The 10 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners Under $300.

What makes for a great guitar for a beginner?

In making this list of top electric guitars for beginners, I looked at 3 criteria:

  1. Quality vs. price
  2. Simplicity of design/use
  3. Versatility

My thinking is that it really doesn’t make sense for someone looking to start learning to play electric guitar to get a poorly made (cheap!) guitar – they don’t stay in tune, and they’re difficult to learn on. You really do get what you pay for, BUT there are quite a few good quality guitars for less than $300.

Simplicity and ease of use is also important because if you want to learn to play electric guitar, you don’t want to get lost in the bells and whistles of the device itself. The nice thing about this is that simpler designs are often cheaper too, because you usually pay extra for those bells and whistles.

Versatility is my own personal belief. I think if you’re going to be shelling out good money for something, you should get something you can use for a variety of styles, instead of a one-trick pony.

So without further ado, here’s my list for top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300.

Epiphone

Epiphone has been making instruments for every style of popular music since 1873. They have a reputation for making affordable versions of Gibson model guitars, but they’ve been instrumental (pardon the pun) in jazz age guitars of the 1920s through through post-war pop, jazz, R&B, early rock n’ roll to grunge, and thrash.

Here are a few of the Epiphone models that make the top electric guitars for beginners, each for less than $300.

Epiphone Limited Edition “1966” G-400 PRO

epiphone-G-400-PRO

The Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400  is a Gibson-authorized version of their great ’66 SG (the one made famous by the likes of AC/DC’s Angus Young, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Tony Iommi, Paul Weller, Derek Trucks and others) with a solid mahogany body and slim-taper set mahogany neck.

Beside the price, there are a few other things that set the Epiphone 1966 G-400 PRO apart from the original vintage 1966 SG. Instead of the smaller pickguard, the Epiphone 1966 G-400 PRO has the larger pickguard so there aren’t any pickup mounting rings around the pickups.

Other features include:

  • high-output Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers (P-90’s on the original ’66 SG )
  • Separate volume and tone controls for each pickup (this increases the tonal possibilities and control)
  • A LockTone tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece (to provide better sustain )

The classic SG double-cutaway body of the Epiphone 1966 G-400 PRO lets you reach all 22 frets with ease. The body is solid mahogany and so is the Slim-taper neck. The Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers are set to coil-split, meaning you can switch them from full humbucker to single coil, increasing the tones available.

Longtime readers of this site know that I’m a huge fan of simplicity and versatility. The Epiphone Limited Edition 1966 G-400 Electric Guitar has both, and at a price which definitely makes it a top electric guitar for beginners.

Here’s Demo of the features and flexibility:

Epiphone G-310

Epiphone-G-310The Epiphone G-310 is built to the same dimensions as the vintage Gibson SGs of the 1960s, and with the same techniques as those used in the original Kalamazoo factory. It’s a well balanced guitar, unlike many cheaper clones that tend to be neck-heavy.

Like the Epiphone 1966 G-400 PRO above, the The Epiphone G-310 features a Mahogany body and neck, with a rosewood fingerboard. Where it differs from the G-400 is in the pickups. The G-310 does not feature coil splitting, so you only get the pure humbucker sound. Also, the G-310 features a 650R Humbucker in the neck and a 700T Humbucker pickup in the bridge, and a 3-way toggle switch for selecting neck, bridge or both.

The 700T humbuckers of the G-310 give it a warmer, Les Paul sounding tone, while the G-400 has Alnico V pickups and give it a more aggressive, punchy sound, typically found on Fender guitars.

The 700T humbuckers of the G-310 make it better suited to more metal tones, but make it less versatile than the G-400.

I actually wrote a review of the The Epiphone G-310 a while ago before I thought about what makes the best electric guitars for beginners. That’s because the G-310 is one of the best electric guitars under $300.. Period. So rather than re-write that review again, you can just read the full review here: The Epiphone G-310, An affordable SG.

The Epiphone G-310 is available in both Black and Red, and is available for about $250 at the time of this writing.

Clean demo:

Gain demo:

Epiphone Dot Studio

Epiphone-DotLast up for Epiphone’s entry into this list of the top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300 is the Epiphone Dot Studio Electric Guitar.

The Epiphone Dot features:

  • Mahogany neck and body
  • 2 Alnico Classic pickups with a hotter bridge pickup
  • ever fashionable chrome hardware
  • classic vintage style tuno-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece
  • Mahogany center block (to limit unwanted feedback)

The Epiphone Dot is capable of producing a wide range of tone that makes it a very versatile electric guitar that’s great for beginners. It’s also a Semi-hollowbody, which means it has an acoustic element to it as well as electric, and has more resonance than a solid body electric guitar.

