You’re short on budget and still want to have an acoustic-electric guitar? Don’t worry, I have listed the best acoustic-electric guitars under $200 just for you.
You’ll be surprised that you don’t need to have a huge budget just to play a Yamaha, Ibanez, Washburn or an Oscar Schmidt.
Acoustic-electric guitars are simply acoustic guitars with electronics onboard.
With these, it’s very easy for you to plug into an amplifier or PA system without the need of any microphone.
These guitars are stage-ready and designed to project better when connected to an amp. Yet, when playing unplugged, they are still the same as your regular acoustic guitars.
I won’t hold you much longer since I know you’re eager to know the choices you have for an acoustic-electric guitar under $200.
The best acoustic-electric guitar under $200 in 2021 (Reviews)
Oscar Schmidt OG2CESM
Oscar Schmidt is a US musical instrument manufacturer with more than a century of experience. So, I am quite interested in the Oscar Schmidt OG2CESM because it’s very affordable. This dreadnought guitar is made of Spalted Maple top with Mahogany back, sides and neck, and rosewood fretboard.
It has both a professional look with expensive-looking marquetry and quality hardware. Of course, the built-in electronics with a tuner is a great help to beginners out there. You’ll get loud volume and great sound out of this guitar.
- You’ll get surprisingly loud and clear sounds
- Tuners work well and the guitar stays in tune
- Seems sturdy and solidly built
- Needs tiny adjustment on the neck to achieve better results
- Some buzzing on the low E-string and needs some adjustments
Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE
This 6-string acoustic-electric guitar from Ibanez is among the best acoustic-electric guitars under $200. The Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE boasts a dreadnought body made of laminate spruce with mahogany back and sides. This gives you a guitar that has rich and warm lows with great sustain.
Though it’s priced cheaply, it still has professional features like chrome die-cast tuners, dovetail neck joint and rosewood fretboard. What’s exciting is the undersaddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp from Ibanez that lets you get the true tone of your guitar even when plugged in. The Advantage bridge pins also help you become worry-free as they will securely stay in place.
- Ibanez Advantage bridge pins for keeping the pins secure in place
- Has onboard tuner and other useful professional features
- Very playable and you’ll get great tones easily
- It’s made of laminate topwood – what you can expect in this price range
- Issues on the quality control as the pickups are not glued for some buyers
Yamaha is the standard for many professional musicians out there. So, even though you don’t have much budget, you can still enjoy its greatness through the Yamaha FX325A acoustic-electric guitar. It’s a dreadnought guitar made of Spruce top with Nato back and sides.
With the long-standing tradition of excellence, you’ll definitely shine on stage even with this affordable Yamaha dreadnought. You’ll get die-cast tuners along with the System 53 piezo/preamp with 2-band EQ and onboard tuner. Not only is it advantageous for newbies, but for gigging professionals, too.
- The guitar sounds good, no doubt about it
- Very comfortable to play, good fretwork
- Has quality tonewood even though it’s very affordable
- The onboard tuner is okay, but some users prefer to use an external tuner
- The workmanship is not of quality at some point
Jameson Full-Size Thinline
If you want a full-scale acoustic-electric guitar that lets you play acoustically or plugged in, have the Jameson Full-Size Thinline. It has 41-inch overall body length with 3-inch body depth for comfort and playability. It has a 25.5-inch scale length, which is made of Spruce top with Nato body and rosewood fretboard.
You can find the tuning pegs to have die-cast tuners which can also be found in some expensive models. It’s equipped with built-in EQ and pickups, so you can easily plug it anytime you want to get more volume. Its high-gloss blue burst finish provides elegance and beauty.
- It’s full-sized and you’ll get mid-range punch, trebles, and some lows
- Stock die-cast tuners are great in keeping the guitar in perfect tuning
- Has extra freebies along with onboard EQ and pickups
- Some quality control issues found
- Some bridge pins were loose and need to insert something to tighten them
- Thin sound, especially when plugged in
Made of Select spruce top with Mahogany body, the Epiphone AJ-100CE could be your next best guitar under $200. Acoustic-electric guitars from Epiphones are mostly playable, affordable, and have good sound quality. For the AJ-100CE, this is particularly special because it features a cutaway, plus a Nanoflex pickup for amplification.
