The following 5 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 5 would make for a great beginner guitar.
The guitars below have been chosen for their ease of play, a reasonable sound and quality of build – and at a reasonable price.
Everyone’s budget is different so reasonable price is subjective. However, every guitar I have chosen here is at least less than $500.
O.k. let’s get into the top 6!
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Beginner Guitar #6: Yamaha FG800
Guitar Make and Model: Yamaha FG800
Price Rank on this list: 1st =
To be the perfect beginner guitar then 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 FG800 does have a scale length of 650 mm (25 9/16″) which is full size.
However, everything else about this guitar is great for the beginner.
- 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.
Beginner 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 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.
Beginner Guitar #4: Fender T-Bucket 300CE
Guitar Make and Model: Fender T Bucket 300CE
Price Rank on this list: 3rd (cheapest acoustic-electric on this list)
The T-Bucket 300CE is a super reasonable price (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.
Good to go straight out of the box. To make it even easier to play for beginner fingers you could put silk and steel strings on it – but that would be about it.
Beginner 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 guitars – but get the action lowered. It will make it that 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.
Beginner 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.
Beginner Guitar #1: Taylor GS Mini
Guitar Make and Model: Taylor GS Mini
Price: See Current Price
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 option for beginners 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 ½ inches (597mm) which makes it super easy to play – plus action is already well set up so you woulnd’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 beginner guitar that’s right for you. Even though these guitars are in order from #6 down to #1, the best 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 guitars that are worthy to be on this list just, leave a comment in the comments section below.