Best Acoustic Guitar under 300 | Guitarsite 25 Years

You can get quality instruments at affordable prices. In fact, some nice gems are hidden in the lower-priced tiers. We have searched high and low to come up with this shortlist of the best acoustic guitars under $300. Read on to see our top picks.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 300
(Concert Size)
Yamaha FS800

Yamaha FS800

If you need more emphasis on the mids and high frequencies, the Yamaha FS800 is the wallet friendly guitar to get.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 300
(Dreadnought Size)
Yamaha FG820

Yamaha FG820

Dubbed "the poor man's Martin", with the same warmth for a fraction of the price. Mid-focused sound with mild highs.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 300
(Budget-friendly)
Fender CD 60S

Fender CD-60S

An affordable yet quality instrument, with good tone and playability. Ideal for playing on your couch or outdoors.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 300
(Mahogany Body)
Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54

A cheap guitar with a nice “warm” tone and strong mids. Great for folk, blues, country music, and other finger-style songs.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 300
(Vintage-Style)
Epiphone J 45

Epiphone J-45

The Epiphone J-45 is a true workhorse guitar that captures the essence of the original Gibson J-45 at a cheaper price.

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To come up with our best cheap acoustic guitar recommendations, we’ve taken into consideration important factors like build quality, tone, playability, and value for money. We also utilized Gearank‘s updated ratings, which reflect current market sentiment.

If you’re curious, you can see the current ratings for each of these good acoustic guitars under $300 on Gearank.com.

In addition to our recommendations, we’ve also provided practical tips on What to Look for in a Sub $300 Acoustic Guitar.

Note that only traditional acoustics with no pickups or electronics are featured here. If you’re looking for the top acoustic electric guitars, you can find them elsewhere in Gutiarsite.

If there’s a guitar you think we’ve missed, 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, take a look at our guide to The Best Cheap Acoustic Guitars Under $200.

Sweetwater Acoustic Guitar Under 300

Detailed Descriptions of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300

Best Concert Size 
Acoustic Guitar Under 300

Yamaha FS800

Yamaha FS800

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

A more compact version of the FG800, the Yamaha FS800 puts more emphasis on the mids and highs. And it has a student friendly feel, including the shape of the guitar.

0
out of 100

Manufacturer: Yamaha FS800

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When looking for an acoustic guitar that is worth the cost, you usually gauge guitars under 300 in terms of price. But what really makes one the best acoustic guitar for the money is the value that you’re getting. This means having good playability, sound, and overall build.

The FS series from Yamaha ensures that you get the best affordable acoustic guitars in this price range, including playing experience and sound quality. 

With its concert body shape and shorter scale length, playing most songs will be a breeze.  But it has a more mid-trebly sound due to its smaller frame.

 

And even though it’s slightly small, the FS800 still packs a punch. With Yamaha’s scalloped bracing and solid spruce top, this acoustic guitar can produce a rich and full sound that is perfect for strumming chords or fingerstyle playing. 

The neck with the satin or matte finish is a crowd favorite. Matte finish is a preference by many as it helps avoid the sticky hands that you’ll usually experience with a gloss finish. With satin, you can go up and down the neck smoothly, which is great for playing fast-paced songs.

Thanks to its slightly narrow nut width, the FS800 is easier to grip. So, forming chords becomes easier. This is a big plus, especially if you’re a beginner, have smaller hands, or even if you just want a slim neck profile in general.

Yamaha naturally has to cut some corners, so don’t expect premium hardware and tonewood on this model. 

