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The Ultimate Guide to the Top 10 Best Affordable Acoustic Electric Guitars

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Welcome to the world of strumming and plucking! If you’re on a quest to find the best affordable acoustic electric guitars, you’ve hit the right chord. Whether you’re a bedroom rocker, a campfire crooner, or an aspiring stage performer, finding that perfect guitar that doesn’t break the bank is like hitting a high note on your first try—exciting but a tad elusive.

best affordable acoustic electric guitars


In an era where music is as much a part of our lives as breathing, acoustic-electric guitars have carved out a special niche. They bring the soulful sounds of an acoustic guitar and amplify them for all to hear, without losing the essence that makes acoustic music so touching. And the best part? You don’t need to sell a kidney to own one. Affordable doesn’t always mean amateur, and we’re here to prove just that.

What Makes the best affordable acoustic electric guitars

An acoustic-electric guitar is like a superhero. By day, it’s mild-mannered and unassuming, charming you with its acoustic melodies. But when the sun goes down, it plugs in and amplifies its powers, ready to rock a crowd. These guitars come equipped with electronic pickups and a preamplifier, often hidden inside the body, allowing you to connect to an amplifier or PA system without losing the guitar’s acoustic qualities.

Benefits for Performers: Imagine serenading a crowd, your music washing over them like a warm summer breeze. Now imagine doing that without worrying about mics and their stands blocking your face or your dance moves. That’s the magic acoustic-electric guitars bring to a performer’s life.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Affordable Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Sound Quality

The soul of a guitar lies in its sound. Affordable or not, if it sounds like a tin can, it’s a no-go. Look for guitars that offer a rich, full sound acoustically. The amplification should be clear and true to the guitar’s natural sound. Go into a shop and try some out. Some will have brighter, sparkly notes, others will be more tailored to cleaner tones.

Build and Materials

The materials determine not just the durability but also the tone of the guitar. Spruce tops, mahogany backs and sides, and rosewood fretboards are popular choices. Each wood type has its unique sound characteristics, so choose based on the tone you prefer. Looking at what a guitar is make of is essential when looking at the best affordable acoustic electric guitars.

Electronics and Amplification

A good preamp and pickup system is crucial. It should accurately amplify the natural sound of the guitar without distortion or feedback. Features like built-in tuners, EQ controls, and phase switches are bonuses that can enhance your playing experience.

Playability and Comfort

If playing your guitar feels like wrestling a bear, it’s not the right guitar for you. The action (string height), neck shape, and body size should feel comfortable for your playing style and hands.

If playability is what you are looking for, check out our review of the Martin 00 vs 000 guitars.

Brand and Warranty

A reputable brand often means a higher standard of quality and reliability. Additionally, a good warranty can save you headaches and expenses if any issues arise.

Top Affordable Acoustic Electric Guitar Brands

The best affordable acoustic electric guitars present a perfect balance of quality and value. Brands such as Yamaha, Fender, Ibanez, and Epiphone stand out in this category, offering excellent models that provide high-quality sound and craftsmanship without the exorbitant price tag.

These manufacturers have consistently demonstrated that it’s possible to obtain a superior musical instrument on a budget, ensuring that players do not have to compromise on sound or build quality even when funds are limited.

Best Affordable Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $500

In the under $500 category, you’re in a sweet spot where affordability meets quality. You’d be surprised at the gems you can find without having to consider a second mortgage.

Yamaha FGX800C

The Yamaha FGX800C is like the Swiss Army knife of guitars—versatile, reliable, and always in tune with your needs. With a solid spruce top and nato/okume back and sides, it delivers a balanced and robust sound that’s hard to beat at this price point. The System 66 preamp and under-saddle piezo pickup ensure your amplified sound is as true to the acoustic sound as possible. Perfect for beginners and experienced players alike, this guitar is a testament to Yamaha’s reputation for quality.

Fender CD-60SCE

If you’re looking for a guitar that’s as comfortable playing blues in a smoky bar as it is leading a sing-along at a beach bonfire, the Fender CD-60SCE is your match.

With a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, it offers a warm, mellow tone that Fender is known for. The cutaway design allows easy access to the upper frets, and the Fishman Isys III pickup system comes with an active preamp and tuner. It’s a guitar that begs to be played, and with its comfortable neck and smooth action, you’ll never want to put it down. This makes the Fender CD-60SCE one of the best affordable acoustic electric guitars.

Best Affordable Acoustic-Electric Guitars Under $300

For those on a tighter budget, fret not! You can still find quality guitars that won’t make your wallet weep. Here are a couple of stars shining bright in the under $300 sky.

Ibanez AW54CEOPN

Ibanez isn’t just about electric guitars that scream; they also make acoustic-electric guitars that sing. The AW54CEOPN is a testament to that, with its solid mahogany top, back, and sides providing a warm, rich sound that’s surprising at this price.

