The Acoustic Guitar has been around for centuries, not necessarily in its current form, and has more recently become one of the most widespread and most popularly enjoyed instruments on the planet. It has not always been in its current form, however.
By definition, the acoustic guitar is a stringed instrument that produces sound by amplifying the vibrations of strings through a body and projecting the sound acoustically through the air (creating sound waves acoustically, not through electronic means).
The acoustic guitar uses a body (also called a sound box) with certain materials, traditionally different solid tonewoods, to produce the customary, rich tones and overtones that vary depending on the body style, strings, finish, craftshmanship and body size.
You can read our thorough overview of the major different popular acoustic guitar body sizes and styles here.
Believe it or not, not all acoustic guitars in the same price range are created equally.
For example, the reason I started this website years ago was because a friend of mine had saved up $1,250 for a nice acoustic guitar. He had his mind set on a popular brand. If he had not called me, he would have paid $1,200 for an inferior model, simply because it had a popular name. I was actually quite alarmed at how inferior the craftsmanship was on this popular model, and they were getting away with it just because it had a very big brand name.
He and I went to the local guitar shop and I had him play a brand he had never heard of before. After 5 minutes, he realized that brand name is not everything, and that not all guitars in the same price range are created equal. I steered him toward a Canadian-made guitar by Larrivee, which was easily 3 or 4 times better in quality, sound, and craftsmanship than the mass produced model he was originally seeking.
So - you are looking for an acoustic guitar - perhaps your first, perhaps for a friend, son, daughter, husband, wife, or boyfriend and you are not sure where to start. Perhaps you are a pro and are just doing some research. Regardless, this website is set up to help you make the best decision on your next acoustic guitar purchase.
The most practical place to start is with your budget.
How much do you have to spend on your acoustic guitar purchase?
I have categorized many quality guitars on this site based on budget.
If you only have $100 for an acoustic, where would it best be spent?
100$ and under
Now, if you paying $80 to $100 for an acoustic guitar and are expecting a stellar result, you may be disappointed.
The Jasmine Guitar line offers a great guitar for a beginner or intermediate player on a strict budget. It would not be the most ideal guitar for recording or performance. It would be a great guitar for a beginner or for a second full size guitar to travel with, or to take along a camping trip because of the price. You would not be worried as much about what happens to an $80 guitar versus a $500 or $1000 guitar.
These guitars are mostly laminated guitars, meaning the wood is from layers of wood that has been glued together. Laminated guitars tend to stand up to changes in moisture and temperature extremes much better than solid wood guitars. However, laminated acoustic guitars are not the best for getting the most warm and rich tones one could get from a more expensive, solid wood guitar. The Jasmine line of acoustic guitars does offer some models with solid spruce and cedar tops, but you will pay a bit more for those. For a complete review on all available Jasmine guitar models, pros and cons, you can read more about these guitars on our complete Jasmine Guitar review here.
$200 - $250 acoustic guitar
For years, the best acoustic guitar for a beginner has been the Yamaha FG700s.
This guitar will feel a little more solid and project a little better than the Jasmine S35.
It is a laminated guitar, as most are at this price range because solid wood guitars are constructed from more expensive tonewoods. This guitar does feature a solid, Sitka Spruce top and laminated nato sides and back (which creates overtones similar to mahogany). It will give a nice projection because of the Solid Sitka Spruce top, Dreadnought body style and size (full size, most popular body style).
If you were considering a $100 acoustic guitar, and could hold off to save up another $100 to $150, I would personally prefer the Yamaha FG700S over the Jasmine S35. The guitar has a little more density to it, feels more solid in the hands, and projects more solidly. Additionally, the Yamaha FG700S has been a popular guitar for beginners and intermediates on a budget for many, many years so it consistently performs and hold up under various humidity and temperature ranges. Don't get me wrong, you cannot abuse any guitar and expect it to last, but this is the most solidly built, beautifully projecting guitar in the $200 range.
If you are able to squeeze out about $250, you can get the entire Yamaha FG700s acoustic guitar bundle here - (a great value) which includes a nice solid guitar case, tubular guitar stand, and a breakaway cable clip (prevents guitar cable from coming unplugged accidentally). This guitar is a pure acoustic, non-electric version. You can read a more thorough review and listend to a beautiful song played on this guitar, which I personally call the best acoustic guitar for beginners here. You can also read more real reviews - what other owners have to say here.
$400 - $500 acoustic guitar
The very best quality and best sounding acoustic guitar for the money, in my opinion, is the Seagull S6 Original by Seagull Guitars. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or a professional looking for the best "bang for your buck", it is very hard to find a guitar comparable to one made by Seagull Guitars in any price range that will give you superior craftsmanship, tonewoods, sound, playability, and a beautiful sound that will last for years.
You cannot go wrong when you buy a Seagull Guitar, they are that well made!
They have models that can appeal to players at just about every budget level. I have written a complete and through review comparing all of the current seagull guitars here. Regardless of the budget range you have to invest, you will find superior craftsmanship at every level!
They have guitars that range from about $380 to $1500, depending on your budget and features. They have many models that have laminated options, as well as solid wood series and performance and artist series for the more serious players, ranging from $750 to $1500. The different names for their acoustic guitar lines include the flagship model called the Original Seagull S6 acoustic guitar, the Seagull Entourage acoustic guitar series, the Seagull Coastline, the Seagull Natural Elements, the Seagull Performer, the Seagull Maritime, and the Seagull Artist Series.
Seagull guitars offer excellent models for all playing abilities and purposes. You really cannot go wrong with a Seagull.
$700 - $900 acoustic guitar
A great $800 acoustic guitar (plus or minus $100) would either be a solid Mahogany or Rosewood version from the outstanding Yamaha A-Series Guitar, or another model from the Seagull acoustic guitar line.
It really depends on what your personal preferences are, and what kinds of tonewoods and pickups are you are seeking.
You could also find a great Taylor guitar or Martin guitar in this price range, but you will be playing a laminated guitar, most likely. Both Taylor and Martin are excellent names and offer great quality, but in this medium budget price range, I would personally prefer to switch brands to get more bang for my buck.
The Yamaha A-Series Guitar is a newer line in the past few years, offered by Yamaha. It is a guitar that is crafted in one of Yamaha's Japanese locations, but it is also co-engineered from their American location.
The unique thing about the Yamaha A-Series guitar is that it has all solid Rosewood or Mahogany (depending on your preference of look and sound), and it offers their unique SRT pickup system which has unique, studio microphone modeling when plugged in to offer a very high quality, true acoustic sound with a professional grade studio mic modeling that won't break the bank.
You can read our very popular, complete review on every model offered by the Yamaha A-Series Guitar here (including thorough details on the SRT sound system).
You can also read what other owners have to say about this amazing Yamaha A-Series guitar here.