Best Acoustic Guitar under 1000

Best Acoustic Guitar under 1000

Whether you're ready to upgrade from your starter guitar or just want to begin learning on a quality instrument, a solid midrange acoustic guitar is a great investment. But in the $500-$1000 price range, there's a huge amount of variation in quality and value. To help you make your decision, we've narrowed the field to our picks for the best acoustic guitar under 1000 dollars.

Our Picks for the 12 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

PRS

Limited Edition SE Parlor P20E

Cell

Taylor

GS Mini-e RW

Cell

Fender

Newporter Special

Cell

Yamaha

AC3M ARE Concert Cutaway

Cell

Takamine

GN71CE NEX

Cell

Epiphone

Hummingbird

Cell

Breedlove

Pursuit Exotic Concerto

Cell

Taylor

214CE

Guild

D-140

Cell

Seagull

Maritime SWS Concert Hall

Cell

Gretsch

G5031FT Rancher Dreadnought

Cell

Martin

D Jr-10E

Cell

PRS Limited Edition SE Parlor P20E -- Best Parlor Guitar

Important Features

  • A wide fat mahogany neck gives you plenty of room to finger notes and chords
  • Fishman GT1 electronics provide quality, high-fidelity live sound
  • Ebony fingerboard and bridge give it a classic look
  • Bone nut and saddle support vintage tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The all-mahogany build is ideal for blues and folk
  • Vintage-style tuners and antique white finish give it a distinctly vintage look
  • Unique hybrid bracing supports powerful, nuanced sound
  • It comes with a gig bag

Cons

  • The wide fat mahogany neck may be too big for players with small hands to handle
  • Depending on your playing style, you may need a bigger-bodied acoustic guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You may already know of PRS because of their electric guitars, but the brand also makes some quality acoustic models. This great-looking parlor guitar has a solid mahogany top for a beautifully dark and warm sound. But its real standout feature is its hybrid bracing that's effectively a mix of X bracing and classical bracing.

With this type of bracing, the top is free to vibrate, and the back and sides do especially well as far as reflecting your playing dynamics. And between its antique white finish and tasteful bird fretboard inlays, this little guitar is beautiful to look at, too.

Our Star Rating

We think this one is the best parlor acoustic guitar on the list. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Taylor GS Mini-e RW -- Best Smaller Guitar

Important Features

  • A smaller body gives you focused sound with ample projection
  • Spruce and rosewood combination delivers bright tone with a defined low end
  • Slim sapele neck is easy for players of all sizes to play
  • NuBone nut and Tusq saddle-support increased sustain and spot-on intonation

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It has a surprisingly big sound for such a small instrument
  • Great electronics make it a gig-worthy acoustic guitar
  • Layered back and sides sound more like solid wood than laminate does
  • X bracing with relief rod strikes a balance between stability and resonance

Cons

  • Some players might prefer a full-size guitar
  • Some guitarists might want a cutaway for easier fret access

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Taylor guitars are some of the most sought after in the business, and the GS Mini-e gives you Taylor tone in a smaller package. It's made with Taylor's smaller Grand Symphony body, and the shorter 23.5" scale length is more manageable for kids and smaller players. The Taylor GS Mini-e combines a solid Sitka spruce top with layered rosewood back and sides.

This is a classic acoustic guitar tonewood combination that produces a beautifully balanced sound. Guitar players will appreciate the slickness of the ebony fretboard, and the ES-B electronics system faithfully reproduces the guitar's unplugged sound.

