Best Acoustic Guitar Under 1500 – 7 Top Guitars Reviewed

Guitars that cost anywhere from about $1000 to $1500 are often considered to be mid-range guitars, although they're definitely a higher tier of midrange than the $500 midrange guitars you might have seen for sale online. Buying in this price range can be challenging, as some guitars will offer you more for your money than others. To help you choose the best acoustic guitar under 1500 dollars, we've compiled a list of some of our favorites.

7 Best Acoustic Guitars Under 1500

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Yamaha

 FG5 Red Label

Cell

Blueridge

BR-143CE

Cell

Taylor

214CE Deluxe

Ovation

Exotic Woods Koa

Cell

Eastman

DM2 Gypsy Jazz Guitar

Cell

Martin

000-15M

Cell

Takamine

EF341SC Keystone

Cell

Review of our Top Picks

Yamaha FG5 Red Label -- Best Value Acoustic

Important Features

  • Solid Sitka spruce top paired with solid mahogany back and sides is a classic tonewood combination
  • Full-bodied, custom-braced dreadnought delivers quality tone
  • Ebony fingerboard is beautiful and easy to play
  • It's an incredible value for the price

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All-solid build creates beautifully rich tone
  • The top is treated with Yamaha's Acoustic Resonance Enhancement technology, making it play like a seasoned acoustic right out of the box
  • Classic dreadnought looks will appeal to many acoustic players
  • It's one of the best values in its price range

Cons

  • It does not come with electronics, and some players may prefer an acoustic-electric guitar
  • Some players may prefer a Grand Auditorium or other smaller body style

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

When it comes to value in acoustic guitars, Yamaha can't be beat. While their Red Label acoustic guitar line is more expensive than many Yamaha instruments, you get a build that could potentially cost thousands more when purchased from other manufacturers.

This one has a solid Sitka spruce top paired with solid mahogany back and sides for versatile, quality sound. The lightweight and strong African mahogany neck is topped with a fast-playing ebony fingerboard, and modified scalloped bracing gives you full lows and sparkling highs. Aesthetically, the FG5 is a straightforward, no-nonsense looking dreadnought, but its tonal qualities blow many players away.

Our Star Rating

Given its excellent build quality, we think this is the best value acoustic guitar on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Blueridge BR-143CE -- Best Value Acoustic-Electric

Important Features

  • Unique, vintage-inspired look is great for players who want to stand out
  • Solid spruce top paired with solid mahogany back and sides offers classic, balanced acoustic sound
  • Small, 000 body is comfortable to play and creates tight, focused sound
  • Quality Fishman electronics make it easy to plug in and play

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All-solid build means this guitar produces some of the best acoustic sound you'll find
  • 000 body is ideal for players who prefer smaller guitars
  • Fishman electronics give you natural sound on stage

Cons

  • The sound of a smaller-bodied guitar like this one isn't for everybody
  • When purchasing an acoustic-electric guitar, some players may prefer higher-end electronics

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

You might think it's difficult to find an all-solid acoustic-electric guitar for under $1000, but this unique 000 model from boutique builder Blueridge might surprise you. This slim-neck, highly playable smaller guitar has a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, and scalloped bracing ensures crisp and articulate tone. A Venetian cutaway also lets you access those hard-to-reach frets. It comes with a Fishman Presys Blend electronics system complete with an onboard tuner.

Our Star Rating

Based on its relatively low price for its build quality, we think this is the best value acoustic-electric guitar on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Taylor 214CE Deluxe -- Best Playability

Important Features

  • Solid spruce top is highly responsive
  • Innovative electronics system gives you incredibly natural sound when playing live
  • Grand Auditorium body with cutaway is highly playable
  • Forward-shifted bracing gives you more bass than most smaller-bodied guitars can offer

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Laminated Indian rosewood back and sides give this guitar a lovely aesthetic
  • Top-quality electronics make it a great choice for any performer
  • Solid top is remarkably responsive

Cons

  • The laminated back and sides won't sound as natural and full as solid wood
  • At this price point, many players prefer purchasing an all-solid acoustic guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

When shopping for acoustic guitars under 1500 dollars, some players first focus on Taylor's more affordable offerings. This manufacturer has been criticized by some players for using layered wood on the backs and sides of relatively expensive models. However, while layered wood generally isn't preferable to solid wood, even relatively affordable Taylor acoustic guitars like this one often have an excellent sound.

