The Best Small Body Acoustic Guitars Under $600 (Parlor and Concert)

Whether you’re looking for an acoustic parlor guitar that’s lightweight and easy to travel with, or just looking for a smaller body acoustic for fingerstyle playing you’ve come to the right place. The acoustic guitars on this list are small, durable, well made guitars that sound great, play great and cost less than $600 – and in many cases, just $300.

Small body guitars are great for fingerpickers in either blues, folk or even jazz styles. Their smaller body usually accentuates the higher end of the sound spectrum, making them “brighter” or more treble dominant. They’re great for keeping on hand around the house to help encourage more regular practice, or for traveling with. Great for songwriting too. What they’re not great for is playing gigs in bands, since they lack the body size to project enough sound to compete. Some can also sound “tinny” when strummed aggressively. Some are better than others in these regards though, as you will see.

These are all steel string small body acoustics (no nylon or classical guitars) made by quality builders. There are a few terms to get through before I give you my picks, so let’s get going…

HPL – High Pressure Laminate

As you look over this list of small body guitars you will notice many use something called HPL for the sides and some for the backs.

What is HPL and why should we care?

HPL is short for High Pressure Laminate. Just like furniture Laminate, HPL is formed by layering multiple, thin pieces together to form one stronger solid piece of wood. HPL is where these layers of wood are combined at higher pressure than normal (or LPL) laminate. The result is a more solid and durable composite wood.

What does all this mean for your guitar?

HPL is cheaper than solid wood, so manufacturers can keep the costs down, but it’s better than LPL, or traditional laminate (sometimes referred to as “plywood”). In short, HPL is a compromise to give you a better sounding, cheaper guitar.

In other words, solid wood is still the best but if you want a small body guitar for less than $1,000 you’ll be getting an HPL body guitar.

Besides the cheapness of HPL, it’s also more resistant to weather and climate changes, which means that your guitar is more resistant to the wood cracking or and won’t go out of tune as easily when the seasons change. It also produces a generally brighter sound that can present itself as a “crispness” and is less prone to become “muddy” sounding.

You’ll find some people love HPL guitars and others despise them and disparaginly call them “plywood guitars.”

For what it’s worth, I’ve been playing guitar for over 12 years and have both a solid wood body and a newer HPL body and I love them both. If anything, I find the HPL to be lighter and brighter and often prefer playing it to my solid wood body. The HPL also requires less adjustment and care when summer turns to winter.

12 vs 14 Fret Models

The next thing you will notice when searching for small body guitars is that they are oftentimes grouped into 14-fret and 12-fret models. This does not mean they have only that many frets, rather it’s the number of frets on the neck from the body to the nut.

So, what does the number of frets that clear the body have to do with anything?

Well, in general 12 fret models traditionally have a wider neck than the 14 fret models. They also typically have a shortened scale length (length from the saddle to the nut), which means less string tension which in turn makes for easier bending of the strings. This is one reason you see a lot of fingerstyle blues players with 12-fret models.

Some people say that this also gives 12-fret guitars a richer and fuller sound. This may be true, but I think the type of wood and the strings you use make more of a difference to the sound than the number of frets clear of the body.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the various aspects of small body guitars, we can on to the list. I’ve broken these down into 3 categories:

  • Parlor guitars
  • 12-fret models
  • 14-fret models

Best Parlor Acoustic Guitars Under $600

Parlor guitars were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century and they derive their name from the fact that they were quite small and typically played in the home parlor. These are about the smallest guitars out there, so they’re extrememly portable, light, great for finger picking but don’t project enough sound to fill a large, busy room. They’re ideal for practice, travel, or recording but not for playing in a gig.

Washburn

R314KK

Recording King R314KKThe R314KK is part of Washburn’s vintage series that attempts to capture the vibe of turn of the century (20th century, that is..) Washburn models. Basically, they’re built to look like 100 year old instruments, but they are made with modern techniques and modern materials and often sound better than the originals.

