Serious guitarists and professionals are willing to waste money on expensive guitars. However, you don’t need to spend several thousand of dollars when you can get the best acoustic-electric guitars for under $1000.
Yes, having an acoustic-electric guitar is the best choice for serious beginners or those who are now gigging.
If you have an acoustic-electric guitar, you are a versatile and well-rounded guitarist.
If you are alone, you can play it acoustically. Or, you can easily connect your guitar to an amp or a PA system without the need for a microphone to be installed.
Since having an acoustic-electric guitar seems practical, I’ve furnished a list for you with 10 highly sought-after guitars for under $1000. As you read the article, you’ll realize that it just takes an open heart to get a guitar that’s best for your money. This means knowing what you need first, to select the best.
10 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars under $1000 (Reviews)
- Breedlove Solo Concert
- Taylor GS Mini KOA
- Takamine GN93CE
- Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium
- PRS SE Angelus A40E
- Guild D-140CE
- Martin DX1AE
- Ibanez AE255BT
- Taylor 114ce 100 Series
- Epiphone DR-500MCE
Designed specifically for singer-songwriters, the Breedlove Solo Concert is indeed a must-have for professional players out there. With the concert shape, plus a soft cutaway, this acoustic-electric guitar is compact and delivers more balanced sounds. It comes with LR Baggs TCV pickup, plus the side sound hole monitor allows you to hear what is projected to your crowd.
It’s made of solid Western red cedar top with rosewood sides and back. Although the top wood is softer than spruce, it gives sweet and more extended harmonic content. With proper care and accurate touch, this guitar delivers a wonderful performance, especially with fingerstyle.
- The unique sound hole is great to listen to how you sound to your audience
- Offers a wide range and tonal balance, whether unplugged or plugged
- Action is spot on and electronics are amazing
- Topwood easily wears off because there’s no pickguard
- Since it’s a concert-size, it’s less powerful than a dreadnought
Not all like a guitar with a cutaway, so I include the Taylor GS Mini KOA. It’s a mini Grand Symphony guitar with only 23.5-inch scale length made of solid Koa top and layered Koa back and sides. Koa offers a consistent bright tone and it’s very resistant to humidity changes, giving you a reliable acoustic-electric guitar.
You’ll get ES-B pickups onboard with a preamp that has a built-in tuner. The electronics are fairly easy to use, so you can completely control your sound anytime. Since this guitar is small and compact, it’s perfect for traveling musicians and singer-songwriters.
- Quality tonewood, a very reliable guitar
- Easy to play and has great sound coming from this small guitar
- Pickup sensors behind the saddle to have a more powerful punch
- Stock strings are okay, but need replacement for better performance
- Non-cutaway guitar that others have difficulty accessing upper frets
Don’t underestimate the small NEX body of the Takamine GN93CE because it has the power to wow the crowd. From the comfortable slim mahogany neck, the scalloped X-braced solid spruce top to the preamp onboard, GN93CE is a complete package. It provides fast play, at the same time, delivers clear, full-bodied richness, projection, and volume.
At the back, you can see a special construction of the three-piece rosewood/quilt maple giving this guitar its distinct sound. The Takamine TK-40D preamp system gives you a built-in tuner, 3-band EQ and gains controls, notch filter, along with EQ bypass and mid-contour switches for more tonal versatility. Whether plugged in or unplugged, Takamine GN93CE has a lot of potential for its price.
- Electronics are superb
- Beautiful wood, well-constructed and feels great
- Feel and finish are absolutely brilliant, like high-end guitars
- Stock strings are heavier, not everyone likes them
- Needs a professional luthier to set it up
Third Taylor on the list and the most expensive, Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium is the best acoustic-electric guitar under $1000 that makes you ready on stage. It’s made out of the combination of a solid Sitka Spruce top and layered koa back and sides for unmatched sound projection. The Venetian cutaway together with the Grand Auditorium body style accommodates fast play and access to upper frets.
The 214ce comes with an ES-2 amplification system featuring behind-the-saddle pickup and an active preamp. This gives you a high-fidelity, low-impedance output signal for a clear and natural acoustic tone.
