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The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500

Best acoustic electric guitars under 500 dollars featured image.

When it comes to finding your perfect acoustic guitar there’s plenty of considerations to make. However, one of the most important is your budget. If you’re looking and acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars, you’re in the right place.

The Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500

It took us a little time, but we rounded-up some of our favorite acoustic electric guitars within the $500 price range.

Here’s a list of the 5 best acoustic-electric guitars available for under 500 dollars.

Martin LX1E

This 6-string guitar is perfect for traveling. In fact, it is so compact that it can fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. You get a soft strap with backpack straps when you buy this guitar, making it ideal for camping and other adventures. It is the smallest in the Martin line but it still manages to deliver big tone and sound quality. You may worry that this guitar will sound more like a ukulele, but fear not. This guitar packs a powerful punch. If you are looking to learn the guitar, this one would be ideal.

The solid Sitka Spruce top is used in combination with mahogany high-pressure laminate on the back and sides. This guitar has a warm satin finish that makes it quite attractive. The body style features a junior belly. There are no cutaways on the body. On the headstock, you will find a script ink logo inlay.

Having a Fishman Sonitone preamp system means you can take your sound to another level. You need a 9V battery for this preamp. The chrome tuners are not only attractive but great for stability and tweaking your guitar’s sound. This a 20-fret guitar and the scale length is 23″.

Martin X Series Lxme

Always dreamed of playing a Martin? This affordable option can make that dream a reality. With its 23″ scale, this guitar is great for students and those who love to travel. Although the guitar is on the small side, the Mini Q electronics by Fishman give it a big, full sound. Do not let the size fool you – this guitar delivers big in both tone and durability.

Martin used environmentally responsible materials when crafting this instrument. It has a spruce-pattern HPL (high-pressure laminate) top that features “1 style” Sitka spruce bracing.” Both the fretboard and bridge are made out of Marado. Martin has a patent on theirneck mortise and tenon joint, adding to the uniqueness of this guitar. Rounding out the experience is theStratabond modified low oval neck and theGotoh nickel-plated tuners. To make sure everyone knows you have a genuine Martin, there is C.F. Martin script logo right there on the headstock.

Although this guitar does not come with all of the accessories, it is still a great deal at the price. You will be surprised at how loud you can get with such as small guitar and amazed by the sound quality.

Fender Cc-60Sce

Here you have another great bundle for any beginner or guitar enthusiast. If black isn’t your speed, know that this can be purchased in natural, sunburst, and mahogany. Left-handed? You’re in luck. This fender has a version designed specifically for you. The only color option for lefties is natural.

In order to produce a loud, crisp sound, the body of this guitar is made of solid Spruce. It has scalloped “X” bracing. The sides and back of this guitar are made of mahogany. In order to make it concert-ready, this guitar has a single body cutaway. This gives you easy access to the upper frets. To make life easier for you, particularly if you are just starting out, this guitar has rolled fingerboard edges.

Powerful onboard electronics make this a great pick-up and play guitar. There is even a built-in tuner. Due to the fact that it is a smaller, concert-sized guitar, it is ideal for players of any size.

Takamine GD30CE12BLK

This guitar is made of a pleasant combination of tonewoods. The top is Solid Spruce while the back, sides, and neck are all Mahogany. Finally, the fingerboard is Rosewood. Altogether, this provides you with a rich, resonant sound. There arepearloid rosette and dot inlays. The glossy finish is gorgeous and goes well with the die-cast tuners. This is a 12-string, stage-ready guitar. If the glossy black look isn’t your style, this guitar is also available in natural.

This would be an appropriate guitar choice for any style of music. The onboard Takamine TP-4TD preamp system is a great feature. It not only gives you a built-in tuner but also three-band EQ and gain controls. This means you can really crank up the volume and perform whatever makes you happy.

Yamaha APX600

If you have come to enjoy playing the acoustic guitar but are now ready to plug-in, this Yamaha may be for you. This guitar is very comfortable to play and provides you with easy access to the top frets. Most importantly, you can produce amazing sound with this instrument. On top of that, the glossy black finish makes for a very attractive instrument.

Yamaha calls this guitar a thinline cutaway. This newly redesigned model was given a distinct oval abalone rosette to help you stand out from the crowd. The oval shape was chosen to give you a thicker lower-mid response. It also makes the low-end stand out more. The top is made from Sitka Spruce. Both the sides and the back are made of Nato. To finish the guitar off, Yamaha gave it a Rosewood fretboard and bridge. The bracing is a non-scalloped “X” type.