Our Star Rating

We think the Taylor GS Mini-e is the best small acoustic guitar on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Fender Newporter Special -- Best Playability

Important Features

  • Slim-C neck and cutaway make it a very playable instrument
  • NuBone nut and saddle help create vintage tone
  • Pau Ferro fingerboard and bridge look a lot like rosewood
  • Custom-voiced Fishman pickup system makes it easy to plug in and play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The solid spruce top is responsive and opens up over time
  • Electric-style headstock gives it a distinctive look
  • The solid mahogany neck is very playable
  • Quality electronics provide high-fidelity live sound

Cons

  • Some players might prefer a more traditional-looking guitar
  • The tone isn't particularly bright, which may be an issue for some

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Fender's California Series includes some of the best acoustic guitars when it comes to non-traditional designs. And most, like the Newporter Special, combine the sound of an acoustic guitar with the playability of an electric one.

This guitar has a slim-C mahogany neck that's incredibly fast-playing. Its smaller body with a cutaway is comfortable to hold and play with, and the solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides give you an incredibly balanced tone. The maple rosette and binding pleasantly contrast with the matte black finish.

Our Star Rating

We think this is one of the best acoustic guitars in terms of playability on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Yamaha AC3M ARE Concert Cutaway -- Best All-Around

Important Features

  • Concert-sized body with cutaway is highly playable
  • Torrefied top delivers an incredibly rich tone
  • Ebony fingerboard and bridge give it a high-end look
  • Scalloped bracing enhances resonance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All-solid construction makes it a great value
  • The torrefied top gives you a vintage tone
  • Unique SRT2 preamp lets you customize your plugged-in sound
  • High-end appointments make it a great-looking guitar

Cons

  • The mic modeling on the preamp may not suit everyone's taste
  • Some players might prefer a guitar body that's bigger than a grand concert

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Yamaha makes some of the best acoustic guitar options around, and this one is an exceptional value. Even though it's under $1000, it's made of all solid wood. The top is solid Sitka spruce and the back and sides are solid mahogany. But solid wood construction isn't the only advantage this guitar has.

The top is treated with Yamaha's torrefaction process, which effectively ages the wood. This means that you effectively get a guitar that plays like a vintage instrument right out of the box. The pickup system is also incredibly unique. You can blend an undersaddle pickup's signal with the modeling of either a Neumann KM 56 or a Royer R-122 microphone.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best all-around acoustic guitar on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Takamine GN71CE NEX -- Best Unusual Body Style

Important Features

  • Scalloped, quartersawn X bracing supports impressive volume
  • Quality electronics give you great live sound
  • Gold die-cast tuners with amber buttons give it a high-end touch
  • Walnut and spruce provide the well-balanced, warm tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Slim body with cutaway is very comfortable to play
  • Synthetic bone nut and saddle, abalone rosette, and gold tuners are high-end touches
  • Onboard preamp lets you custom-sculpt your live sound
  • NEX body is powerful and tonally distinctive

Cons

  • Laurel fingerboard isn't as durable as rosewood or ebony
  • The distinctive voice of this guitar may not be right for all players

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you're looking for a guitar that stands out from the crowd, Takamine's distinctive NEX body shape is a great option. The NEX body is essentially a small jumbo, so it has a powerful low end and great projection. If you need something to cut through a mix, this guitar can do it.

Its solid spruce top responds to each nuance of your playing, and the walnut back and sides offer more midrange support. It also comes with TK-40D electronics. The preamp includes a built-in tuner, a gain knob, and a three-band EQ. Many of the best acoustic guitars break the mold in some way, and this one does just that.

Our Star Rating

We think this quality guitar has the best unusual body shape on the list. We give it 3.5 out of five stars.

Epiphone Hummingbird -- Best Classic Design

Important Features

  • All solid build makes it an excellent value
  • The preamp is mounted in the soundhole, so it won't be seen on the outside of the guitar
  • Signature split parallelogram inlays and hummingbird pickguard make it a standout
  • A bone nut and saddle help create vintage tone

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's an affordable way to play a classic guitar
  • In terms of sound quality, it sounds a lot like the Gibson version
  • You can get it in the classic Aged Cherry Sunburst finish or in Antique Natural
  • Rotary volume and tone controls make it quick and easy to make adjustments on the fly

Cons

  • Fishman Sonicore is a decent pickup, but not top-of-the-line
  • Indian laurel fretboard isn't as durable as rosewood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you know something about the best acoustic guitars in history, you've heard of the classic Gibson Hummingbird. Hummingbirds today are very expensive, but this solid-wood Epiphone model lets you get a quality guitar for a fraction of the price. This has a solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides just like the Gibson, and it has the same instantly-recognizable Hummingbird pickguard.

