A few years ago, I met a friend whom I haven't seen for a long time. My band had a gig in his hometown, so he stopped by. When the gig ended, we talked for a while; I noticed that he was feeling down. After a few drinks he said to me: “Man, I envy you… I watched you playing the guitar this evening and keep asking myself - why I never started playing? I always wanted to do so, but somehow, I never did…”

Don’t let this happened to you. Don’t ask yourself in ten years “why haven’t I”. If you want to play the guitar, if you have that drive and urge, then don’t think too much, just start playing!

why haven't I

Besides your will and determination, all you need is the guitar!

As you will see in this post, choosing the guitar is not a big deal; there are a lot of great and very cheap guitars for you out there.

So from now on, I’ll be your guide. We are going to analyze everything you need to know before buying the best acoustic guitar for beginners. After reading this, you’ll have enough pieces of information to make a decision - what guitar type are you in and what model suits you the best.

Top 10 Acoustic Guitars for Beginners with reviews

Taylor GS mini

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Sapele laminate with a solid spruce/mahogany top
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Neck: Sapele

When you look at this guitar, the first thing you’ll notice is its size. It is smaller than the regular standard acoustic guitar (which is why it is called “mini”). Its overall length is 34 inches. This characteristic makes it one of the best beginner acoustic guitars for children and great guitar for people with small hands. Besides that, it is very practical and ideal for traveling.

When it comes to a body material, you have two solutions - solid mahogany and solid spruce. The most obvious difference between these two is visual (mahogany is much darker than the spruce). There is also a slight difference in the sound - mahogany has a warm and balanced tone, while the spruce is usually louder and has more highs.

The sound of the guitar really surprised me. Considering its small body, I didn’t expect very much from its tone. However, this guitar blew me away. It has both warm and bright tone and is very loud for the guitar of this size. When I played it with the pick, I just couldn’t believe that this sound is coming out of such a small body.

Like that is not enough, you’ll also get a high-quality gig bag with it.

Definitely one of my favorite beginner guitars. It exceeded all of my expectations. This guitar has everything you need - amazing sound, beautiful looks, and great hardware. Its small size makes it perfect for younger players.

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Easy to play
  • Ideal for kids and small hands

Cons

  • Basically no cons, except a little higher price

Yamaha FS850 Small Body

Yamaha FS850 Solid Top Small Body Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany laminate with a solid mahogany top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

This is another guitar on our list with a smaller body. There are many similarities between Yamaha’s FS and FG series. The famous Yamaha FG series are around since the ’66. The main difference between the FG and this model is that its body is 10 mm slimmer (which has its advantages, especially if you are a beginner).  

This guitar has a “concert body” or “folk body”, which basically means that it is smaller than the regular dreadnought (it has a 25-inch scale). So, it is very comfortable, especially for kids and people with smaller hands.

The action is also great, so your fingers won’t suffer a lot. This is very important due to the fact that the most of the beginner exercises are played on the first two or three frets; if the action is too high, these frets are very hard to play.

The thing I really like about this guitar is that it is predominantly made of mahogany. Not just that it looks beautiful but there are also other advantages of this material. Mahogany gives that balanced tone with higher mids, so it sounds very bright. It is not the loudest guitar and it doesn’t have a lot of lows, but it is perfect for bluesy licks.

Another excellent guitar for beginners. Although its smaller dimensions make it suitable for beginners, players above the beginner level will also be satisfied with it. It looks great and works perfectly. Great thing is that it has a very bright and clear sound, which is very important for beginners.

Pros

  • Practical
  • Beautiful looks
  • Great sound

Cons

  • No significant cons

Seagull S6

Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Wild cherry with a solid cedar top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple

Seagull S6 is definitely one of the most popular guitars under $500. Considering its characteristics and overall quality, it can easily compete with much more expensive guitars.

When I started writing a review of this guitar, something really stunned me - it is made in Canada, Quebec. This is very uncommon for the guitars of this price. These cheaper guitars are usually made in China, so the fact that it is built in Canada is a big plus.

When it comes to sound, solid cedar top is really doing a great job. The guitar has a nice, warm sound and great definition, so you can clearly hear every single note. Also, it’s quite loud, which makes it perfect for playing with other people.

If you are planning to form a band, I have good news for you. At a little higher price, this guitar is also available as the acoustic/electric model, so you can connect it to the amplifier.

An interesting thing about this guitar is its unusual headstock shape. It is narrower than the regular one, thus allowing the straight string pull. This is why you won’t have tuning problems with this guitar.

One thing that concerned me a bit is its thicker neck. This might be a problem for young players and people with small hands.