The R314KK features:

  • Spruce top
  • Trembesi back and sides
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Abalone rosette.
  • Bone nut (for better intonation)
  • 24.75″ scale
  • “Distressed” open-gear tuners (to complete the vintage look)

WP11SNS

Washburn-WP11SENSThe WP11SENS is also based on designs Washburn used over 100 years ago, but this is a mahogany model.

It features

  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Pearl dot fingerboard inlays
  • 24.75” scale
  • Natural stain finish
  • Solid cedar top
  • Abalone rosette
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Bone nut
  • Gold open gear tuners

The Mahogany back an sides give it a warmer and more mellow tone than the R314KK.

DEMO:

Tanglewood

TWJP Acoustic Guitar

Tanglewood-Java-TWJP-E

The Java TWJP is a lightweight, at only 3.8 pounds, but don’t let that fool you – it’s got a big sound for a parlor, reminiscent of a small-bodied flattop from the 1930s.

The TWJP is a classic 12-fret parlor design, with a slotted headstock. It’s well suited for fingerpicking, where it sounds tight and focused, but loses its clarity when strummed hard.

Features:

  • Solid cedar top
  • Amara and spalted mango back
  • Amara sides
  • Natural gloss finish
  • Nato neck with sonokeling fretboard
  • 25.5″ scale length
  • Open-back nickel tuners

The Tanglewood Java TWJP is designed in the United Kingdom and made in Indonesia

RECORDING KING

Recording King may sound like a new name to some of you, but they actually got their start in the 1930’s as the Montgomery Ward house brand! The brand was discontinued during WWII and rediscovered in 2007. While they don’t have the kind of name and history of Martin, Taylor, Gibson and others they are a good quality manufacturer at reasonable prices.

RPH-05 DIRTY THIRTIES SOLID TOP SINGLE O

Recording-King-RPH-05First up from Recording King is the RPH-05 – their “Dirty Thirties”, dust-bowl inspired Single O.

The RPH-05 features a solid spruce top (though the back and sides are laminate) and makes a great guitar for singer-song writers or folk players. The vintage 30’s look is complete with aged binding and vintage tuners. It’s like stepping back in time!

Features:

  • Bone nut and saddle (for better intonation)
  • Satin sunburst finish
  • Vintage-inspired tuning keys
  • White Wood laminate back and sides
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Nato neck
  • Solid Spruce top
  • 39 x 14 x 4 inches ; 7.5 pounds

At less than $200, the Recording King RPH-05 is a great way to get a vintage vibe and great sound for the budget conscious consumer.

Demo:

BEST SMALL BODY ACOUSTIC GUITARS UNDER $600

With the Parlor style guitars out of the way, we now come to the slightly larger small bodied acoustic guitars – the 12 and 14 fret models.

12 fret acoustic guitar models

RECORDING KING

ROS-06 CLASSIC SERIES 12TH FRET 000

Recording-King-ROS-06

While not as image conscious as the RPH-05, the ROS-06 is built with the same attention to detail. But what the ROS-06 lacks in vibe it makes up for in refined simplicity.

Features:

  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Mahogany Back & Sides
  • Tortoise shell binding
  • Slotted headstock with rosewood overlay
  • Butterbean tuning keys
  • Bone nut and saddle for better intonation
  • 25 1/4 ” scale

The Recording Kind ROS-06 is a classic 12th fret OOO design with a wide, flat neck is great for fingerstyle and delta blues players. It sounds good when strummed also, which makes it a great entry level guitar as well.

DEMO:

14 fret acoustic guitar models

As the name suggests, these models have necks that are joined to the body at the 14th fret.

MARTIN GUITARS

MARTIN LXM

Martin LXM_x_1At less than $300, the Martin LXM (Little Martin) is by far the most affordable Martin models available today.

