Best Acoustic Guitar Under $300 that Won’t Break Your Bank

After teaching so many students over years, I know that if you’re in the market for a new acoustic guitar, then it is normal to become overwhelmed on your search, especially when facing so many choices.

Narrowing down your choice to help you find the best acoustic guitars under $300 will make it easier for you to choose an instrument that not only looks great but also sounds amazing and is a pleasure to play. Accidentally choosing the wrong acoustic guitar, however, can result in you feeling like you have wasted your money.

Rather than making this important decision on your own, you can use this guide to help you make an informed choice. This will ensure that you are happy with the instrument that you choose. Let’s start our search for the best acoustic guitar for you that is budget-friendly, but is sure to make you sound amazing when you play.

#1 Yamaha FG830

This is hands down, the best acoustic guitar that you can buy for under $300. While it’s a great option for any musician who is on a budget, musicians never have to worry about lower sound quality or whether or not they will be able to stand out in a crowd. You shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality of your instrument, and that’s why the FG830 is such a great choice, as are other instruments in the FG series. You can learn more about these guitars from Yamaha here.

Yamaha is known for making high-quality instruments that not only look great but sound amazing as well. This is obvious not only in the body style of the FG830, but also in the specially designed bracing.  The FG830 has the dreadnought body style, which is really comfortable, this means that it’s perfect for musicians who are going to be playing guitar for long periods of time. The scalloped bracing of the FG830 is unique to Yamaha guitars. This bracing ensures a stronger sound that is loud and clear when you’re playing in the low and mid ranges. Not only does this provide plenty of support for the top board, but it also ensures clear sound.

This can be really difficult for some budget guitars to accomplish, as it is hard for guitars to offer incredible clarity of sound as well as a bright and refreshing tone without the low-end suffering.

Another great feature of the Yamaha FG830 is the professional selection of the tonewood. Tonewood makes a huge difference in the sound and quality of a guitar, and the FG830 is a perfectly balanced mix of spruce and rosewood. These tonewoods are the reason why the FG830 is often thought of as being one of the best sounding budget-friendly acoustic guitars on the market.

In this video, you can see all of the benefits of this Yamaha guitar and hear it in action, which can make it a lot easier to decide which guitar is right for you. Getting to hear the power that the internal structure provides, as well as the clear and bright tones from the tonewood, can help any musician make the right choice when shopping for a new guitar.

Main specifications 

  • Die-cast tuners
  • 21 frets
  • Right-handed orientation
  • Rosewood back and sides
  • Solid spruce top
  • Slim neck that is tapered and designed for speed
  • Tapered waist for a comfortable fit when playing

What We Liked

  • Frets are level and crown nicely, making the guitar comfortable to play
  • Inlaid markers on fretboard make it easy to find chords and notes
  • Great intonation due to the body size and the internal supports
  • Rosewood sides and back make the tone clear and powerful
  • Solid top is perfectly balanced
  • Rounded edges on the fingerboard make it comfortable to play

What We Disliked

  • Strings are lower quality and will likely need to be replaced
  • Some sloppy work around the inlay around the sound hold and on the body binding
  • Tuners are not lined up perfectly straight and may need professional adjusting

#2 Yamaha FS800

Another wonderful choice for musicians looking for a durable, reliable, and clear-sounding acoustic guitar is the Yamaha FS800. Yamaha knows that the musicians buying their equipment are looking for durability and accessibility, and that’s one great thing about the FS800. It features the same incredible internal bracing as the FG830, which means that musicians enjoy robust sound quality without having to worry about the sound quality suffering.

While most dreadnought guitars have a really big body, the FS800 is designed to be much smaller and thinner, which is great for petite musicians. In fact, the “FS” in the name stands for “folk-small.” Thanks to the redesigned body style, even younger guitar players will be able to enjoy playing this instrument without a lot of problems. One problem that some players who have larger hands may run into is that playing on this guitar can be difficult, especially due to the shorter neck and the smaller and tighter string spacing.

This video clearly shows how crisp and bright the FS800 can sound. It’s surprising that this guitar does such a great job producing clear and attractive notes when fingerpicking, but also does a great job with chords. The rosewood fingerboard and nato neck together are super playable and very comfortable, which means that the musician using this guitar can easily slide their hands up and down the neck without any difficulty when changing chords.