Having in mind its low price, this is an amazing guitar. It has full and rich sound and very stable tuning. Also, it is built in Canada. The only thing that can be interpreted as disadvantage from beginner’s point of view is its thicker neck.

Pros

  • Stabile tuning
  • Made in Canada
  • Great sound

Cons

  • A little thicker neck

Fender CD-60 SCE

Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany with a spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

You can get this guitar in different colors - nature, sunburst, mahogany, and black. Personally, mahogany is my favorite and I have to say that it looks fantastic! By the way, this is the only model that has a mahogany top instead of spruce.

Of course, this is not a top quality instrument, but I can easily say that it is the perfect guitar for beginners.

Piezo setup is the famous Fisherman Isys III. It’s really a basic setup - it has an active preamp and a tuner. So, even if you are not planning to play this guitar through an amplifier, you can still use its tuner. Preamp includes three frequency control knobs, so you can adjust mid, high, and low frequencies. Of course, you’ll need a battery for this active preamp.

The body has a cutaway, so it’s easier to reach higher frets in the case you want to play a solo.

Cool thing is that with this guitar you’ll also get a hard case, tuner, strap, strings, picks, polishing cloth, and instructional DVD. So, it’s the whole package!

The only thing that might be a problem is that it is not as easy to play as you would expect from the Fender guitar. However, this can be overcome by lowering the tuning or putting thinner strings.

A beautiful guitar with a great sound. Exactly what you would expect from affordable Fender. It has exceeded my expectations. The only shortcoming it the fact that it is not the easiest acoustic guitar to play. 

Pros

  • Low price
  • Excellent sound
  • Beautiful looks

Cons

  • Little hard to play

Ibanez AEG 10II

Ibanez AEG10NII Nylon String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Tangerine

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany with a spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

Although Ibanez is best known for its electric guitars, this manufacturer also makes great acoustic and acoustic/electric guitars. This model is very popular, especially for beginners.

The first thing that you’ll notice on this guitar is that is has a bit smaller body than the most of the guitars. Due to its thinness, it is very comfortable and has less feedback potential, as there is less room for the sound to resonate.

You can choose between black, tobacco-sunburst finish and a racier blue sunburst design.

I really like the glass finish that gives it beautiful shiny look.

It has a satin finish on the neck and a low string action, so it feels nice and smooth.

If you are having a hard time with metal strings, you can get this model for nylon strings as well. This is something between the acoustic and the classical guitar.

Since this is the acoustic-electric guitar, it has a built-in preamp, but not of any kind. It has famous Fisherman active pickup and the Ibanez preamp (which includes tuner and EQ for bass, middle, and treble).

The guitar has a very bright voice; you can clearly hear every note when you play a chord. It’s not too loud though, but you can always attach it to an amp.

This guitar has everything you need - it’s easy to play, has a good sound and great electronic. Cool thing is that you can also get this guitar model for nylon strings if you prefer a more classical sound.  One of the best guitar to learn on.

Pros

  • Easy to play
  • Bright sound
  • Good electronics

Cons

  • No significant cons

Yamaha FG830

Yamaha FG830 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Solid spruce on the top and rosewood on the sides and the back
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nato

Although Yamaha also makes electric guitars, it is best known for its acoustic models.

Yamaha’s FG series are among the most popular acoustic guitars in the world. This FG830 represents a great prototype of this series. You can choose between different colors, such as tobacco sunburst, natural look, dusk sun red, and autumn burst. There are also two sizes available - dreadnought and concert.

A great thing about this guitar is that it has a solid spruce top, which is commonly used for more expensive professional guitars. Due to this, the guitar has a full, rich, and dynamic tone with a lot of mids and lows.

It has a very comfortable neck, making it one of the best starter acoustic guitars for small hands. Besides that, it also has a low string action, so you don’t have to press the strings too hard.

Basically, the only disadvantage that I can think of is not even directly connected to the guitar. Namely, you won’t get the case with it, so you have to buy one.

I really cannot say anything negative about this guitar. In my opinion, people who are above beginner level can also use it.

This is surely one of the good beginner acoustic guitars. It has a full and bright sound. Its thin neck and low string action make it perfect for beginner’s hands. You will get it without a case, so that will be an additional cost.  

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Excellent sound
  • Easy to play

Cons

  • No case

Epiphone Hummingbird Pro

Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Solid Top Acoustic Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany with a solid spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

This beauty is basically a new version of the original ’60 original square shoulders Gibson. Besides the name, these two models also defer in the price (“just” a few thousand dollars).

When I saw this guitar, the first thing that came to my mind was just how gorgeous it is. With its faded cherry sunburst finish and classic hummingbird design, it really is one of the most beautiful looking guitars.

