Setting your sights on learning the guitar and buying your first acoustic guitar is a moment you’ll never forget, which is why it’s critical to select the right one to suit your needs and invest in a guitar that will keep you interested in your newfound hobby long-term. This guide to the best acoustic guitars for beginners will help you do just that.
Armed with the right acoustic guitar playing will be so much easier and more enjoyable. In the long-term, you’re more likely to stick at it and develop your playing if you have a great guitar to hand.
One of the most important factors when choosing the best beginner acoustic guitar is that it needs to stay in tune throughout your practice session, and it has to be built to last, particularly if you plan on taking it outdoors, jamming with friends or ultimately playing in a live setting.
Even more importantly, the guitar needs to sound great. And finally, you don’t want all this to cost the earth. That might sounds unrealistic, but with our expert round-up of the best beginner acoustic guitars, we’re going to prove that you can get started with a beginner guitar from the big-name brands from as little as $149.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed at the thought of choosing the best beginner acoustic guitar for you – we’ve done all the research for you. It’s time to get super-excited about the six-string beauty you’ll soon be learning to play.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, many items have been harder to come by. We’re pleased to report that, at the time of writing, most musical instruments can still be found pretty easily and delivered straight to your door. Our price comparison widgets will guide you to the places that have stock, as well as the best deals online right now.
In this expert guide, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best acoustic guitars for beginners on the planet. However, if you just want to get straight to our top recommendation, there’s a sneak peak at our number one choice below…
The best acoustic guitar for beginners right now
Our overall recommendation for the best beginner acoustic guitar right now has to be the Fender CD-60S. This ace beginner acoustic delivers everything you could possibly need when starting out, and all at a delicious entry-level price. This guitar offers great sound, is an easy player, and sports a rugged construction.
At the other end of the budget spectrum, the Yamaha LL6 ARE is an ace option. It delivers a versatile range of tones that really shine, whether unplugged or you’re using the built-in acoustic guitar pickup. A forgiving friend, it certainly helps bring out the best in your sound. While it isn’t the cheapest beginner acoustic on this list, it will remain a reliable ally beyond your years as a complete beginner, making it a great addition to our best acoustic guitars for beginners round-up.
Best acoustic guitar for beginners: buying advice
The first consideration you’ll need to make is the type of acoustic guitar you’re looking for, which will be primarily based on size and sound. Smaller-bodied acoustics are easier to play, and are more portable. By contrast, the larger the guitar’s body, the louder the volume and the bigger the tone. The most common acoustic guitar design, and the most versatile, is the dreadnought, thanks to its balance of sound and playability.
At the opposite end of the scale is the jumbo, which produces greater acoustic volume, and the parlour guitar, with its small body and softer tone. Smaller still are the mini or baby acoustics.
You’ll find a mix in our best beginner acoustic guitars guide, and of the three main designs there are various spin-off styles too. Tried and tested brands include Fender, Epiphone and Yamaha, and Taylor and Martin at the premium end.
Relatively speaking, beginner guitars should be easy to play. If the guitar itself makes progress more difficult than it needs to be, you’re less likely to want to practice. That means a low action – the height at which the strings are set above the fretboard. While aiding comfort, a smaller-bodied guitar is also easier to play, especially for younger or smaller guitarists.
While the body of a dreadnought guitar typically joins the neck at the 14th fret, providing easier access to the higher notes, the parlour guitar typically has a join lower down at the 12th. If playing the highest notes is important to the music you want to play, you may also want to consider choosing a beginner’s acoustic guitar with body cutaway below the neck.
Tuning is typically a challenge for beginners, so guitar tuners, which ease the process and retain correct tension, are vital. Also remember that acoustic doesn’t have to mean un-amplified; you can buy an electro-acoustic with a built-in pickup.
If the guitar doesn’t include built-in amplification, a simple-to-install acoustic pickup can be retrofitted. You’ll find examples of a variety of these types of strummers in our selection of the best acoustic guitars for beginners below.
If you want an even closer look at some of the best acoustic guitars for beginners in this guide, we recently performed a group test on the Epiphone DR-100, Fender CD-60S and Yamaha FG800 which should help you make up your mind.
Here’s a bitesize look at what you should consider before you buy one of the best acoustic guitars beginners:
- Think about guitar size: do you need a baby acoustic, small-bodied acoustic, dreadnought or jumbo?
- Are you buying a trusted brand? Fender, Epiphone, Yamaha and Taylor are great places to start.
- A low action – the height of the strings above the fretboard – makes a beginner acoustic easier and more comfortable to play.
- Want to play higher notes? You’ll need a guitar with a cutaway in order to access the higher frets.
- A guitar tuner makes a wise investment to keep your guitar sounding good.