The onboard Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp ensure that your amplified sound loses none of its acoustic charm. It’s a rugged, handsome guitar that plays as good as it looks, making it ideal for the gigging musician on a budget.

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Player Pack

The best affordable acoustic electric guitars for beginners are epitomized by Epiphone’s PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Player Pack. This all-inclusive set provides novices with the essential tools to embark on their musical endeavors, featuring not only a guitar but also an amplifier, tuner, gig bag, strap, and picks, all designed to facilitate a smooth and comprehensive introduction to guitar playing.

The guitar itself, with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides, offers a sound that’s both bright and warm, perfect for experimenting with different styles. The built-in preamp and tuner mean you’re always ready to plug in and play, whether you’re practicing at home or performing for friends.

Highlight: Best Value for Money Acoustic-Electric Guitars

When it comes to the best affordable acoustic electric guitars, the Yamaha FGX800C and the Fender CD-60SCE stand out. Both offer exceptional quality and playability for their price, making them excellent investments for both beginners and seasoned players looking for a reliable secondary guitar.

Buying Guide: New vs. Used Acoustic-Electric Guitars

New Guitars:

  • Pros:
    • Warranty and support from the manufacturer.
    • No wear and tear; you’re the first to make your mark on it.
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than buying used.
    • Value can depreciate quickly.

Used Guitars:

  • Pros:
    • More affordable, allowing you to get a better quality guitar for the same money.
    • Some believe older guitars have a “broken-in” sound that’s richer.
  • Cons:
    • Potential hidden problems if not properly checked.
    • No manufacturer warranty.

When buying used, always play before you pay, or have a knowledgeable friend help you assess the guitar’s condition.

Key Features of High-Performing Affordable Acoustic-Electric Guitars

  1. Solid Top: A solid wood top generally offers better tone and resonance compared to laminate.
  2. Quality Electronics: Look for reputable brands like Fishman, Yamaha, or Ibanez preamps and pickups.
  3. Playability: A comfortable neck and action make playing enjoyable and reduce fatigue.
  4. Craftsmanship: Even affordable guitars should have neat, tidy workmanship, with no glue spots or rough edges.
  5. Weight: the weight of a guitar can have a drastic impact on the sound. Getting the right sound for you may take a bit of experimentation

Remember, the best affordable acoustic electric guitars are the one that feels right in your hands and sounds good to your ears. Use these guidelines, but trust your instincts.

Understanding Guitar Electronics and Amplification

The electronics in the best affordable electric acoustic guitars can seem like wizardry, but they’re quite straightforward once you get to know them. The pickup captures the vibrations of the strings and converts them into electrical signals. The preamp then boosts these signals and often gives you control over the tone and volume. Finally, the output jack lets you connect your guitar to an amplifier or PA system, sharing your music with the world.

Preamps and Pickups

  • Preamps often come with EQ controls (bass, mid, treble) and sometimes a built-in tuner, which is incredibly handy. Some even offer feedback reduction features, perfect for live performances.
  • Pickups vary in type and placement, with under-saddle piezo pickups being common in affordable models. They’re known for their clear, bright sound.
  • When testing guitars, play both unplugged and amplified to ensure the electronics meet your needs without sacrificing the guitar’s natural acoustic tone.

How to Test an Acoustic-Electric Guitar Before Buying

  1. Check the Build: Look for any signs of poor construction or materials. The guitar should feel solid and well-made.
  2. Play Acoustically: How does it sound unplugged? The tone should be rich and full, with good sustain.
  3. Test the Electronics: Plug it in. The amplified sound should be clear and true to the guitar’s acoustic sound. Test all controls for smooth operation.
  4. Feel the Playability: Is the neck comfortable? Can your hand easily wrap around it? Are the frets smooth, and is the action (string height) comfortable for your playing style?
  5. Inspect the Finish: While aesthetics don’t affect the sound, a well-finished guitar is a sign of quality craftsmanship.

Accessories for Your Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Once you’ve chosen your guitar, a few essential accessories can enhance your playing experience:

  • A Good Case: Protect your investment with a hard case or a padded gig bag.
  • Strap: For playing standing up.
  • Capo: To easily change the key of your guitar.
  • Strings: Having a spare set can save the day.
  • Picks: Experiment with different thicknesses to find your preferred sound.

Maintenance Tips for Acoustic-Electric Guitars

Keep the best affordable acoustic electric guitar sounding their best with regular maintenance:

  • Clean It Regularly: Wipe down the strings and body after playing to remove oils and dirt.
  • Humidity Control: Too much or too little humidity can warp the wood. Aim for 45-55% humidity.
  • String Changes: Change your strings every 3-6 months, depending on how often you play.
  • Regular Check-ups: Like any good relationship, a yearly check-up can prevent issues from becoming serious.

