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Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Justin Thomas

Author: Santiago Motto

Aka. Sandel. Telecasters and all-mahogany Martins lover.

Besides that, Sandel is a professional writer, guitar player, confessed guitar nerd, and all-things-guitar consumer. He has been playing for 25 years which makes him a nineties kid with serious low-tuning youngster years, and a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music.

Whenever Santiago is not pouring all that experience and love for the instrument into articles, you can find him playing live shows supporting his music and poetry books as “Sandel”. If he’s not doing either of those, you can also find him gigging with his band, “San Juan”, writing, reading, or enjoying the Sun.

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


I would be lying if I said I didn’t ask myself how much does a guitar cost a million times before buying my first ax. Yes, I’ve been in your shoes before trying to find out how much a guitar costs too. 

This happened to me as I was starting with my first acoustic guitar and also happened when I moved to electric guitars. There’s so much info online it’s hard not to get lost or overwhelmed.

Acoustic guitars cost between $100 and $400 for entry-level players and beginners. For intermediate and advanced players, they can be between $400 and $1200. For professional and session players, acoustic guitars can go up to $10000. Finally, vintage, mint-state second-hand guitars and collector’s items can be sold for several zeros.

Before you spend $6M on Cobain’s used guitar (the most expensive acoustic ever sold), let me help you in your search. 

Since I know how it feels to be so lost you don’t know where to start, I created this piece that can work as a compass to find your path through all the marketing and buy a great guitar.

If you’re serious about playing the acoustic, your next six-stringer is on this list.

Full Acoustic Guitar Cost Rundown

Unlike solid-body electric guitars, acoustic guitars are closer to “the sum of the parts” when you think about them price-wise.  Therefore, comparing a high-end acoustic to a lower price point acoustic is not a good idea.

I divided the options into categories as follows. Bear in mind that price changes will translate into better tonewoods and construction methods.

Beginner Level & Cheap Acoustic Guitars – $100-200

Epiphone DR-100

According to recent statistics, guitar sales soared between 2019 and 2020 and took another great leap from 2020 to 2021. This can be attributed to the pandemic, of course. Interestingly, entry-level guitars dominated sales with beginner acoustic guitars as the top choice.

But what can you expect from a beginner acoustic guitar? Well, while it is true that guitar manufacturers try to make entry-level guitars more affordable, certain characteristics separate an “affordable” instrument from a “cheap” one.

By cheap, I mean a guitar that’s not well-built and that won’t hold its tuning properly, for example. Affordable, on the other hand, is a guitar good for learning, but that doesn’t sound stellar. For example, it holds its tuning but is laminated and has no sustain.

Your first guitar should always be a good guitar in a price range you can afford at the time.

Moreover, a beginner guitar should be a decent guitar so you can fight only against your fingers instead of the fingers and the instrument. So, your new guitar, even if it’s your first guitar should:

  • Tune properly (and stay in tune) – Avoid developing bad habits and train your ear. Beginner guitars in this price range should tune properly and stay in tune properly.
  • Have enough volume – Low volume might be associated with poor construction quality. Also, guitars painted with thick polyester tend to sound shallow. Avoid those.
  • Be comfortable – You’re going to spend hours playing the guitar, make sure you buy one that’s comfortable for your body and hands.

These are my picks for acoustic guitars that cost between $100 and $200:

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

GuitarBody StyleTopBack &
Sides
PriceCheck Todays Price
Epiphone DR-100DreadnoughtLaminated SpruceLaminated Mahogany$169Sweetwater*
Fender FA-15 Find Our
Favorite Fender Acoustic Guitars Here
3/4 DreadnoughtLaminated AgathisLaminated Sapele$149SweetwaterThomann
Washburn Vintage Series WA90CEVSBDreadnoughtLaminated LindenLaminated Linden$149Sweetwater
Cordoba Mini II FMH Nylon StringMini ClassicalLaminated Flamed MahoganyLaminated Flamed Mahogany$199Sweetwater
Washburn Apprentice D5CE Acoustic-electric Guitar PackDreadnoughtSelect Spruce (laminated)Laminated Mahogany$199Sweetwater
Fender FA115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar PackDreadnoughtLaminated SpruceLaminated Mahogany$199Sweetwater
Yamaha GigMaker C40 Classical Pack
More Beginner-Friendly Yamaha’s Here
ClassicalLaminated SpruceLaminated Meranti (may vary)$199SweetwaterThomann
Gretsch G9500 Jim DandyParlorLaminated BasswoodLaminated Basswood$189SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez PN12EParlorLaminated SapeleLaminated Nyatoh$199Sweetwater

Note that these prices can vary from time to time.


