You want a PERFECT starter guitar?
Well, you can to the right place.
Starting with an acoustic electric guitar, let's you easily expand what you are capable of as a guitarist as soon as you are ready.
Use this buying guide to help you find a guitar that you are going to love for years to come.
And keep reading to check out the best acoustic electric guitars under $500 in action.
Quick Top Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500:
Keep reading for the full reviews!
What Can You Expect in this Price Range?
Five hundred dollars will buy a lot of guitars these days.
Gone is the era of lower-priced instruments being of poor quality, parentage, and performance.
Modern manufacturing techniques have made guitars cheaper than ever.
Now, it's possible to get yourself an absolutely killer guitar for a price that would've only gotten junk 40 years ago.
Today, you can get an amazing guitar from a good company that plays and sounds as it should.
You don't have to worry about splitting bodies, bad necks and sketchy truss rods anymore.
Our buying guide revolves around finding the best acoustic electric guitars under $500.
This section of the market has an almost endless amount of choices.
We will examine some of the top contenders meant to appeal to serious beginners and even gigging players on a tight budget.
Acoustics with onboard electronics aren’t really entry-level guitars.
But, they do make sense for those starting out if they feel guitar playing is something they won’t give up on.
Getting a stage-ready instrument from the start will make it super easy to get up under the lights when your time comes.
...It can happen sooner than you think if your practice game is strong.
Here are a few great picks for you aspiring pickers out there.
Ready to rock?
The Best Best Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500
Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top
Yamaha makes great gear all the way around and is said to be the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in the world.
Yamaha guitars have been popular since the 1970s and always deliver a whole lot of performance at a most reasonable price.
Most experienced players you come across will agree that Yamaha makes the best acoustic electric guitars under $500.
The Yamaha FGX800C Acoustic/Electric is the company’s standard beginner guitar.
But, It's every inch a real instrument that can be played for a lifetime.
How the FGX800 is Built
It’s a Dreadnaught with a treble-side cutaway based around a solid Sitka Spruce top and Nato wood back and sides.
The neck is also crafted from Nato and is topped with a Rosewood fingerboard.
Acoustically, the 800C has an articulate and balanced sound thanks to the Sitka Spruce top and Yamaha’s new scalloped bracing pattern.
The Nato body gives this guitar a warm tone similar to a Mahogany instrument that’s instantly attractive and is perfect for strumming behind your vocal part.
Yahaha’s System-66 electronics make getting plugged in easy and harmonious.
The onboard preamp features three bands of EQ, sweepable mids and a built-in tuner, something which is brilliantly convenient.
The battery is even accessible from the upper bout, which makes for easy changes as you wear them out.
Why You Should Choose the Yamaha FX800C
The Yamaha FGX800C is a guitar that’s packed with value for newbies or experienced guitarists, alike.
It does everything an acoustic/electric instrument should do.
It plays smoothly, sounds beautiful, and will support the musical growth of any player who gets one.
It’s a bit of a sleeper, as there are many other more expensive and elaborate guitars out there but will reward those who choose it handsomely.
If quality and price are equal concerns in your world, the FGX800C deserves a spot near the top of your guitar-shopping list.
Watch this demo video to see just how much tone the FGX800C will add to your life!
Epiphone is, of course, the more affordable side of the Gibson guitar company.
They make many of The Big G’s classic guitars, like the Hummingbird, to those without a king’s ransom to spend.
The Hummingbird acoustic is one of Gibson's most iconic guitars.
And the new Hummingbird Pro takes the old ‘Bird into the modern world with a legendary look and sound easy to bring home.
Of course, the Pro sports the same splendor-filled style of Gibson’s original right down to the sunburst finish, split parallelogram neck inlays and ornate pickguard.
This guitar, however, is much more than just another pretty face.
Does More Then Just Look Like a Legend
The Hummingbird provides players with more tone and performance capabilities than most ever need.
Like its expensive cousin, The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is made of a solid Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides.
This is a time-honored tonewood combination that has produced thousands of hit songs.
The Mahogany neck features the comfortable Slim Taper “D” shape that most hands will love.
