Best Acoustic Guitars in Every Price Point | Hub Guitar

Best Acoustic Guitars in Every Price Point

See here for general advice about your first guitar purchase. This article also assumes that your first guitar will be an acoustic guitar, as most learners seem to start with an acoustic guitar.

Many beginners are looking for the cheapest guitar possible. Be careful not to doom yourself with a bastard guitar. It’s worth the extra money to have a great experience learning to play the guitar.

If you have the money, spend it. A beginner should budget as much as possible for a quality guitar to learn on. There’s no reason why a beginner shouldn’t start with a great guitar, if they can afford it. A great guitar will last a lifetime, if cared for, and will make learning to play the guitar easier—and much more pleasurable.

Spend as Much As You Can

A guitar is a very long-term investment. A quality instrument will last many years and through thousands of hours of play. It is the kind of asset you shouldn’t scrimp on, even if you have to take out a loan.

Buy Guitar, Not Extras

Buying guitars without extra features such as electronics, cutaways, and the like will ensure that the money you pay for is going into a quality guitar made of good wood and with good craftsmanship and sound. Each dollar you spend on extras is detracting from the fundamental quality of the instrument. That’s why most of the guitars recommended here have very little in the way of extra features.

The Guitars (Low Price to High Price)

Breedlove Discovery Concert ($300)

Strengths: Consistent Quality Long-Lasting Instruments Easy to Play

Weaknesses: Average Tone

Breedlove’s entry-level instruments, such as the Discovery Concert, are great starting instruments that often leave beginner students stunned with the quality for the money.

The instruments are beautiful, have excellent quality control, and are set up for great playability. They tend to age better than most “economy” instruments.

This is an entry-level price point. If you a guitar in this price point, you will likely want another guitar within one year of serious study.

For a $300 guitar, look no further than the Breedlove Discovery Concert Mahogany[?]Affiliate Link.

Recording King RO-T16 ($500)

Strengths: All Solid Wood Quality Materials Classic Design Great Sound

Weaknesses: Inconsistent QC Sensitive Woods

These guitars are very high-value for the money.

If you can afford to spend a bit more, a little extra gets you a lot more. The Recording King RO-T16[?]Affiliate Link is probably one of the best-value guitars on the market, an all-solid wood instrument, the wood being artificially aged to improve stability and longevity, and a bone nut and saddle for better tone.

Because of the solid wood construction, these guitars sound great. In fact, this is one of the best sounding guitars under $1000! However due to the inconsistent quality control and the fact that the woods used are sometimes sensitive to changes in heat and humidity, you may need to have it set up periodically to keep it in great condition. It’s well worth it because this is by far the best-value guitar in its price point.

Buy the Recording King RO-T16[?]Affiliate Link.

This guitar might last a long time, if you’re lucky. If you keep it humidifiedAcoustic guitars are sensitive to drops in air moisture, especially during winter. A soundhole humidifier may be used to keep the humidity up. Drops in humidity can cause the wood to change shape, making the guitar difficult to play, and can also cause cracks. and have it set up periodically, it could last many years.

Seagull Maritime Concert ($750)

Strengths: Made in North America All Solid Wood

Weaknesses: Minimal features

Seagull guitars in this price range offer a strong value for the dollar. These guitars are made by Godin in Canada. They feature a distinctive headstock shape, whose purported advantage is that each of the strings retains a straight line from the tuning machine to the bridge. This is supposed to improve tuning stability and string life.

The Maritime SWS series are beautifully crafted, and a real steal in this price point.

Check out the the Seagull Maritime [?]Affiliate Link.

This is probably the most affordable all-solid wood guitar made in North America. It is a very high-value and should last a very long time if cared for.

Larrivée L-03 ($1200)

Strengths: Excellent Quality Traditional Design Long Lasting

Weaknesses: Price

This Canada-based manufacturer offers some of the best guitars on the market in this price range.

Larrivée guitars are typically made of beautiful and carefully-selected woods. The lower-priced versions have less of a focus on “eye candy” and more of an emphasis on simplicity and tone.

If you can make this price range work, consider a Larivvée L03[?]Affiliate Link.

This instrument should last for a lifetime. Please care for it well.

Breedlove Oregon Concert ($1700)

Strengths: Innovative Great Tone Quality and Longevity Playability Made in USA

Weaknesses: Price No Cutaway

This award-winning instrument is one of the best guitars money can buy. It compares favorably with any high-end USA guitar.

Each one plays perfectly, right out of the box. They need little maintenance and age well, holding up to the test of time. The Breedlove Oregon Concert[?]Affiliate Link is easily one of the best acoustic guitars on the market.

This guitar has some unique features, including custom-balanced tonewood tops for ideal clarity of sound, and beautifully bookmatched all solid wood backs and sides.

This guitar is unique for its Myrtlewood back and sides. The wood sounds clear and balanced across the sound spectrum. It has been likened to a combination of mahogany and rosewood.

This guitar has fairly minimal features. There are cheaper guitars with many more features but the fundamental quality of the instrument itself is why this guitar shines. Later on you can upgrade the nut/saddle to bone, upgrade the tuners and upgrade the pickup system—and you’ll have an unbeatable guitar.

Buy the Breedlove Oregon Concert[?]Affiliate Link.

This kind of instrument should last for a lifetime—or two.

Buying Used

If money is an important factor in your decision, you may be able to find a better value by looking for one of these in used guitars, via Craigslist, eBay or similar.

The problem with buying a used instrument is that it’s hard to know if it aged well. Many of them (especially in the “budget” price points) will develop problems over time, mostly due to wood warping caused by poorly seasoned wood or mistreatment but sometimes just from wear and tear. As a novice you can easily make a regrettable purchase this way.

The First Thing To Do When You Get Your Guitar

The first thing you should do when you get your guitar is to show it to an experienced player, such as your teacher or a guitar repair person. They can tell if the guitar is set up properly. It would be ideal to have this person shop for the guitar with you, but that may not be an option.

You should absolutely have your new guitar set up by a professional repair person. Beginners should request the lowest action (string height) possible, as this will make it easier to play.

If You Can’t Afford $300

The problem with spending less than $300 is that quality diminishes fast underneath this price point and you may end up with a piece of junk you don’t want. Then you have to go buy a good guitar at $500, and you may not be able to get your money back that you spent on the junk guitar.

Learning guitar is hard enough even with a good guitar, and the quality of your instrument has a direct effect on your practice results. Nobody should want to start with a piece of junk. If you absolutely cannot afford a decent instrument, just do your best.

Beg, borrow, sell some of your other things. Save up for awhile. Maybe you can borrow a guitar from someone else until you’ve got the money for your own.

A quality instrument will make learning easier, and with luck will last a lifetime.

As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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