The Epiphone Dot is well suited to classic rock, country, blues and jazz styles.

The Epiphone Dot is Epiphone’s version of the Gibson ES 335 “Dot” (made famous by the likes of Eric Clapton, BB King, Albert Lee, Chuck Berry, Larry Carlton, Dave Grohl and Roy Orbison) and is one of the best deals today for guitar players who want the classic sound of an ES 335 at an affordable price.

Jazz/Blues/Rock Lead demo

Fender

The Squier name is known to many as a low-cost “value brand” alternative to the Fender name. Don’t worry, Squier guitars are made with the attention to quality and often with the same parts as Fender guitars, albeit lower priced parts. While you won’t find top-notch extras and hand-assembly in Squier models, you will find top-notch quality. Squier guitars can be viewed as simply Fender electric guitars under $300.

Squier Affinity Telecaster

Squier-Affinity-TelecasterThe Squier Affinity Telecaster is hands down one of the best choices for an electric guitar for beginners. It’ solid, simple and versatile. Because it’s a Squire (by Fender) you know it has quality built in and it can be yours for a great price.

The Squier Affinity Telecaster features:

  • Alder body
  • Maple neck, with Polyurethane finish
  • 2 single coil pickups – both vintage Tele single coils
  • Master Volume control
  • Master Tone control
  • 3-Position blade pickup switch:
    • Position 1. Bridge Pickup
    • Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups
    • Position 3. Neck Pickup

What makes the Fender Squier Affinity Telecaster Electric Guitar such a great choice for a beginner is its price, and simplicity. There’s no coil tapping, tremolo bar or pickup circuit switching.

The Squier Affinity Telecaster stays in tune and holds its intonation well. Basically, it gets out of your way so you can focus on learning guitar, be it blues, rock, jazz or country. Easily one of the best electric guitars under $300, for beginners or anyone, really.

Demo

detailed demo

Squier Stratocaster

Squier-Fender-Deluxe-StratocasterThe Fender Stratocaster is a musical icon unto itself. It’s taken center stage from the early days of rock-n-roll, through blues and even hard rock and metal. It’s easy to see why, with the comfort and features it has to offer.

The Squier Stratocaster is a value-priced version of the Fender Strat, which means not as many hand-styled appointments and less expensive pickups. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad guitar. In fact, it’s a really great guitar and saves you $700+ in the process!

Squier Deluxe Stratocaster features:

  • Basswood body
  • Polyurethane finish on the neck
  • Maple neck and fingerboard
  • 3 Duncan single-coil pickups; SC-101B (bridge), SC-101 (middle), SC-101N (neck)
  • 5-position pickup selector :
    • Position 1. Bridge Pickup
    • Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
    • Position 3. Middle Pickup
    • Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup
    • Position 5. Neck Pickup
  • Standard Tremolo Arm

The Squier by Fender Deluxe Stratocaster is a great electric guitar for beginners and a great way to own a piece of iconic guitar history for less than $300.

Demo

Jaguar

Squier-Fender-Vintage-Modified-JaguarThe Jaguar was originally released for the Surf Music crowd in the 1960’s, but has been seen prominently in everything from Jazz to punk to alternative. It’s one of the few guitars on this list that don’t fit the simplicity rule, but it’s got such a great, unique vibe and it is one of the better electric guitars under $300 on the market today, so it made the list.

The Jaguar style is very similar to the Jazzmaster, but the tone circuit is where the difference really hides. The rhythm circuit is a simple, straightforward design that lets the player only worry about the tone and volume. The lead circuit lets you choose between pickups, turn off either pickup on or off and cut the bass frequency for treble heavy lead tone.

Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar features:

  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck with polyurethane gloss finish
  • Duncan JG-101B single coil bridge pickup
  • Duncan JG-101N single coil neck pickup
  • 3-way toggle switch for pickup selection – neck, bridge or both
  • Tortoiseshell pickguard
  • Chrome hardware
  • non-locking floating vibrato with vintage-style tremolo arm

The Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar Electric Guitar is a unique and versatile guitar at a great price. It’s great for beginners and experienced players who are looking for something a little bit different, without breaking the bank.

Demo

Gretsch

A Gretsch guitar is a very special thing. They have a completely unique vibe. Unfortunately, they also have a Gibson-like price tag. Gretsch does have a few really nice budget friendly models. Only one makes the cut for top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300 though.

Gretsch G5425 Electromatic

Gretsch-G5425-ElectromaticThe Gretsch G5425 is all you Gretsch fans out there who can’t afford the $2,500+ for most models. (me included!)

