When buying an acoustic guitar, you get what you pay for. The less you're willing to pay, the less likely your new guitar will sound good, be comfortable to play and have a long life. Thankfully, even if your maximum budget is only $500, there are still a few surprising gems out there worth buying.
Seagull is a Canadian guitar company known for its affordable guitars. The Seagull S6 is its entry-level model, but its quality of sound and playability makes it feel like you're handling a high-end model. The only drawback of this model is that because the finish is light, you'll need to handle the guitar with extra care to prevent the finish from aging prematurely.
Takamine is a Japanese guitar brand that produces many high-end models, but the company is perhaps most popular for its inexpensive entry models. The G332 is a spruce-top, and like other G300 series guitars it comes very close to producing the same high-quality sound as Takamine's more expensive models.
Baby Taylors are 3/4-scale guitars, but sound bigger than they are. You'll notice that they lack the full-bodied sound of other Taylor models, yet they don't sacrifice Taylor's sweet tone. The only thing that might stop you from buying this model is discomfort with playing smaller guitars.
LX1 Little Martin
Martin guitars are considered by many to be the best of the best. The Little Martin is a 3/4-scale model with all the high-quality workmanship for which Martin guitars are famous, and comes close to retaining the warmth of high-end Martin guitars.
With its rosewood back and sides, spruce top, and tortoise pickguard, the Yamaha FG730 is another pleasant surprise from Yamaha's line of acoustic guitars. If you're looking for volume and low-end, the FG730 is worth trying out.
The Yamaha FG301b is a dreadnought guitar with an ezo spruce top. This model has an easy-to-play, V-shaped neck, which is beneficial if you are a beginning player.
The Alvarez RD410 constitutes an important part of Alvarez's Region line of guitars. It's a classic beginner's guitar, and a guitar worth considering if your main concerns are ease of playing and volume.
Epiphone primarily manufacture inexpensive and entry-model guitars. Like many top-quality entry-model guitars, the AJ200S has a solid spruce top, a tone to rival high-end models, and is easy on your hands.
If you want an acoustic guitar that you can travel with or store easily, try Martin's Backpacker model. Because of its small, compact shape, this model has much more treble than bass, but retains aspects of Martin's famous tone and resonance.
Buying a secondhand guitar for $500 or under is often a better choice than buying a new guitar for the same price. Good guitars improve with age, so buying a secondhand guitar could be a smart investment. If you're lucky, you might even find secondhand Martins, Taylors or Gibsons within your budget.
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