Budget & Low Mid-Range Acoustic Guitars – $200-400

Ibanez AW54

Moving up from the most affordable acoustic guitar price, we can aim for something a little more expensive, responsive, and with better build quality. The best acoustics under $500 make a very tight niche with ferocious competition between well-known brands in the music industry. 

At this price point, though, you can still find some starter packs, and some of these models make great beginner-oriented instruments.

But what should you aim for in this price range?

  • Solid tops – At this price point, some brands start making solid-top guitars. A solid piece of wood vibrates more musically than a laminated one. Given the choice, always go for solid-wood tops.
  • Electronics – You can expect a wider offer of acoustic-electric guitars in this range. If you’re playing out, you have to plug in.
  • Gig bags and accessories – Some of these guitars come with a gig bag, which is a must. You’ll have to buy it separately anyways.

These are my picks for this very tight competition:

GuitarBody StyleTopBack & SidesPriceCheck Todays Price
Taylor Baby Taylor BT13/4 DreadnoughtSolid Sitka SpruceLaminated Walnut$399SweetwaterThomann
Ibanez AW54 – More Great Ibanez Acoustic Guitars HereDreadnoughtSolid OkoumeLaminated Okoume$229SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha Keith Urban Guitar PackConcertLaminated Meranti or AgathisLaminated Meranti or Agathis$249Sweetwater
Ibanez Talman TCM50TalmanFigured Ash (laminated)Laminated Sapele$329SweetwaterThomann
Epiphone PR-4E Player PackJumboSolid SpruceLaminated Mahogany$289Sweetwater Thomann
Yamaha FG830 – More Great Budget Yamha’s HereDreadnoughtSolid SpruceLaminated Rosewood$339SweetwaterThomann
Washburn Deep Forest Ebony FEFolkStriped Ebony (laminated)Laminated Okoume$339Sweetwater
Epiphone J-45 EC Studio More Great Epiphones HereAdvanced JumboSolid Sitka SpruceSelected Mahogany$369SweetwaterThomann
Takamine GD20 More Great Takamines HereDreadnoughtSolid CedarLaminated Okoume$399Sweetwater

How does the Baby Taylor stack up against the Little Martin? Find out in our post “Baby Taylor vs. Little Martin: Which is For You?


Intermediate Level & Mid-Range Acoustic Guitars – $400-900

Epiphone Hummingbird Studio

Listing acoustic guitars under $1000 things get interesting. Yes, at their average price, the intermediate-level guitars or mid-level guitars at this price point can very well accompany a player for a lifetime.

These can be your step up from the first or second acoustic to a proper, great-sounding decent instrument that you can play indefinitely. Although they don’t have the fancy high-quality hardware, and the ultra-high quality wood of high-end acoustics; guitars in this price range will age well and give you years of joy.

Bearing in mind what these acoustic guitars cost, besides the better build quality, what should you expect?

  • Accessories – While you were lucky to get a gig bag in the previous range, a guitar costing $500 should at least offer one. The closer you get to the $900 ceiling, the more chances of a hardshell case.
  • Electric-acoustic brands – Electronics on an acoustic are paramount for your live sound; in this price range, you should expect high-quality materials from top brands like Fishman, LR Baggs, and such.
  • Solid woods – Laminated guitars, solid-top guitars, and solid-wood guitars are three different categories in price but also in sound. So, look for a solid back and sides, they can take the guitar’s sound to the next level.

