Being able to get a great guitar on a tight budget is a skill a true musician should know. You can find the best acoustic-electric guitars for under $300 or even less than $200. Yet, this will take time because you should check and test them yourself.
It may seem time-consuming, but there’s a shortcut to that. I made this list for budget buyers out there who don’t have enough time to explore the market and look for the best.
This article offers you 10 products you can choose from.
These products aren’t randomly picked, but it took me some time to ponder on their worth to be on the list. Plus, I had a guideline that helps me hasten the process and find all the acoustic-electric guitars that are both budget-friendly and beginner-friendly.
And, towards the end of the article, I’ll share the guideline I used to make this list comprehensive and relevant.
Here are the best acoustic-electric guitars under $300
- Yamaha FGX800C
- Fender CD-60SCE
- Ibanez AW54CEOPN
- Fender FA-125CE
- Takamine GD20-NS
- Yamaha APX600
- Jameson Full-Size Thinline
- Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar
- Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE
- Yamaha FSX800C
Yamaha never ceases to surprise me whether it’s a premium acoustic guitar or this very affordable Yamaha FGX800C acoustic-electric guitar. It’s made of a solid Spruce top with Nato back and sides, plus a single cutaway for easier access to upper frets. Thanks to the new bracing design, this guitar brings out the natural sound of the instrument, while keeping the durability of the topwood.
This dreadnought guitar features a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, die-cast tuners, adjustable truss rod and the undersaddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ. Also, you’ll enjoy the onboard adjustable midrange frequency control and the chromatic tuner for a more accurate tuning and sound tailoring. At this price tag, you can hardly find a decent guitar that can offer an authentic guitar tone.
- Offers full, crisp sound whether plugged or unplugged
- Plays smooth after tuning and breaking in
- Built-in tuner works perfectly fine and very reliable
- The sound isn’t loud enough without an amp
- Frets needed leveling, but not a big deal
If you’ll get great electronics and great sound on a playable guitar that’s very affordable, you are one lucky guy out there. And, you’re even luckier because Fender CD-60SCE has these capacities and more. This dreadnought guitar is made of a solid Spruce top that provides great volume and crisp sound.
It’s designed for intermediate and professional players who are very confident to take on the stage. It features a Venetian cutaway and the easy-to-play neck — two of my favorite features — to access the upper frets without a problem. This is fitted with a Fishman classic design pickup/preamp system that promises performance to the next level.
- Has beautiful design because it has a mirror black finish
- You can play very easily and sounds great, too
- Has low string action without getting fret buzzing
- Pickguard has poor quality
- The finish is prone to scratches and nicks
- More on quality control issues, probably because it’s not made in the US
I’m not surprised about seeing an Ibanez as one of the best acoustic-electric guitars under $300. I know that it’s a guitar maker dedicated to quality, but I wonder how it managed to have a very affordable acoustic-electric? The Ibanez AW54CEOPN is made of solid Mahogany top, back and sides and neck with open pore natural finish to reveal to wood grain pattern of mahogany.
It has a single-cutaway to access the upper part of the rosewood fretboard easily. You can see chrome die-cast tuners, onboard tuner, tortoise pickguard, rosewood bridge, and bone saddle.
But, the most interesting part is the Fishman Sonicore pickup and Ibanez’s AEQ210TF preamp with 2-band control. You’ll be able to easily adjust the sound. While mahogany offers warmth, but when plugged in, the pickup/preamp system provides some depth to the output sound.
- Has thick sounds with enough reverb and echo
- Sounds very loud, even without an amp
- Wood is beautiful and this one is well-made
- There’s a little buzz on the low E-string
- Finish is susceptible to dings and dents
- The saddle bone is better when replaced
The Fender FA-125CE proves to you that you can purchase an affordable Fender acoustic-electric guitar. Made of all-laminate construction — spruce top with basswood back and sides — to give you a strong and durable acoustic-electric guitar. It’s a dreadnought, so it’s expected that you can get rich, deep low ends with warm mid-range out of this guitar.
The FA-125CE has a scale length of 25.3-inch and 20 frets, with the upper frets easily accessible via the Nato C-shaped neck. It’s equipped with Fishman electronics that allow you to enjoy solid amplified acoustic sound. It’s fitted with die-cast tuning, chrome finish, and walnut bridge.
- Full and clear sound, which you’ll easily tune with the built-in tuner
- Finish is smooth, which adds to the playability of the guitar
- Pickups offer crisp sound
- Some models have sharp edges that need to be smoothed
- Not the best option for seasoned guitarists
From the design to sound, the Takamine GD20-NS is the best acoustic guitar under $300. Made of solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides, this dreadnought has slit-saddle design and pin-less rosewood bridge. It offers superior intonation and sweet-sounding notes.
