Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 Dollars: My Top 5

Published Categorized as Guitar Reviews, Guitar Reviews Under $1000, Top 5's

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Over the last couple of months I have being trying out and reviewing guitars that cost less than 1,000. And now I have narrowed it down to my 5 best acoustic guitars under 1000 dollars.

This list is likely to evolve as I try and review more guitars and it will certainly be upgraded when new models are released (as they may be better or worse than the previous models).

Keep in mind as well that what sounds good and plays nice has a certain amount of personal preference involved.

O.k. let’s get straight into it and count down from number 5.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.

Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 Dollars: My Top 5

Table of Contents

Acoustic Guitar #5

Guitar: Takamine GN77KCE
Price: View More Info and Current Prices Here
Top Wood: Hawaiian Koa Laminate
Back & Sides: Hawaiian Koa Laminate
Nut & Saddle: Synthetic Bone
Fretboard: Rosewood

See Full Review: Takamine GN77KCE

The Takamine GN77KCE is at the lower end of Takamine’s range of guitars but it’s still a really smooth guitar to play and it’s certainly easy on the ear.

It is the only guitar on this list to be without a solid wood top, so if that’s a must for you, then there are others on this list you’ll likely prefer. But this guitar still sounds really good despite that lack of a solid top.

This guitar features Takamine’s NEX shape – which is essentially a mini-jumbo and has a couple of unique features, including a split saddle for better intonation.

Potential Improvements

  • Solid wood Top – I think they could do this and still keep it within the under 1,000 range. It would change the character of the guitar – but for the better in my opinion

Acoustic Guitar #4

Guitar: Yamaha LL6ARE
Price: View More Info and Current Prices Here
Top Wood: Solid Engelmann Spruce
Back & Sides: Laminate Rosewood
Nut & Saddle: Plastic
Fretboard: Rosewood

See Full Review: Yamaha LL6ARE

I played Yamaha’s A1M in the same session as the LL6ARE and I have to say I was quite disappointed in the A1M despite hearing great things about it. Maybe the particular one I tried had low quality strings on it? Maybe it was just not to my taste? But it appeared to have a rather tinny sound to me and was not the most enjoyable guitar to play.

The LL6ARE in comparison had a much fuller, richer sound and played more smoothly. It wasn’t as smooth as another I played in that same session (see the Martin GCPA5K further up in this list) but it was a big step up from the A1M in my opinion (despite being the same price).

Mostly it was the sound that did it for me with the LL6ARE – the big reason that it made this list.

Potential Improvements

  • Lower the action
  • Replace the plastic nut, saddle & bridge pins

Acoustic Guitar #3

Guitar: Taylor 110e
Price: View More Info and Current Prices Here
Top Wood: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides: Sapele Laminate
Nut & Saddle: TUSQ
Fretboard: Ebony

See Full Review: Taylor 110e

Featuring an Ebony fretboard and generally quality materials all round you can’t really fault the 110e.

Perhaps it’s the trickle down of technology and materials from Taylor’s high end guitars that allows them to produce such a quality instrument for at such a low price? Whatever it is, the 110e produces a great sound and is pretty nice to play.

About the only place they saved money producing the 110e is on the laminate back and sides but I would never expect to get solid back and sides on a $600 guitar.

The 110e could have made it higher in this list but it didn’t have the kind of sound that I personally like – it was slightly brighter than I would typically go for – but I typically prefer a warmer sound so if you like a brighter sound then the 110e may even be the #1 guitar under 1000 for you.

Potential Improvements

  • Maybe very slight lowering of the action depending on your action preferences (otherwise not much you could do to improve it).

Acoustic Guitar #2

Guitar: Seagull Artist Mosaic
Price: View More Info and Current Prices Here
Top Wood: Solid Cedar Spruce
Back & Sides: Solid Mahogony
Nut & Saddle: TUSQ
Fretboard: Rosewood

See Full Review: Seagull Artist Mosaic

The Artist Mosaic might be the highest priced guitar on this list but it is also the only guitar on this list that could rival guitars 3 times the price.

Seagull’s Artist series guitars are the top of their range and you can see why.

The Mosaic is also the only guitar on this list to have solid back and sides – a real rarity and a nice bonus for a guitar costing less than $1,000. And you’ll definitely notice that in the sound. The best way to describe the sound is that it really sings.