The sound is more than decent. It’s balanced, bright and full, with plenty of lows.

Like the previous guitar on our list, this Epiphone also has built-in pre-amp system, so you can play with the whole band. I have to say that when I plugged it in my amp, it really came to light. Its sound becomes even richer and brighter. I mention this because a lot of guitars with piezo system sound very artificial. However, this is not the case with this guitar. Even when it is played through an amp, it still keeps its natural sound.

The action is nice and low, so it is very comfortable and easy to play.

Of course, this guitar neither looks nor it sounds like the original; I think this is obvious from the price difference. Nevertheless, I’m sure it will do the job for every beginner player.

A great looking guitar, with excellent sound. Also, it is very smooth and easy to play. Honestly, this is the perfect beginner acoustic guitar. 

Pros

  • Great looks
  • Excellent sound
  • Excellent pre amp system
  • Easy to play
  • Very low price

Cons

  • Considering price as low as this, it is hard to find any relevant cons

Fender FA-100

Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Laminate spruce on top, basswood on the back and sides
  • Fingerboard: Laminate hardwood
  • Neck: Maple

This is definitely one of the best beginner guitars, not just due to its price, but also because of its characteristics.

Great thing is that you can choose one among several finishes: natural, sunburst, natural satin, and black.

As you can see, this guitar is not made of high-quality materials. It has a laminate body and fingerboard. This means that you can’t expect a “million-dollar” sound from this guitar.

However, it sounds very decent and it’s more than usable. To be honest, if you are a beginner, you probably can’t really tell the difference in sound between this guitar and more expensive one.

A very important thing is that this guitar has a low action. A lot of cheap guitars are very robust and are hard to play; some of them even have sharp fret edges. Unlike them, Fender FA-100 is very playable (of course, not as the real Fender; after all it costs $160!).

I should also mention that, besides guitar, you will also get the whole package - tuner, gig bag, strings, strap, and picks! So, you’ll receive everything you need to start practicing.

All in all, this is an excellent guitar for beginners. It is really basic, really simple, but also really cheap.

Although it neither sound nor it has the hardware of a “real” Fender, the quality of this guitar is way beyond its price. With it, you’ll also get the accompanying equipment.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Additional accessories included
  • Decent sound and hardware

Cons

  • Not exactly the top quality guitar

A product worth considering: Fender Acoustic Guitar Bundle

This is another great guitar for beginners. For its low price, you’ll get not only the guitar but literary all of the accessories you need. In this package, you’ll find a gig bag, tuner, new pack of strings, strap, picks, polishing cloth, and DVD instructional video.

Of course, don’t expect this guitar to sound like the Fender that costs a couple of thousand dollars. This is not a professional guitar, but it is more than usable for any beginner (after all, it is a Fender).

Having in mind a ridiculously low price, this really is a great offer.  

Jasmine S35

Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Laminate nato with laminate spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Nate

Ok, this is by far the cheapest guitar on our list. Let’s see its features and characteristics.

First of all, I believe that we can agree that for a guitar in this price range you can’t expect a professional quality.

Its physical attributes are as good as you can get for this price. It is very light but stable at the same time. A great thing is that its neck is slim so it is relatively easy to play, which is extremely important for beginners.

The sound is very decent; it is loud and has a good balance between high and low frequencies. Satin finish helps the guitar to resonate naturally and gives it lighter and brighter sound.

There are two things that concern me about this guitar. First of all, it doesn’t have very stable tuners, so if you tent to play more aggressively, you better get a good tuner. Besides that, some people reported the presence of buzz on the higher frets.

You should remember one important thing regarding these “cheaper” guitars. Guitars in this lower price range will often vary in sound and overall quality. This means that the best way to choose one of these guitars is to try out a couple of them. So, if you have a music store near you, go and play a few of these guitars in order to choose the best one.

Of course, this is not a perfect guitar. However, for this amount of money, it is really the best you can get. Also, few mentioned shortcomings can easily be modified and fixed.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Decent sound

Cons

  • Unstable tuners
  • A potential buzz on higher frets

Donner DAG-1C

Donner DAG-1C Beginner Acoustic Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Laminate mahogany with a laminate spruce top
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany

Among guitarists, Donner is known for its low-price pedals and ukuleles, so I was surprised to find out that they also have dreadnought guitars in their offer.

The guitar looks really nice; it has a lovely satin finish. I like the contrast between its brighter top and darker sides and back. Also, black tuners really look cool.

The sound is pretty good for the guitar within this price range. It has a warm and bright tone (in my opinion, its high above its price).

