The Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners: My Top 6

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The following 6 acoustic guitars are what I consider to be the best acoustic guitars for beginners – based on all the guitars that I have had the privilege to play.

There will be other options out there, too. But, any one of these 6 would make a great beginner acoustic guitar player.

Let’s get into the top 6!

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

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

Table of Contents

Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners: Quick List

The acoustic guitars below have been chosen for their ease of play, reasonable sound, and quality of build – and at a reasonable price.

Everyone’s budget is different. So, a reasonable price is subjective. However, every guitar I have chosen here is at least less than $500.

1.Taylor GS Mini

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

2. Fender CD-60

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

3. Art & Lutherie Ami

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

4. Fender T-Bucket 300CE

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

5. Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

6. Yamaha FG800

The Best Acoustic Guitars For Beginners: My Top 6

1. Best Acoustic Guitar: Taylor GS Mini

  • Guitar Make and Model: Taylor GS Mini
  • Size/Shape: Mini
  • Price Rank on this list: 6th

See Full Review of Taylor GS Mini

It may be the most expensive on this list (roughly $500 but check the link above for the most accurate current price) – but it’s also the best beginner acoustic guitar, in my opinion.

And it’s not only a great option for beginners but this is a guitar you could have for the rest of your life too. It has an awesome sound to it and packs a decent punch despite its size. I want this guitar for myself even though I am not a beginner – so if you want an investment that will last then this is a great option.

It has the shortest scale length of any guitar on this list – 23″ (597mm) which makes it super easy to play. Plus, action is already well set up so you wouldn’t need to make any adjustments there.

That makes this the perfect option for kids and adults with smaller fingers. Even if you have bigger fingers though, this would still be a great starter guitar (you might just have a little bit of trouble fitting your fingers into the higher frets).

And the sound is so good that even the very beginner will sound great playing this guitar – and they’ll be less likely to give up playing because the sound is so pleasant.

You can check out my full review of this guitar above and see just how impressed I was with this guitar – this was my #1 rated guitar in my list of the top 5 acoustic guitars under $500.

Ideal for kids and adults with smaller fingers and anyone who doesn’t want any set up adjustments to make.

Potential Improvements

Wouldn’t change a thing!

2. Best Acoustic Guitar: Fender CD-60

  • Guitar Make and Model: Fender CD 60
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Price Rank on this list: 1st

See Full Review of Fender CD-60

The CD-60 is another dreadnought option great for an adult’s first guitar.

It’s super affordable – the cheapest (equal with #6) on this list – and it’s really pleasant to play.

This is a great option if you don’t want to do any set ups after you buy it. The action, in my opinion, is fine out of the box.

Like the other fenders on this list the scale length is 25.3″ (643mm) – which is good if you have bigger fingers but don’t want the scale length quite at a full 25.6″ (650mm).

You can also get the CD-60CE version which has a cut away and electronics (for a slight increase in price).

Potential Improvements

Great straight out of the box. To improve the sound later on you could replace the plastic nut and saddle but this is certainly not a must and certainly not something you’d need to do straight away.

3. Best Acoustic Guitar: Art & Lutherie Ami

See Full Review of Art & Lutherie Ami guitars

Art & Lutherie’s Ami is a great option for kids and adults alike but is particularly suited to kids and smaller sized adults – especially those with smaller fingers.

The short scale length of 24.84″ (630mm) means that there is less tension on the strings making it easier to play and easier on the fingers. It also brings the frets closer together which makes it easier for anyone with smaller fingers.

If you have larger fingers it will be more difficult to fit your fingers in the higher frets but otherwise is still definitely an option.

You also get a surprisingly punchy sound for a guitar of this size.

Ideal as a beginner guitar for kids and smaller adults.

Potential Improvements

I hate to say it again – but it’s the case on a lot of acoustic guitars – but get the action lowered. It will make it much easier to play and you’ll be thankful that you did. It’s not too expensive to have done either and worth the little bit of extra cost.

4. Best Acoustic Guitar: Fender T-Bucket 300CE

See Full Review for Fender T-Bucket 300CE

The T-Bucket 300CE is a super reasonable price for acoustic electric guitar (roughly $300 (USD) but see link above for more accurate current price) – especially since you get electronics with it.

So if you’re looking for a starter guitar but you want the ability to plug it in, and not spend too much money, then the T Bucket is a great option.

Also if you’re looking for something that you can just play straight out of the box without having to adjust anything then this is a great option. The action is really nice as is which helps to make it really nice and easy to play for the beginner.

It has a slightly shortened scale length (25.3″ (643mm) so that takes some tension off but doesn’t affect fret sizes in the higher frets too much.

Too big for kids but a great adult beginner guitar.

Potential Improvements

To make it even easier to play, especially for beginner fingers, you could put silk and steel strings on it. Also, this might be an introduction to the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners.