Overall, the Yamaha FS800 is a good guitar to have for serious students and beginners – with a quality that even seasoned musicians will appreciate. 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: OOO or Concert
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce Top
Back and Sides: Laminated Nato/Okoume/Eastern Mahogany
Body Finish: Gloss
Neck Finish: Matte or satin
Bridge: Walnut
Neck: Nato/Okoume/Eastern Mahogany
Neck Profile:  Standard
Fingerboard: Walnut
Fingerboard Radius: R400mm (15 3/4″)
Number of Frets: 20
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 650mm (25 9/16”)
Nut Width: 43mm (1 11/16”)
Tuning Pegs: Die-cast Chrome(TM29T)
Saddle: Urea/Plastic
Nut: Urea/Plastic

Best Dreadnought 
Acoustic Guitar Under 300

Yamaha FG820

Yamaha FG820

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

A mid-focused sound with mild highs. The Yamaha FG820 is dubbed the poor man’s Martin, for it resembles the warmth of a Martin for a fraction of the price.

0
out of 100

Manufacturer: Yamaha

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The Yamaha FG820 is just a step below the FS800 but is slightly more expensive than the latter. 

For the back and sides, they use the same Okoume wood, which is like the Asian version of mahogany. Everything else is mostly the same, from its traditional dreadnought acoustic 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 guitar by itself is nice, it works even better when paired with good craftsmanship, as one would expect from Yamaha.

Dubbed as the “poor man’s Martin”, the FG820 has a similar robust tone. It has a lot of volume, which makes it a good guitar for strumming chords.

To allow the top to resonate better, Yamaha equipped their FG series with scalloped bracings, which provide better resonance without compromising structural integrity.

Again, Yamaha is able to make premium features more accessible for beginners to enjoy. The neck follows what Yamaha describes as a standard profile, which, looking at the specs, means that it simply follows the conventional dreadnought acoustic neck shape.

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 another stripped-down cheap acoustic guitar.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Dreadnought
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce Top
Back and Sides: Nato/Okoume/Eastern Mahogany
Body Finish: Gloss
Neck Finish: Matte or satin
Bridge: Walnut
Neck: Nato/Okoume/Eastern Mahogany
Neck Profile: Standard
Fingerboard: Walnut
Fingerboard Radius: R400 mm (15.75″)
Number of Frets: 20
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 647.7 mm (25.5″)
Nut Width: 42.86 mm (1.6875″)
Tuning Pegs: Die-cast Chrome(TM29T)
Saddle: Urea/Plastic
Nut: Urea/Plastic

Best Budget Friendly
Acoustic guitar under 300

Fender CD 60S

Fender CD-60S

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

One of Fender’s most popular models is ideal for players looking for an affordable yet quality instrument. With its great tone and playability, this guitar is perfect for playing on your couch, at the campfire, or even in a coffee shop.

0
out of 100

Manufacturer: Fender

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Fender is no stranger when it comes to making guitars. Pioneering the first solid-body guitar and amplifier that revolutionized the way music is presented to an audience.

Their guitars are known for their high-build quality and exceptional craftsmanship. The Fender CD-60S is no different. Coming in at $200.00, as of this writing, this model is one of their best cheap guitars. 

A classic dreadnought-shaped guitar, the CD-60S is built with quarter-sawn spruce and scalloped X bracing. This provides a solid foundation to support the solid spruce top and mahogany sides as well as the back, giving it more durability.

The combination of a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides keeps production costs to a minimum. This pairing offers a good balance of warmth and a slightly more pronounced top end.

It has an all-solid wood construction for the back and sides. This means that the instrument will age better in comparison to others with laminated parts.

And you need not worry about getting heard; with its dreadnought acoustic body, this model has lots of volume. It’s great for strumming, with an emphasis on clarity in exchange for note articulation.

It has a 25.3″ scale length, which is a bit shorter than the regular 25.5″–26″ of most dreadnoughts. This reduces the strain on the strings by a bit which translates to a more relaxed playing experience.

To increase the playability even more, the CD-60S features their signature Fender ‘Easy-to-Play’ shape with rolled fretboard edges. A C-shape neck profile to facilitate smooth fretboard navigation and reduce fatigue from your finger even with extended playing

The gloss finish makes it look fancier; however, this can be a concern if you have sweaty hands. If you’re familiar with DIY, some players recommend a light buffing on the back just to take a bit of the top polish off.