The rounded C neck profile is perfectly playable, and the dovetail neck joint maximizes the transfer of the string energy to the body, which creates an optimal tone. The electronics in this one aren't as top-notch as those on the Gibson Hummingbird -- it comes with a Fishman Sonicore pickup. Still, it's a beautiful and great-sounding instrument.

Our Star Rating

We think this guitar is the best classic design on the list. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concerto -- Best Exotic-Wood Guitar

Important Features

  • The satin-finished, slim neck profile is incredibly playable
  • Each unit is unique thanks to Myrtlewood’s distinctive grain
  • Scalloped X bracing makes it incredibly responsive
  • The pinless bridge makes string changes a breeze

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Its tonewoods are sourced using eco-friendly practices
  • Solid Myrtlewood top makes it a great all-around instrument
  • Indonesian striped ebony fingerboard and bridge are especially eye-catching
  • The bone nut and saddle add some tonal brightness

Cons

  • Some guitarists might prefer a more traditional tonewood
  • Nickel frets are more prone to wear than steel frets

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Classic tonewoods like spruce and mahogany are loved by many, and they are featured on some of the best acoustic guitars. But sometimes, you want a tonewood that's a little out of the box. The wood used to make this beautiful guitar is Myrtlewood, an interesting material that strikes a balance between the characteristics of mahogany, rosewood, and maple.

We like this one because it combines great playability with premium electronics. The neck is both slim-C shaped and satin-finished, so it's comfortable and incredibly fast. The L.R. Baggs Element electronics deliver faithfully amplified tone. This guitar's cutaway concert body is comfortable to hold, and the abalone rosette and distinctive Myrtlewood grain make it especially eye-catching.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best exotic-wood guitar on the list, especially considering the low price. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Taylor 214CE -- Best for Multiple Genres

Important Features

  • Spruce and Indian rosewood combination results in sparkling top end and defined low end
  • The electronics are excellent
  • It sounds equally good with strumming or fingerpicking
  • The body with a cutaway is incredibly comfortable to play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Forward-shifted X bracing supports more low-end presence
  • The ebony fingerboard is a high-end touch rarely found on guitars in this price range
  • The Grand auditorium body is especially versatile
  • It has great electronics for the price

Cons

  • The back and sides aren't solid
  • For some genres, a dreadnought body may be preferable

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

This guitar is made with Taylor's distinctive grand auditorium body style. Grand auditorium guitars are almost as big as dreadnoughts, so you still get plenty of overtones and sustain. However, their smaller waists make them easier to hold and support better note definition.

This Taylor guitar has a remarkable build quality for the price, too -- the top is solid Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are layered Indian rosewood. The fretboard and bridge are ebony. The electronics on the Taylor 214CE are also remarkable. This guitar has Expression System 2 electronics with a behind-the-saddle pickup. The result is a full, clean amplified tone.

Our Star Rating

We think the Taylor 214CE is the best guitar under $1000 for multiple genres. We give it four out of five stars.

Guild D-140 -- Best Classic Dreadnought

Important Features

  • Scalloped bracing supports great tone and incredible resonance
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge are top-notch appointments
  • Traditional spruce/mahogany combination and bone nut and saddle create vintage tone
  • It sounds equally good with flatpicking or fingerpicking

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • It's a great all-solid guitar for a great price
  • It has incredibly full sound
  • Top-notch appointments include a rosewood fingerboard and bone nut and saddle
  • Slim-C neck profile supports excellent playability

Cons

  • It does not have electronics, which may be an issue for some players
  • Some players might prefer a flashier design

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

There's plenty of variety when it comes to acoustic guitars under $1000. But sometimes, you just want to play a classic, great-sounding six-string acoustic. The D-140 is just that. Even for a dreadnought body, the D-140 has incredible resonance and sustain, making it ideal for recording or performing.