The G5425 has that real Gretsch sound and classic Gretsch style that just ooze jazz and rockabilly vibe. The  Jet Club Electromatic is well suited to country and rock too.

The Gretsch G5425 features:

  • Chambered Basswood Body with Arched Laminated Maple Top
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Maple neck
  • 2 Gretsch dual-coil humbucker pickups; 1 in the neck position,
    1 in the bridge position
  • 3-Position pickup selector toggle:
    • Position 1. Bridge Pickup
    • Position 2. Bridge and Neck Pickups
    • Position 3. Neck Pickup
  • Master Volume control
  • Master Tone control
  • “G” arrow knobs and white pearloid Gretsch-logo pickguard

The G5425 Jet Club Electromatic is all Gretsch, except the price.

It’s also a great electric guitar for beginners for the same reason the Squier Affinity Telecaster is – simplicity, quality and price (although the Gretsch G5425 is a bit more money than the Squier).

What sets the Gretsch G5425 apart from the Squier Affinity Telecaster is the Telecaster has more treble-y “spank” and twang to its character, while the Gretsch G5425 has a more mellow tone, and is capable of darker (more traditionally metal) tonal characteristics.

The Gretsch G5425: another great electric guitar under $300.

demo

Ibanez

Ibanez is well known in jazz and rock circles, even though players of one genre may not be aware that they make guitars for the other!

A quick look at these two offerings for this list of top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300 from Ibanez will show how diverse a company it is.

AS53TF

Ibanez-AS53TFThe Ibanez AS53 is a great electric guitar for beginners because it’s a semi-hollowbody guitar, which means it has acoustic guitar qualities of resonance – the best of both worlds! The AS53 has jazz box looks and vibe, but don’t let that fool you, it can rock with the best of them.

AS53 features:

  • Mahogany neck
  • Sapele body
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 2 humbucker pickups:
    • Neck:ACH-ST
    • Bridge:ACH-ST
  • 3-way toggle
    • neck
    • bridge
    • both

The ACH pickups create a nice, warm tone with quick response which makes it very well suited to jazz or clean style blues. It does give a nice classic rock crunch as well, but probably not enough for metal (without some serious distortion effect pedal…).

The ACH pickups and semi-hollowbody structure of the AS53 make for some great sustain characteristics, while the center block helps eliminate unwanted feedback. The Ibanez AS53 is one of the few hollow body or semi-hollowbody electric guitars under $300, and it’s a great buy if you dig the style.

Demo

Ibanez GRX20ZBKN

Ibanez-GRX20ZBKNThe Ibanez GRX20ZBKN is most definitely a hard rock/metal/80’s guitar. It always makes me laugh to think that the same company makes guitars like the AS53TF jazz box above and a shredder like the GRX20…

Anyway, where the AS53TF is built for comfort and groove, the Ibanez GRX20 is built for speed and power. It’s dual humbuckers are built to howl, not purr, and a tremolo on an ax like this is meant for one thing – dive bombs!

Yeah, I know… this one doesn’t quite meet up with the “versatility” criteria for top electric guitars for beginners, but it is a great buy and rounds out the list nicely.

Ibanez GRX20 features:

  • Maple neck
  • Basswood body
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 2 Powersound humbucking pickups
    • Bridge
    • Neck
  • Tremolo arm

The Ibanez GRX20ZBKN Electric Guitar is a great electric guitar for beginners, or anyone seeking that 80’s rock vibe.

Demo

Yamaha

Yamaha is well known for their keyboards, pianos and bass guitars, but they also have a number of very good electric guitars. Sadly, there’s only one with a price tag that fits the under $300 category. The good news: it’s definitely a top electric guitar for beginners!

Pacifica PAC112V

Pacifica-PAC112VThe Pacifica PAC112V has a very strat-like body, and like the strat, it is comfort-contoured. Unlike the classic strat, the Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V has 1 humbucker pickup and 2 single coils. This gives it a different sound than the Squier Deluxe Stratocaster further up this list, even though it has a similar look.

Here are the full specs:

  • Solid Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Vintage Tremolo with Block Saddles
  • 3 pickups:
    • single-coil neck pickup
    • single-coil middle pickup
    • AlnicoV Humbucker bridge pickup
  • 5-Position Pickup Switch with Coil Tap Function
  • Master Volume control
  • Master Tone control

The Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar is currently selling at the high end of the price range to make this list of top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300, but it’s a very good quality guitar.

Demo

Conclusion

No matter what style of music you prefer, I think we can agree that there is something on this list of top 10 electric guitars for beginners under $300 that suits the style, and fits the bill (budget-wise). They’re all great quality guitars and none is better than the other, just different enough to suit your personal taste.

Happy strumming!

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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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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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