LXM Features:

  • Spruce HPL Top
  • Herringbone Style Rosette
  • Mahogany HPL back and sides
  • Birch Laminate neck
  • 23” scale length
  • 1-11/16” white corian nut
  • compensated tusq saddle

While the Little Martin is all incredibly cheap for a Martin, it is made entirely of HPL (i.e. no solid top wood). This makes it very light and resistant to changes in climate (which is great for a travel guitar), but it also gives it a brighter sound than it would have if it was made with solid wood. But it is still made to Martin quality and you’d probably have to add a zero to the end of the price tag if it were a solid wood construction.

All in all, it’s great quality for what it is and the price makes it a little easier to take you Martin camping without worry.

Martin 000X1AE

Martin-000X1AE-Review
The Martin 000X1AE is a 14-fret 000 body acoustic-electric guitar with a smaller body design than the traditional Dreadnought, but a surprisingly full sound. Clarity of sound is provided by the solid Sitka spruce top married to the mahogany grained HPL back and sides. The 000X1AE features Fishman electronics, so you’re all set to plug in and play amplified.

The neck is a modified low oval shape and made of Birch laminate, and has a black Richlite fingerboard and 20 frets total. The Martin 000X1AE has a white Corian nut and compensated white Tusq saddle.

RECORDING KING

RO-310 CLASSIC SERIES 000

RO-310-CLASSIC-SERIES-000The recording King RO-310 Classic Series 000 comes in at the top end of this list in terms of price. The RO-310 is a high quality, small body guitar and not just a “take anywhere” kind of guitar.

RO-310 Features:

  • Solid Adirondack Spruce Top
  • Solid Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Scalloped Forward X-Bracing
  • Deluxe Grover Rotomatic Tuners
  • Rosewood Fretboard
  • 1-3/4″ bone nut
  • bone saddle
  • Deluxe Grover tuners

The first thing you will likely notice is the use of solid wood for the top, back and sides. No HPL here! Of course, you’ll pay more for the privilege.

The RO-310’s solid Adirondack Spruce top gives it the clarity and projection to cut through the mix in a band setting, but it’s still a small body acoustic with all the portability and play-ability that comes with that style.

TAYLOR GUITARS

Taylor guitars is one of the most active brands in the small body acoustic field. If they didn’t start the small body/parlor guitar revival, they were one of the makers who helped propel the style to the forefront of modern guitar styles with the Taylor Baby. The Big baby and gs-mini followed and they keep getting better. It will be interesting to see where Taylor goes next.

BT2 Baby Taylor

Baby-taylor-BT2

Taylor’s BT2 Baby is a 3/4-size Dreadnought acoustic that helped revitalize the small body acoustic guitar market. Sold a as travel guitar, it’s bigger than most guitars in that category today but still very portable. It’s the perfect size (and price-point) for beginning guitarists of all ages or seasoned players looking for something to take wherever they may go.

The Taylor baby features Layered Sapele back and sides, with mahogany top and neck and ebony fretboard. A Nubone (synthetic bone) nut and saddle and Die cast chrome tuners round out the rest of the package.

Watch the Review

BBT BIG BABY

BBT-Big-Baby-taylor

As the name suggests, the Taylor Big Baby is the “upsized” version of the Baby. The Big Baby is almost a full-size Dreadnought (15/16 scale) that bridges the gap between the Baby and full size Dreadnought. This one features Layered Sapele back and sides with and Ebony fretboard (the same as the Baby) but Sitka Spruce for the top wood. Click the image for more info on the actual size so you can compare it with the Baby.

Watch the Review

GS MINI

taylor-gs-mini-mahogany
Lastly, we come to one of my favorite small body acoustics available today: the Taylor GS-Mini.

The GS-Mini is the next step on the Taylor’s evolution of small body guitars. It’s the newest in their series; after the Big Baby, after the Baby. The Baby and Big Baby guitars are excellent instruments, but a good luthier is always learning new ways to do things and discovering all sorts of enhancements along the way. All that knowledge gleaned from earlier models has been put into practice on the GS-mini. The result is a small body guitar that sounds like a full body Grand Symphony guitar, and is fun as hell to play.

