6 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1500 In 2020

Best Acoustic Guitar Under $1500

Ah, new acoustic guitar time. Isn’t it exciting??

Part of the fun is doing the research to figure out which model of acoustic guitar is going to best serve your needs.

Do you need nylon or steel strings?

Do you need capability to plugging straight into a PA for gigs? Are you looking for a traditional acoustic, or something with extra features?

What is certain is that since you are reading this article you are looking for something a little bit nicer. The good news is that $1500 (or less in some cases here!) can get you a whole lot of guitar for your hard-earned cash.

Snapshot: Top 6 Acoustic Guitars Under $1,500

  1. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE A60E
  2. Martin 15 Series 000-15M
  3. Taylor 214ce Deluxe Cutaway
  4. Godin Multiac Series ACS Guitar (Slim)
  5. Yamaha Transacoustic LS-TA
  6. Takamine Pro Series 3 P3FCN FXC Nylon

What Makes a Great Guitar in This Price Range?

For this article I will be focusing on guitars that cost between $1,000 – $1,500 and trust me when I say that you can get a stellar instrument at his price.

Wood Selection

Whereas acoustic guitars in the $2,000 price range are almost exclusively going to work with solid woods, guitars around the $1500 range often start integrating solid tops with laminated or layered woods on the back and sides. This allows the manufacturer to get a greater yield of wood or select wood alternatives (a good thing for all the environmentalists out there) to cut down on the cost, while still using solid woods for the top to give great tonal character. Not to worry, these techniques are performed masterfully and still result in a great sounding guitar.

Sound

If you’re spending $1,500, you’re going to want a good sounding guitar, right? Thought so.

Acoustic guitars are especially fascinating because for the most part, how they are built completely determines their tone and playability potential. As compared to electric guitars that can be combined with good amplifiers, pre-amps, effects and more to change their sound drastically. Acoustic guitars have to be well planned out and well made in order to sound good and be worth buying.

Due to the high-quality wood selection and expert level craftsmanship from these guitar builders, all of the guitars on this list sound great and are sure to be exceptionally playable.

Practicality/Advanced Features

We live in an age where guitars are constantly getting updated and re-worked. There are a lot of great new features available for acoustic guitars that make them more useful for gigs and for home use. From built in speakers to great pre-amp/pickup systems, many of the acoustic guitars on this list have some kind of extra feature hidden in them to help them be more useful or inspiring.

There’s a Guitar Out There for Everyone

To piggy-back off what I was just saying about advanced features, every guitarist has a unique set of needs from their instrument. That is why so many guitar manufacturers are coming up with revolutionary design concepts. In this list I tried to incorporate a number of different guitars that would potentially work for a wide variety of acoustic players.

For that reason, even though the guitars are numbered, they are not presented in any particular order.

They all could be the #1 guitar for someone.

The Best Acoustic Guitar Under $1500

1. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE A60E Review

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE A60E Angelus Acoustic Electric Guitar with Case, Natural
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Ziricote Back & Sides
  • Fishman GT1 Electronics
  • Angelus Cutaway

Most people know of Paul Reed Smith for his electric guitars, long championed by the likes of Santana, Tim Mahoney of 311, and now John Mayer. But PRS also makes phenomenal acoustic guitars. The SE A60E is the perfect example of just that, as it is a brilliant sounding guitar at an attainable price.

Body/Neck

The “A” stands for Angelus cutaway, giving you some extra mileage on the higher frets with this guitar. This shape is carved out of a solid spruce top and some absolutely stunning ziricote on the back and sides. All of that is supported by PRS’s Hybrid ‘X’/Classical bracing, for great structure and classical guitar-esque resonance. True abalone purfling and curly maple binding make the guitar shine without looking too flashy.

The neck is a “wide fat” shape made of mahogany, making this a great guitar for anyone who has bigger hands. This also lends to the deep resonance of the guitar. The fretboard and bridge are ebony with the classic bird fretmarkers made of abalone.

Electronics/Hardware

The PRS SE A60E comes with a Fishman GT1 pickup, with the controls discretely hidden inside the soundhole. This is my favorite setup for acoustic pickups because on the outside the guitar still looks like a traditional acoustic. You can’t go wrong with Fishman pickups either, so this guitar is ready to go gigging with you.

It has PRS-designed tuners and a bone saddle, ensuring great tuning stability and intonation. The guitar also comes with a PRS hard shell case, ensuring your investment will be protected for years to come.