Here are my picks for this price range:

GuitarBody StyleTopBack & SidesPriceCheck Todays Price
Epiphone Hummingbird StudioDreadnoughtSolid SpruceMahogany$449Sweetwater
Taylor GS MiniGS MiniSolid Tropical MahoganyLaminated Sapele$559SweetwaterThomann
Martin 000-10EAuditoriumSolid SapeleSolid Sapele$899Sweetwater
Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus CE44P-SMMid-Depth CutawaySolid Spalted MapleLyrachord$629SweetwaterThomann
Seagull Guitars S6 Cedar OriginalDreadnoughtSolid CedarLaminated Wild Cherry$779SweetwaterThomann
Taylor 114eGrand AuditoriumSolid Sitka SpruceLayered Walnut (laminated)$889SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE P50EParlorSolid Sitka SpruceLamianted Maple$719SweetwaterThomann
Cordoba C7-CEClassical w/CutawaySolid Western Red CedarLaminated Rosewood$759Sweetwater Thomann
Gretsch G5031FT RancherDreadnoughtSolid SpruceArched Laminated Mahogany Back & Laminated Mahogany Sides$749Sweetwater

Advanced Level & High Mid-Range Acoustic Guitars – $900-1600

Yamaha AC5M ARE

If things got interesting in the last batch, at this acoustic guitar price, they get serious. Yes, at this level you’re browsing professional-level acoustic guitars. By professional acoustic guitars, I mean guitars you can come across on any stage around the world. 

In other words, these are solid-wood guitars that offer a sound quality that can satisfy even the most demanding ears.

Leaving the vintage market out, here you’ll find traditional acoustic guitars and new creations (like the Fender Acoustasonic) that go beyond the “good acoustic guitars” to the “high-quality guitar” or “high-end guitars” category.

But what can you expect from these high-end acoustic guitars?

  • Solid woods – Solid-wood acoustic guitars are always the best sounding. In this price range, you can choose a good acoustic guitar that can sound amazing unplugged in the studio. Many records you love were made with guitars in this price range.
  • Complex and modern electronics – If you play guitar on stage most of the time, investing in a great live guitar like Fender’s Acoustasonic series might be worth it. That is, of course, if you don’t need to play it unplugged.
  • Premium tonewoods – Although Martin, Taylor, PRS, and other brands show their true colors in the next price range, high-quality woods make high-quality instruments. So, you can expect solid mahogany, ebony and rosewood fretboards, and solid Sitka spruce tops. In good-quality guitars, wood is responsible for 80% of the tone.

These are my picks of the best acoustic guitars in this price range:

GuitarBody StyleTopBack & SidesPriceCheck Todays Price
Yamaha AC5M AREFind Our Favorite Yamaha Guitars HereConcert CutawaySolid Sitka Spruce with A.R.E. treatmentSolid Mahogany$1499Sweetwater Thomann
Fender Acoustasonic Player TelecasterAcoustasonic TelecasterSolid Sitka SpruceMahogany$1199SweetwaterThomann
Martin D-15M – Find Our Favorite Martin Guitars HereDreadnought 14-FretSolid Genuine MahoganySolid Genuine Mahogany$1499SweetwaterThomann
Cordoba C10 Crossover Nylon StringSpanish ClassicSolid European SpruceSolid Indian Rosewood$1299SweetwaterThomann
Yamaha NTX3 Nylon-stringNTX ClassicalSolid Sitka SpruceSolid Walnut$1049SweetwaterThomann
Takamine TSP138CTBThinlineSolid SapeleSolid Spruce$1449Sweetwater
Ovation Timeless Classic Nylon – Find Our Favorite Ovation Guitars HereMid-Depth CutawayAA Solid CedarLyrachord$1149SweetwaterThomann
Taylor American Dream AD27 MahoganyRound Shoulder DreadnoughtSolid MahoganySolid Sapele$1449SweetwaterThomann
PRS SE Angelus A60EConcert with CutawaySolid Sitka SpruceLaminated Ziricote$919SweetwaterThomann

Premium & High-End Acoustic Guitars – $1600 +

Martin D-28

These higher-priced guitars are the antagonists of affordable acoustic guitars. 

Yes, in many cases, the flagship instruments of some of the most renowned guitar brands in the world. Thus, Taylor, Martin, Guild, and Larriveé go full-on with these models sparing no expense in delivering the world-class tone that made them famous.

Thinking of them as expensive guitars is, in my opinion, a mistake. In this category, you’ll find a high-quality instrument that will age like good wine and become a better guitar as it turns into an old guitar.

If you have the budget to buy such guitars, don’t think about it as an expensive guitar, but as the music industry benchmark and as an investment.

If you take care of it, guitar prices only go up with time in this price category. But, what you can expect from the best acoustic guitars in this price section?