The best acoustic guitars for beginners right now
1. Fender CD-60S Acoustic Guitar
The best acoustic guitar for beginners seeking a big brand name
Price: $219/£199 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid Mahogany | Back and sides: Laminated Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.3″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast | Electronics: N/A | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss
Stays in tune
Individual looks may put some off
With this Fender, you have a leading brand producing an excellent acoustic guitar at an entry-level price. This dreadnought’s all-mahogany construction produces a full, rounded sound, which equates to volume and confident mid-level power in support of a bright treble.
The tuners are positive and reliable, and at the sub-$200 mark they represent excellent quality. Previously, Fender’s acoustic guitars for beginners had an action that tended to be on the high side. But the CD-60S has an action low enough to enable easier playing, while avoiding troublesome fret buzz.
2. Yamaha LL6 ARE
The best acoustic guitar for beginners under $500
Price: $539/£549 | Type: Medium Jumbo | Top: Solid Engelmann spruce | Back and sides: Rosewood | Neck: Mahogany/rosewood 5-ply | Scale: 25.9/16″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast gold | Electronics: Yamaha SRT Zero Impact pickup | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss
Excellent sound plugged in and acoustically
Great build quality
Forgiving sound for the beginner
Higher-end price for a beginner guitar
Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement treatment process aims to make this stunning guitar sound ‘played-in’ from the start. The resulting tone is representative of a guitar that’s worth more than the LL6’s price tag. With chords chiming through, this Yamaha makes for a very forgiving acoustic guitar for beginners.
Simplicity is the theme for amplification here, with no extra control provided to the Zero Impact pickups. The action is low and the neck has an even thickness, and typically of Yamaha the finish on the LL6 is of an extremely high quality. If you want an entry-level acoustic guitar that’s easy to play, definitely check this one out.
3. Epiphone Hummingbird Pro
The best acoustic guitar for beginners who want heritage pedigree
Price: $369/£269 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid spruce | Back and sides: Select mahogany | Neck: Select mahogany | Scale: 25.3″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast | Electronics: Shadow ePerformer pre-amp | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss
Slightly lower action would help a beginner
Played by the Rolling Stones, no less, and with a lavish appearance created by that pearl inlayed neck and artworked scratchplate, Epiphone’s Hummingbird Pro certainly looks the part and has a reputation to match.
Based on its big brother from parent company Gibson, the ‘real’ Hummingbird Pro would set you back closer to $3,000, so this one is a bargain. The sound is well balanced and ideal for various styles, though the action, straight from the box, could be slightly lower to make it easier for beginner’s to play.
For electrified sessions, Epiphone’s built-in Eperformer preamp is versatile enough to dish out a wide range of tones. Elsewhere, Grover tuners maintain reliable tension.
4. Taylor GS Mini
High-end versatility and tonal quality at an entry-level price
Price: $499/£529 | Type: Mini | Top: Tropical mahogany | Back and sides: Sapele laminate | Neck: Layered sapele | Scale: 23.5″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast chrome | Electronics: n/a (ES-Go pickup available) | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Varnish
High quality tone
Extremely versatile sounds
Wonderful build quality
Doesn’t have the volume of a full size
Taylor’s GS Mini doubles as a travel-sized guitar and dishes out all you need for home playing, especially for younger or smaller guitarists. The factory-set action is low, making it simple to play from the get-go.
The sound is warm and clear, tending towards the mid range. Though the trebles are bright, despite the size the bass isn’t lacking. The sound also includes ample sustain with notes enduring longer than would be expected from a ‘mini’.
The broad tonal capability across the range makes it well suited to a variety of musical styles, meaning this is one of the best acoustic guitar for beginners if you’re searching for tonal versatility as well as for an entry-level guitar that could last far beyond your newcomer years.
5. Martin LX1E Little Martin
Versatility and stellar sound in a pint-sized package
Price: $449/£499 | Type: Parlour | Top: Sitka spruce | Back and sides: High Pressure Laminate | Neck: Stratabond | Scale: 24″ and under | Fingerboard: FSC Certified Richlite | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Gotoh nickel | Electronics: Fishman Sonitone | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Hand rubbed
Excellent build quality
Great volume for the size
Electro tonal variety
Higher end of beginner price range
Martin has a reputation for crafting some of the finest acoustic guitars in the world, and the LX1E Little Martin is no different: it’s a beautifully made instrument. It’s also a travel guitar, which makes it the best acoustic guitar for beginners seeking a compact strummer.
Don’t let the size fool you, though. Along with a brightness, it provides surprising volume from the Sitka spruce top and mahogany laminate sides. The high pressure laminate also helps deal with heat and humidity changes, which is useful for frequent travel.
Fishman Sonitone electric controls enable a relatively broad range of volume and tonal variety with a phase control to emphasize bass, which is useful when playing at lower volumes.
