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The Best Acoustic Guitars for Less Than $500

Updated on July 24, 2009
Jonathan Schneck form Relient K's Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-500M
Jonathan Schneck form Relient K's Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-500M
Yamaha FGX730SCA
Yamaha FGX730SCA
Epiphone EJ-160 John Lennon
Epiphone EJ-160 John Lennon

The Best Acoustic Guitars for Less Than $500

The prices on everything today are going up fast, so if you are thinking about purchasing a new acoustic guitar, I would not waste any time at all. This Hub will quickly help you narrow down your options so that you can choose your favorite from here. This is my opinion on the best acoustic guitars for under $500. These are in no particular order.

Epiphone EJ-200CE: This is Epiphone’s take on a classic Gibson design. It is a jumbo body style, with a cutaway and E Sonic 2 pickup mounted under the bridge. It features a solid spruce top with laminate maple back and sides and a maple neck. Other features include gold hardware, a 25 ½ inch scale, a 1.6 inch wide nut, a mustache inlay bridge and a rosewood fretboard with crown inlays. Choose from color choices including Natural, Black and Sunburst. Oh and by the way, have you ever seen or heard the most recent winner of the television show Nashville Star, Melissa Lawson? Well I know her, and she uses one of these beauties in live performances. $449.00

Epiphone EJ-160E John Lennon Edition: John Lennon knew what a good guitar was. During his time with the Beatles he used Gibson’s version of this masterpiece. Solid spruce top, mahogany back sides and neck, a single coil pickup at the neck with Tone and Volume controls mounted on the spruce top. Vintage Cherry Sunburst with chrome hardware. $499.00

Takamine G Series EG440C NEX: This Takamine acoustic features a cutaway design with a unique NEX Takamine body shape. Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, TP4T preamp for amplification in live settings, and gold hardware. The TP4T preamp also features a very handy on-board tuner. $399.00

Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-500M and DR-500M: These two guitars are THE BEST value for your money you will ever find these days! I own the AJ-500ME acoustic/electric version of this and it’s simply amazing. Tons of guys at Guitar Center said that it was the best guitar for the money and higher you can get when I was trying it out about a year ago. These Masterbilt acoustics are made of all solid woods. Solid spruce top, and solid mahogany back and sides with a bound rosewood fretboard nickel hardware. They don’t have electronics, but you can add that later if you have the money. Also, the band Relient K uses two of these Masterbilts. These are just too good to pass up! Just to put it into perspective, a Taylor 310ce acoustic guitar made in USA with solid spruce top and sapele (basically mahogany) back and sides is $1,549.00, while an Epiphone Masterbilt AJ-500M or DR-500M is only $499.00

Martin DX1: A solid top Martin acoustic for $500? Yep! This genuine Martin has a solid spruce top with Martin’s special HPL back and sides made to imitate mahogany. This HPL material is extremely durable meaning it can withstand extreme weather changes better than solid wood which tends to warp or crack under the same conditions. Chrome tuners, no on-board electronics. Bare-bones design with no dot inlays on the fretboard. $499.00

Yamaha FG Series FGX730SCA: I almost bought this one, but I discovered the Masterbilt series before I did. However this doesn’t mean this guitar isn’t awesome, because it is awesome! Solid spruce top with a cutaway and rosewood laminate back and sides with a rosewood fretboard, and black and ivory binding. System 55T electronics sound wonderful through the Bose PA system at Guitar Center. There is also a built-in tuner and 3-band EQ. Chrome tuners and natural finish. This would be my second choice after the Masterbilt in this price range. Great value at $499.99




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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas

      A very interesting and informative article. I own an Epiphone EJ-200CE. It is a very nice guitar in both features, looks, and sound. It has quite a throaty sound and I find I have to work a bit to bring in the tenor side and the sustain but otherwise, I highly recommend it for the price. I recently purchased a low-end Ovation Classic cutaway with electronics. I have been around Ovations for years but never owned one. I have to say that for less than $400, I am very impressed with it both quality-wise and sound-wise. I love the lightness of it which is great for mobility if you go to open-mike nights. It is also quite rugged and really holds tune very well from day one. I enjoyed your article very much. Glad to see a fellow "Arlington-ite" here on HP. ~ WB

    • profile image

      Aaron 5 years ago

      I'm shocked not to see the Seagull S6, Entourage, or Coastline on here. Quality build, great sound and VERY affordable!

    • profile image

      joe fallon 5 years ago

      like most failed 60 year old musos Iv played hundreds of guitars and I must agree with wesman it is very subjective.Best to put on a blindfold and play all guitars in the store and pick the one that you like(so long as it wont break the bank)enjoy

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well, I see you are a big fan of Epiphone - nothing wrong with that.

      I did a very similar hub to this - and someone from off site commented that I'd left out some Seagull model instruments which they thought were superior to all five of the one's (from five diff manufacturers) that I'd listed.

      But whatever, right? What is the best guitar is subjective.

    • profile image

      Me 6 years ago

      Personally I think the Esteban guitar is the greatest ever made. And what a value! I cant believe its not on the list! Just kidding. Can't wait to try out an epiphone

    • Used Acoustic Gui profile image

      Used Acoustic Gui 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Its great to have good information available when you need to purchase a new instrument - nicely done! I love the epiphones!

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Glad I could help! Good luck with your purchase and your playing! :)

    • tjp5036 profile image

      Tim 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks. I'm considering buying an acoustic guitar in the near future and this hub really helped me to narrow my selections.

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      I agree. Great value on Epiphones.

    • profile image

      Epiphone Sheraton II 8 years ago

      Great advice. Epiphone give a lot of bang for buck.

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Thanks. To choose a teacher I would meet with them before you started lessons and see if they like them same style of music that you want to learn.

    • johnb0127 profile image

      johnb0127 8 years ago from TX

      Cool hub! RRRRRRRR KELLYN??

    • Madison Parker profile image

      Madison Parker 8 years ago from California


      I just discovered your work when you joined my fan club, (thank you, btw!!!) I just retired, quit, actually, and bought my first guitar; I plan to take lessons because I need some serious help, LOL!

      If you have any tips on how to pick a teacher who works for you, would love to hear about it. Good and helpful article, btw.


    • santoion profile image

      santoion 8 years ago

      Very good hub.Thank You !

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      Ya buying the right guitar is very time-consuming. I spend months and months researching which one I want to buy, and I have about 5 guitars!

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      We bought my daugter her second acoustic last year. The research on what to buy was so time-consuming! I wish I would have had this then!