Honestly, it is not the most playable guitar; however, considering its price, it is pretty good. It has optimal action, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to play.

A great thing is that with this guitar you will also get a lot of accessories, such as a tuner, strings, strap, and picks. Two additional elements surprised me - capo and pickguard. Capo is a very useful tool that presses all of the strings on a particular fret. A pickguard is also a very nice touch; you can choose whether you want to put in on the guitar top or not.

This guitar doesn’t have a build in pre-amp system. However, you can get the same model of this guitar with the pre-amp, so that you can connect your guitar to an amplifier. Of course, this guitar costs a little more.

One of the cheapest beginner guitars on the market, and jet, a very decent one. If you are looking for the good first guitar, this is an excellent choice. Good sound, decent hardware, a lot of accessories, and very low price.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Decent sound
  • Excellent accessories

Cons

  • Considering its price, there are no major cons

ACOUSTIC VS. ELECTRIC: WHY SHOULD A BEGINNER PLAY ACOUSTIC?

When they decide to start playing, the majority of guitarists start with an acoustic guitar. Why is that so?

Well, first of all, it is cheaper. Not just that the acoustic guitar costs less than the electric, but you also have to include the price of the amplifier. Besides that, finding a proper amplifier is not an easy job!

One of the main differences between the acoustic and the electric guitars is that in the case of the electric guitar, it is easier to activate the top. What does the term “activate the top” mean? We can define it as the amount of pressure that you have to put on the strings in order to get full and clean sound.

When you play the electric guitar, it is enough to slightly press the string and to get a clean tone. On the contrary, the acoustic guitar usually requires more pressure on the strings, especially on the first couple of frets.

This is why you should start with the acoustic guitar. When you have strengthened your fingers enough to perform on the acoustic guitar, then switching on the electric will be a piece of cake! However, if you start the other way around, and pick up an acoustic guitar after playing the electric one, you’ll have a problem. Your fingers will have a very hard time while trying to play a clean chord!

It is a good idea to start with the acoustic guitar in order to feel the natural relation between your fingers and the strings. Electric guitar goes through an amplifier, so it is enough to just touch the string and to get a loud tone. This can trick you into thinking that you can barely strum the strings and play a full sounding chord.

Besides that, if you touch a sting by accident, this mistake will probably be easily heard. This is why your little mistakes will be more noticeable than they really are.

Of course, this is not the case with the acoustic guitar. Playing an acoustic guitar will teach you how hard to press and to hit the strings and how to mute the ones you don’t want to play.

One of the most common mistakes that beginner make is to start with distorted sound. I don’t advise you to add distortion to your sound as soon as you start playing because controlling the distortion is not an easy job. Without previous practice, all you’ll get is probably just a bunch of noise.

In one word, the electric guitar is more complicated for playing.

Ones you get used to playing the acoustic guitar and develop the feel in your fingers, you can consider switching to the electric guitar.

I should mention that some people decide to start with the electric guitar because they plan to stick to it; they are simply not interested in the acoustic guitar. Of course, this is also a valid decision. However, the most guitar teachers would agree that the acoustic guitar is the best guitar for beginners.

Guide to choose Beginner Acoustic Guitar

What is a good starter acoustic guitar? Choosing the right guitar can be tricky, as there are a lot of elements that you should consider.

1. Body Shape

Body Shape Guitars

The parlor is a term for guitar with the smallest body. It usually has accentuated high notes. Due to its small dimensions, this guitar also has smaller frets, so it is great for fingerstyle playing. Besides that, you don’t have to press too hard in order to get a clear tone.

The guitar with a little bigger body is referred to as OM. This is a good solution for both fingerstyle playing and strumming.

Dreadnought is a type of guitar with a standard body size. These guitars are the most popular ones, so if you have ever held an acoustic guitar, it is probably this one. Of course, this guitar is louder than the previous two and has more low frequencies so it can provide a richer sound, so it is probably the best beginner acoustic guitar.

Jumbo is a type of guitar that is even bigger than the dreadnought. It has even more low frequencies and is usually very loud.

2. Body material

One of the crucial factors is the material from which the guitar is made. When it comes to the guitar body, we can distinguish 3 main parts: the top, the bottom, and the sides.

The primary characteristics of the sustain, the response, and the general tone of the guitar comes from its top. That is why this part of the guitar body is crucial. Of course, the sides and the back are also important, as they color the tone and act as the kind of an EQ.

The acoustic guitars are often made of laminate, especially the cheaper ones. The main advantage of these guitars is that they are very strong and robust. This makes them very practical and durable. However, there is a problem - when the top is made of laminate it doesn’t resonate very well (precisely because it is robust).

