You mightn’t have the slightest idea where to begin when you want to start guitar lessons. But, with the right advice and information, you can start off with a great beginner guitar.
It may be a brand-name instrument, or it may just be the one that includes a complete starter kit.
The following lineup is by no means a comprehensive list of every great guitar that can get you off to a strumming start, but we have listed some of the top acoustic guitars with quality, value, and great sound.
Any one of these guitars will be an excellent first-time buy, and a guitar that you’ll remember forever!
The Best Beginner Acoustic Guitars
There are so many guitars that can make the cut for a newb who’s out for a great deal and quality to boot, but there’s a select few that caught our eye. We looked at value, build, material quality, body shape, and of course, sound.
While budget is very important to a beginner, we also entertained some expensive first-time guitars that are on the upper end of the entry-level scale. You can start off with a $100 guitar, but if you have a flexible budget, a quality guitar can last a long time.
More importantly, you want a guitar you like, motivates you to keep playing, and encourages you to discover your passion. Aesthetics are always a pleasing factor, but it’s important to pay attention to the craftsmanship, sound, and hardware. All these things put together can make for a great overall beginner guitar that enables you to achieve talent and skill.
Let’s put you a deserving guitar into your hands today!
Our 6 Top Acoustic Guitars for Beginners
Maestro by Gibson Honey Burst – Best Under $100
Of course, it’s a Gibson-brand guitar that tops the charts as first-choice for a beginner’s first-time buy. It’s a basic, entry-level model that has all the standard features that includes laminate, a dreadnought body, and a gloss Honey Burst finish.
But, it’s not just any old laminate, it’s an exotic Kauri veneer that mimics the unique and amazing wood from ancient trees in New Zealand. As a full-size guitar, it’s going to project loud and strong. It’s warrantied by Gibson, and it’s under $100!
If you’re going to go the budget route, why not take that path with a well-known brand and look good at the same time?
Jasmine excels in the entry-level market, and they have multiple models ripe for the picking. But, the S35 is a tried and true instrument. It’s a gem among the dime-a-dozen beginner guitars for more reasons than one.
The S35 has solid features such as advanced X bracing, satin finish, and a great price. It also has full body binding, a slim neck, and excellent playability, something that’s appreciated by new players.
This guitar is well-made, and Jasmine has a long history of making their buyers happy. With no accessories included in this buy, the entire cost is invested into the quality of the guitar. A low price for a better than average guitar? It’s a deal.
Fender FA115 – Best Under $200
You’ll start seeing the difference in quality when you put in a little more cash in your guitar fund, and it can land you the FA115. Fender has been overhauling their inventory, and we’re glad to see the new models they’re introducing to the entry-level market.
The FA115 doesn’t have a laminate top like most cheap guitars. No, this guitar has a solid spruce top for less than $200. Fender has known to have the backs of beginner guitarists on a budget, and the FA115 comes in to fill that need and deliver quality and sound at the same time.
It’s a win-win situation when you’re tight on funds, and to make the deal even sweeter, you’ll also get a beginner’s acoustic pack included in the buy. Now, how’s that for savings?
Ibanez Artwood AW54OPN
This isn’t the cheapest Ibanez guitar we’ve reviewed, but it’s one of our absolute faves for the value. It’s no secret that we’re partial to the Artwood Series, and the AW54 takes home the gold today.
We’re seeing some fantastic features for the money in this guitar. It’s an all-mahogany instrument with a solid top. Additionally, we typically see gloss finishes on entry-level guitars that can diminish sound and resonance, but the Artwood guitar has a gorgeous, raw open pore finish.
This is a stunning guitar that even has Ibanez propriety features. Be sure to look out for that. But, if you want your guitar to look profesh without breaking the bank, we guarantee this one will fit the bill.
Fender CP60S – Best Under $300
The dreadnought is often the go-to body shape for most guitarists regardless of body size, playing style, and skill level. However, the CP60S strays from the conventional and offers up a parlor guitar with steel strings for beginners.
The guitar sits at an attractive price point with its solid spruce top, Easy-to-Play neck, and rolled fret edges. Smaller adults will find this Fender comfortable to hold and play, and that immediately helps to improve playability.
If you’re interested in learning fingerstyle picking, this parlor guitar has a great body shape for it. Now that fingerstyle playing has spread across many music genres, you can play anything you want with this Fender.
Seagull S6 – Best Under $500
This guitar has been a favorite among many guitarists with varying skill levels for a long time. While this is a mid-level to high-end and professional-grade brand, the Seagull S6 is one of their more affordable models, and it’s a real treat to own as a first-time buy.
It doesn’t have a laminate mahogany or even spruce top, it has a solid pressure-tested cedar top. Excellent craftsmanship is a well-known feature from the brand, and it’s seen in this guitar, even though it may be entry-level to guitar snobs.
Made in North America, this guitar can’t be beat for the price. Even better than that, it just can’t be beat for quality and value, and with one strum, you’ll see it’s not just a good guitar for the money, it’s just a good guitar. Now, this is a heck of a way to start off your lessons!
How to Choose a Learner Guitar
First and foremost, your budget is going to set the criteria for the guitar you’ll end up buying. You’ll have to decide whether you want that budget to cover an included accessories bundle, or if you’re buying the guitar solo.
Most beginner guitars come with decent playability out of the box, but you may want to upgrade or replace the strings upon box opening.
Trying to decide between laminate or a solid top guitar? Are plastic bridge and saddles acceptable? Let’s lay out the groundwork right here.
- Price: It would be easy if we could definitively answer how much a beginner should spend on a guitar, but it’s a personal decision. $200-$500 can certainly be considered an investment into a quality instrument and into your passion and skills. However, for a recreational and practice guitar that you want for rainy days and filling in the quiet of spare time, $50-$100 might do.
- Tone woods: Laminate is going to be the cheapest route. But, you can find solid top guitars under $200. If you have that budget to spare, you’ll notice the jump up in quality and sound.
- Size/Shape: Dreadnoughts are one of the most common body types among guitarists. It might suit your needs perfectly well, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the only body shape that can do it all. Scaled-down, parlor, and other sizes may suit your body type better, especially those with cutaways, and you can learn a variety of playing styles.
- Bracing: Bracing patterns are built for soundboard strength and contributing to resonance and responsiveness. You’ll start seeing advanced bracing patterns the more you spend.
- Accessories: You can look specifically for beginner guitars that come with accessories included in the purchase. This will help offset the costs involved in fronting up cash for all the beginner items you’ll need. However, buying a decent guitar can sometimes mean it comes with no extras thrown in. You’ll have to spend more on getting the essentials.
- Value: The guitars we’ve recommended all have value for the starting musician. We’ve filtered out the duds and tinny-sounding guitars from the few gems that will do you right.
Strum, Pick, Play!
This can very well be the start of lifetime hobby and passion, and passion is important if you want to make music magic. A guitar that you’re not sure about, hate, or think is “just okay” from the beginning doesn’t offer a very motivating or inspiring place to start your music journey. If in doubt, throw it out – well, just pass on it and move to the next one.
Shop, test drive, play, strum, and pick every guitar you can get your hands on. Watch videos, tutorials, and read our reviews to get an idea of what you think you may like, want, and need. Armed with all that, you’ll be fully prepared to get far in your making your own signature groove.