10 Best Acoustic Guitars Under £500
Mid-range acoustics that won’t leave you shortchanged
We’ve all done it. Wandered into our local guitar store, or perused our favourite websites, and ogled over the really expensive guitars. Instruments so expensive, so achingly cool and so out of our reach. We’ve probably all drawn up our wishlists featuring the guitars we’d buy if money were no object.
Unfortunately, for the vast majority of us, money is very definitely an important thing, and one which naturally limits the extent of our desires. Fortunately, however, the guitar world has a few treats for us. See, it’s not just the four-figure price tag guitars which can mark their mark. Sitting below the top tier, and above the budget-buys, sits a vast swathe of reasonably priced, well made and extremely playable instruments.
Here, we’ve turned our focus to acoustic guitars. The mid-price band here has some real gold; guitars with their own character, style, sounds and appeal. Allow us to introduce our picks for the 10 best acoustic guitars you can get for under £500.
Yamaha is a name well known in the acoustic guitar world, and for good reason. Long seen as a welcome alternative to the Fender/Gibson/Martin/Taylor mainstays, Yamaha’s acoustic guitars are some of the best ‘under the radar’ instruments out there. Not showy, not over-engineered, and not likely to offend.
The Yamaha APX600 is a perfect example. Featuring the same shallow body design and others from the range – a signature design element in Yamaha acoustics – the APX600 is a guitar designed for comfort and playability. Equally at home in the studio or on stage, thanks to its included System 65 pre-amp, this is a solid choice for both fingerpickers and strummers alike.
Taylor GS Mini
As one of the heritage names in acoustic guitars, Taylor commands respect. The Taylor GS Mini is a great example of why. For a shade under £500 you get a guitar which punches well above its weight. Designed to offer the tonal projection of a Grand Symphony-stye body – hence the ‘GS’ – but in a much more manageable package, the GS Mini has proven wildly popular since its introduction.
The rich mahogany body offers a wonderfully warm and rounded low end, which is far more pronounced than a guitar this size has any right to be. The sapele wood neck is also constructed with a satin-feel varnish finish, making the fingerboard effortless to traverse around.
Constructed in California, the Taylor GS Mini is a proper, grown-up guitar that will serve you nicely for years.
As the ‘other’ big name in acoustics, Martin has a reputation for producing some of the finest instruments the genre has ever seen. Used by players as diverse as Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, and Noel Gallagher, the company produces some seriously high-quality guitars.
All of which gives the Martin LX1E a certain reputation to live up to. Five minutes playing one of these will tell you everything you need to know though. This baby dreadnought guitar is capable of producing sounds which will surprise you. In a good way, clearly.
The internal Fishman electronics make it suitable for live performance and recording, while the included gig-bag means it actually is as portable as you’d hope a guitar this size would be.
Farida D-8K OP
While Farida guitars would struggle to compete with the bigger brands in terms of recognition and visibility, one thing they easily compete on is performance. The Farida D-8K, their flagship ‘everyman’ guitar, is proof. For a little over £100 you get a guitar which far outperforms other instruments in the same price bracket.
If it’s a logo on the headstock you’re after, sure, look elsewhere. But if you genuinely care about your guitars sound, feel and playability, then you could do a lot worse than consider the Farida.
There’s no doubting the Epiphone Hummingbird‘s place in rock and roll history. Aside from its distinctive visual styling, the Hummingbird produces a wonderfully rich, bright tone which fits the bill for a number of styles.
The traditional sunburst finish and Hummingbird motif on the pickguard ensure this is a guitar which looks as good as it sounds. The onboard electronics, with EQ settings to help sculpt your sound, make it a veritable workhorse which will deliver in any number of situations.
Taylor Big Baby
Where the GS Mini opts to shrink down the experience of playing a huge Grand Symphony style acoustic, the Taylor Big Baby has something else in its sights. Namely the traditional dreadnought shape, which is arguably the most famous style of acoustic there is.
By offering a smaller body profile, yet without sacrificing tone or playability, the Big Baby is really something special. For under £500 you get a genuine, American-made acoustic which will bring a smile to your face with every strum. It’s smaller size also makes it ideal for travelling, if space is at a premium.
Enough about these tiny, portable acoustics. Sometimes only a big old slab of wood will do, and boy have we got a biggie for you. The Epiphone EJ200 is a jumbo-sized acoustic with a sound that could fill a stadium.
Often seen in the hands of Noel Gallagher, the EJ200 is a guitar with plenty of heritage of its own (as opposed merely being a cheaper version of a Gibson classic…). Ideal for strummers or anyone looking for a prominent, assertive tone which projects well over a full band. What the Epiphone EJ200 lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in old-fashioned rock and roll cool.
A slightly curious-looking beast from Fender next. The Fender Sonoran is a 3/4 size homage to a classic old design and has a number of unique features which make it worth consideration. Among them are the Viking-style bridge, and the Strat headstock; both bring a nice aesthetic flourish to the instrument.
Yet it’s the tone which surprised us the most. For such a small guitar, it produces a really pleasing sound which would suit folk, singer-songwriter and indie artists down to the ground.
More commonly known for their hard-rocking solid-body electrics, Ibanez has some superb guitars in the acoustic world too. The Ibanez TCY10E is proof of this. Its double-cut body means access to the upper registers is a viable choice, while the 20-fret fingerboard means this is an acoustic designed for speed.
Admittedly, its visual stylings mean the TCY10E is more likely to find a home with players of heavier music, but players from other genres shouldn’t discount it. With the focus being on playability, this is a guitar which anyone looking to develop their playing speed and technique can enjoy.
We’ll round off this list of the best acoustic guitars with an attractive looking offer from Tanglewood. The Tanglewood Crossroads, which comes in an oversized orchestra body shape, practically oozes blues sensibility on account of its dashing whiskey barrel finish.
The unique body dimensions mean the Crossroads’ sound will project brilliantly, making it ideal for solo performers, yet it’s not so big as to make it uncomfortable for longer playing sessions.
So there we have it. Hopefully, we have answered the question of “which is the best acoustic guitar under £500”. Quick links to each model featured can be found below:
Check out our full range of acoustic guitars here.