Potential Improvements

  • Even if this guitar cost more I don’t know what I would change.

Acoustic Guitar #1

Guitar: Martin DX1RAE
Price: View More Info and Current Prices Here
Top Wood: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides: Rosewood Patterned HPL (high pressure laminate)
Nut & Saddle: Corian nut, TUSQ saddle
Fretboard: Black Richlite

See Full Review: Martin DX1RAE

Some might think that I’m crazy placing a guitar made from so many man-made materials above an all solid wood beauty like the Seagull Artist Mosaic, but this guitar just blew me away – and I want one!

I had no idea what this guitar was made from before I played it (a purposeful tactic I use when reviewing guitars) and I’m glad I didn’t because it may have made me bias.

The truth is that despite the materials, or perhaps because of them, this guitar sounds and plays better than any other acoustic I’ve tried in this price range.

Again some of the tonal qualities are personal preference but I just loved the balanced, warm yet dynamic sound that came out of this instrument.

And it was literally a joy to play. And I had played this guitar in the same session as a couple of other great guitars and this still felt nicer to play.

This is also, remarkably, the cheapest guitar on the list!

Potential Improvements

  • wouldn’t change a thing!

Over to You

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my list of the top 5 acoustics under 1,000. If you can think of any other guitars that you think should make this list – or if there are any that you don’t think deserve their spot, just leave a comment below.

Check out the links under each guitar above, or the full review link, for more information on each guitar or check out the link below to see all of Six String acoustics under 1000 guitar reviews.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

23 comments

  1. Hi Nathan,

    This is exactly what I was searching for. I took guitar lesson nearly 25 years ago (back in middle school) and loved it. We moved so much being in the military and I wish I would have been able to stick with it. I have been thinking about picking up an inexpensive guitar, but didn’t even know where to start. Fantastic and informative article! Cheers!
    pj

    1. Hey PJ – really glad you found the post helpful. Awesome that you’re thinking of getting back into guitar! Thanks for visiting

  2. Another top notch article indeed. Out of the acoustics reviewed here, I’d probably go for the Martin GCPA5K.

    The reason for my choice is, I usually play Semi acoustics, my main guitar is a Gretsch and I’m used to playing with a cutaway. It’s more of a comfort thing.

    This isn’t to say I’d turn my nose up at any of the other guitars on offer, they are all fine guitars. I also have a Crafter acoustic, it came in even cheaper than those reviewed here and it plays and sounds lovely.

    1. Hey Jay – thanks for stopping in again, appreciate the input. The GCPA5K was a really nice guitar to play and sounded awesome too. Some of the other models there also come in other versions so you can get cutaway versions for most of them – the Taylor 110e comes in a cutaway version as does the Artist Mosaic.

      I have to confess I don’t know that much about Crafter guitars but keen to check them out. Can you let me know the model that you play or recommend and I’ll definitely check it out.

  3. Hey Nathan,

    Nice products for sale Nate, I have a basic acoustic guitar my friend brought from a pawn shop for roughly $100 and gave to me as a birthday present.

    I learned how to play a few tunes here and there which was great fun.

    I see you make a few valid points as to why these guitars are a better choice, I’m going to consider upgrading so thanks for the good review.

    ~Benji~

    1. Hey Benji

      Thanks for visiting and I’m glad you found the post helpful. Great birthday present!

      But yeah if you’re looking to upgrade to a higher quality instrument and looking to improve at a faster rate then one of these guitars wouldn’t be a bad bet.

  4. Great article on some very fine acoustic guitars.
    I too would have listed the Yamaha as my number one choice.
    I have to have a very narrow neck due to some finger injuries and it seems the Yamaha guitars fill that need for me.
    I really like their 12 string models as I play a bit of 60’s music and you just have to have a 12 string for many of those songs!
    Keep the great articles coming!

    Shawn>>

    1. Hey Shawn

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yamaha definitely do some quality instruments for a reasonable price. Going higher end I probably wouldn’t go for them but in that under 1,000 and under 500 price ranges they definitely have some great options.

      I have to be honest I haven’t had much experience with 12 string acoustics – which is why I don’t review them – I don’t feel I am competent enough on one to give a good review – but maybe in the future after I’ve had more experience with them I’ll do some reviews. But i agree that some songs need 12 strings to sound right.