6. Yamaha FG800
A best-seller at the budget end of the best beginners acoustic guitar market
Price: $199/£235 | Type: Traditional Western | Top: Solid spruce | Back and sides: Nato/Okume | Neck: Nato | Scale: 25.9/16″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-cast Chrome(TM29T) | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss body/matt neck
Great sound for the money
Good build quality
One of the lower priced guitars in our guide, Yamaha’s FG800 is a seasoned veteran in the beginner’s acoustic field. The sound generated by this beauty could easily come from a more expensive guitar, and it’s reliable at holding its tune, too.
A solid spruce top, more usually found on higher priced guitars, helps create the impressive tone. And it really is the sound that helps this guitar stand out from the others at the sub-$200 mark. No amplification is included, but for this price who’s complaining?
While the neck has a rounded, comfortable profile, the action is a little on the high side, though nothing a local guitar tech couldn’t remedy.
7. Epiphone DR100
Good build quality and surprising tone is yours for a low, low price
Price: $149/£109 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Select spruce | Back and sides: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.5″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Premium tuners | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss
Good build quality
Can’t go wrong for just over $100
None at this price
Considering it’s so affordable, it’s difficult to see what’s wrong with the DR100 for those on a budget. The Epiphone DR100 produces a tone that you wouldn’t expect given the small price tag. Available in a variety of finishes, the build quality outmatches most of the competition in this price bracket.
A select spruce top is accompanied by a mahogany body and neck, the latter of which features a slim taper profile for more comfortable playing, finished off with a rosewood fingerboard.
It’s a relatively easy player, and the body has ample resonance. If you’re on a very small budget, the Epiphone DR100 is a no-brainer.
8. Ibanez AW54CE
One of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, whether amplified or unplugged
Price: $329/£268 | Type: Cutaway dreadnought | Top: Solid mahogany | Back and sides: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 25.6″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Chrome grover tuners | Electronics: Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp with on-board tuner | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Satin
Nice mahogany finish
High fret access
Adjustment required to lower the action
While the cutaway, giving access to the highest frets, is a noticeable standout in this guitar, the mahogany finish is also noteworthy. The neck is mahogany with a satin finish, which helps all of you beginner acoustic guitarists to play easier. That said, the action is on the high side.
Ibanez’s best acoustic guitar for beginners delivers a balanced, rounded tone thanks to the mahogany, and like many of the entry-level guitars in our guide it’s enough to keep more experienced acoustic guitarists happy.
The Ibanez AW54 also comes with an Ibanez preamp and Fishman pickup, plus a dual band equalizer. The sound through an amp matches the quality of the unplugged tone.
9. Seagull S6
Premium quality in a guitar that’s built to last
Price: $449/£515 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid cedar | Back and sides: Wild cherry | Neck: Silver leaf maple | Scale: 25.5″ | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 21 | Tuners: Chrome | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: semi-gloss
Optimum build quality
Sweet and versatile sound
Good for fingerpicking
No electronics onboard
Canadian made Seagull guitars are renowned for their high build quality, and the S6 is no different. It’s a grown up guitar in the sense that it’s far from flashy, but it has all you need to last beyond your beginner days.
Its refined construction is complemented with a bright tone but, especially useful for the more gentle fingerpicking style, the Seagull S6 enables beautiful warmth with a low volume and light touch. As you’d expect from this level of build quality, this beginner’s acoustic stays in tune and is so easy and enjoyable to play.
10. Alvarez AD30
Conventional, solid and versatile… a superb beginners acoustic guitar
Price: $269/£179 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: Solid Sitka spruce | Back and sides: Mahogany laminate | Neck: Mahogany 50/50 semi gloss | Scale: 25.5″ | Fingerboard: Richlite | Frets: 20 | Tuners: chrome die cast | Electronics: n/a | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: 50/50 satin gloss
Good volume and power
Versatile for a range of tones
Missing a pickup
At around the $270 mark, the Alvarez AD30 is another dreadnought delivering well above its diminutive price tag. It kicks out significant volume from its sitka spruce body, which is as warm in tone as much as it is bright.
Playing can be subtle but also as aggressive as you want to get, and this is where the AD30 delivers a surprising amount of power. The X bracing design is intended to aid resonance, which certainly rings out.
Construction is rugged and the guitar stays reliably in tune. The 50/50 gloss to matt finish on the neck balances resilience with ease of playing. Conventional rather than flashy, the AD30 is a reliable allrounder.
Buying tips at a glance
If you’re looking to buy one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, here’s what you need to know in a nutshell:
- Think about the right guitar size for you: do you need a baby acoustic, small-bodied acoustic, dreadnought or jumbo?
- Are you buying a trusted brand? Fender, Epiphone, Yamaha and Taylor are great brands to consider.
- A low action – the height of the strings above the fretboard – makes beginner acoustic easier and more comfortable to play.
- Want to play higher notes? You’ll need a guitar with a cutaway in order to access the higher frets.
- A tuner is wise investment to keep your guitar sounding good.