The Taylor GS-Mini features Layered Sapele back and sides, Sapele neck and Ebony fretboard and Nubone Nut & Saddle. It comes in a Mahogany or Sitka Spruce top wood.

Watch the Review

 

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6 Best Camping guitars under $300

Camping season is upon us, at least it is here in the Northeast…

My family and I are avid campers, but we don’t backpack to remote locations in the mountains. We load up the family car and head off to a very nice, and somewhat secluded state park every year.

This means we have plenty of space for good food, beer and shelter. We don’t rough it, but we do sleep in tents and shield ourselves from the rain with a canopy tarp system.

We don’t have many rules when camping, but electronics are taboo. That means bringing any of the impressive amps that made my list of The 8 Best Portable Battery Powered Guitar Amps is out of the question, and it also means my beloved Pignose 7-100 Legendary Portable Amp stays at home on the shelf as well.

But that’s OK, because it lets me focus my playing on my acoustic guitar.

There’s just something organic and real about playing acoustic guitars in nature. I don’t know how else to explain it.

What makes a great camping guitar ?

Since you’re out in nature, there is a real chance of accidental damage due to sudden rain storm, or the occasional flaming hot coal springing out of the campfire, so you don’t want to be bringing your prized $1,000 acoustic guitar along.

That means the first criteria for a good camping guitar is a low price point. It turns out you don’t have to spend that much to get a good sounding, quality built acoustic guitar.

But low price point alone will likely get you a cheap piece of crap that doesn’t stay in tune or is uncomfortable and just no fun to play.

So that means that the second criteria is quality.

You want an acoustic guitar priced for beginners, with build quality that professionals and long time players expect from a guitar.

Some factors that go into build quality include: use of solid tonewood tops (no laminate!), an effective bracing pattern (bracing on an acoustic guitar strengthens the top against the tension of the strings and also serves to create the guitar’s tonal signature), and lightweight.

The weight is somewhat optional for me, since we pack all our stuff into the car. But if you’re concerned about weight, there are a few nice lightweight models on this list too.

6 of the best camping guitars under $300.

Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar

epiphone-DR-212

The Epiphone DR-212 is a 12 string guitar and delivers great dreadnought sound and style.

This is an incredible buy for the price – the Epiphone DR-212 is not just a 6 string guitar with an extra 6 strings (as some cheaper made 12 string guitars out there), the Epiphone DR-212 is built to Epiphone standards and that means solid structural engineering.

The Epiphone DR-212 has the strength and body support to handle the additional tension of 12 strings, but it’s still fairly lightweight and delivers a balanced, yet crisp tone owing to the use of the all Spruce top.

The Epiphone DR-212 features a solid Spruce top and 25.5″ scale Mahogany SlimTaper neck with rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays.

The Epiphone DR-212 is one of the larger guitars on this list, but given its sound and quality and the fact that it’s a full fledged 12 string guitar, the size is still manageable for a camping guitar… just as long as you’re not backpacking.

Product Dimensions: 44 x 19 x 5.8 inches ; 8.5 pounds

The Epiphone DR-212 currently lists for over $300 but sells for only $199.

You probably won’t find a more versatile, better made 12 string at this price point.

Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar

epiphone-DR-100

The Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar is essentially the 6 string version of the DR-212. It’s a classic dreadnought body, which makes it well suited to just about everything from bluegrass, folk, rock, country and some blues.

The Epiphone DR-100 features a select spruce top, mahogany body, and neck with 25.5″ scale rosewood fingerboard.

It’s available in Ebony, Natural and Vintage Sunburst finish.

The Epiphone DR-100 sells for about $99 and at 8 pounds and 42 x 18.5 x 5.5 inches, it fits easily in the car or camper.