What makes the Hummingbird Pro a 21st Century marvel is the new Shadow performer preamp and Shadow Nano Flex pickup system.
This gives the Hummingbird the wings needed to fly onto the stage at a moment’s notice.
This is a perfect guitar for beginners.
Inspired by the great Gibson guitars of decades past for players who want to align their playing with the spirit of those times.
The ‘Bird is an especially cool choice for players into classic songwriting or alt-country thanks to its tone.
Take a listen to this thing!
Ibanez Performance Series PF12MHCEOPN
- Body Body type: Dreadnought Cutaway: Single Top wood:...
- The PF12MHCE is a cutaway dreadnought body style...
- While the open pore natural finish adds to the guitars...
Ibanez is globally known for making some of the most famous guitars of the last 50 years.
Thousands of players have started with Ibanez.
Thousands have made their bones as guitarists, and remained loyal to the brand as their careers progressed.
You'll be Blown Away by the Sound
The Ibanez Performance Series PF12MHCEOPN Mahogany Dreadnaught is made entirely of Mahogany.
This makes it extra warm-sounding and also gives it a distinctive look.
The body features a single cutaway for easy high-fret gymnastics and is done in an open-pore natural satin finish that’s beautiful.
It gives the guitar freedom to breathe and resonate in a way gloss-finished guitars can’t match.
The PF12 also has nice touches like a tortoise rosette and rosewood fretboard and bridge.
Plus, the Ibanez Advantage bridge pins make for better tuning stability.
Electronics consist of the Ibanez under-saddle pickup and AEQ2T preamp with built-in tuner.
Wait Till You See How the Performance Series Feels in Your Arms
This guitar may be the biggest value in the business at its price point.
And it's exponentially better than anything old-school players had to get them started.
It produces crystalline highs and tight, focused bass—the kind of tones normally only found in much pricier models.
Its all-Mahogany sound makes the PF12 a superior choice for acoustic rhythm playing.
And its tone will make all you songwriter types out there jump up and down.
The Ibanez Performance Series PF12MHCEOPN Mahogany Dreadnaught is one of those guitars that’s easy to recommend to anyone.
It’s a simple guitar that will get any new player off on the good foot; keeping them playing for years to come.
Here is a quick look at the most popular guitars in the Ibanez Performance Series!
Seagull S6 Classic Dreadnaught
Seagull guitars are produced in Canada, and the USA by the LaSiDo/Godin company.
They are totally North American-made, which makes the S6 Classic Dreadnaught a bit of an island in its price range.
Usually for this price you will find nothing but imports.
The S6 is an old-school Dread built around a select pressure-tested solid Cedar top paired with three-layer wild cherry back and sides, a Silver Leaf Maple neck and an Indian Rosewood fingerboard.
It gets a cool bit of modern styling, however, from the distinctive Seagull headstock, which is instantly identifiable.
Its shape and tonewood combination give the S6 tons of projection and warmth.
Plus, it's helped along by its thinly-applied open-grain satin finish.
Thick poly-based finishes can make a guitar sound small and boxy.
Thankfully, that's not the case here.
The S6 Comes Fully-Loaded
A Godin-branded, custom B-Band M-450T pickup and preamp system handles all amplification chores with ease.
The four-band EQ which includes controls for Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence, along with a separate Volume control knob and an onboard chromatic tuner give you complete control.
Other cool features include a Tusq nut, a Graph Tech fully-compensated saddle, set-neck construction, a tortoiseshell pickguard and single-ply binding.
A case isn’t included but the S6 is still one heck of a value in light of its non-import status.
Seagull's integrated set neck and curved compound top also conspire to give you remarkable tuning stability, resonance and volume.
Is the S6 Right for You?
The Seagull S6 is the right guitar for anyone who wants to play something that goes beyond “good enough.”
It’s a forest-to-stage North American instrument on which anyone could launch and maintain a career.
If this guitar thing feels like something you’ll seriously pursue, this is probably the right ax for you.
Watch this demo clip to see the Seagull S6 in action!
Epiphone EJ-200SCE Solid Top
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE is an affordable and updated version of one of the all-time most famous Gibson flat tops.
