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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.
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.
Let’s get into the top 6!
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Best Acoustic Guitar #6: Yamaha FG800
Guitar Make and Model: Yamaha FG800
Price Rank on this list: 1st
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.
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.
Best Acoustic Guitar #5: Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat
Guitar Make and Model: Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat
Size/Shape: Grand Concert (00)
Price Rank on this list: 4th
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).
Lowering the action would the big one.
Best Acoustic Guitar#4: Fender T-Bucket 300CE
Guitar Make and Model: Fender T Bucket 300CE
Price Rank on this list: 3rd (cheapest acoustic – electric guitars on this list)
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.
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.
Best Acoustic Guitar #3: Art & Lutherie Ami
Guitar Make and Model: Art & Lutherie Ami
Size/Shape: Parlor (0)
Price Rank on this list: 5th
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.
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.
Best Acoustic Guitar #2: Fender CD-60
Guitar Make and Model: Fender CD 60
Price Rank on this list: 1st =
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).
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.
Best Acoustic Guitar #1: Taylor GS Mini
Guitar Make and Model: Taylor GS Mini
Price Rank on this list: 6th
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.
Wouldn’t change a thing!
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
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.
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.
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.
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).