  • Premium tonewoods – While you can find a solid spruce top on a good acoustic guitar from this price range, you’ll also find exotic and precious woods such as solid rosewood, ebony, koa, sapele, Engleman spruce, and more.
  • Premium accessories – Forget about gig bags; these pieces of stringed art come inside a premium hardshell case. Furthermore, many of these guitars come with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity).
  • Premium electronics – Guitars like the Fender American Acoustasonic Jazzmaster represent the high-end acoustics evolution.

Price ranges this high make the throne for best guitar really hard to get. Yet, this is my take on the best in the market today:

GuitarBody StyleTopBack & SidesPriceCheck Todays Price
Taylor 814ce – Find Our Favorite Taylor Guitars HereGrand AuditoriumSolid Sitka SpruceSolid Indian Rosewood$3999SweetwaterThomann
Martin D-28DreadnoughtSolid SpruceSolid East Indian Rosewood$3199SweetwaterThomann
Martin D-42 SpecialDreadnoughtSolid SpruceSolid East Indian Rosewood$12199Sweetwater
Taylor PS14ceGrand AuditoriumSolid Sinker RedwoodSolid Honduran Rosewood$9999Sweetwater
Gibson Acoustic Hummingbird – Find Our Favorite Gibson Guitars HereDreadnoughtSolid Sitka SpruceSolid Mahogany$3999SweetwaterThomann
Fender American Acoustasonic JazzmasterAcoustasonic JazzmasterSolid Sitka SpruceMahogany$1999SweetwaterThomann
Larrivee C-10 RosewoodRound Shoulder DreadnoughtSolid Sitka SpruceSolid Rosewood$5361Sweetwater
Guild F-55E Maple, Jumbo Acoustic – Find More Great Guild Guitars hereJumboSolid Sitka SpruceArched laminated Figured Maple (back), Figured Maple (Sides)$4199SweetwaterThomann
Cordoba Hauser Master Series ClassicalClassicalSolid Engelmann SpruceSolid Indian Rosewood$4399Sweetwater

What Makes-Up Acoustic Guitars Price?

This is a question every guitar player asks while freaking out at the price tag great guitars have. Let me try and break down a good acoustic guitar cost so we can think of where the price comes from.

Tonewoods

Graphic compares acoustic guitar tonewoods

The first thing to bear in mind is the tonewood. Although you might not believe it, some tonewoods, like original Honduras mahogany, are more scarce and valuable than gold; whether it is for the bars of mallet instruments or guitars.

For example, if you’re lucky enough to be playing guitar with your limited edition Martin OM-24JM, you’ll know that your guitar’s neck is made of genuine mahogany while the new OMJM features a Spanish cedar neck. The difference in price between them is $8,000.

So, tonewoods make up most of the sound quality and also the cost.

Laminated or Solid?

A laminated guitar can be made with leftovers and glue but a solid guitar requires a solid piece of wood. Hence, the vibration, tone, and quality change and affect the price.

As your ears get better, you’ll be able to distinguish, and thus enjoy, higher-quality materials. For example, a laminated, entry-level guitar has a ringing, annoying top-end that is never present in a solid spruce, or solid mahogany top.

Read our full laminated vs solid woods guide here.


Brand Name/Craftsmanship

Although a solid spruce top can make a difference in guitar tone and price, solid spruce by itself doesn’t do the trick. On the contrary, the inner bracings, techniques, and machinery that go into every single high-end guitar in the world took centuries to develop.

Also, modern construction techniques and facilities, like Gibson’s Plek machine, are company investments that go into the guitar’s final price.

Finally, the experience of the craftsman making the guitar is also a part of the price. It isn’t the same to have a seasoned craftsman (we could say artist?) putting the premium materials together than a total novice.


Accessories

displays Taylor 814ce in a guitar case
Getting a hardshell case with an acoustic guitar is a huge plus. (Taylor 814ce)

Finally, good guitars come with great accessories. Yes, whether it’s acoustic-electric, acoustic, classical, or electric guitar, brands tend to make increasingly costly and better accessories for the guitars. 

For example, a Baby Taylor or a Little Martin will come with a gig bag but a Martin D-15M or a Taylor 314ce comes with an exclusive hardshell case.

It all goes into the guitar price (the gig bag and the case) but it’s less notorious as the price goes up.