While the FS800 sounds great when played in quiet settings, it’s also a great choice for recording, thanks to how well it translates when used with a mic. Unlike other acoustic guitars that have really deep and booming low ends that can sound distorted and muddy, the FS800 has a clear higher end tone that translates really well.

Finally, the lighter weight of the FS800 makes it ideal for musicians who may struggle to easily control a larger guitar and who want to take their instrument with them on the road. This guitar has a classic and powerful combination of a small body with a very big sound which is accomplished through the choice of tonewood, internal design, and body shape.

Main specifications

  • Yamaha scalloped bracing for sound quality and volume
  • High gloss body finish
  • Die-cast chrome tuners
  • Nato neck wood
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Back and sides made from Okume/Nato

What We Liked

  • Has a great action without any buzzing sound from the strings
  • Sounds are clear and bright without any muddy tones
  • Natural finish deepens in color over time, adding to the beauty of the guitar
  • Smaller and thinner than a traditional dreadnought
  • Ideal for picking and crisp higher notes in country, bluegrass, and folk music
  • Translates perfectly through a mic

What We Disliked

  • Doesn’t come with a strap button on the neck of the guitar
  • Doesn’t have all of the inlay fret markers that come on other guitars
  • Action tends to be a little high

#3 Fender CD-60S

Fender is known for making high-quality guitars that tend to be higher priced than other options on the market, but their CD-60S is affordable for most musicians. It’s one of their acoustic guitars in their Classic Design series and has a solid top and is considered a game changer not only because of how affordable it is, but also because it produces such a high-quality sound. Learn more about Fender’s Classic Design series here.

The intonation of the CD-60S really shines, and thanks to the lower action, musicians don’t have to worry about how their guitar will sound the first time that they pick it up and start playing. However, musicians who want to try out alternate tunings don’t have to worry, as the intonation isn’t so low that alternate tunings will be a problem. There’s no rattling or humming, even on lower notes.

The tonewood in a guitar really matters, and Fender is well aware of this, which is why they took their time choosing the tonewood for the CD-60S. This guitar has an incredibly rich and inviting tone. You can hear it in action here, and it’s clear how much character the mahogany brings to the instrument.

Bright sounds are really common with acoustic guitars, but this guitar is a little more meaty and refined sounding, which appeals to a lot of musicians. The result of carefully combining the woods used to make this guitar is that it sounds great, no matter if you are interested in a deeper and richer tone or if you want to coax out higher and crisper notes.

While some people may assume that this guitar is only ideal for beginners, even intermediate musicians will benefit from choosing this instrument for practice and performance. The slightly thinner neck not only appeals to beginners who need to be able to move their hands quickly up and down the neck when performing but also appeals to more intermediate musicians. This is because they can enjoy playing faster chords and songs without discomfort or cramping.

Main specifications

  • Right-handed orientation
  • 20 frets
  • Chrome tuners
  • Plastic saddle and nut
  • Dreadnought body type
  • “C” neck shape
  • Rosewood fingerboard with mahogany neck wood

What We Liked

  • Works well with any type of acoustic playing style
  • Has a comfortable neck and action
  • Tuners are easy to use
  • Clear and bright sound is still richer and full of depth
  • Keeps tune really well, which makes it perfect for a beginner
  • Perfectly straight neck ensures that the strings lay correctly on the frets

What We Disliked

  • Included strings are low quality and need to be replaced
  • Not the most attractive of all guitars on the market
  • Not a great choice for more advanced guitarists, as it does have some clarity and definition problems from time to time

#4 Takamine GD20-NS

Even though most people are familiar with the dreadnought style of guitar, the Takamine GD20-NS is a little different, thanks to the incredible combination of tonewoods that Takamine used in its construction. The mahogany back and sides of the guitar aren’t anything new, but the cedar soundboard really helps to improve the sound of this instrument. Because cedar isn’t nearly as dense as spruce, which is the wood normally used in soundboards, the soundboard will produce a much more mellow and warmer sound.

Even though this is a highly affordable acoustic guitar that is perfect for beginners to learn on, it’s still a favorite by a lot of intermediate and more advanced musicians. This is in part due to the quality construction, tonewood selection, and the attention to other details, like the two-part saddle in place of a traditional bridge.

This two-part saddle ensures the best possible intonation from the guitar, thanks to the fact that the two higher strings are separate from the other lower four. There aren’t any pins holding the strings onto the bridge, which promotes better sound quality and efficiently transfers energy from the body and the neck.

