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Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500

It can be difficult to find the best acoustic/electric guitar under $500. This guide takes a look at several of these guitars that you can get for a reasonable price. All of these instruments would be suitable for beginners or intermediate players looking to purchase their first acoustic-electric guitar.

Purchasing an acoustic/electric guitar gives you more options. For example, you can plug it in to record, or you can use it on stage. A regular acoustic guitar requires you to purchase a pickup. An acoustic-electric guitar already has a pickup installed, so there is no need to go out and purchase a pickup for your instrument.

A lot of the models on the market also have equalizers, a built-in tuner, and other options which make the instrument easier to play. The only thing that you’ll need to play an acoustic/electric guitar effectively is a good amplifier. You can also play your new guitar with an amplifier as a regular acoustic if you prefer.

There are several excellent acoustic/electric guitars in this guide that are suitable for anyone looking for one of these instruments. Let’s have a look and see what is out there for today’s player. 

1.Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Cutaway

Best Beginner Acoustic-Electric Guitar 

  • Build:
    Laminate Spruce Top
  • Playability:
    Simple for beginners to play
  • Tone Quality:
    Decent tone
  • Suitable:
    Beginners/Students

Fender is my favorite guitar brand. The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnaught Cutaway is an excellent beginner guitar. It comes with plenty of accessories such as a DVD, picks, gig bag, and an extra set of strings which makes this instrument an excellent bargain. 

The build quality of the guitar is decent despite its lower price tag. It features hey Spruce top, which gives the guitar a lot of resonance and good sound quality.  The rest of the body is made with laminate and Basswood.

This instrument has a Nato, modern C shape neck with a walnut fingerboard. It’s got a Viking-style bridge and a Fishman electronics system which sounds great live or during recording.

For a beginner guitar, you’re getting a lot of value with the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnaught Cutaway. This is a simple and easy to play acoustic-electric guitar that has a decent tone and comes with plenty of accessories which makes it one of the ideal choices for any beginner.

Pros: 

  • It comes with lots of accessories
  • Good tone
  • Excellent Fishman pickup system

Cons:

  • Not ideal for professionals

2.Takamine GD11MCE-NS Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best Mid-Priced Acoustic-Electric Under $500

  • Build:
    Laminate Spruce Top
  • Playability:
    Easy playing cutaway design
  • Tone Quality:
    Great tone
  • Suitable:
    Beginners-advanced players

The Takamine GD11MCE-NS Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric is the perfect guitar for almost any player. This guitar comes in at an excellent price and one of the better models under $500.

The body of this guitar is made with sapele wood which gives it an excellent tone. The cutaway design makes it easy to access all of the higher frets. It’s a great choice for both rhythm guitar players as well those that want to play lead guitar.

The neck on the guitar is made with mahogany, and it has a rosewood fretboard. It plays smooth up and down the neck no matter what position you’re at. This instrument features a piezoelectric Takamine TP-4T electronics system. It’s got two strap buttons, Takamine machine heads, and a rosewood bridge.

This guitar is ready to go out of the box for any player. It’s easy to play thanks to the cutaway and has an excellent pickup system for both recordings and for live performances.

Pros:

  • Great tone
  • Cutaway
  • Good electronics

Cons:

  • No case included

3.Yamaha APXT2 ¾ -Size Acoustic/Electric Guitar – Black


Best for Kids or Smaller Players

  • Build:
    Meranti body with rosewood fingerboard
  • Playability:
    Simple cutaway design
  • Tone Quality:
    Great tone
  • Suitable:
    Great for kids or smaller players


The Yamaha APXT ¾ Size Acoustic/Electric guitar is a solid option for any younger child for those that want a smaller size guitar. The ¾ dreadnought style body makes the guitar easier to hold and play. It’s the ideal instrument for those taking lessons or playing for the first time.

It’s got a meranti body for solid tone, a mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. The small body shape and cutaway make it easy to hit all of the frets higher up the neck. This guitar also weighs less when compared to other instruments since it is a ¾ size guitar.