Sound

Shame on me for being surprised at how good this guitar sounds. The SE A60E offer a rich low end (due to the ziricote) combined with sweet, rolled-off high ends like you would find on vintage guitars.  This is a very touch sensitive guitar. It will project if you dig into it, but it can also be very delicate too. I attribute this to the X-classical binding, which makes the top wood project like a classical guitar would.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid spruce top, ziricote back/sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Ebony
  • Pickups: Fishman GT1
  • Bridge Material: Ebony

A boutique quality guitar at sub-boutique price

Final Thoughts on the PRS Paul Reed Smith SE A60E

The PRS SE A60E lives up to the reputation of Paul Reed Smith. PRS was the original “boutique” guitar company and it is clear that build quality hasn’t changed. It is a masterfully crafted instrument at a price that is hard to believe. Overall, I think it is an extremely practical guitar with enough aesthetic appeal to inspire you on a daily basis.

2. Martin Series 000-15M Review

Martin 15 Series 000-15M Auditorium Acoustic Guitar
  • The body size is 000-14 FretTop is solid genuine mahogany rosette.

All mahogany guitars have a character to them that is humble and oh so pleasing to listen to. First designed in the 1930’s as an economical design during the great depression, the Martin 000-15M isn’t a cheap guitar, but gives you a lot for your money.

Body/Neck

Mahogany. Mahogany. Mahogany. Solid Honduran mahogany to be specific, finished with a very thin lacquer finish that allows ample protection of the wood without getting in the way of the guitar’s tone.

The bridge and fingerboard are rosewood with “squares and diamonds” fret markers that are subtle and elegant.

Electronics/Hardware

The Martin 000-15M hasn’t changed much since the 1930’s, therefor this guitar doesn’t have any electronics on board. Personally, I find that to be calming. While there is a time and a place for pushing the envelope, it’s nice to know that traditional acoustic guitars are still out there.

The tuning gears are open gear, butter bean tuners that are of a high quality and reminiscent of vintage guitars. Tuning won’t be an issue with this guitar.

Sound

I just love the sound of all mahogany guitars. It is almost hard to put into words. This guitar sounds mellow and warm. The high end is tame but can still sustain for fingerpicking. Mahogany is great for recording as well, because the low end is manageable and there is a focus to the midrange that makes it sit well in a mix.

The 000-15M has an inviting sound that will have listeners leaning in just a little bit closer and with greater intent.

Simply put: this guitar sounds lovely.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid Honduran mahogany
  • Neck Material: Solid Honduran mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: None
  • Bridge Material: Rosewood

A vintage model that is here to stay

Final Thoughts on the Martin Series 000-15M

A Martin-built, all mahogany guitar is my favorite acoustic guitar for strumming and the 000-15M is an excellent example of that. It is a straight-forward, simple design that is sure to yield endless inspiration. There are songs in this guitar.

3. Taylor 214ce Deluxe Cutaway Review

Taylor 214ce Deluxe Grand Auditorium Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Tobacco Sunburst
  • "Shape: Grand Auditorium Number of Strings: 6 Back/Side Wood: Layered Rosewood Scale length: 25-1/2"" Top Wood: Sitka Spruce Body Length: 20"" Electronics: Expression System Body Width: 16"" Cutaway:...
  • Number of Strings: 6
  • Back/Side Wood: Layered Rosewood
  • "Scale length: 25-1/2"""

Taylor is seemingly only capable of making great guitars. The Taylor 214ce Deluxe is certainly no exception. With high quality, solid wood options and a grand auditorium shape, the 214ce Deluxe is a balance option for anyone who wants the flexibility of playing fingerstyle or flatpicking.

Body/Neck

Whereas the original 214ce had layered sapele/rose wood back and sides, the 214ce Deluxe has the same sitka spruce top, but with all layered rosewood back and sides. This is an ideal guitar for anyone who really seeks out the bass response that only rosewood can offer. It also makes the guitar cheaper and very durable.

The neck is three-piece mahogany. I think this is how the 214ce Deluxe manages to be within the $1500 price range. Using three pieces of mahogany allows for a greater yield than single piece necks do, therefore reducing the cost and passing the savings onto you, the player.

This also makes the neck strong. While the body has a glass finish, the neck is finished with a satin finish for a smooth feel. The fingerboard and bridge are both ebony and the headstock has a satin finished rosewood headplate.

Electronics/Hardware

The 214ce Deluxe includes Taylor’s ES Expression System, making this a gig-ready guitar. Many of Taylor’s guitars have this system, which I think sounds great. I also like that the tone controls are subtly located on the shoulder with only the three knobs (Volume, Bass, Treble), making it user friendly and non-distracting.