The Fender CD-60S is a best-value acoustic guitar if you want a loud acoustic guitar for strumming, that has more brightness to it. It’s built with quality and provides an instrument that is meant to last and even improve over time.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Dreadnought
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce Top
Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
Body Finish: Gloss
Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane
Bridge: Walnut
Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Fender® ‘Easy-to-Play’ shape with rolled fretboard edges
Fingerboard: Walnut/Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: R305 mm (12″)
Number of Frets: 20
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 643 mm (25.3″)
Nut Width: 43 mm (1.69″)
Tuning Pegs: Chrome Die-Cast
Saddle: Crème Plastic
Nut: Crème Plastic

Best Mahogany Body
Acoustic Guitar Under 300 

Ibanez AW54

Ibanez AW54

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

This guitar has a “warm” tone, with a stronger representation of the mid frequencies. It’s great if you’re looking to play folk, blues, country music, and other finger-style songs.

0
out of 100

Manufacturer: Ibanez

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Owning an acoustic guitar is like having a piece of furniture, they are mainly made up of wood.

And just as how quality furniture improves your living space, quality acoustic guitars like the Ibanez AW54 can improve your musical experience.

The AW54 is part of Ibanez’s ArtWood series. This dreadnought-type acoustic guitar has a solid Okoume top and laminated back and sides made from the same wood.

It sits atop a standard X brace for support. And though it’s not scalloped like the other guitars on this list, Ibanez explained that its open-pore finish allows this instrument to still breathe and resonate nicely.

A concern going forward, though, is that this type of finish is more susceptible to moisture and dirt. So, if you’re after the looks of this instrument alone, a guitar with a satin finish will have just the same look to it.

But if you’re here for the guitar’s sound, this guitar has a “warm” tone, with a stronger representation of the mid frequencies. This is kind of a sleeper model and one that has a warm vintage sound which is close to a high-end Martin.

Straight out of the factory, this guitar has a relatively low action. If you’re not into low action acoustics, this can easily be adjusted with a proper setup by a capable luthier.

The Ibanez AW54 isn’t as popular, but it’s among the best-beginner guitars for a reason. It’s a good quality instrument that you can buy for cheap.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Dreadnought body
Top: Solid Okoume
Top: Solid Okoume
Back and Sides: Laminated Nato/Okoume/Eastern Mahogany
Body Finish: Open Pore
Neck Finish: Open Pore
Bridge: Indian Laurel 
Neck: AW/Nyatoh
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel 
Fingerboard Radius: R400 mm (15.75″)
Number of Frets: 20
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 648mm (25.5″)
Nut Width: 43mm (1.69″)
Tuning Pegs: Chrome Die-cast tuners (18:1 gear ratio)
Saddle: IVOR X2 (Synthetic Plastic. Ibanez claimed to be more dense than bone) 
Nut: IVOR X2 (Synthetic Plastic. Ibanez claimed to be more dense than bone) 
String Spacing: 11mm

Epiphone J-45

Best Vintage Style
Acoustic Guitar Under 300

Epiphone J 45

Epiphone J-45

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Epiphone J-45 recreates all the good features of the original Gibson J-45 (dubbed as “the workshorse”), with added modern flare. Same body shape and retro inspired aesthetics.

0
out of 100

Manufacturer: Epiphone

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The Gibson J-45 guitar was played by some of the biggest names in music, like Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley, among many others. So, you know, it’s an instrument built for a professional stage.

Thanks to Epihone’s “Inspired by Gibson” series, you can play something similar at a much cheaper price.

The Epiphone J-45 in particular is patterned from the original J-45, capturing the essence of the original Gibson guitar, minus the hefty price tag.

The Epiphone J-45 is a sloped-shoulder dreadnought acoustic. It is less bulky at the top, allowing better access to the neck, especially in the higher frets, in comparison to the traditional box-shaped dreadnoughts.