Epiphone AJ-220S Acoustic Guitar

epiphone-AJ-220S

The last camping entry from Epiphone is the AJ-220S Acoustic Guitar.

Its “bell-like” shape gives the AJ-220S a unique voice in the Epiphone family of Acoustic Jumbo guitars. The tone is strong, but balanced making it sound a whole lot more expensive than it is. The AJ-220S is built to stay in tune and be ready to play when you are.

The AJ-220S features solid Sitka Spruce top, mahogany body and 25.5″ scale rosewood fingerboard with dot fret markers.

The Epiphone AJ-220S Acoustic Guitar comes in Natural and Vintage Sunburst finish, is 43.2 x 18.8 x 5.8 inches , weighs about 7.7 pounds and sells for $199.

Yamaha FG730s

Yamaha-FG730s

The Yamaha FG730s is at the top of the price range for this list of the best camping guitars under $300, coming in at $299, but it weighs a mere 4 and a half pounds. This makes it the lightest and most portable acoustic guitar on the list as well.

The Yamaha FG730s is built with a focus on bracing, which provides stability and precision and means it stays in tune better, so you can focus more on your playing and less on maintenance.

The Yamaha FG730s ultra-thin finish (only 0.25 mm thin) means more of the the natural resonance of the wood can shine through, and of course makes for a lighter guitar too!

The Yamaha FG730s features solid Sitka Spruce top, and Rosewood fingerboard, bridge, back and sides.

The result of all this great wood and lightweight technology is an acoustic guitar with a clear, balanced tone and incredible control, in a lightweight package.

Product Dimensions: 42.5 x 21 x 6 inches ; 4.5 pounds

Fender CD-140s Mahogany

Fender-CD-140s-mahogony

Next up is the Fender CD-140s Mahogany. This is a dreadnought style acoustic guitar with a really sweet and mellow tone. It features all mahogany top and sides, multiple black/white body binding and is complemented by an elegant tortoiseshell pickguard and mother of pearl rosette design.

It’s much bigger than the Yamaha FG730s, but it’s a must for mahogany lovers, and is a steal at the price. It’s a Fender, so you know it’s made with quality and attention to tone.

If you’re looking for the full sound of a dreadnought at a good price, the Fender CD-140s Mahogany will not disappoint.

The Fender CD-140s Mahogany has a 20-fret rosewood fingerboard with small 3 mm dot inlays and sells for only $199.

Product Dimensions: 47 x 19.5 x 7.5 inches; 8.2 pounds

Ibanez AW400 Artwood

Ibanez-AW400-Artwood

Lastly, we come to the Ibanez AW400 Artwood. This is another dreadnought style acoustic guitar that features a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany neck (satin finish), back and sides, a rosewood fretboard and tortoiseshell body binding.

It’s part of the Ibanez Artwood series, which means it is a modern construction guitar, built in a traditional style – a “best of both worlds” approach.

The Ibanez AW400 Artwood comes with an upgraded bone nut and saddle instead of Tusq, found in most acoustic guitars at this price point.

The Ibanez AW400 Artwood sells for around $299 and is comparable in size and weight to the Yamaha FG730s.

42 x 19 x 6 inches Weight: 4lbs 5oz

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Electric and acoustic guitars, amps, effects, pedals reviews and more!

Welcome to Middle8Reviews.com!

Middle8reviews is home to impartial reviews for guitars and guitar gear. We focus on gear for the hobbyist or amateur guitar player. You won’t find many reviews of $3,000 guitars and amps here. That stuff is for the pros, who know what they want and where to get it.

What you will find are reviews for the rest of us.

Electric guitars for beginners, acoustic guitars for the non-professional and plenty of guitar gear reviews make up the bulk of reading material here at Middle8Reviews.com.