The Nanoflex pickup can be found under the saddle and endpin jack. Nanoflex means ultra-thin profile which allows complete guitar-to-pickup-saddle contact, utilizes both the vibrations of the strings and body to get an uncompromised sound. With this, you’ll be able to capture the unique character of your guitar.
- Although it’s made of laminate, it’s good because of the Nanoflex pickup
- Construction is excellent and very comfortable to play
- The action is great without any buzzing strings
- No outside controls for the pickups
- Needs a few adjustments and initial setup to get great sounds
Oscar Schmidt OG2CE
I’m glad to find this Oscar Schmidt OG2CE acoustic-electric guitar a cheaper alternative to the Oscar Schmidt OG2CESM above. You’ll enjoy full acoustic resonance like the first product on this list since both of them are made of the solid spruce top combined with laminate Mahogany back and sides.
Still, it’s a dreadnought guitar features die-cast tuners, chrome hardware, and a WT92 preamp system. It also has a fully adjustable truss rod, should you find the need to make some adjustments on the neck. Additional specifications include rosewood fretboard and mahogany neck.
- Action is nice and low to play easily
- Good sound response — deep lows, resonant mids, and good highs
- Has sharp fret edges that still need to be filed
- There’s some problem with the preamp not turning off once it’s on
Are you ready to believe that you can still find a guitar under $200 that strikes a balance between affordability, electric guitar feel, and acoustic tone? You should, because all these are rolled into the Kona K2TBL acoustic-electric guitar. It’s made of Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides, decorated with a beautiful transparent blue finish.
It has 41-inch overall length and 3-inch body deep, like the Jameson Full-Size Thinline we mentioned above. However, it has the standard 25.75-inch scale length and 20 frets.
You’ll get the stock D’ Addario strings, gold die-cast tuners, and, of course, the Q-505 3-Band Active Piezo Pick-up System. Before I forget, the cutaway is very efficient to access the upper frets, especially for those with shorter fingers.
- Plays very well and the electronics are working great
- Slim neck profile is great, especially for the smaller hands
- Action is quite low without any fret buzzes
- Though it’s a thin-body, it seems a bit heavy
- Saddle seems to be cheap plastic and it’s softer
Washburn WA90CE is a decent acoustic-electric guitar from Washburn that is designed to play well and sounds well without breaking the bank. You’ll find that it’s made of a premium Spruce top with mahogany back and sides to achieve rich and full tones. The Venetian cutaway will help you access the upper frets effortlessly.
It has a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard that also matches the rosewood bridge. It comes with a dual-action truss rod, which makes it easy to adjust the neck to enhance the playability. The onboard Isys+ tuner/preamp allows you to get accurate tuning and be able to capture the natural acoustic tone of your guitar, respectively.
- A nice-sounding guitar
- Tuners are great which keep the tuning well
- Well-built, though it came out of China
- Has some poor construction issue on the bridge saddle
- There are some rough spots in the finish, though it’s not a big deal
Ashthorpe Thinline Acoustic-Electric Guitar
A budget of under $200 for the best acoustic-electric guitar isn’t bad since you can find Ashthorpe Thinline Acoustic-Electric Guitar at less than $100. Not only that, it’s a complete kit with everything you need to start playing. The guitar is made of an A-grade Spruce top with an X-bracing pattern for resilience and versatility, plus basswood back and sides for warmth.
At this price, it’s unbelievable to get a full-size 41-inch guitar with 3-inch thickness, plus the cutaway for easier access to the upper frets and better playability. With the onboard 4-band pickup/EQ you’ll be able to bring your performance to a whole new level. Your guitar has also premium features like chrome tuning pegs, phosphor bronze strings, Okoume neck, and the X-bracing pattern.
- Better-sounding with a smooth, deep tone
- Playability is top-notch, especially for around $100 price point
- Lightweight guitar, easy to carry around
- Feel cheap when you play, but the sound isn’t bad
- Finish might not be that great, but for this price, it’s not a big deal
- You might need to tune it often
The only double-cutaway on the list, perhaps the Ibanez Talman TCY10 could be your next acoustic-electric guitar. It’s made of Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, and Mahogany neck, you’ll get rich acoustic tones without compromising the playability.