The legendary J-200 Jumbo, has been in the hands of many of country music’s biggest stars.
Like its top-of-the-line sibling, the EJ-200 is a big guitar.
Jumbos are the largest steel-string acoustics most of us will ever play.
They tend to produce more volume and low-end tones than even the mighty Dreadnaught.
Still Such a Sexy Guitar
Visually, the 200 still packs all the onstage mojo of its namesake and will appeal to those into country, songwriting and classic rock.
It has a solid Spruce top and Select Maple back and sides.
This helps add a little brightness to the heavy bass produced by the Jumbo body.
The neck is carved from Hard Maple, and features the expected Slim Taper “D” profile, a Pau Ferro wood fingerboard and Crown inlays.
Modern updates include a treble-side cutaway for easy lead playing and amplification courtesy of the Epiphone eSonic II Stereo Preamp with NanoMag and NanoFlex Pickups.
Making an amazing-sounding rig that compares well to B-Band and Fishman products.
And Still the King...
J-200s are often called King of the Flat Tops.
And this sporty Epiphone retelling of the model puts that royal tone and playability in the hands of the people, which rocks.
This is a great guitar to start on or gig with for anyone who fancies themselves a hardcore country troubadour.
But, it will work well for any style of acoustic guitar work.
Epiphone outdid itself with the EJ-200, and it will put great acoustic performance squarely in your hands.
Watch this demo clip and get ready to fall in love!
Does My First Guitar Need A Case?
Entry-level guitars often do not include any case or gig bag in which to carry the instruments in their price.
This forces brand-new guitarists to make their first big accessory decision as soon as they decide to buy their first plank.
Do you need a case? Yes.
Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t to be trusted.
All guitars are fairly delicate contraptions that aren’t intended to be exposed to the elements, thrown naked into the bed of a pickup truck or left in the corner for the family dog to knock over.
You should get a case when you get your guitar and get used to using it.
At the Very Least Pick up a Gigbag
All most beginners need is a decent padded gigbag.
A quality bag will keep the rain and snow off of your six-string pal.
It also provides ample protection for taking your guitar to lessons, Open Mic Night or your next family reunion.
A bag is a soft-sided solution so be prepared to use your better judgment when roaming around.
A hard-shell case is much more protective, but that protection comes with a trade-off:
Hard cases are heavier, more expensive and more challenging to lug around than bags.
But they give your guitar a much higher degree of protection from life's bumps and bruises
Plus, you can put stickers on them, which is just fun.
What Strings Should I Use?
Most acoustic guitars come from the factory strung with bronze strings in the typical Light Gauge configuration of 12-53 from thinnest to thickest.
This is a normal set of strings found in every guitar shop in the universe.
This is where you’ll most likely want to start if you’re new to the guitar and adapt to the tension and feel of them.
Of course, strings come in many different gauges, and you can always go up or down.
But give the tried-and-true the old college try before you do, as changing gauges require a fresh setup.
Also, keep in mind that beginner fingers get sore no matter what strings you use.
That soreness will go away after a couple weeks of practice.
So, keep at it!
The Brand of Strings isn't Paramount
The brand of strings you use is totally up to you.
Acoustic guitars seem to be more sensitive to differences in string brand and construction than electrics.
If you're starting out, it will be a while before you learn to hear the difference so don't fret over it.
Once you can hear it, it’s worth your time to try different brands to see which one sounds best with your instrument.
When you find your favorite, run with it.
Get yourself in the habit of wiping your strings down with a soft cotton cloth when you finish playing.
Also, keep your guitar in its case or you will be changing your guitar strings more often then you want.
I hope you’ve had fun reading this guide to the best acoustic electric guitars under $500.
Your mind is probably filled with guitar fantasies right now, imagining yourself playing and owning all of these fine instruments.
It's all a lot to take in, and it's important to do your research and find out which guitar is the right one for you.
The right guitar will feel good in your hands, sound like a band of angels and make you feel cooler than you’ve ever felt.
Good luck with your guitar search and I’ll see you soon with another blast of knowledge!