Here you can hear the clear sound of the GD20-NS and how warm and deep it really is. The GD20-NS is perfect for long jam sessions and for playing lengthy life shows not only due to its sound quality, but also thanks to its construction. The “C” shape of the neck is really slim, which means that musicians won’t suffer as much fatigue when playing. It’s perfect for barre chords due to the size of the neck.

On the Takamine website, you can learn more about the specifications of this guitar, including the natural finish and the chrome die-cast tuners. These tuners are durable, which makes them easy to use and also ensures that the guitar is easy to tune and will hold its tune easily. Beginners will appreciate that they don’t have to worry about tuning their guitar repeatedly, and more advanced musicians will love being able to play long sets without stopping.

Main specifications

  • Mahogany sides and back with a solid cedar top
  • Dot inlays on the rosewood fingerboard
  • X-bracing
  • Satin finish on the mahogany neck
  • Cedar soundboard, which is not as dense as spruce soundboards
  • Pinless bridge provides plenty of accuracy during intonation

What We Liked

  • Rings clear no matter what chords are played or strumming pattern is used
  • Slightly heavier weight ensures deep and resonant sound
  • Produces a warm and inviting sound even after years of use
  • Strings continue to ring clear and will not start to sound muddy when played
  • Flush binding creates a smooth and attractive body shape

What We Disliked

  • Not ideal for fingerpicking
  • Neck is so thin as to be a bit uncomfortable

#5 Fender FA-300CE

While there are a lot of great acoustic guitars on the market that are designed for quiet performance, thanks to the onboard tuner and powerful Fishman Isys III pickup system, the FA-300CE will really shine when used on stage, as well. Users can easily control not only the tone but also the volume, resulting in the perfect performance every time this instrument is used.

The SLIDE interface on this instrument really sets it apart from others on the market and is something that Fender is proud of, and for good reason. In this article, you can easily see how this interface makes it easy for musicians to not only connect their guitar to their computer or other mobile devices, but also how it makes it simple to edit, record, and playback sound.

Musicians who want to record at home will really appreciate the power of the SLIDE interface. It’s not only easy to connect to a computer and start recording, but it is also ridiculously portable, which makes it great to take on the go.

Another great feature of the FA-300CE is the internal scalloped bracing. This is really similar to the Yamaha bracing and results in free vibrations when the instrument is played while still keeping the laminated top sturdy. Here you can hear how this bracing results in a warm sound that has a tempered brightness that isn’t overwhelming.

While the FA-300CE is packed with mostly high-quality features and components, some musicians may want to upgrade the strings or fine tune the frets. Luckily, this is really easy to do and will result in an instrument that can work well for beginning musicians, as well as intermediate and more advanced musicians.

Main specifications

  • Includes built-in tuner and Fishman electronics
  • The cutaway design makes it easy to access higher notes
  • Forward strap button is great for performers who stand
  • Mahogany body
  • High-quality rosewood bridge
  • Scalloped bracing

What We Liked

  • Designed to stay in tune for long periods of time and to be easy to tune
  • High-quality strings aren’t uncomfortable for play
  • Medium tone that is light and clear without sounding too tangy
  • Laminated mahogany body is designed to withstand wear and tear without showing damage
  • Includes Graphtech Nubone saddle and nut
  • Features a fast and tight response resulting in a lot of clarity and control

What We Disliked

  • Requires more work at setup to get the guitar sounding its best
  • Can improve some upgrades for better sound quality
  • Lower frets are a bit difficult to use at first

#6 Alvarez Artist Series AF30

Even though Alvarez may not be as big of a name as some other guitar companies in the world, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to produce high-quality instruments. The AF30 is part of their Artist Series and deserves a closer look from anyone looking for a high-quality and affordable instrument. This is a folk guitar, so it is smaller than concert or dreadnought size guitars that some musicians are familiar with playing, but this is great for musicians who struggle to control and enjoy a larger instrument.

Even though it’s definitely geared towards more petite or younger players, the Alvarez Artist Series AF30 is a great option for any musician who is in the market for a gorgeous guitar that sounds great. The solid Sitka spruce top is made from quarter-sawn wood and hand-selected so that it not only looks amazing but also offers a clear and bright sound.

The mahogany neck is a little slimmer than other similar options, which again speaks to its value and benefit of being used by a smaller musician. Not surprisingly, there aren’t any electronics on this instrument, but it does boast high-quality hardware that ensures a consistent and reliable tone. Enjoy hearing the great sound of this guitar, which is amplified by the professional scalloped X-bracing here. It’s surprisingly responsive and has a tight tone.