Upgrade Options for Affordable Acoustic-Electric Guitars

Upgrading your guitar can breathe new life into it. Consider replacing:

  • Pickups: A high-quality pickup can significantly improve your guitar’s amplified sound.
  • Strings: Experiment with different materials and gauges to find your preferred tone and feel.
  • Nut and Saddle: Upgrading to bone or a high-quality synthetic can enhance tone and sustain.

User Reviews and Testimonials

Don’t just take my word for it. Look up user reviews and testimonials for any guitar you’re considering. Hearing about other players’ experiences can provide valuable insights and help you make a more informed decision.

The Beginner’s Guide to Affordable Acoustic-Electric Guitars

If your in search of the best affordable acoustic electric guitars that resonate with your spirit while also being kind to your budget? You’ve arrived at the ideal destination. Whether you’re just beginning your musical journey or seeking to expand your collection, we’re here with a straightforward guide to assist you in navigating the vast array of stringed instruments. So, settle in with your preferred drink, and let’s get started on this adventure!

Acoustic-Electric Guitar Amplifiers: Your Best Buds

First off, let’s talk about your guitar’s partner in crime: amplifiers. While acoustic-electric guitars are designed to sound great even without amplification, having a good amp can elevate your sound from the bedroom to the stage. When shopping for an amp, look for one that’s specifically designed for acoustic guitars to ensure it enhances your guitar’s natural tones rather than overpowering them.

The Ultimate Beginner Guitar Buying Guide

Picking your first (or next) guitar can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. From body shapes to wood types, the choices can seem endless. Focus on finding a guitar that feels comfortable in your hands and resonates with your musical soul. And hey, it doesn’t hurt if it looks pretty cool, too.

Keeping Your Acoustic-Electric Guitar Humming: Maintenance Tips

Your guitar is more than an instrument—it’s a companion on your musical journey. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the body, conditioning the fretboard, and checking for any loose parts, will keep your guitar sounding its best for years to come. A little TLC goes a long way!

Preamp Features in Acoustic Guitars: The Secret Sauce

The preamp in your acoustic-electric guitar is what makes plugging into an amp or PA system possible. It’s like the secret sauce that adds flavor to your sound. Look for preamps with EQ controls to shape your tone and a built-in tuner for on-the-fly tuning. Trust me, your future self will thank you during live performances.

Affordable Guitar Brands Review: Finding Your Match

Not all guitars are created equal, but thankfully, brands like Yamaha, Fender, and Ibanez have mastered the art of crafting quality guitars that won’t break the bank. Each brand has its unique flavor, so it’s worth trying out a few to see which one sings to you.

Guitar Body Shapes and Sound Quality: A Love Story

The shape of your guitar not only affects how it feels when you play but also how it sounds. Dreadnoughts offer a robust, loud sound perfect for strumming, while concert and grand concert guitars provide a more balanced tone ideal for fingerpicking. It’s all about finding the shape that fits your style and your hands.

Guitar Pickup Types and Differences: Electrifying Your Sound

The type of pickup in your guitar dramatically influences how it sounds when amplified. Piezo pickups are common in acoustic-electric guitars, offering a bright, clear sound. Soundhole pickups, on the other hand, are easy to install and offer a warmer tone. Why not experiment to find the sound that electrifies your soul?

Playing Acoustic-Electric Guitars Live: Stealing the Spotlight

Stepping onto the stage with your guitar is a thrilling moment. To guarantee that your performance is captured with clarity, consider investing in a top-notch DI box that enables you to connect your guitar to the PA system. This ensures that the authentic sound of your best affordable acoustic electric guitar is perfectly amplified. Moreover, bear in mind that carrying confidence as your best accessory is key to a memorable performance.

Guitar Fretboard Care Tips: A Smooth Journey

The fretboard is where your fingers spend most of their time, so keeping it in good condition is crucial for a smooth playing experience. Regular cleaning and oiling (for rosewood or ebony fretboards) can prevent dirt buildup and keep the wood from drying out. It’s like a spa day for your guitar!

Soundhole Pickups vs. Piezo: The Tone Debate

Choosing between soundhole pickups and piezo pickups can feel like picking a favorite child. Soundhole pickups offer ease of installation and a more traditional sound, while piezo pickups, typically installed under the saddle, provide a brighter tone that captures the guitar’s nuances. Why not try both and see which one captures your heart?


The journey to finding the best affordable acoustic electric guitars can be as thrilling as nailing that solo you’ve been working on. With the right information and a little bit of guidance, you’ll find the perfect guitar that hits all the right notes, both financially and musically. Remember, the best guitar is not just about the price; it’s about how it makes you feel when you play it. Happy strumming!