This guitar is ready to plug into any amplifier or to play live on a stage because it has a pickup system. The EQ has both tone and volume controls. Tune your instrument with ease by using the built-in tuner.

For beginners, for those that want a smaller-sized acoustic guitar with a pickup, the Yamaha APXT ¾ Size Acoustic/Electric guitar is a good option. 

Pros:

  • Good electronics
  • Gigbag included
  • Easy for kids to play

Cons:

  • May need some initial setup

4.Martin Guitar X Series D-X1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best Pro-Style Acoustic-Electric Guitar

  • Build:
    Laminate koa wood
  • Playability:
    Easy playing neck
  • Tone Quality:
    Superior tone
  • Suitable:
    Great for intermediate/advanced players

Martin is known for its excellent acoustic guitars. The main problem is that most Martin guitars are quite expensive. The Martin Guitar X Series D-X1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Is a solid option for today’s player because it comes at under $500.

This instrument is made with koa wood which provides an excellent tone and resonance. It has a Richlite fingerboard that feels like Rosewood and is smooth for easy playability. It comes with Martin tuning machines, a rosewood bridge, and two strap buttons.

This dreadnought has a Fishman electronic system. The guitar sounds great for live performances or when recording. The controls are easy to access through the soundhole, which makes the pickup system simple to operate. The tone of this instrument is impressive, and it gives you a high-quality Martin tone. Your purchase is protected with a Martin gig bag.

This Martin guitar has an excellent sound for a lot less money when compared to other Martin models. The guitar is capable of producing a wide range of tones that are suitable for many different playing situations. 

Pros:

  • Easy playing neck
  • Superior tone
  • Great pickup system

Cons:

  • No cutaway

5.Fender Tim Armstrong 10th Anniversary Hellcat Acoustic Guitar

Best Artist Signature Acoustic/Electric Guitar

  • Build:
    Solid mahogany/spruce wood
  • Playability:
    Easy playing concert body style
  • Tone Quality:
    Great tone
  • Suitable:
    Great for intermediate/advanced players


The Fender Tim Armstrong 10th Anniversary Hellcat Acoustic/Electric Guitar Is an excellent bargain under $500.  you get a guitar that not on. It looks great. It’s easy to play and has an amazing tone.

This instrument has a spruce wood top which gives it great resonance and tone. The body is made with mahogany wood. The neck is smooth with a walnut fingerboard. It has nice gold hardware as well as decorative fretboard markings, which Gives this instrument a lot of its character.

The electronics on this guitar feature a Fishman Presys III pickup system. It’s got an active preamp, tone, volume control, and a built-in tuner. It’s ready for whatever playing situation that you have. The guitar sounds great no matter what genre of music you’re playing.

The Fender Tim Armstrong 10th Anniversary Hellcat Acoustic/Electric Guitar has a lot to offer today’s player at under $500.You get a superior playing guitar, excellent electronics, and an instrument that looks amazing.

Pros:

  • Great look and construction
  • Solid pickup and preamp system
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Solid black color shows scratches 

6.Donner Electric Acoustic Guitar Kit Dreadnought Cutaway 

Best Acoustic/Electric Low-Cost Package 

  • Build:
    Spruce laminate and mahogany
  • Playability:
    Easy playing dreadnought cutaway
  • Tone Quality:
    Solid tone
  • Suitable:
    Great for beginners or students


For those that are starting out, you want an acoustic/electric guitar that provides a lot of value. One of the better kits on the market is the Donner Electric Acoustic Guitar Kit. This package provides a lot of extras cut the beginner guitar player can use besides the guitar.

This package includes a full-size Dreadnought acoustic guitar with a cutaway. This instrument also has a pickup and preamp system. You get bass, middle, and treble controls with a three-band equalizer as well as a built-in tuner. This is an exceptional value in such a low-cost guitar.