Here’s a sample of the reviews you’ll find here:

  • Looking for gift ideas for the guitarist in your life? Or maybe you’re looking for ideas to put on your gift list. Either way, here’s my list of the Best Gift Ideas for Guitar Players in the under $25, $50 and $100 price ranges.
  • 10 Great and Inexpensive Acoustic Guitars for Beginners. – This is an excellent resource for finding an acoustic guitar to start your journey, without breaking the bank. (Most models are less than $400, but play very well)
  • Top 12 Low Watt Tube Amps For Under $500.  Low watt tube amps are an awesome way to get pure tube tone in your bedroom, dorm room, or where ever you don’t want window shattering volume. This list is the 12 best low watt tube amps on the market today.
  • Cigar Box Amplifiers. This is one of those fun and funky reviews we do from time to time. Cigar box amplifiers are just a fun idea, and make for a unique – and functional- conversation piece or gift.

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10 Best Inexpensive Acoustic Guitars for Beginners.

If you’re looking for an affordable acoustic guitar for a beginner, but not one that’s cheaply made then you’ve come to the right place. There are hundreds of cheap guitars out there, with low price tags and low quality. These aren’t them.

These acoustic guitars offer good quality, and great value for their respective price tags.

Many of the guitars on this list might be considered the best acoustic guitars for beginners, but they also make an excellent choice for a backup or travel guitar for the experienced player as well. Worried about bringing your Martin D-16GT on a camping trip for a week? Why not pick up the Seagull S6 instead?

To put it simply, these are good acoustic guitars for cheap.

Without further ado, I present to you….

10 inexpensive acoustic guitars for beginners.

1. Seagull S6

Seagull-S6

Seagull acoustic guitars are made in Canada and come highly regarded. They offer a beautiful sound at an excellent value. The Seagull S6 has a mahogany back and sides, and a solid cedar top. The Seagull S6 blends the warmth of mahogany with the crisp definition of maple.

The rosewood fretboard is easy on the fingers, while the Tusq nut and saddle provide good tone and stable tuning.

This acoustic guitar also features a double action truss rod to help keep it in tune over the years.

At around $399 it may seem a bit pricey, but it it well worth the money. It’s not a cheap guitar, but it’s a good guitar and one of the best in the under $500 price range. I would not recommend it for someone who is looking to try his hand at learning guitar and may not stick with it, but it’s an excellent 1st guitar and a great investment for someone willing to put in the practice time needed to play well.

Here’s a demo/promo video of the Seagull S6 in action:

2. Yamaha FG800

Yamaha-FG700S-soundThe Yamaha FG800 is significantly lower in price (about half the price of the Seagull S6), but still a very good beginner acoustic guitar. It features a solid Nato back and sides, Solid Sitka Spruce top, rosewood fingerboard and die-cast tuners and a high-gloss natural finish.

Yamaha’s legendary value and quality make are present in this very affordable entry-level 6-string acoustic guitar.

Check out the Yamaha FG800 in action:

 

3. Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine-G-340

The Takamine GD20-NS is a Dreadnought body style acoustic guitar and features a Cedar top with synthetic bone nut and bridge saddle, rosewood head cap, and pearloid dot inlays. The back and sides are Mahogany. This is definitely the beginner line of Takamine guitars and while it does not feature the superior sound qualities of the higher end models, it doesn’t feature their higher end price tag either.

Most people agree that the GD20-NS gives you pretty good bang for the buck and makes an excellent acoustic guitar for beginners.

With a beautiful sound, sturdy construction and a pleasing look, the Takamine GD20-NS is a solid beginner guitar offering plenty of room to grow. At  under $300, it’s a solid buy.

Here’s a demo of the it in action:

 

4. Fender CD-140S

Fender-CD-140S

The Fender CD-140S is a full bodied Dreadnought acoustic guitar featuring solid Spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. It’s a lower-end Fender and may not have the superb workmanship of the higher priced models, the solid Spruce top and Rosewood headstock and bridge with compensated saddle make it an appealing beginner model.

The CD-140S dreadnought provides a full, resonant sound at a great value (currently under $200).