5. Best Acoustic Guitar: Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

  • Guitar Make and Model: Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat
  • Size/Shape: Grand Concert (00)
  • Price Rank on this list: 4th

See Full Review for Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat

Want a beginner guitar with a bit of a punk history? Then the Tim Armstrong Hellcat (named after Rancid’s Tim Armstrong) might be your pick.

The guitar is nice and easy to play, thanks in part to the slightly shortened scale length (25.3″ (643mm)) – this means there is slightly less tension on the strings, making it technically and physically easier to play.

The sound is also really decent, especially given the price of the instrument.

The smaller size (concert size) also makes this nice and easy to handle.

The action, like the Yamaha FG700S, would need to be lowered in my opinion but this isn’t too costly to have done. If you don’t want to have to do anything to your guitar after you buy it, then check out some of the other options below.

This would be suitable for kids to learn on too considering the size but would also work really well for an adult with bigger fingers who may find some of the shorter scale length acoustic guitars difficult to fit their fingers into the higher frets (the Hellcat’s scale length is only slightly reduced).

Potential Improvements

Lowering the action would the big one.

6. Best Acoustic Guitar: Yamaha FG800

  • Guitar Make and Model: Yamaha FG800
  • Size/Shape: Dreadnought
  • Price Rank on this list: 1st

See Full Review for Yamaha FG800

To be the perfect beginner guitar player, the scale length should be slightly shorter to make it easier to play (this isn’t the only consideration, but is one of them). The Yamaha FG800 does have a scale length of 650 mm (25 9/16″) which is full size.

However, everything else about this guitar makes it the perfect beginner’s acoustic guitar.

  • The price is right (roughly $200 (USD) but check the link above for a more accurate current price) and is the cheapest equal on this list.
  • The guitar is really easy to play despite the full scale length
  • The guitar has a great, balanced sound for the price
  • Stays in tune well

It’s probably too big for kids to learn on but for adults this is a great starter guitar for an awesome price.

Potential Improvements

As with a lot of Yamaha’s I found the action too high. Get the action lowered and this would be an even easier guitar to play.

Thanks for Reading

I hope that this post has helped you to find the best acoustic guitar for a beginner. Even though these acoustic guitars are in order from #6 down to #1, the best acoustic guitar option for you will depend on your own physical characteristics and preferences.

If you have any questions or comments or can think of any great beginner acoustic guitars that are worthy to be on this list just, leave a comment in the comments section below.

FAQs Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners

What is the easiest acoustic guitar to play?

The general consensus is that steel-stringed acoustic guitars are the easiest guitar for a beginner to play. Some might, however, argue that a nylon-string classical guitar is better suited to a beginner owing to the fact that the strings are made of a lighter material and will, thus, be easier on the novice and uncalloused fingers of a beginner guitarist. These guitars are especially well suited to those guitarists learning in an environment that is less than welcoming to loud noise, for they can be strummed aggressively with little volume.

Which guitar is best for beginners?

This is a much-explored debate, something eagerly googled by parents prospectively looking for the right instrument to buy their child when it comes to that time of year. While there is much suggestion that a steel-stringed acoustic guitar is best for beginners, it is far more sensical to start with a nylon-stringed classical guitar. The latter guitar is typically more affordable and has a number of benefits in terms of playing as well. For one, the lighter material from which the strings are constructed means that they are more forgiving on the fingertips of a beginner guitarist who has not yet developed the callouses necessary to fight it out with an electric guitar or acoustic guitar.

How do I choose an acoustic guitar for beginners?

The market for beginner guitars has never been more overwhelming, so it is no wonder people start learning guitar but feel they have no place to turn, and no authoritative resource to consult on the subject. There are, however, a few things that prospective beginner guitarists should keep in mind when looking for their first guitar. The key things to look for are whether a guitar is set up properly and is easy to play. Being at the early stages of musical development, it is unlikely that the guitarist will know how to set up a guitar themselves. Thus, such a guitarist would be advised to go to their local music store and feel out the guitar that sits best beneath their fingertips.

Should a beginner start with an acoustic guitar?

Though plenty of musicians have learned on both the acoustic guitar and electric guitar originally, it is for some reason more common to begin on an acoustic guitar first. The belief is that by using this kind of guitar you will somehow achieve greater finger strength and force yourself to have the discipline to learn chords for songs while strumming. If you feel inclined to use an electric guitar, then go for it. Follow your own desires rather than doing what some biased source tells you to (or at least make your own mind up about it first).

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 :-)

8 comments

  1. Hi Nate,
    I have a Taylor acoustic model 810 and I came across your article regarding the best strings for beginners. I was hoping you could suggest a particular brand/ type of strings for my guitar. I had every opportunity to learn to play growing up but never wanted to. You know how it goes. If your parents are doing it, it’s probably not cool. Well, I totally regret not getting started when I was younger. The guitar belonged to my mother– she played bluegrass. The strings on it now are too difficult for me to hold down. So in your opinion what is a good light guitar string to start out with on my guitar? and Can you recommend any dvd’s that would be good for a beginner to learn from? Thanks!

