar picks, capo, guitar tuner and more which you can see at Amazon.

Although Ibanez are famous for their electric guitars, particularly their Steve Vai signature series, they actually began manufacturing acoustic guitars in Japan in the 1930s and today they enjoy a reputation for high quality design and construction.

The IJVC50's grand concert sized body and Ibanez Advantage bridge pins that make changing strings easier, all come together to make this a very playable guitar. In fact, smaller/younger players will find this body and neck profile easier to begin with than the larger bodied dreadnoughts.

Ibanez IJVC50 Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Grand Concert
  • Top: Laminated Spruce
  • Body: Laminated Agathis
  • Finish: Natural High Gloss
  • Bridge: Nandu Wood
  • Neck: Nyatoh
  • Neck Profile: "V" Shape
  • Fingerboard: Nandu Wood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 9.84" / 250 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 24.96 / 634 mm
  • Nut Width: 1.65" / 42 mm

If you're looking for a cheap package, particularly for a younger player, that has everything needed to get started as a guitarist, then this is a worthy option.

Unfortunately, there are no good videos demonstrating this guitar.

Jasmine S35

Jasmine S35

Firstly let's clear up one thing that a lot of people misunderstand - this guitar is not made by Takamine. It's understandable that some people think this is the case because Takamine used to own Jasmine but they sold the brand to KMC Brands over a decade ago. KMC own many well-known brands including Washburn, Lag Guitars, Oscar Schmidt, Snark, Fishman, Elixer, Ernie Ball and Martin & Co. Strings, as well as many other music gear companies, so they do know a lot about guitars.

As mentioned in the video below, it has a thin profile neck and fretboard which makes it much easier for beginners to reach all the fingering positions as they're learning to form chords - it also makes the transition from electric to acoustic guitar much easier.

Jasmine make many highly rated guitars for the entry-level market but they don't look and feel like basic guitars. I quite like their distinctive headstock which helps their guitars to look a bit more special than a stock-standard budget option - good aesthetics like these help keep you inspired and wanting to pick it up play.

Jasmine S35 Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought
  • Top: Laminated Spruce
  • Body: Laminated Agathis
  • Finish: Satin Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato
  • Neck Profile: Slim
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12" / 305 mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: 25.5" / 648 mm
  • Nut Width: 1 3/4" / 44 mm

So if you have small fingers and want a dreadnought size guitar which is easier to play than the others in this list, or if you simply want a good looking guitar at a low price, then this is the one to go for.

Here's Lewis from GAK providing a good idea of how it sounds:


About the Author: Jason Horton

Jason has been playing guitar on stage, in recordings, and around campfires for over 30 years in addition to working in many parts of the music business including music publishing, magazines, radio and tv, and from band management to staging events and concerts. His current job involves managing research and content for the leading music gear research service Gearank.

Related Articles:

Top 7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $300 Here is what we rate as the best acoustic guitars available for under $300!
 

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Acoustic Guitar Brands We present the best brands in Acoustic Guitars as well as the top models across a wide price range from beginner instruments though to professional ones.

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FA-100 All Day

I like a lot of the acoustic guitars you have listed, but I have to say that my favorite of them is the Fender FA-100. I've played a few of the ones you've had listed and it stays in tune so much longer. The FA-100 sounds loud compared to some of the cheaper laminate acoustics.

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