With a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides, it offers a classic acoustic tone. The genuine rosewood fingerboard and bridge both enhance the tone and look nice, and the mother-of-pearl rosette offers just enough decoration. And like most Guild guitar builds, it can be yours for a fair price.

Our Star Rating

We think the Guild D-140 has the best classic dreadnought design on the list. We give it 4.5 out of five stars

Seagull Maritime SWS Concert Hall -- Best Concert-Style Guitar

Important Features

  • The Tus nut and saddle enhance harmonic content for a great, full sound
  • The solid top is both curved and pressure-tested for better sound and guaranteed durability
  • QIT undersaddle pickup with onboard preamp gives you great live sound that's easy to adjust
  • The Richlite fingerboard plays like ebony but is a sustainable alternative

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Its unique design features make it a tonal standout, especially for the price
  • Classic acoustic combination of spruce and mahogany gives you the perfect balance of brightness and warmth
  • Integrated set neck is a somewhat rare feature that makes a big difference when it comes to tone
  • It comes with great electronics, and the preamp also features an onboard tuner

Cons

  • Some players have found the bridge pins to be somewhat loose
  • The relatively wide neck may be an adjustment for some players

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Seagull is a great example of an acoustic guitar manufacturer offering excellent designs for an excellent price. The Maritime SWS isn't as high-end as some models like the Artist Mosaic, but it's an incredible value. It's made of all solid wood and comes with excellent QIT electronics. But it also has some great design features.

For one, its integrated set neck supports sustain and is incredibly stable. And Seagull's signature tapered headstock reduces string pull, too. It also features a compound curved top to increase projection, sustain, and resonance, which makes the Maritime SWS have an astoundingly big tone for such a small acoustic guitar. Its body is a little smaller than you would expect, making it a great choice for smaller adults and children.

Our Star Rating

We think the Maritime SWS is the best acoustic with a concert body shape. We give it 4.5 out of five stars.

Gretsch G5031FT Rancher Dreadnought -- Best for Rock Music

Important Features

  • The rosewood fretboard with neo-classical thumbnail inlays gives it a distinctive look
  • Thanks to the unique Fideli'Tron pickup, this is one of the best acoustic guitars for rock
  • Synthetic bone compensated saddles support perfect intonation
  • Deluxe tuners and all gold-plated hardware give it a glamorous look

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The pickup is mounted in an iso-chamber, so it won't stick out or interfere with playing
  • The triangular soundhole, designed like the Rancher guitars of the 50s, gives it great vintage appeal
  • The arched back is a unique feature that makes a difference in the tone
  • It also has an arched spruce top for even more tonal enhancement

Cons

  • The back and sides are laminated
  • If you want a classic amplified acoustic guitar tone, this one may not be for you

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

It might seem odd to say that an acoustic guitar is good for rock music, but the G5031FT certainly is. That's because of its unusual pickup, a Fideli'Tron humbucker. This high-output pickup is usually just seen on hot-rod electric guitars. It sounds more like a classic acoustic guitar pickup when played lightly at low volume.

But at higher volume (and/or with a dirt pedal or two), it's capable of serious rock 'n roll tone. It's not for everyone, but if you want an acoustic guitar that breaks the mold, this is one to look at. The top is solid spruce, and the back and sides are laminated mahogany. But the back is arched, which gives it surprising extra sonic fullness. And of course, like all Rancher acoustic guitars, it has the signature triangular soundhole.

Our Star Rating

We think that this one is the best acoustic guitar for rock music. We give it four out of five stars.