This has a bridge pickup only, which offers a clear, warm, and more articulated tone. The Talman double-cutaway is just enough to gain access to the upper frets without a problem. Additionally, it’ll also help electric guitarists gain full tones without losing comfort and playability.
- The built-in tuner is cool and accurate
- The easiest to play and tune
- Well-built and durable, producing rich and full tones
- Need to adjust the rod for you to achieve a stable tuning
- Also has intonation problem which needs to be fixed
- Frets are not level, you need to do something about it first
Acoustic-Electric Guitars Under $200 Buying Guide
Now that you have read the list, do you have a favorite in mind? If you’re still looking for something else, don’t worry, here a buying guide I used to pick the best guitar — every time.
Since we have different musical preferences the products listed above may or may not be appealing to you. But, with the guideline, you’ll be able to narrow down your options to help you pick the ultimate one. You should start by asking yourself the following questions:
What kind of sound do you want to produce?
This is a very personal question that you should ask yourself before deciding what to buy. Do you want a guitar with more bass or you want something that can produce bright sounds. What kind of music do you want to play?
Once you’ve answered these and some other follow-up questions your mind may have, you are now ready to pick one from the plethora of acoustic-electric guitars out there. But, since there is still a lot, narrow your choices down a bit using the following three questions.
Which guitar body styles appeal to you?
There are a lot of body styles and shapes, from classic to jumbo and dreadnought. This determines the sound projection and the tonal emphasis, explained Sweetwater.
If you want to play more on the upper frets, try to get a single or even a double cutaway. One more thing, make sure that the size is just right for you. So, it’s better to really test it or find any reference online that can say it’s fit for this particular player profile.
Do you want Solid or Laminate?
For this budget range, the most common is laminate construction. However, if you think something may be lacking in the sound of laminate guitars, you can surely find a few solid body guitars above the same budget.
The main difference between a laminate and a solid body is the resonance. A solid top is usually made of two single-ply wood, while the laminate is made of several layers of wood pressed together, as discussed by Musician’s Friend.
With this configuration, laminate doesn’t vibrate well compared to the solid-wood top. This means you can’t get richer or more volume in a laminate guitar than you do with a solid top guitar.
What are your choices for the tonewoods?
Just from the 10 products above, you should have observed that there are different types of wood used in a guitar — Spruce, Mahogany, Rosewood, Nato, etc.
Spruce is mainly used as topwood, especially for cheaper steel-string guitars. It’s lightweight and strong, producing well-balanced dynamics and a more articulate tone.
Mahogany is the usual back and sides materials, as well as neck. It’s a fairly dense tonewood, which when combined with Spruce gives you more depth and fullness of the sound. As you have observed, that’s the combination for most guitars here.
Rosewood is a common fretboard material because it offers complex overtones with strong bass response. Lastly, Nato (also known as Eastern Mahogany) offers similar looks and characteristics of mahogany. It’s more cost-effective and offers great tonal output, as described by Takamine.
If you haven’t made up your mind, this YouTube video will help you clear any confusion you have. It introduces you to what an acoustic-electric guitar is and some of its features. Among the features discussed are the cutaway, electronics, pickup types, and more.
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $300
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $500
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $1000
For a budget of $200, the ultimate guitar you can buy is the Oscar Schmidt OG2CESM. It’s made of Spalted Maple/Mahogany body with an exquisite finish, you won’t know that it’s very affordable until you check the price tag. It’s a dreadnought guitar that offers loud sound with clear projection.
Just like any other guitars in this price range, the initial setup is necessary, especially on the truss rod and the action. Once you make a few tweaks and adjustments, you’ll be surprised by a great-sounding guitar. It easily gets tuned and stays in tune for long.
Wonderfully built and the kind of guitar I can play loud and proud on stage and studio recordings. The electronics onboard with a tuner is useful, too. Hence, I’m choosing this again and again as my best acoustic-electric guitar for under $200.