The 2011 upgrade gives this model a new tortoise shell pickguard and mother-of-pearl rosette design.

Check out the Fender CD-140s acoustic guitar in action here:

5. Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone-DR-100-brstThe Epiphone DR-100 acoustic guitar features a Spruce top, Rosewood fingerboard and Mahogany back and sides giving it an overall balanced tone.

The DR-100 is considered by many to be strictly an acoustic guitar for beginners  – meaning it will not be long before the serious player wants to trade up. But at less than $100, it’s a fine starter guitar for people who aren’t sure they will have the desire or aptitude to stick with playing.

It’s available in 3 different finishes: Ebony, Natural, and Vintage Sunburst.

6. Ibanez PC15NT

acoustic guitars for beginners - Ibanez - AC30NT

The Ibanez PC15NT is a worthy entry in the beginner guitar series, and while you can find better acoustic guitars out there, few are as good at this price. It features a solid Engelmann Spruce top, and Mahogany back and sides. It’s smaller body doesn’t take much away from it’s loudness or crispness. It’s similar to Martins and Taylors in terms of sound and retails for around $150.

You do get what you pay for though, and the PC15NT is geared toward finger picking or soloing. It’s ok for strumming and rhythm work, but not as well balanced for each technique as some other guitars on this list.

See demo:

7. Fender DG-8S

Fender-DG-8SThe Fender DG-8S features a solid Spruce top, and laminated Mahogany back and sides. It has a Rosewood bridge with compensated saddle. The saddle and nut are plastic.

If it sounds a little light on construction, it’s because it is. This is a definite starter guitar – read: you will be trading this in if you pursue playing past the basics. That’s ok though, because this is a great acoustic guitar for people looking to try their hand at guitar playing but who aren’t sure how far they want to go with it.

It’s usually sold in a starter kit package, including things like a chromatic electronic tuner, instructional DVD, strings, picks and strap. Basically, everything you need to sit down and start learning. All for under $200.

There are cheaper starter kits out there, but they’re…well, cheap. In the right hands the Fender DG-8S can really sing (and make a great gift for Christmas 😉 ):

8. Martin LX1

Martin-LX1The Martin LX1 is a 3/4 size acoustic guitar which features a solid Sapele top, back and sides. It also has a Stratabond modified low oval neck and Gotoh nickel-plated tuners with the classic C.F. Martin script logo on headstock.

Being 3/4 size it’s perfect for a travel guitar as well as a practice guitar for beginning students or younger students with smaller hands. It retails for under $300 and includes a gig bag. That might seem like a lot for a 3/4 guitar, but it’s a very good quality 3/4 guitar.

Here’s a demo:

9. Baby Taylor

Baby-TaylorThe Baby Taylor is another 3/4 size dreadnought acoustic guitar and like the Martin LX1, it’s perfect for younger players and those with smaller hands. It’s in the same price range as the LX1 (under $300), and while it’s a good guitar, it’s not as good as higher end Taylors. That’s also true of the Martin LX1 though. It’s simply difficult to provide a high quality instrument at the lower price point.

Don’t get me wrong, the Baby Taylor is still a solid guitar a great 3/4 Dreadnought. It’s got a solid Mahogany top, and Sapele back sides. It’s also got a Tusq nut and saddle for great tone in such a tiny package. A gig bag is generally included also, since it’s a non-standard size.

Here’s a nice demo of the Baby Taylor acoustic guitar:

 

10. Washburn WD10 Series

Washburn-WD10-SeriesThe Washburn WD10 Series has a solid Spruce top and wood Rosette with bone nut and saddle. It may be the bone saddle and nut, or maybe it’s better construction but this guitar sounds like a guitar twice it’s price. That and the fact that its price is less than $200 make this a great acoustic guitar for the beginner or as a backup or travel guitar.

You could do far worse for $250 than this great looking guitar with a nice bright tone and strong mid range.

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