Best Acoustic Guitars Under $200 – The Top 6 Budget Steel-Strings of 2018

List of Acoustic Guitars Below 200During your search for a cheap guitar, you may have noticed that this price range offers the tightest competition between manufacturers and even models within a series.

Most beginners and traveling musicians will spend in this price range for a guitar that can do it all.

Travel.  Play for friends and family.  Occasionally perform for friends.

To make the shopping process easier on you, we’ve filtered through them all.  Here’s the best of what 200 bucks can buy you.  Be prepared to be floored!

 

The Best Acoustic Guitars for Under $200

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
tsj-table__imageFender FA-115
  • Body: Basswood/Spruce
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Laminated Hardwood
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tsj-table__imageJasmine JO-36
  • Body: Sapele/Spruce
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
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tsj-table__imageGretsch G9500 Jim Dandy
  • Body: Agathis/Agathis
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
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tsj-table__imageIbanez AW54OPN Artwood
  • Body: Mahogany/Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
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tsj-table__imageYamaha FG800
  • Body: Nato/Spruce
  • Neck: Nato
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
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tsj-table__imageEpiphone DR-100
  • Body: Mahogany/Spruce
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
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Our 6 Top Acoustic Guitars Less Than $200

It’s amazing how much an extra hundred dollars can make, and it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to guitars.  That extra hundo can buy you an accessories package, better hardware, and even a solid top.

While the quality jump-up in price from $100 to $200 is remarkably significant and cosmetically obvious, there will still be some quality compromise to look out for.

Laminate and plastic hardware will be the norm.  However, we’ll point out all the perks and fancy trappings that makes our lineup a winning list.

Beginners, casual players, intermediate players, and traveling artists can all benefit from a guitar in this price range.  There’s more quality than you’d think for an extra hundred.

 

1

Fender FA 115

Fender FA-115Fender ups the game when it comes to introducing beginner players to affordable guitars.  The FA 115 has made a name for itself in the industry, and not just because it’s new.

It has a solid spruce top that completely changes the way a guitar plays and sounds.  With the solid top, you’re also landing a few accessories that adds even more value to the buy.  It’s a full-size dreadnought with a gloss finish, and it has an X bracing to support intonation and resonance.

Fender is the first choice brand for many first-time buyers.  You tell us if Fender does it again!

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2

Jasmine JO36 NAT

Jasmine JO36-NAT guitarThere’s a pattern with Jasmine – they make the lineups for the best affordable guitars across the board.  They just know what they’re doing and how to offer it within the working man’s budget.

The JO36 acoustic guitar may not have a solid top, but it does have gorgeous sapele back and sides topped with a spruce soundboard.  The full-size grand orchestra body has a 24.75″ scale, slim neck profile, and a classy natural finish.

This Jasmine also features their advanced, forward-shifted, and scalloped X bracing pattern made for better responsiveness and lighter overall weight.

Beginners will appreciate the quality sound, value, and excellent price point – something that Jasmine knows about executing well.

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3

Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Flat Top

Gretsch G9500Want to know what “that great Gretsch sound” sounds like for under 200 bucks?  The Jim Dandy Flat Top acoustic guitar can deliver it.

The parlor body has their iconic “Rex” body shape that should remind you of the swingin’ times.  It’s a completely laminated guitar with its agathis body including the top.  Its deep and rich timbre is all thanks to its flat top – hence the name.

Rock, blues, and even country are specialty genres for this guitar.  It’s quirky, old-school, and unique, and it sure has a finish that will catch will your eye and keep your attention.

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4

Ibanez Artwood AW54OPN

Ibanez AW54OPNThis guitar is one of our personal favorites to date.  Ibanez delivers quality for low prices over and over again, and they never disappoint.  The AW54 with an open pore finish stuns us all, and obviously, its buyers too.

It’s all all-mahogany guitar with a solid mahogany top.  Combine solid tonewood and an open pore finish and you have resonance and projection like never before heard if you’re accustomed to high gloss guitars.

While the Artwood series is dedicated to maintaining traditional features, it also combines some modern elements to improve playability.  Some upgraded Ibanez hardware and a slim, comfortable neck are just a few perks to expect.

How do you find a flaw in such a gorgeous-looking, well-built guitar?  You don’t.  You just buy it and never look back.

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5

Yamaha FG800

Yamaha FG800You’re going to see a lot of this guitar across the board.  It’s a Yamaha that won’t disappoint.  How can it with its solid spruce top and scalloped X bracing recently developed just for the FG series?

It’s loud and strong, especially in the low to mid ranges.  You can be promised dynamic harmonic goodness while accentuating on natural, authentic, acoustic intonation.

It might not be all that fancy to look at, but the FG800 retains its traditional appeal with modern elements for the contemporary player.  At a price point that’s affordable to all, you can’t pass up on the ultimate beginner’s guitar.  Entry-level now means a whole new world of quality for the curious player.

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6

Epiphone DR100

Epiphone DR-100 guitarAh, one of the highest-selling models in the industry – it’s no wonder it made the lineup.  It’s a guitar that is almost always the first choice for a first-time buyer.  Why?

Obviously, quality is right on par for its low price.  Its dreadnought body is a timeless classic for all music genres and playing styles.  The Slim Taper neck makes it easy and comfortable to play, and to make things even more attractive, it’s a Gibson family brand.

It mightn’t come with any accessories thrown in, but with such a low price to begin with, you’ll have money left over to get the extras you need without splitting hairs.

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What to Expect in This Price Range

While the pickings are literally in the thousands for this price range, you’ll always be able to sift through the best and the junk.  We’ve sloughed off the rest to reveal what’s worth your time and money, and what exceeds in value.

But, even though you have a couple hundred bucks at your disposal, you still need to critique your top choices.  Here’s what to expect and what to look for.

  • Tone woods: Most guitars will be laminate in this price range.  However, some top-notch brands will offer solid tops.  Solid top guitars may be the way to go as manufacturers are bringing them at even cheaper price points than ever before.
  • Bracing: With solid tops on the rise in this price range, look out for the bracing pattern.  New and redesigned bracings are getting better and closer to the soundhole.
  • Quality: While the body quality may be the same as what you would see in the $100 price range, you may see upgrades in hardware, soundboards, and bracing patterns.  It may cost you a little bit more than a cheaper model in the $200 budget class, but it will be worth it for longer-lasting integrity and better sound performance.
  • Accessories: A variety of accessories and extras will be offered with multiple models of guitars.  More expensive models may come without the extras since the cost will all go into the fundamental features of a guitar.  Some guitars may come with an accessories bundle for an extra cost that may push you out of the price range.  It’s always best to opt for a quality guitar and buy the accessories as you go.
  • Value: Being brand-specific may offer the best value in a guitar.  Real tonewoods and upgraded hardware is the best judge of value in this price range.  Included accessories are a bonus, but it’s important not to judge guitar quality or performance by the extras that are included.

 

It’s About to Get Real

This may be the price range that motivates a rookie to strive to be a pro.  You’re just getting started at hearing what “good” music sounds like and what a high-quality guitar should feel like.

It’s about to get real, and now it’s up to you to challenge yourself and stick to lessons.  Practice, jam, and play some more.  In this price range, your guitar can handle it all!

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