The strings are made of steel to help you produce a bright, loud sound. Overall, this guitar is well suited for beginner to intermediate players looking for something new.

Acoustic Electric Guitars Buyers Guide

Acoustic electric guitar buyers guide

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Buying a new guitar can be pricey. Prices can range up into the thousands of dollars. Luckily, there are a decent number of high-quality guitars on the market for $500 or less. All it takes is knowing exactly what you are wanting and what the signs of a quality instrument are. The most important thing is to get what you pay for and make sure you end up with a good investment. For more information on acoustic electric guitars check out the Wikipedia page.

Strings

Just about any new guitar you buy will come with strings. If you are spending a lot of money, they are likely premium strings. For guitars at the lower end of the price scale, however, the strings may be sub-par. This should not deter you from considering an affordable guitar. Strings are easy and relatively cheap to replace.

Why are strings so important? The higher the quality, the longer they will last. High-quality ones will also produce a much better sound. Many people consider them easier to play, as well. If you are a new guitar player, it is important to realize how important string quality is. Buy the guitar that is best for you – but be sure to replace any cheap strings right away.

Pick Up

On an electric acoustic guitar, the pick up is not as important as it would be on a “normal” one. That being said, it is still something to consider when shopping. The pick up is what “picks up” the vibrations of the string and sends the signal to an amplifier. If you had an electric guitar, the pick up would likely be a magnet. For electric acoustic guitars, it will more likely be a piezo style one, which is basically a little microphone. This type of pick up requires a preamp to give the signal a boost on its way to the amp.

On an electric acoustic guitar, the pick up will generally be located under the saddle.

This is important so that it can actually “feel” the vibrations created by your guitar. On this type of guitar, the pick up is not as important as the shape and wood when determining the sound quality.

Fretboard

No matter what kind of guitar you are buying, the fretboard is a very important piece. Your fingers spend a lot of time on this part of the guitar. This is also a good area to judge the quality of the build of the guitar.

When looking for a top-notch fretboard, you want to look for smooth edges. It should look uniform and clean. This is important because it makes playing the guitar easier. You are less likely to experience unpleasant buzzing or hearing a note that doesn’t sound quite right when the fretboard is well-made.

Keep in mind that minor adjustments can be made to a fretboard. This is called “tidying up” your guitar. Major flaws, however, can not be fixed and must be avoided in the first place.

Amps

While you can plug your electric acoustic guitar into any standard amp, you may want to buy one specifically designed for your new instrument. These are made to give you the best possible sound out of an electric acoustic guitar. There are not nearly as many amps dedicated to electric acoustic guitars as there are for “normal” ones, but there are several good options. You will want to look for a clean tone and good quality, just like with any amp.

If budget is a concern, sticking with the amp you already have may be wise for the time being. If you need to buy one anyway, consider one that will give you the most out of your music.

Wood Type

Like with all guitars, the type of wood your electric acoustic guitar is made of will impact its sound. Solid or Sitka Spruce is a very popular option for the body type. It is an affordable option that provides a rich, clear and loud sound. Mahogany is a popular choice for the sides and back. It gives you a “woody” sound and is popular in acoustics of all type. You may also see Rosewood, which is both strong and clear.

High-pressure laminate is growing in popularity. There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest two are it is cheaper to make and it is easier on the environment. Cheaper manufacturing costs translate to smaller price tags, which means you will see HPL a lot when looking at guitars under $500. If being green is important to you, know that this material is much more sustainable than wood.

Whether or not HPL provides as high of quality of tone is still being debated. That being said, many people find the sound to be the same as traditional wood. Martin, in particular, seems to enjoy incorporating this material into their guitars.

Ultimately, the type of wood (or laminate!) your guitar should be made of will depend on what sound you are going for and what you can afford. So-called “cheap” woods can produce highly desirable sounds.

Can You Upgrade a $500 Guitar?

In a word – yes. Just because your price limit is at $500 now does not mean you won’t have more funds to devote to your music later. Aftermarket upgrades can be made by you or an expert in order to customize your guitar to you. That being said, you still want to start out with good “bones” on your new electric acoustic guitar. Be sure that any upgrades you make are to make the guitar better for you and not to make it worth more if you sell it.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a beginner or someone looking for a new stage instrument, it is possible to get a great instrument for under $500. Most manufacturers put out at least one version of their guitar in this price range to appeal to a broader range of potential customers. By doing your research, you can make sure you are getting an instrument that will provide the type of sound you are going for and will last you for years to come. If you’re looking for an non electric acoustic matching the same budget check out our post on budget acoustic guitars.