The 214CE, like many Taylor guitars, is made using the highly versatile Grand Auditorium body style. It's also made with forward-shifted X bracing, meaning it has a surprising amount of low end for such a (relatively) small instrument. It has a Sitka spruce top that's solid, and it's paired with layered Indian rosewood. It also comes with Taylor's remarkable Expression System electronics.

Our Star Rating

Thanks to its slim neck, cutaway, and smaller body, we think this guitar has the best playability on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Ovation Exotic Woods Koa -- Best Unusual Design

Important Features

  • Unique, bowl-back composite design offers highly resonant sound and impressive durability
  • Distinctive koa top makes it a great choice for those who like a non-traditional look
  • Slim, satin-finished neck and cutaway make this an easy acoustic guitar to play, regardless of genre
  • Onboard electronics make it a great option for those who enjoy performing live

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Composite body has an impressive sound
  • Thanks to its unique build, this guitar is very resistant to climate changes
  • Multiple smaller soundholes give you excellent sonic clarity

Cons

  • This acoustic guitar's non-traditional design may not be right for everyone
  • Some players might prefer the sound of an all-wood guitar to one made of composite material

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

While some acoustic players might prefer a more traditional look when shopping for guitars under 1500 dollars, Ovation guitars are worth checking out. These unique, highly resonant instruments are made with composite, bowl-shaped backs, making them highly durable. This one is topped with a stunning layer of koa and adorned with a contrasting leaf pattern that surrounds the several small sound holes.

Ovation acoustic guitars come in varying depths, and this one has a very deep body for enhanced low end. It also comes with Ovation electronics--you get a three-band EQ and an onboard tuner, as well as a low-battery light that ensures you won't run into power issues when performing.

Our Star Rating

Thanks to its unique look and impressive sound, we think this guitar has the best unusual design on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Eastman DM2 Gypsy Jazz Guitar -- Best For Jazz

Important Features

  • Unique design is optimized for gypsy-style jazz guitar
  • Solid Engelmann spruce top is highly responsive, and laminated rosewood body adds a beautiful aesthetic touch
  • Ladder bracing helps give it a distinctive tone reminiscent of older guitars

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This guitar's tone is designed specifically to work well when playing gypsy-style music, making it a great choice for players who want authentic gypsy sound
  • Traditional, vintage-style design makes it both a playable instrument and a conversation piece
  • Solid spruce top is responsive and gives you rich, nuanced tone

Cons

  • For players who want a versatile, traditional acoustic guitar, this one may not be the right choice
  • This guitar does not come with electronics

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Eastman is a renowned builder of quality acoustic guitars, but this truly unique instrument is made especially to suit players of the distinctive genre of gypsy jazz. However, even if you play another genre, it's worth adding to your collection if you have the money to spare.

This acoustic guitar has a highly responsive Engelmann spruce top that's paired with laminated rosewood back and sides. It features a traditional small soundhole and gypsy-style tailpiece. Granted, this unusual design may not suit the traditional acoustic player, but for those who play gypsy guitar (or want to), it's an excellent choice.

Our Star Rating

Thanks to its truly unique build, this is the best acoustic for playing jazz on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Martin 000-15M -- Best Guitar For Folk Music

Important Features

  • This acoustic guitar takes Martin's instrument-building expertise and please it in a smaller-bodied instrument ideal for folk players
  • All-solid mahogany construction makes it one of the best guitars under 1500 dollars
  • Focused sound is great for recording or for small, intimate performances
  • Beautiful, distinctive finish is great for players who prefer a slightly different-looking acoustic guitar

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All-solid-mahogany build creates a beautifully warm tone, which is enhanced by the bone nut and saddle
  • Dark stain and diamond/square inlays make this a unique-looking acoustic guitar
  • 000 body is easy to handle and play

Cons

  • Some players might prefer a guitar with a cutaway for easier fret access
  • For those who perform often, a guitar with electronics might be preferable

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

For some players, the best guitar acoustic option is a mellow-sounding instrument with vintage appeal. The Martin 000-15M is a smaller-bodied guitar that's made entirely of solid mahogany. It's also stained darker than many mahogany guitars, giving it a distinctive look that also isn't overwhelming.

Martin is a company that's best known for its dreadnoughts. But for players who prefer the smaller, easily-playable 000 body, this acoustic guitar is a great choice. Plus, for guitarists with a focus on folk music, the mellow sound of mahogany and the clear projection of this model's body might make the Martin 000-15M the best acoustic for them.

Our Star Rating

Thanks to its solid mahogany top and body and smaller size, we think this is the best guitar for playing folk music on the list. We give it five out of five stars.