- The construction is great for its price
- Tuners are reliable and the fretwork is amazing
- Has a lower action, which is good for fingerpicking
- Some users don’t think it’s sturdy enough for an extended period of gigs
- It may sound tiny at some point
The best of PRS is made affordable to you through their PRS SE Angelus A40E. This particular model has Angelus cutaway that delivers comfort and playability, great for fingerpicking and fingerstyle. It utilizes the pairing of solid spruce top and ovangkol back and sides to give you a full and lush tone.
The Fishman GT1 pick-up system onboard is very efficient to capture the dynamic and organic tone of the PRS to help you stand out on stage. The system features an undersaddle pickup with soundhole mounted volume and tone controls. All PRS guitars have a high-quality hard-shell case for more secure storage.
- Guitar sounds beautiful with good sustain
- Plays great after a few adjustments
- Design and construction seem poor
- The action is too high and needed to be lowered
- Wires for the soundhole controls aren’t fixed and are exposed
A dreadnought that offers great projection and versatility, Guild D-140CE has premium features you don’t want to miss. It’s an all-solid construction of Spruce top and African mahogany back and sides for exceptional tone. You’re going to benefit from its high-end features like bone nut and saddle, a tortoiseshell pickguard and Fishman Sonitone pickup system.
The spruce and mahogany tandem makes this guitar sound beautiful with a strong midrange and enough sparkle. The fitted electronics capture these and the natural acoustic tonal characteristics of your guitar. Since Guild and Fishman are two of the highly respected names in the industry, you’ll surely get a one-of-a-kind amplified sound from this guitar.
- Design and aesthetics seem flawless
- Guitar tone is impressive, nice bass and treble
- All-solid construction at this price point
- Action is too low and not good for aggressive players
- Noticeable fret buzz, which requires fret adjustment
The only Martin on this list, I picked Martin DX1AE because it has great construction, reliable Fishman electronics, and stunning aesthetics. Not only that, this D-14, dreadnought guitar is the most affordable in this list. It’s made of solid Sitka Spruce top with high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides, giving you a great-sounding guitar with clarity and better projection.
This guitar comes with Sonitone pickup technology and Fishman Sonitone system with volume and tone controls located just inside the soundhole. The mortise and tenon neck joint provides optimal resonance without a drop-off in dynamics. With 25.4-inch scale length, modified low oval neck shape and 16-inch fretboard radius, you just have a comfortable and playable guitar.
- Great Fishman electronics that amplify the wonderful Martin tone
- Action was set up very nice
- Sound is more balanced and articulate
- Not a very loud guitar
- The neck is awkward to play at first
Modern music has a lot of demands and Ibanez just made the best acoustic-electric guitar under $1000 to shine on stage. The Ibanez AE255BT features traditional craftsmanship with modern appointments to give you an acoustic baritone. Ibanez’s custom pickup/preamp system brings your performance to the next level.
This guitar is made of solid Sitka spruce top with X-bracing allowing it to freely resonate to give more harmonic content to your tone. The Ovangkol back and sides offer midrange and treble tones perfect for vocal accompaniment. Whether you play acoustically or plug it directly into your amp, you’ll get woody tonal detail from this guitar.
- Extremely well-made guitar that offers better playability
- Sustain is incredibly superb with a more controlled tone
- Electronics is very useful, just as how it’s described
- Heavier string gauge is a bit harder to play, but you can change them
Taylor 114ce 100 Series is one of the most expensive guitars on the list, but is it worthy of your money? This guitar has a Grand Auditorium shape made of Sitka Spruce top and layered Walnut back and sides to achieve a balance of warmth and sparkle. Plus, it’s equipped with ES2 electronics to effectively capture the acoustic tone of the instrument when plugged in.
Though the 114ce has the same width and depth as a dreadnought, it has a narrower waist. This means a more high-end response to give more definition to each tone. The construction is robust, so you can expect a durable guitar with a strong projection and detailed tone.