    1. Hi Melissa

      Thanks for your message. I totally get that. My parents were always trying to get me to play piano growing up – but I just wasn’t into it. It wasn’t until I was a young teenager that I thought guitar was pretty cool and started playing that instead.

      The 810 series are really nice guitars so you are lucky to have one! The 810 is a dreadnought shape, which is definitely good for playing bluegrass so a good choice for her by the sounds of it.

      I have a couple of suggestions for making the guitar easier to play.

      1. Check the action of the guitar (how high the strings are off the fingerboard). If the action is too high it will feel difficult to press the strings down. The action can change on a guitar as it gets older so if it hasn’t been “set up” in a while, then that’s something worth doing. You should be able to get this done at a guitar shop or you could do a search for a guitar luthier or guitar tech in your area. Check out this post to tell if your action is too high.

      2. Put silk and steel stings on it. It won’t sound the same as it does with something like phosphor bronze strings on it but it will make it easier to play – and then once you are more experienced you could replace those strings with something else. Taylor uses Elixir Phosphor Bronze Medium strings on their 810 guitars these days (not sure how old your one is). If you change to silk and steel they will put less tension on the guitar which will mean you’ll probably need to adjust your setup. So, if you need to adjust the action on the guitar, I would ask them about putting silk and steel strings on too. It may be the case that lowering the action is enough to make it easier to play (if the action is currently high) but silk and steel would make it even easier.

      You can check out my Best Strings for Beginners post again for some recommended Silk & Steel Brands

      In terms of DVDs, there are DVDs you can get but I haven’t purchased any so I’m not sure which would be the best one’s. But there are several online lesson providers that do video lessons. This is the best way to go in my opinion. You can check out some online lesson providers at the link below.

      >>Online Guitar Lesson Providers

      Hope this helps

  2. I love guitar and I wish to become a great guitarist, and also love singing I feel a live when start singing but I had so many problems hold me back from being a great singer like singing with full control and my vocal power.
    So I searched the internet for singing courses and I found out this awesome program by celebrity trainer Aaron Anastasi
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc2KFTwFAMw
    Its called superior singing method, I it helps every one want to start or improve his skills.

    1. Hi Danni

      Thanks for sharing. Not sure how it’s relevant to this particular post but always good to improve that singing voice. Singing and playing guitar at the same time is another thing altogether – quite an art to that too.

  3. Hi Nate
    Thank you for all the information.

    Can you tell something about Yamaha F310 and F370 Guitars. How are they for beginners.
    And did you heard about Washburn Guitars. If you know can you tell how they are.
    Specifically looking for washburn wd7s Harvest Series.

    I am looking for a descent guitar under $200

    1. Hi Vish

      I haven’t played the F310 or F370 but from the specs it sounds like they would be good for beginners. They have a slim neck and a narrow nut width – 1.66″ (42mm). Also the scale length is slightly shorter – not by heaps but by a little bit. Also, though I haven’t played these particular guitars, Yamaha do tend to be good quality and have a decent sound, even in their lower priced instruments. It looks like they are dreadnoughts (the shape/size) – which isn’t ideal for beginners but it’s also not a deal breaker.

      I know of Washburn but I haven’t really played them. But just looking at the specs, I don’t think the wd7s is an ideal beginners guitar – full scale length for starter. But it does have a 1.69″ (43mm) nut width, which is pretty standard but it’s not too wide either, so I think that would be fine. It’s a dreadnought also.

      And I can’t really comment on what the expected quality would be for the Washburn guitar either as I don’t have experience with playing washburns.

      I’d say one of the Yamaha’s would be a safer choice.

      Whichever you go for, one of the most important things is to get the guitar setup so that it is easy to play. This is usually a case of having the ‘action’ lowered. You should be able to take the guitar into a guitar store to have this done. Learn more about choosing a beginner guitar below.

      >>Choosing a Beginner Acoustic Guitar

      Hope this helps

  4. Hi Nate,

    Thanks for this very informative article and related links.

    How would you compare the Taylor GS mini with the Martin Dreadnought Jr. for beginners.

    Thanks, Tom

    1. Hi Tom

      Thanks for your message.

      I haven’t played the Martin Dreadnought Jr so I can’t say for sure, but based on the specs it seems like it would be a good beginner guitar option for sure.

      It has a shortened scale length (24″ or 610mm) and it has that smaller size that can be easy to handle for a beginner. It would be best suited for a smaller individual though. If your fingers are too big (and same goes for the GS Mini) then it might be harder to fit your fingers in the higher frets – especially for chord shapes.

      But, yeah overall it looks like a good beginner choice – I would have the action lowered though to make it easier to play – but I would recommend that for most guitars for beginners.

      Looks like it costs a little bit more than the GS Minis – but not that much more.

      Hope this helps

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