Taylor uses closed chrome diecast tuning gears. While I like the look of open gear tuners better, closed back gears ensure that they remain lubricated forever. The saddle is compensated, giving each string the ideal scale length for perfect intonation.

Sound

The forward shifted bracing pattern opens up the tone of the instrument. It can project if you need it to. To my ear the 214ce Deluxe offers a tight, high definition tone with rich resonance. The grand auditorium body is a great middle ground for those who want to do some strumming in addition to fingerstyle playing.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid sitka spruce top, layered rosewood back/sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Ebony
  • Pickups: Taylor ES Expression System
  • Bridge Material: Ebony

A versatile, stage ready offering from Taylor

Final Thoughts on the Taylor 214ce Deluxe

The Taylor 214ce Deluxe is a versatile and comfortable to play guitar. The sunburst finish is a handsome option if you opt for it and it is sure to look, feel, and sound good on stage. It is a great option for someone who is finding their voice or who wants to cover a wide variety of styles.

4. Godin Multiac Series ACS Guitar (Slim)

Godin Multiac Series-ACS Guitar (Slim Nylon)
  • North American made
  • Double-Action Truss Rod
  • Honduras Mahogany Neck
  • Computer accessible for multi application playing

The Godin Multiac is by far the least “traditional” model on this list and is included for those who want the tonality of an acoustic, with the playability and flexibility of an electric. It also has 13-pin connectivity, making it a great option for those who want to experiment and redefine what an acoustic guitar can sound like.

Body/Neck

The Multiac ACS Slim has a chambered silverleaf maple body and a cedar top, along with a mahogany neck. The bridge and fingerboard are richlite, giving you the sound and look of ebony at a fraction of the cost. The “Slim” designation is from the 1.7” graphtech nut (just 1/16” wider than Godin’s electric guitars), making this guitar feel and play like an electric.

Electronics/Hardware

This is where things get interesting. The Multiac comes with an RMC Custom bridge transducer and preamp with three band EQ. This means that whatever the venue, you can alter your tone for the best sound possible. The pickups have a very clear quality to them and will work well for jazz, classical, and flamenco playing styles.

In addition to ¼” output, the Multiac has a built in 13 pin output that is usable with Midi and Roland GR-series synthesizers. Not only that, but you can blend the natural sound and synth sounds together, giving you a vast array of experimental tone options. This is great for solo players who want to add a little bit more body or depth to their performances.

Sound

The longer scale length on this guitar makes is a great option for fingerstyle musicians and pickers alike. Either playing style sounds great.

Even when unplugged the Multiac resonates, despite not having a traditional soundhole. The combination of the electronics and nylon strings makes this a warm and lovely sounding instrument. The tone controls give you the capability to control how it sounds.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Silverleaf maple body, cedar top
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Richlite
  • Pickups: RMC Custom transducer
  • Bridge Material: Richlite

If a classical guitar and an electric guitar had a baby…

Final Thoughts on the Godin Multiac Series ACS Guitar (Slim)

The Godin Multiac ACS Guitar (Slim) is a forward thinking and versatile instrument for the non-traditionalist and traditionalist alike. It offers solutions to gigging nylon string players like feedback resistance, ease of play, and additional instrumentation. I’ve heard some great jazz musicians play this model over the years and have always been impressed.

5. Yamaha Transacoustic LS-TA Review

Yamaha LS-TA 6 String Acoustic Electric Guitar Package Includes Guitar Tuner with Guitar Picks and...
  • The Yamaha TransAcoustic LS-TA 6-string acoustic-electric guitar is a great-sounding instrument that delivers an acoustic experience like no other guitar before
  • The onboard reverb and chorus effects don't require any external amplification, you'll enjoy the tones of playing in a rich and lively acoustic space no matter where you are yamaha acoustic electric...
  • The LS-TA is constructed from all solid tonewoods, and the spruce top has been treated with Yamaha's ARE technology for a broken-in tone. yamaha acoustic electric guitar best yamaha guitar acoustic...
  • The LS-TA's back and sides are crafted from solid rosewood, which imbue the instrument with a powerful low and high frequencies yamaha acoustic electric guitar best yamaha guitar acoustic electric...

Like I’ve been saying, $1500 (in this case closer to only $1,000) can get you a whole lot of guitar. The Yamaha Transacoustic LS-TA gives you a great sounding, feeling, and looking guitar, while also giving you reverb and chorus effects… without having to plug into a PA!