- Neck construction is flawless and smooth
- Has wonderful electronics
- The wood combination is very compatible to deliver beautiful sounds
- Tuners are of cheap quality, need replacement
- Had scratches on the finish, some minor issues
Epiphone may be known to have cheap guitars, but this acoustic-electric guitar under $1000 is the best because of the premium electronics onboard. Epiphone equipped the DR-500M CE with Shadow’s NanoMag neck and NanoFlex bridge pickups, plus eSonic-2 stereo preamp. The preamp comes with a built-in tuner and feedback zapper switch.
The electronics are indeed superb, but Epiphone sees to it that this acoustic-electric guitar is also well-built to provide balanced sound and resonance. It’s made of solid Sitka spruce top, hand-scalloped braces, and solid mahogany back and sides to enjoy robust lows with more bell-like highs. The SlimTaper ‘D’ profile gives you comfort and eases while playing.
- No initial setup is needed, it’s playable out-of-the-box
- Easy to play since the neck is smaller than standard
- The best acoustic-electric guitar for the price
- Stock tuners can still be better
- Doesn’t have a more dynamic range
- Minor issues with the poor finish
How to Choose the Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar Under $1000
If you are comfortable spending several hundreds of dollars, you are eyeing the best acoustic-electric guitar for under $1000. This means the guitar should have excellent craftsmanship, great sound, and reliable electronics. Here are a few considerations I think you need to bear in mind when looking for your next acoustic-electric guitar.
Your Music Style and Preferences
Even though you’re eyeing a more expensive guitar, you shouldn’t forget to evaluate yourself — the first step to most buying engagements. Not all guitars are made equal, and you know it. There are different sizes and shapes of guitars with different features and capabilities.
If your dominant playing style is fingerpicking or fingerstyle, there are guitars more suitable for you. Or, if you’ll use the guitar both for recordings and gigs, you can also find such guitars on the market. Hence, you should be able to tap your heart’s desire to decide on the best guitar for you.
Play Every Guitar You Like
One thing to know about whether the guitar is the best for you or not is to play it. If you are in your local store, you can play a few models and compare them. The sales personnel won’t stop you, for as long as you’ll handle them with care.
You should check the height of the string, the smoothness of the neck, and how it sounds when you play it. While these things can be corrected through a professional setup, sometimes, it’ll cost additional money. Play them all (not literally all) and shortlist your favorite.
Since you are considering an acoustic-electric guitar for under $1000, this means you also need to check the electronics. You need to do more than just check the finish, the neck, and the string action. You need to play the guitar plugged and unplugged, then check the pickups onboard.
For acoustic-electric guitars, you can either have passive or active pickups. But, usually, they come in different kinds like transducers, piezo, soundhole pickups, and in-body microphones. But, all these falls under either passive or active pickups.
Passive pickups don’t need any power source, they have a warm and organic tone and they don’t boost the signal. While, active pickups, on the other hand, require a power source to boost the signal to get a higher output. The former is good at anything except high-level distortion, while the latter is the opposite.
Choose Only the Ultimate Best
Just pick the one that will allow you to play comfortably and beautifully. Don’t pick a guitar because it’s cheaper or it has the best pickups that other people recommend. The only person who can decide which is the best is you, so buy the acoustic-electric guitar that you won’t regret having.
You are checking this article because you probably have a budget of up to $1000. This YouTube video will help you discern the right budget, you are comfortable spending. Additionally, you’ll be thrown with questions to help you assess what’s the best guitar that suits your needs and your preferences.
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $200
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $1000
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $500
The only one on the list with a monitor side soundhole. The only acoustic-electric guitar here is made of cedar top. Breedlove Solo Concert is our choice for the best acoustic-electric guitars under $1000 and why shouldn’t it not?
With concert body shape, it’s handy and compact, not just for singer-songwriters, but for everyone who wants a reliable go-to guitar. It doesn’t lack anything in terms of sound. Although it’s made of softer Cedar, this acoustic-electric guitar is tough enough to last for years.
The ultimate reason why Breedlove is my choice is the side hole monitor. This gives you real-time feedback on how you can enhance the way you play to appeal to your audience. In this way, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind performance that is satisfying not just to the crowd, but to you as well.