FAQ

How Much Do Custom-Build Acoustic Guitars Cost?

Custom-built acoustics are only preferable if you’re looking for something very specific you can’t find in the market. The price of such a guitar is, usually, very high. That being said, some luthiers offer affordable guitars made with alternative woods, for example. 

How Much Does A Good Acoustic Guitar Cost?

You can find a good acoustic guitar in any price range. In fact, every guitar that made it to the list in this article is a good guitar. 

Knowing that I would say that if you’re a total beginner, the $100-$400 range is good for you. For intermediate and advanced players, the best is to search in the $400-1000 range. Finally, professionals and seasoned players should look for one above $1000.

Do Acoustic-Electric Guitars Cost More Than Acoustic Guitars?

Usually, acoustic-electric guitars cost more than acoustic guitars. Many brands offer the same guitar model as an acoustic and an acoustic-electric and the second is always more expensive. 

Finally, you can begin with an acoustic and transform it into an acoustic-electric if you need to in the future.

Do Classical Guitars Cost More Than Acoustic Guitars?

If you compare high-end acoustic guitars with steel or nylon strings, both are equally costly. At entry-level prices, on the other hand, a nylon-string classical guitar is usually cheaper to make (no truss rod needed) and hence more affordable than an acoustic or an acoustic-electric guitar.

How Much Should Beginners Pay For Acoustic Guitar?

I would say that anything under $400 will be OK.

Is it Worth It to Buy a Cheap Acoustic Guitar?

It is always worth it to buy a musical instrument to start playing; therefore, it’s better to buy a cheap guitar than no guitar at all. That being said, if your budget allows you any model of the $100-$200 list, you’ll be fine learning with one of those.

Is it OK to Buy an Expensive Guitar as a Beginner?

Playing a high-quality guitar has never hurt anybody. If you can afford it, you might not fully grasp what makes it amazing, but you’ll enjoy it a lot. 

On the other hand, expensive acoustic guitars are very fragile, I wouldn’t think it’s a good idea for a child or teenager; taking a $3000 Gibson Hummingbird to a highschool campfire is a little too risky.

How Can You Make A Cheap Acoustic Guitar Sound Better?

Piezo pickups are crystals installed on your guitar’s bridge. On guitars like the Yamaha Silent, the guitar has no body and sounds like a full acoustic. So, if your guitar is, for example, fully laminated and sounds “dead”, install a good guitar pickup in the bridge. 

That will make it sound much better, at least, when plugged in.

Here are a couple other ways that can make acoustic guitar sound better
-Change the strings
-Change the plastic nut to the nuBone, Tusq, or bone one
-Change the plastic saddle to the nuBone, Tusq, or bone one

Do Acoustic Guitars Hold Their Value?

Entry-level acoustic guitars don’t age well. This is because they’re generally made of laminated wood and each wood type will age differently creating sort of an old Frankenstein as time goes by. 

A good quality solid-wood guitar, on the other hand, can maintain or even gain value if it’s well-preserved.

The initial guitar cost will indicate its latter market value.


Conclusion

It’s a common myth that all the good guitars have a hefty price tag attached to them. Yet, after playing a whole bunch of them in every price range, I have to say that’s not true.

We did the hard work for you boiling down the options to nine good guitars worth buying in each price category. Follow our advice, try out the guitars closest to your budget, and maximize what your dollars can get you.

Buy your next favorite acoustic guitar and let the world hear what you have to say.

Happy (acoustic) playing!


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Santiago Motto

Aka. Sandel. Pure Telecasters and all-mahogany Martins lover. Besides that, Sandel is a professional writer, guitar player, confessed guitar nerd, and all-things-guitar consumer. He has been playing for 25 years which makes him a nineties kid with serious low-tuning youngster years, and a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music. You can connect with Santiago on LinkedIn or just email him.
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Frank Mattes

I’m a Tele guy, myself but I feel that Takamine was shorted in the $1600+ category. I had a new Martin CEO7 that I sold to by a used 2007 Takamine Santa Fe. The action is far superior and the SW Native American enlays of turquoise, mother of pearl, ebony, and bloodstone are absolutely gorgeous. For what listed at around $2000 new at the time, it was a steal. The Martin was dead sounding by comparison and was listed at $2300 at the time.