In general, this guitar has a well-rounded sound with a bit of a high-end that is perfect for both strumming and fingerpicking. A scalloped X bracing made of quarter-sawn spruce adds more structural integrity to the guitar.

The scalloped braces allow the instrument to breathe, so to speak. Add that to a solid Sitka Spruce top, and solid mahogany sides and back, and you get a sturdy, resonant guitar, that sounds good.

The J-45 has good projection, which makes it easily heard in practice. 

This version by Epiphone improves the already great fun to play Gibson. It has a slightly narrower nut and a rounded C-neck profile that makes beginners and seasoned players alike feel equally at home.

Epiphone also throws in 50s-style premium nickel tuners, just for good measure.

This Epiphone is more than just a Gibson copycat. It’s become one of the best acoustic guitars that you can get in the sub $300 price range. Definitely worth considering if you’re a fan of vintage / retro style designs.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Round/Sloped Shoulder Dreadnought
Top: Solid Mahogany
Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany
Body Finish: Semi-Gloss
Neck Finish: Semi-Gloss
Bridge: Indian Laurel
Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: SlimTaper™ D/ rounded C
Fingerboard: Indian Laurel
Fingerboard Radius: 304.8 mm (12″)
Number of Frets: 20
Frets to Body: 14
Scale Length: 647.7 mm (25.5″)
Nut Width: 42.92 mm (1.69″)
Tuning Pegs: Premium Nickel
Saddle: Bone
Nut: Bone

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 second. 

Solid Sitka spruce top acoustics are characteristically brighter sounding and have more punch; they are highly recommended if you prefer traditional tones. On the other hand, mahogany top acoustics are characteristically warm, 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/Okoume, and other close variants, so there’s really not much to choose from.

Neck wood is not as big of a deal, but seasoned guitarists will prefer specific wood types. Anyway, in this price range, you’ll mostly see cheap renewable tonewoods. Don’t expect to find one with both a rosewood bridge and rosewood fretboard in this price range.

Solid vs Laminated 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 usually found in an expensive instrument. 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 and temperature changes, something that makes them ideal for many situations. 

The build quality of the bracing and guitar structure plays an important role, so don’t be surprised when some laminate top guitars sound better than a solid top guitar.

Standard vs Scalloped Bracing

Standard bracing uses the full thickness of the wood to support the top, side, and back of a guitar. It is a simpler construction and requires less time to make. 

You won’t usually expect scalloped braces in the best acoustic guitars under 300. This feature requires additional cost to make and was once a feature seen only on really good acoustic guitars, that were expensive.

But CNC manufacturing has come a long way, and manufacturers are now able to create scalloped braces without incurring additional costs in production.

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. Good examples of this include the Gretsch Jim Dandy.

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 necks. 

Scale length describes the length on which the guitar strings are stretched on a guitar; shorter scale lengths require 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 important as well, and this has most to do with how the guitar is set up at the factory. 

Thankfully, many of the guitars in this price range come set up properly with reliable diecast tuners. But there are times when you’ll need to have guitars under 300 set up by a professional to get the most out of the

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 equally important among budget acoustics, and this is where guitar brands with good reputations and recognition come in. 

For longevity, you may want to consider upgrading your gig bag into a hybrid or hard case.

The above selection covers a wide array of styles. If you have a favorite that you want others want to know about, write it down in the comment section below.

Jason Horton

Lead Author

Alexander Briones
Jerome Arcon

Contributor: Research and Supplemental Writing

12 thoughts on “Best Acoustic Guitar under 300”

  1. Fender CD-60S
    Aaron Gates

    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.

  2. Have you done any research
    Anonymous

    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

  3. which parlor guitar to buy
    newfie wing

    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.

      1. breedlove passport
        newfiewing

        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

  4. "will lack volume due to
    Anonymous

    “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.

    1. Compared to the bigger
      Alexander

      Compared to the bigger guitars in this list which include dreadnoughts, the parlor guitar’s volume will naturally be lower.

  5. Guitar reviews
    Frank Wilson

    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.

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