Affordable Acoustic Guitars For Less Than You’d Think
Once upon a time you couldn’t buy a very good acoustic without causing a great deal of bank breakage. The machine-made acoustics of yesteryear where laminated, low component quality hulks with excruciatingly high action and a fretboard that would fall apart (I’ve owned a few). For a balanced response, solid wood acoustic that stayed in tune you had to pay that little bit more to a point where you were approaching intermediate electric guitar territory. Come with us to check out the best acoustic guitar under £300.
Moving on up
Thankfully things have moved on a great deal and the construction process, quality of components and choices of tone-woods has improved dramatically. The acoustic represents the most primal element of guitar playing, the song and song-writing. Many guitar players first learn via an acoustic and most will learn certain musical staples. Lots of bands write their music via acoustic and then transfer to a full band. The acoustic has a certain vibrancy that keeps us physically in touch with the planet and allows to feel the vibrations of the music we create. Here are ten exquisite examples of how hundreds of years of experience in acoustic construction have made creating your own music more accessible than ever before.
1. Redwood RD100 Acoustic Guitar in Natural
The Redwood RD100 is a great example of how guitar makers are using good quality tone-woods in their entry level ranges. A spruce top, which you will find on acoustics all the way to the very high end, provides a bright sparkly sound. Mahogany back and sides are likely to be laminated mahogany but will still help balance the tone from the spruce top wood. The neck is made from Nato an Asian mahogany that is strong and reliable and an Asian Rosewood replacement called Sonokelin for the fingerboard. The Redwood is a full Dreadnought acoustic with a large sound and for under seventy pounds is an absolute steal.
2. Merida Trajan T-5 Classical Guitar in Natural
Merida are a fast-growing guitar manufacturer from China gaining an excellent reputation for extremely well made, well priced and beautifully finished guitars. The Merida Trajan is one of the first post £100 classical acoustics they make and is made from a classic combination of tone-woods. The spruce top helps brighten the slightly mellower tone of the nylon strings while the Mahogany back and sides provide an ever-evolving warm tone so necessary to classical acoustics. The neck is also Mahogany and provides study support to the Pau Ferro fingerboard. This is the kind of acoustic that will surprise you, I have a £100 classical and still write songs on it to this day.
3. Marina MR-06 Acoustic Guitar in Natural
This Grand Auditorium acoustic is made from Sitka Spruce for the top and Mahogany Back, sides and neck. This combination of tone-woods provides an even response that leans slightly to sparkling tones. The Sonokelin fingerboard provides tight snappy tones. Marina again are pushing the boundaries of what can be used in lower priced guitars and making good sounding acoustics available to people on a tighter budget.
4. Tanglewood Crossroads TWCR DE Electro Acoustic in Whiskey Barrel Burst
Not only the first entry for the electro acoustics but our first UK made acoustic. Tanglewood have been crafting excellent acoustics for decades and they too have been making high quality component guitars for smaller budgets. This Robert Johnson inspired beauty uses a stained genuine Mahogany top (solid tops are usually unheard of at this price point) and Mahogany back, sides and neck. This is a warm toned, blues machine that looks out of this world and with a hard wood fingerboard is an absolute bargain at under £150 pounds. All this and you can go live with Tanglewood electronics with 4 band EQ and chromatic tuner built into the guitar.
5. Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar in Matt Natural
We’re nearly halfway through and no Yamaha, I can hear the pitchforks and see the baying mob! Yamaha have been producing entry level acoustics add amazing prices for a considerable length of time. Often overlooked by the newcomer to the guitar world due to their strong presence in the piano world, Yamaha are one of the more experienced guitarists little secrets. Made from more sustainable tone-woods such as Okoume and Nato, both Asian mahoganies, the Yamaha FG800 retains a great balance of sound without bank breaking woods. The spruce top also helps to keep a bright positive sound.
6. Tanglewood Roadster II Parlour Electro Acoustic Guitar in Natural
Another Tanglewood you cry, but yes at just below the £200-pound mark we have an electro acoustic with a rarer top wood usually associated with very high-end acoustics. Cedar is a very pretty but tonally complex wood that starts off bright but over the years will mellow and evolve the more you play. Backed with the classic Mahogany back, sides and neck the Roadster II is something of a classic at this price point. The Tanglewood PreAmp has EQ and tuning capabilities. Tanglewood produce stunning looking guitars and this is no exception. In keeping with progressive construction techniques, the fingerboard is made from Eboncore am ebony replacement. You will see variations of manmade woods replacing most fingerboards except for the very high-end acoustics as the woods used either become rarer, unsustainable forested or protected.
7. Epiphone Dove Pro Electro Acoustic Guitar in Violinburst
We are definitely into this guitar should cost more territory. The Epiphone Dove Pro sports a Spruce top and Maple back, sides and neck. This is a bright sounding acoustic constructed using X-Braced construction usually found in very high end or professionally focussed guitars. The components are of the highest quality and the look is exquisite. Epiphone have really been pushing Gibson (their parent company) in the quality to price ratio and the Epiphone Dove Pro is no exception. This too is an electro acoustic so you can go live with the world’s leading acoustic preamp, the Fishman Sonicore.
8. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro Electro Acoustic Guitar in Faded Cherry Burst
We are now officially entering weird territory; the Gibson Hummingbird is a near three-thousand-pound guitar (yes £3000.00). The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro has almost exactly the same choice of tone woods and construction with some cosmetic differences. The more expensive Gibson Hummingbird has a lot more attention to detail by hand and a more expensive preamp system, but the Epiphone is under £300 and you won’t find this build quality on a lot of £500-£1000 acoustic guitars. A solid Spruce top with select Mahogany back, sides and neck and genuine Rosewood fingerboard, this is an immense acoustic for the price.
9. Merida Diana DC-15SP Classical Guitar in Natural
This Merida classical is composed of three tone-woods. The Solid Cedar top looks glorious and again is a very choice tone wood with an evolving sound that mellows with time. The Spalted Maple back and sides are not only aesthetically pleasing but provide a bright punch to the Merida’s tone balancing the warmer sounding nylon strings and Mahogany neck. The Pau Ferro fingerboard will provide snappy response and the overall construction is exquisite.
10. Martin GBPC Steel-String Backpacker Travel Guitar in Natural
A Martin acoustic for under £300 is a rare beast indeed. OK, so it’s a travel acoustic, but it’s a travel acoustic with a great reputation and still retains not only the Martin build quality but the Martin tone. The guys at Martin don’t skimp on attention to detail and this travel acoustic will perform as good as any regular in its class. With A spruce top and hardwood back and sides to not only keep costs down but to maximise quality in a tight space the travel acoustic will have a much brighter sound than a full acoustic. This is purely meant for portability and practise and at this price Martin have still produced a very interesting instrument with the GBPC Steel-String Backpacker Travel Guitar.
The range of acoustics available under £300 that retain an excellent quality are more abundant than ever. These acoustics need to be played to be believed and I strongly advise a trip to your nearest Dawsons store to check them out.
1. Redwood RD100
2. Merida Trajan T-5
3. Marina MR-06
4. Tanglewood Crossroads TWCR DE
5. Yamaha FG800
6. Tanglewood Roadster II
7. Epiphone Dove Pro
8. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
9. Merida Diana DC15SP
10. Martin GBPC Backpacker
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Need more info on acoustic guitar body types? Check out our handy article here.
Still debating whether or not to go Classical or Acoustic.
Check out the link for our in-depth Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide.
Always hungry and tired, likes guitars, cameras and dogs.