The guitar is made with spruce, laminate wood, and mahogany. It has a great tone and easy playability, thanks to the cutaway. Accessories include picks, gigbag, tuner, strap, capo, strings, polishing cloth, and an Allen wrench. This gives you everything that the beginner needs to start playing acoustic guitar.

You’ll save a lot of money with this kit, and it includes a decent guitar for a beginner. There’s a lot of accessories here that you would normally have to buy on their own, which are included. This is a recommended buy for beginners looking for their first acoustic/electric guitar.

Pros:

  • Good tone
  • Easy to play
  • Plenty of accessories

Cons:

  • Some accessories could be better quality

7.Taylor Guitars Baby Mahogany-e Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best ¾ Sized Pro Acoustic/Electric Guitar


Build:
Sapele and mahogany

  • Playability:
    Easy playing ¾ dreadnaught
  • Tone Quality:
    Excellent tone
  • Suitable:
    Great for students

Taylor is one of the better companies that make acoustic guitars. They offer the 3/4 sized Maybe Taylor, which comes with a pickup. This is an excellent option if you want a smaller size guitar. It’s the perfect professional-sounding instrument for any student.

It’s made with solid sapele as well as mahogany, so it has a rich tone. It’s got a piezoelectric pickup which makes it suitable for recording or playing live. The 19-fret ebony fingerboard is smooth and easy to play.

It’s got an excellent nubone nut and a solid saddle. It comes with standard Taylor machine heads and stays in tune with ease. Protect your guitar with the included gig bag.

The Baby Taylor Mahogany-e is a solid investment for anyone that wants a professional-sounding ¾ sized guitar. you get an amazing Taylor tone as well as a guitar that you can plug into an amplifier right away.

Pros:

  • Solid tone
  • Easy to play
  • Gigbag

Cons:

  • It may be too small for some players

Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500 Buying Guide

Is a Cutaway Acoustic/Electric Guitar Better?

You may find an acoustic/electric guitar with a cutaway to be easier to play. This is because frets higher up on the instrument are easier to access. This type of instrument is perfect if you want to play both rhythm guitar as well as lead guitar. You won’t have to struggle to play the notes higher up on the fretboard as you do with a regular dreadnought.

The cutaway is not necessarily better than a regular dreadnought. It’s just easier to play all of the frets since there is easier access to them, thanks to the cutaway.

What Strings Should I Use?

You’ll find it easier to play if you use a lighter gauge guitar string, especially if you are a new player. These strings are easier to bend and won’t be as hard on your fingers as medium gauge strings.  If you’ve been playing guitar for a long time, then you might want to use medium gauge strings. 

You should try several different sets of strings until you find one that works for your needs.  You might want to try coated guitar strings as these last longer when compared to regular acoustic guitar strings. This type of set can last several months compared to a regular non-coated string that may only last a few weeks. Another thing you can do is to use a custom gauge set of strings. Feel free to experiment with guitar strings until you find a string gauge and brand that works for you.

Are There Any Advantages to an Acoustic/Electric Guitar?

The main advantage of an acoustic/electric guitar is you don’t need a separate pickup for your instrument. A regular acoustic guitar requires a pickup if you want to record or play the instrument live. These pickups can sometimes be cumbersome because they have long cords attached to them, or you have to drill special holes in your guitar to install the pickup system.  An acoustic/electric guitar already has the pickup system installed. Many of them come with built-in tuners, so you don’t have to worry about buying a separate tuner. 

You can plug this instrument into an amplifier. You have more sound options available to you. You can add effects and other sounds to your acoustic playing. A regular acoustic guitar without a pickup is not capable of doing this. You can do more with an acoustic/electric guitar when compared to a regular acoustic.

Another advantage is that many of the models come with a cutaway body style. This allows for easy access to the higher Frets of the guitar, which is perfect when you want to solo. It’s a lot harder to perform a solo on a regular acoustic dreadnought and then an acoustic/electric cutaway.

Are There Any Disadvantages to an Acoustic/Electric Guitar?