Even though the AF30 doesn’t offer the louder sound that would be possible with a dreadnought instrument, the advanced bracing and the solid wood design of this instrument ensures that it can easily work for most performing needs. It sounds especially great when used as an  accompanying instrument to vocals.

One thing that makes this guitar perfect for playing right when you get it is the high-quality D’Addario strings. These are considered to be some of the best acoustic strings that you can use on a guitar, and it says a lot that they are the stock strings included on this Alvarez instrument.

Main specifications

  • Sides and back are mahogany
  • Scalloped X-bracing is hand-sanded
  • Sitka spruce top
  • Professional dovetail neck joint
  • Natural satin finish isn’t very glossy
  • High-quality D’Addario EXPs included on the guitar
  • Die-cast chrome tuners
  • Real bone nut
  • Bi-level bridge

What We Liked

  • Produces high volume without the tone suffering or being low quality
  • Soundboard is made from solid wood and isn’t laminated
  • Bass and treble registers are perfectly balanced
  • Guitar is incredibly responsive and easy to play
  • Top is hand-selected from quarter-sawn wood, ensuring high-quality and consistent wood
  • Thinner tops produce a bit more vibration and a lot more tone

What We Disliked

  • Neck tends to be weak and may need to be reinforced
  • May need to be professionally tuned the first time it is played

#7 Bristol BD-16

The Bristol BD-16 is a perfect example of a high-quality and affordable guitar that is designed specifically for beginners to get their hands on a reliable instrument. The top of the BD-16 isn’t solid, which some people may consider a deal breaker, but is actually very common with guitars in this price range. The laminate wood on this guitar is a great substitute and allows musicians to push their performance to the limit.

The standard spruce top isn’t anything too exciting, but the mahogany sides, back, and neck all help add some interest to the sound. You can hear the way that this great guitar sounds here. Even though this guitar is lower in price than some of the others on this list, it produces a vibrant and warm tone that easily projects. It’s a lot more wholesome than some other acoustic guitars and works perfectly for musicians who are strummers and pickers.

The hardware on the BD-16 is designed to meet the needs of a beginner or intermediate performer. While the rosewood bridge is a little basic and the die-cast tuners are standard, this hardware is perfectly suited to meet the needs of any musician. Upgrading the tuners at some point will improve sound quality and make it easier to keep the instrument in tune at all times.

Even though upgrading the tuners is a good idea, this guitar does a great job staying in tune thanks to the wood choice and its alignments. This means that the sound quality and tone are two things that this instrument can easily be known for.

With smooth fretboards, it’s easy to see how musicians of all skill levels can benefit from the BD-16. Fast movements up and down the neck are possible without being slowed down by larger frets. This is really useful for beginners who aren’t comfortable switching between chords.

Main specifications

  • 20 frets
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Spruce top
  • Traditional X parabolic shaped bracing
  • High gloss finish
  • Slimmer neck
  • Chrome-plated 14:1 machine heads

What We Liked

  • Scalloped braces do a great job producing a clear sound with a full range
  • Slimmer neck is great for fast chord changes, as well as for fingerpicking
  • The wood tone color does a great job showing off the grain and beauty of the wood
  • Offers perfect intonation
  • Dreadnought body shape does a great job projecting a vibrant and warm tone
  • Interesting combination of soft and hardwood results in a unique tone

What We Disliked

  • Fret position markers are dark and can be difficult to see
  • A bit heavier than other similar guitars
  • The high gloss finish easily shows all fingerprints and tends to be a bit slippery

Final Verdict

As you can see, there are some great options on the market for any musician looking for an acoustic guitar that won’t break the bank. The Yamaha FG830 is the best choice because of its professional scalloped bracing that produces a clear sound and tone and because the choice of tonewoods ensures a clear and rich sound. Additionally, the Yamaha FG830 has the added benefit of being really comfortable for musicians to play for long periods of time, making it great for the avid musician who performs or practices on a regular basis.

Musicians who are on a tighter budget will want to consider the Yamaha FS800. Not only is this a slightly more budget-friendly option, which is great for musicians who don’t have a lot to spend, it also features some of the same high-quality design choices of the Yamaha FG830, making it a wonderful alternative.

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Best Acoustic Guitar Under $300 that Won't Break Your Bank