This is why, ideally, the guitar top should be made of solid wood. The solid top moves more under the vibration and the tension of the strings, and thus, provides richer and brighter tone. The guitar made of solid wood also ages well, so it will give you even better tone over the years (this is why some people compare good guitars with the wine - the older, the better).

Solid top vs Laminate

Of course, solid wood costs more than laminate. And don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty good guitars that are made of laminate. For the beginner guitar, this might not be a bad choice. If you continue playing, you can always buy a better guitar.

Solid Wood

  • Better sound
  • Improves with age
  • Expensive
  • Affected by humidity

Laminate

  • Thinner sound
  • Hard wearing
  • Cheaper

3. Body wood

Although the wood is indeed very important for the guitar sound, it is not the only relevant element. The body shape also matters, as well as the interaction between the shape and the wood.

There are basically no good and bad woods. It all depends on your personal taste, your playing level, and the purpose (playing solo or with a band, for recording, etc.).

Different_woods

Mahogany is one of the most common materials. Guitars made of mahogany have very balanced and warm tone, with more mids.

Rosewood guitars are usually a little darker than mahogany. It is also a great wood, but unlike the mahogany, rosewood has less mid frequencies.

Maple is a very bright wood. It has a beautiful natural color. A great thing about maple guitars is that they are usually very loud and have good sound projection.

Guitars made of spruce are also loud and have full and rich tone. Spruce is a great choice for guitars with metal strings.

Of course, there are also other types of wood that are used, but these are the most common (at least when it comes to the beginner guitars).

Guitar Tonewood Graph

4. Tuners

If you have a chance to try out the guitar, also pay attention to its tuners. “Torture” the guitar a little; strum it hard, play bends, etc. If it has good tuners, the tune will be stable. If not, you better consider buying another guitar. Of course, the other solution is to change the tuners on the guitar. It will be an additional expense, but if you really like the guitar, it’s worth it!

5. The action

The string height (or the action) is also an important factor. If the strings are too distant from the neck, you’ll have to press the string very hard in order to play a clear note. Although this feature can be modified, it is better to find a guitar that will suit your needs from the very beginning.

Guitar action

6. Truss rod

Don’t forget to check is there a truss rod in the neck. This is a common element for both the electric and the acoustic guitar. In the case you don’t know what the truss rod is - it is basically a rod that goes through the guitar neck and allows you to adjust the amount of its bow. Why is this important? Thanks to this rod, you can change the action of the strings. So, if they are too high for you, you can lower the action and thus, make the guitar more playable.

7. Guitar looks

Of course, one of the most important things is whether you like the way the guitar looks. Some people say: “I don’t care how it looks; all I care about is how it works”. Although the performance is more important than the looks, the visual element should not be neglected. If you like the way the guitar looks, you will feel more comfortable playing it, which will motivate you to practice more often.

If you can - try it!

Ideally, you’ll have a chance to try different guitars and to chose the one you like the most. You can read about the guitar and find out everything about it, but trust me, it’s not the same thing as when you hold it and play it. Only then you will realize whether you like the guitar or not. Also, this is the only way to hear the guitar sound. You can spend hours listening to numerous youtube tutorials and demos, but the only reliable way to check the sound is to actually play the guitar.

Conclusion

In this text, you could find out everything you need to know before choosing the best beginner guitar. We talked about different body shapes, kinds of wood, hardware, the difference between the electric and the acoustic guitar, etc. After that, I’ve listed 10 excellent acoustic beginner guitars that you can choose between.

We’ve basically covered everything - guitars for kids and people with small hands, more expensive guitars, cheaper guitars, electro/acoustic guitars for those of you who plan to play with a band, etc. My advice is to analyze each of these guitars and to find the one that suits your needs and preferences (and, of course, your finances).

After choosing a particular model, the best idea is to go to your music shop and to try out several examples. This is because the characteristics and the sound of cheaper guitars often vary, even if it is the same model. If you don’t have this opportunity, don’t worry; these differences are not very big and noticeable, especially to a beginner’s ear.

Although being able to play the guitar is a great thing, the whole process of learning is not really a piece of cake. Don’t expect to become a guitar player without any difficulties.

I’ll be honest with you - this is not a short journey. On it, you will face difficulties, struggle with pain in your fingertips, and spend hours trying to learn your favorite song. But on the other hand, you will also experience immense happiness and thrills when you finally learn to play that solo or when you compose the first song with your band.

All in all, it all depends on you. If you want to play the guitar, then just do it; there are no valid excuses. And always keep in mind one thing - the effort always pays off.