 The main disadvantage of owning an acoustic/electric guitar is it can be a little bit more expensive when compared to a regular acoustic. Another drawback is that you have to buy an amplifier for them, which needs to be specific to an acoustic guitar.

For example, you can’t plug your acoustic guitar into a regular electric guitar amplifier as it won’t work properly. Unless your amplifier has a dedicated channel for an acoustic guitar, you have to buy a separate amplifier. Some of these ants can cost quite a bit of money, so you have to spend more to get everything out of your guitar.

 If you don’t plan to do any recording or playing her instrument live, then you might not have the need for an acoustic/electric guitar, and you can go with a regular acoustic. It all comes down to the individual player preferences.  Another disadvantage is that many models will require battery operation for the pickup system, and you will have to change batteries on a regular basis.

Do I Need a Case?

I recommend getting a hardshell case for your acoustic/electric guitar. A lot of the gig bags that ship with instruments are not all that secure. A hardshell case provides the maximum amount of protection for your instrument. A softshell case is fine if you’re going to and from lessons, but a hardshell case will protect her guitar when it is stored away.

FAQs 

How do you Fix Action on an Acoustic Guitar?

You can adjust the neck of the guitar via the truss rod, and this may fix the action a little bit. If you find the action on your instrument does not suit your needs, take it to a guitar technician, and they can set the action properly for you.

The action refers to how high the strings are off the fretboard. On an acoustic guitar, you want to have a medium to a low action which makes the strings easier to press down into the frets. This is easier to set on an electric guitar than it is on an acoustic. Your local guitar technician can lower the action to a level that works for your needs.

My Guitar Doesn’t Sound Right, What is Wrong?

There are several factors that determine how well your guitar is going to sound. The first thing you have to look at is the strings themselves. If you have old strange that are worn on your guitar, you will lose a lot of the tone from your instrument.  A new guitar should have its strings change right away because these are probably already too old. A fresh set of strings on your instrument can go a long way to making it sound better.

Another factor that will determine the tone of your instrument is the amplifier you used with your new acoustic/electric guitar. It’s a good idea to use a high-quality amplifier as this will give you the best tone. You also want to ensure that you’re using a high-quality guitar cable as this improves the signal from the amplifier to the guitar. 

Another thing you can do is to ensure that the fretboard is cleaned often so that it doesn’t accumulate dirt and debris, which might impact how well the guitar plays. When you change strings, you should clean the fretboard. 

What Type of Amp Do I need for an Acoustic/Electric Guitar?

It is important to use an amplifier designed for an acoustic/electric guitar. You can’t use a regular electric guitar amplifier as these amps aren’t designed for this type of instrument. Some electric guitar amplifiers may have a dedicated channel for an acoustic guitar, and this would be fine. In general, you want to use a dedicated acoustic guitar. It’s going to give you the sound and tone that you want out of your instrument. 

How Do I Clean and Care for my Guitar?

 When you take your strings off the guitar, ensure that you wipe down the fretboard. This will remove dirt and grime that is build up. You want to use a polishing cloth designed for guitars to polish away some of the dirt on the finish. Make sure you only use guitar polish and not household cleaners, as these can damage the delicate finish of your acoustic guitar.

When you’re not using your instrument, make sure it’s in a gig bag or a hardshell case. I recommend a hard case because this gives you maximum protection. You should also invest in a guitar stand so you can lean your guitar against this while you are practicing. 

Conclusion

Some of the best acoustic/electric guitars you can buy for under $500. you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money to get a quality guitar. One of the better ones on this list is the Martin Guitar X Series D-X1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar. 

This is an excellent instrument for beginners through to advanced players. It has that high-quality Martin sound that you want. This guitar sounds great played through an amplifier or used for recording purposes. It also has a nice tone when it’s unplugged.

Using a quality acoustic/electric guitar gives you more options. This guide should help you pick out a high-quality guitar that sounds great no matter what playing situation you’re in.

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