Buyer's Guides

Best Beginner Acoustic Guitars: Superb Sounding Guitars For All Budgets

Buying a first acoustic guitar is often a beautiful moment and first step for budding musicians of all ages. To make sure it’s a dreamy experience for you or a loved one and to get you strumming away as soon as possible, it’s good to go into your guitar shopping armed with the right knowledge and not burdened down with too many unnecessary options.

Because with the right acoustic guitar in your hands, you’re much more likely to stick to your righteous musical path, especially if you grow to love your trusty steed, we daresay even enjoy practising your scales on it. And the best news of all? You can get guitars that will genuinely tick all the beginner boxes for as little as £/$150. Whether you are on a budget or are happy to splash the cash, there is an acoustic with your name engraved on it below. On your marks, get set, strum!

Tanglewood Blackbird

While looks aren’t the most important thing to consider when seeking out the best beginner’s acoustic guitar, it certainly plays a part — and just look at the Tanglewood Blackbird. It seems faintly ludicrous that the most affordable acoustic on this list has such an esteemed look to it. Some sellers are offering this beauty for as low as £/$130. But does it sound cheap? Definitely not — the only problem you’re likely to encounter is that, as a smaller guitar, you’ll struggle to generate as much low-end as a larger guitar. That aside, it feels and sounds fantastic, and its onboard electronics mean the Blackbird can also be used to plug in directly for live playing and recording. Tweet, tweet!


Yamaha C40 II Classical

If you’ve ever been in a school music room, you’ve probably come across this guitar, the choice of countless players as their first ever acoustic guitar. Especially for those who are seeking the classical guitar sound. As Yamaha so often do across the spectrum of musical instruments, their C40 II Classical is well established as one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, and most popular. Its nylon strings make it a good option for younger players, as they are a little softer to the touch than steel strings. Kids often complain of discomfort when they’re started on a steel string guitar too early. The rosewood fretboard is fantastic, and this instrument delivers a great balance of tone with the right amount of brightness.


Fender CD-60S

Be prepared to be fending off crowds of your fans one day if you invest in one of these. Fender has been selling guitars since 1948, and the CD-60S gives you the chance to own one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners for less than £/$200. Its full mahogany body produces a lovely, round sound, allowing plenty of volume and a strong mid-level sound. The tuners work well, especially compared to similarly priced acoustics.


Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy

The Jim Dandy is a fine looking acoustic guitar, but does its sound and playability match it in the looks department? Thankfully, yes — the fantastic retro design comes with a well-rounded sound which is bright but not overly so. The strum action gives a nice sustain, while the strings have a great pluck feel. It's plucked from the lineage of Gretch’s Rex line of parlour guitars from that hark back to the 1930s, so you’ll be holding a piece of history in your hands. It’s totally ideal for both picked and fingerstyle playing.


Alvarez AD30

The Alvarez AD30, priced around £/$270, offers bag loads of value. Its sitka spruce body produces all the volume you’ll need, with a warm and bright tone. The guitar can happily handle subtle and aggressive playing styles, delivering surprising power. Its construction is rugged and you needn’t worry about it regularly going out of tune. It’s the winning combination of durable and playable, which can be hard to find in the beginner’s marketplace.


Yamaha FG800

Yamaha are, frankly, pretty genius when it comes to producing musical instruments that are both high quality and affordable. Hence why their FG800 comfortably slots them into the best acoustic guitars for beginners debate. It comes with a solid top, which is a rare find on a sub £/$300 acoustic. It’s a fantastic feature as it ensures a warm and full tone, with greater resonance. This is coupled with Yamaha’s new scalloped bracing innovation, providing lots of power and volume.


Martin LX1 Little Martin

Besides Little Martin being the cutest name on this list, Martin has produced a serious yet smaller guitar. The LX1 took the guitar world by storm when one Ed Sheeran became a (very) notable user. It’s one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners even though it isn’t promoted too heavily as a starter instrument — it sounds excellent and professional, but the reduced size means it's perfect for carrying around to lessons and open mics, and is ideal for those who struggle with a full-sized dreadnought acoustic guitar. The only tradeoff is a slight reduction in bass response and volume — there is an electro-acoustic plugin version, the Martin LX1E, to consider though.


Epiphone Hummingbird

The second feathered friend on our best acoustic guitars for beginners list is the Hummingbird from Epiphone, one of those most storied guitars out there. It’s been seen in the hands of Keith Richards, Chris Cornell, Thom Yorke, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles. Not too surprising, then, that it looks and sounds so wonderful. It’s a joy for both strumming and picking, and it comes with Fishman electronics — great news if you have recording or taking the Hummingbird on stage in mind. It’s a guitar that transcends being a mere beginner’s instrument.


Ibanez AEWC400

If you’re a guitarist who started life on electric, then this could be the best acoustic guitar for you. Ibanez is famed for its electric guitars, with some of the metal genre’s most famous (and fastest) players opting for the brand. Many of the more electric-inclined guitarists have complained of the transition to acoustic being a little uncomfortable, but the AEWC400 does a great job of carrying over an electric feel to the acoustic world. The neck has a similar build, and the waist and arm areas contouring add extra comfort also.


Taylor Academy 10

As a name that has always charted very high in every imaginable acoustic guitar premier league table, it has only been in recent years that Taylor decided to start producing new guitars with the beginner in mind. The Academy 10 comes at a price point which will only appeal to the more serious beginners out there. But fret not, because you are, at the end of the day, investing in a quality Taylor guitar, beginner or not. With that name on the guitar case, you can be very confident in knowing it sounds epic, is a joy to play, and is built brilliantly. And if you want the plug and play version, there’s also the Academy 10E. If you’re a lefty, note that the acoustic version isn’t available as a left-handed guitar at the time of writing.


Taylor GS Mini-e

And we’ll be saying ta ra to this list with one more entry from Taylor. The GS Mini-e is the most expensive guitar we’ve mentioned here, but once again, it’s Taylor, so quality is absolutely assured. This is such a recommended guitar for beginners for many reasons: first up, it’s travel-size, so perfect for sticking in its bag and going out into the world with. However, there’s no compromise on sound here; it sounds so fantastic, you wouldn’t be the first player to carry on with this guitar when you’re no longer a beginner. You can generate some beautiful sustain from your picks and strums, and the bass is impressive despite being a smaller instrument. The GS is electro-acoustic as standard, so there’s tons of value here.


Choosing the right guitar size, shape and sound

To make your decision easier, honing down the size, shape, and sound you’re after will make life much easier. Smaller guitars are easier to play, and easier to carry around with you. The tradeoff is reduced volume and smaller tone potential. This is why the dreadnought style of acoustic guitar is the most widely used, thanks to its versatility, and a size that makes it playable while still producing great sound.

If you think you can handle a larger instrument, then there is the aptly named jumbo acoustic. With it comes jumbo volume. Below the dreadnought in size is the parlour guitar, its smaller body meaning a more subtle and softer sound. There are even mini or baby acoustics, if you need an even smaller acoustic guitar.

So, whether you’re looking to begin a journey in playing acoustic guitar, or just looking for a high-quality affordable instrument, you will certainly find that in one of the great guitars above. Troubadours, we salute you!