Takamine EF341SC Keystone -- Best Unusual Tonewoods

Important Features

  • Solid cedar soundboard gives this guitar a beautifully warm, full tone
  • Full-size dreadnought body with cutaway offers classic acoustic sound without sacrificing playability
  • Renowned Takamine electronics make this a great choice for performers
  • Stage ready gloss black finish makes this guitar stand out in any crowd

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid soundboard gives you very responsive sound
  • Combination of cedar top and maple body is unusual, but it might be the right combination for players seeking tonal balance

Cons

  • When shopping for the best acoustic guitars in their price range, many players will prefer an all-solid instrument
  • Some players might prefer the brighter sound of a spruce-topped guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

Takamine has long been a respected manufacturer of well-crafted guitars for affordable prices. The Takamine EF341SC has a solid cedar top, meaning that its tone is warm and more midrange-focused than many spruce-topped guitars.

However, the back and sides are an interesting choice when paired with the solid cedar top. The Takamine EF341SC has back and sides of laminated maple, which help increase projection. While the tonewood combination is unusual, the end result is a well-balanced sound. That sound is amplified by Takamine's Palathetic pickup and CT-4B preamp with onboard tuner.

Our Star Rating

Many of the best acoustic guitars break the mold in some way, and we think this one has the best unusual tonewood combination on the list. We give it three and a half out of five stars.

Buying Guide -- How Do You Find the Best Acoustic Guitar Under 1500?

Buying a guitar is a deeply personal decision, and the best guitar for you might not be right for another player. In this section, we'll go over some things to consider as you shop.

Brand Isn't Everything

While it isn't true of every major brand, many guitarists end up paying a premium for the name on the headstock when they can find guitars made with higher-quality woods and better quality control for less.

That said, many famous brands became famous because their guitars sound good, and you don't need to write off any given brand because it's popular. Ultimately, it's a good idea to make sure that the specs and sound of a guitar match up with what you need.

Consider What Features Are Most Important

Buying an acoustic guitar in this price range can be tricky. You probably already know the basics of selecting a guitar, but in this range, certain things tend to be sacrificed in order to keep costs low.

For example, lots of people want a guitar that's made with all solid wood. You won't generally have an issue finding solid guitars in this price range. But if you want something with electronics, the quality of the electronics is likely not going to be top-of-the-line. As you may have noticed on our list, many of the instruments with better electronics have laminate back and sides, while many of the all-solid guitars came with sub-par electronics or none at all.

None of these choices is better or worse than any other--it all comes down to what's most important to you. As you shop, remember that you can't expect both world-class electronics and solid premium tonewoods in this price range.

What Playability features Matter?

We all know that playability is important when choosing a guitar. But what makes a guitar highly playable to one person may make it very difficult for another to play. If you've been playing guitar for awhile, chances are that you know what playability features are most important to you. Here are some of the features you may want to look for:

  • Body shape -- This might not be the most obvious feature when it comes to playability. However, some players find that smaller-bodied guitars are easier and more comfortable to play.
  • Cutaways -- If you don't spend a lot of time playing further down the neck, this might not be an issue. However, if you do, a cutaway often makes fret access significantly easier.
  • Low action -- Many guitarists find lower string action makes an instrument easier to play. Of course, you can always adjust action yourself (or have a professional set up your guitar), but many players like a guitar that plays easily as soon as it arrives.
  • Neck width -- Slimmer necks are fairly popular, and for many people they make playing easier. However, if you have larger fingers or prefer a wider fingerboard, you might prefer a guitar with a slightly wider neck.
  • Neck finish -- If you've ever played a guitar with a heavily varnished neck, you probably know that the "sticky" feel can be difficult to deal with. For this reason, many players prefer satin-finished necks. However, if you buy a guitar with a glossy neck, it's relatively simple to refinish it yourself.

Making the Decision

Finding the best acoustic guitars is a challenge for anyone, as most quality guitars will sound perfect to some players. And while we think any instrument on our list of acoustic guitars under 1500 dollars is a good one, we think the two best choices on the list are the Yamaha FG5 and the Martin 000-15M.

Both of these guitars are incredible values, and their all-solid construction will only improve their tone over time. However, if you need an acoustic-electric, we think the Blueridge BR-143CE is a worthy consideration.

It's also made of all solid wood, and its distinctive aesthetic is one that's likely to suit many performers. Ultimately, let your ear and playability preferences be your guide--the best guitar for you is one that inspires you to keep playing!

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