Body/Neck

The Yamaha Transacoustic LS-TA is built with a solid spruce top and solid rosewood back/sides. That topwood is then treated with Yamaha’s A.R.E. technology to slightly age the wood and make it sound like it has been played for years. The neck is a five-piece mahogany/rosewood combination with an ebony fingerboard.

Electronics/Hardware

The body and neck are solidly built, giving a sturdy and great sounding platform for the truly appealing part of this guitar: The Actuator.

The actuator is installed on the inner surface of the guitar’s back. As the back vibrates in response to your playing, the vibrations transfer to the Acutator and then projected outward. As a result, you have authentic reverb and chorus sounds coming from the inside of the body! These effects are then controlled by onboard controls, giving you the ability to dial in the exact tone that you want.

The coolest part is that these effects don’t require you to plug the guitar in. You could be sitting on your couch and dial in these effects on a whim for some extra inspiration and depth of sound.

Sound

The guitar sounds solid on its own. Maybe not the most unique sound, but that’s not what you’re here for. What everyone wants to know is if the onboard effects sound good. I am here to report that they do!

Though maybe not as good as some pedal effects, they are certainly pleasing and convincing enough to be used in writing sessions or in live applications. I was pretty blown away by the sound overall here.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid spruce top, rosewood back/sides
  • Neck Material: 5-piece mahogany/rosewood
  • Fingerboard Material: Ebony
  • Pickups: Actuator w/ onboard reverb/chorus
  • Bridge Material: Ebony

No need to plug in. Yamaha gives you effects AND a great playing guitar

Final Thoughts on the Yamaha Transacoustic TS-LA

The Yamaha Transacoustic delivers a playing experience unlike any other. The convenience of having onboard effects without the need to plug in is a game changer. This is a great option for anyone who is tired of typical acoustic guitars.

6. Takamine P3FCN Nylon – Pro Series

Takamine Pro Series 3 P3FCN FXC Body Nylon Acoustic Electric Guitar with Case
  • Solid sapele back, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard with wood "dot-in-dot " inlays.
  • Gold tuners with amber buttons.
  • Natural satin finish.
  • Highly acclaimed CT4B II preamp system with three-band EQ, volume control and built-in tuner.

If the Godin Multiac Nylon string guitar was a bit much for you, then Takamine has you covered. This is a nylon string guitar for the classical players who want a classical guitar. With onboard pickups and a great build quality, the Takamine Pro Series is built with professional players in mind.

Body/Neck

The body is made up of a solid cedar top and sapele back/sides. For the price, I think Takamine could have used mahogany instead of sapele, but in all seriousness I am a huge fan of sapele. It sounds super close to mahogany, is durable, and sustainable.

The bridge and fingerboard are rosewood and the nut is only 1 7/8”, making it a pretty narrow neck for a classical guitar. It is also a hybrid in that it has 14 accessible frets and a cutaway to make reaching them easier.

Electronics/Hardware

The Takamine P3FCN is wedding/gig ready with the highly acclaimed CT4B II preamp system. It also includes a three band EQ for on the go tone shaping capability and a built-in tuner. It also has gold tuners with amber buttons, which I think look very classy.

Sound

This guitar offers a classical guitar sound with a steel string feel. It may change the way you approach your fingerstyle playing. Fan bracing makes the top do all the work and it is able to project quite well. What was surprising to me was that while plugged in the guitar sounded good with a pick. This is a great playing option for accompanying or rhythm playing, as well as defined lead/melody playing.

I was especially impressed by the sound of the CT4b II preamp system. It is very natural and transparent sounding, which I think most classical players will appreciate.

Spec Summary

  • Body Material: Solid Cedar top, sapele back/sides
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Pickups: CT4B II preamp system
  • Bridge Material: Rosewood

An approachable hybrid nylon for professional players

Final Thoughts on the Takamine P3FCN Nylon – Pro Series

Takamine has done a fine job of creating a classical, nylon string guitars with the professional musician in mind. It has hybrid design concepts that are bound to make playing easier, while not being so extreme to frighten off those who want a traditional looking instrument. The preamp system is one of the most transparent I’ve heard, making this a guitar that lets the playing speak for itself.

Between Budget and Boutique

Musician Singing and Playing $1500 Acoustic Guitar

The price range of $1,000 to $1,500 sits right in between budget guitars and high-end guitars. From the list above you can see that there is a mixture of premium materials and creative cost saving solutions.

Yet among all the guitars I can’t point out a single bad aspect of any of these acoustic guitars. Anything that saved cost is passed onto the buyer. These builders, regardless of the price point, want to produce instruments that are worth playing. It goes to show that this price range has a whole lot to offer to the novice and the professional alike.

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