  5. Have you tried Epiphone DR500mce or 2015 AJ-45me ? They are both from the Masterbilt line and have solid wood all around as well as Grover 18:1 tuners.They are very good options,IMHO.Thanks.

    1. Hey Olie

      Thanks for those options.

      I haven’t had the pleasure of playing either of those – but they’ll definitely be going on the list of guitars to review now!

      Thanks for pointing those out.

      Nate

  6. Have you ever played any Breedlove guitars? (one of original owners of Taylor was Breedlove). Very nice feel / sound. Various models – couple <$1000, mostly between $1000-$2000. I'm in the market for an upgrade and am around the $1000 range. I've played the Breedlove Stage model. Very nice with some upgrades without the upgrade price. I haven't made my mind up but your reviews gave me some options.

    1. Hey Joe

      I haven’t had the pleasure to try any Breedlove guitars yet – but I have heard good things so I am very keen to check them out when I get the chance.

      Glad you have gained some options from here. Let me know what you end up going with.

  7. Thanks for sharing such an informative post. All these guitars are the best acoustic guitar. I want to add Yamaha AC3R. it is also a great guitar with this range.

    1. Hey Jon

      Thanks for your input. Yeah the AC3R or anything in that A3 series are also great guitars in this price range. Definitely worth going with a Yamaha A3 than a Yamaha A1 – a good step up in quality for not that much of a step up in price.

  8. did you try the martin DCX1RAE as well? does the same guitar with cutaway sounds just as good?
    and what about the same guitar with mahogany instead of rosewood? did you like it less?

    Thx.

    Gili

    1. Hi Gili

      Thanks for your message. I haven’t played the DCX1RAE unfortunately. But in my experience, it will sound different with a cutaway – but usually (IMO) it’s not a deal breaker. If you feel you would use the cutaway, then I would go cutaway. Maybe subtly not as good a sound but hard to say having not directly compared them – something that I now want to go and do! If I do, I will let you know what I think.

  9. Hi Nate! Thank you for this wonderful article.
    I?m shopping for an acoustic right now and I?m horribly torn between the takamine gn77 that you reviewed here VS the takamine GN20CE NS.
    If you?ve been able to play both I would love to hear your opinion. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelly

      Thanks for your message.

      I haven’t played the Takamine GN20CE-NS unfortunately. Looking at the specs it looks like the biggest difference between the 2 is that the GN20CE has a solid cedar top and laminate mahogany back and sides compared to the laminate Hawaiian Koa on the GN77KCE. I would predict that the GN20CE would have slightly warmer sound with less overtones – a slightly more compact sound. Hard to say how much so without having played them side by side, but that’s what I would predict based on that wood combination.

  10. Hello, very nice Comparison. It is very hard to do one of these at less than 1000, without leaving out a very large number of guitars that are as good or even better. I am an old 69 year old who was a professional Musician since 14, 1963, in the Cleveland area, gave it all up to serve the Country during the Viet Nam War, and never got back in Playing and performing again till 2003. Here are the current Guitars that I use for Recording and performing 2-3 hour gigs: Taylor Dn3, with Lyric Pick-up, Taylor 214CE, Godin A6 Ultra, Godin 5th Ave Kingpin, Tackamine 12 String, ($1200 new), Epiphone DR500mce masterbilt, and just recently purchased the Yamaha A1M. So other than the 12 String Tac and the Taylor Dn3 these are all under 1000, with the Taylor 214 right on the limit. The Taylor DN3 is the best sounding guitar I have unplugged, however it did not come set up with a Preamp and I had to mess around getting something that did it justice,,,Hence the Lyric Mic Pick-up, which sometime has issues with certain PA set-ups. Other than that, of all the guitars listed,,the Epiphone Masterbilt is my absolute favorite, 214 Taylor Second, Godin Kingpin third, Yamaha A1M Fourth, Godin A6 Ultra Fourth and the Twelve String is in a class of it’s own, and only used sparingly. The A1M is the least expensive, but is close to the top three in sound and Playability. It feels great in my hands and the action is Taylor-Like.

    1. Hi Bruce

      Thanks for your input. You’re definitely right, a top 5 doesn’t do justice to the number of great guitars you can get for less than 1,000 these days. The Taylor 214ce would be in there for sure, but my cut off for 1,000 here was based on MSRP, which makes the 214ce over 1,000 – but in reality it is just under 1,000 like you say.

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