Martin D Jr-10E -- Best for Kids

Important Features

  • Considering the fact that it's an all-solid guitar, it's a great price
  • The smaller body is versatile -- its great for smaller players, travel, or recording
  • The Dreadnought Junior neck profile is thin enough to make playing leads easy
  • Corian nut and Tusq saddle enhance its tone further

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sapele is a versatile tonewood that is both punchy and bright
  • Scalloped X-bracing supports full, natural sound
  • Richlite fingerboard and bridge are sustainable alternatives to ebony
  • The smaller body is very comfortable to hold and play

Cons

  • Fishman Sonitone electronics are usually used in lower-end guitars
  • Some players might prefer a full-sized instrument

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Junior-sized guitars aren't just for kids -- we think that this little Martin guitar would be equally suited to travel. And while the price might seem a little high for a kids' guitar or travel guitar, it's still a great value. It's made of all-solid Sapele, so it sounds a little like mahogany with a heightened treble response. Its Dreadnought Junior neck profile is a little slimmer than a standard acoustic neck, making it ideal both for children and for adults with small hands.

The Richlite fingerboard plays a lot like ebony, and the Corian nut and Tusq saddle enhance both sustain and harmonic content. It's also a nice-looking instrument. The striped grain of Sapele is finished in deep cherry, and it tends to look and sound even better with age. Its balanced, focused tone makes it a great option for recording, and the Fishman Sonitone electronics make it easy to play live.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best guitar on the list for kids. We give it four out of five stars

Buying Guide: How Do You Choose an Acoustic Guitar Under $1000?

Before spending a considerable amount on an acoustic guitar, it's wise to make sure you know what you want in an instrument. Here's what to think about before you make a purchase.

What Body Style Do You Need?

The shape of an acoustic guitar is one of the most crucial considerations to make. If you play a variety of genres, a dreadnought is a good choice. This classic shape is tonally balanced enough to sound great playing almost any genre. The smaller parlor guitar is ideal for blues players or for smaller people who want a guitar that's easy to handle.

The concert-body acoustic guitar is smaller, rounder, and slimmer than a dreadnought, so it's a good option if you want a focused sound with reduced overtones. And the Grand Auditorium body developed by Taylor Guitars is effectively a crossover between a dreadnought and a concert. This style is also great for a wide range of genres.

What Tonewoods Are Right?

In this price range, just about every acoustic guitar will have a solid top. Some may be made of all solid wood. But before choosing, think about which tonewoods suit the music you play. Here's a rundown of some common tonewoods:

  • Spruce - This common soundboard wood is responsive, well-defined, and bright.
  • Mahogany - This warmer, darker-sounding wood can be used for the top, back, and sides. The warmth of mahogany is sometimes described as being "fuzzy."
  • Rosewood - This beautiful wood produces detailed sound with plenty of overtones. It's known for its tight low-end response.
  • Koa - This is a beautiful and exotic wood that's a little bright. Over time, it opens up and has a more pronounced midrange.
  • Sapele - This wood is sometimes used as a mahogany substitute, although it is slightly tonally brighter.

What About Electronics?

If you intend to perform, you likely are looking for an acoustic-electric guitar. And while there are a variety of acoustic guitar pickups out there, most in this price range will have decent-quality electronics. In order to get optimal live sound, it's wise to choose the best-sounding pickup you can find. Alternatively, if you don't immediately need electronics, you can purchase the best all-acoustic option and add high-quality electronics later.

In Conclusion

We think any of the best acoustic guitars under 1000 dollars options on our list is an excellent choice. However, our top selection is the Yamaha AC3M ARE. This guitar offers excellent value thanks to its top-notch electronics, all-solid build, and torrefied top. And high-end appointments like an ebony fingerboard and bridge make it look much more expensive than it is.

We also think the Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concerto is a worthy runner-up, especially if you like guitars with distinctive sonic characters. The Myrtlewood build gives it both a high-end and low-end presence with lots of midrange warmth. Plus, it has exceptional electronics for the price.

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