It has a slim mahogany neck with satin finish and 12-inch radius rosewood fretboard. This provides comfort and playability. Other features include chrome die-cast tuners, synthetic bone and bridge saddle, elegant Natural finish, and more.
- Cedar top and Mahogany back and sides offer a full range of tones
- Split-saddle and pin-less bridge provide high-quality intonation
- Slim aids fast play and good for smaller hands
- Not as loud as other Spruce top guitars
- Slimmer neck isn’t the choice for all
- Not a suitable choice for fingerstyle
In 1987, Yamaha made the first acoustic-electric, which was designed to be stage-ready. Now, with the latest Yamaha APX600, it’s equipped with an undersaddle piezo pickup, Yamaha’s very own SRT transducer, and a Natural tone and feedback rejection to give you unmatched sound quality. You can easily shape your sound to be able to stand out on stage.
While this is the new iteration of the first acoustic-electric from Yamaha, it still boasts the thin-line cutaway body for exceptional playability. The spruce top features new scalloped bracing to provide a better bass response. And, the 25-inch scale length with narrow fret spacing is great for added comfort.
- Perfectly fits the bill with robust sound and great playability
- Onboard pickups and tuner are working perfectly
- Well-built with a very nice finish
- Not a full-size guitar, so it’s a bit smaller
When it comes to this price range, sometimes I’m not that confident to make recommendations. However, with Jameson Full-Size Thinline I can say that it’s one of the best acoustic-electric guitars under $300 and the cheapest in this article. First, it’s a full-sized guitar with 41-inch body length and has a 3-inch body depth for comfort.
It boasts a scale length of 25.5-inch and it’s made of Spruce top, Nato body, and rosewood fretboard. What you have are the simple built-in EQ and pickups that allow you to shape the sounds and plug it into an amp or PA easily. The die-cast tuners on this guitar are very much like those on expensive models, every reliable.
- You’ll enjoy the mid-range punch, high trebles, and solid lows
- Die-cast tuners are very accurate and reliable
- Onboard EQ and pickups help you amplify your guitar sounds easily
- A few bridge pins came loose and you need to insert something to keep it in place
- You’ll get thin sound when plugged in
Epiphone is known as a cheaper alternative if you want a Gibson guitar. However, not only that it offers cheaper guitars, it has a few great acoustic-electric guitars under $300. The best among them is the Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Guitar, which is a great gear for stage and studio use.
It’s constructed with a Mahogany body and Spruce top, this guitar features a single cutaway, too, for easier access to the upper frets. It’s equipped with a passive piezo pickup with volume control to fill the room or to cast a bigger volume to an open stage. Don’t worry about the reduced sound quality due to the cutaway — as it makes no difference with acoustic-electric guitars.
- Very easy to tune and stays in tune even for frequent use
- Really nice setup and the wood looks beautiful
- Tuner included is pretty decent
- Doesn’t have much bass response when played acoustically
- No pickguard, especially for those accustomed to having one
- Some are a bit wary of the bridge
With a cutaway dreadnought Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE, you’ll be able to play easily and comfortably in your guitar. This particular model is an acoustic-electric guitar and it comes with undersaddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp to help you project the true tone of your guitar to an amp. It’s made of laminate spruce top with mahogany back and side so you can get rich and warm lows with sweat sustain.
Yes, it may be among the cheapest in the market, but there’s one thing I especially like about this product — the Advantage bridge pins. This will help you secure the pins in place without pushing too much. In this way, Ibanez eliminates the very common problem of cheaper guitars, especially on the plastic bridge pins.
- Ibanez Advantage bridge pins help you keep the pins in place
- Onboard tuner is very useful, plus the pickup/preamp system
- Playable with good sustain, especially the spruce/mahogany combo
- Laminate doesn’t have much resonance compared to solid
- Pickups were loosely glued
Yamaha seems to have a lot of best guitars under $300. Acoustic-electric guitars shouldn’t be that expensive, because, after all, they just come with added electronics and pickups onboard.
Anyway, the Yamaha FSX800C is the same guitar as the Yamaha FGX800C, except for one thing. The former has a Concert body style, while the latter is a dreadnought. They have the same construction and undersaddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ. For some, the concert is easier to play than a dreadnought.
- Overall sound and playability is good
- You’ll get a nice, rich and crisp sound
- Electronics seem to work properly
- Action needs to be a little lower
- It doesn’t have the resonance you’ll get from a dreadnought
What to Consider When Buying an Acoustic-Electric Guitar Under $300
From the thousands of acoustic-electric guitars on the market, how was I able to put up just 10 best acoustic-electric guitars under $300? Again, I didn’t randomly select these guitars. I made this list through the following guidelines:
Match Your Guitar Skills
You’ll see that the guitar choices are confusing. You don’t know what to pick because they all look amazing and you don’t have enough budget for those shining guitars on display. However, instead of going out and lamenting about not being able to afford those expensive guitars, try to look within you and check your skills.
If you’re a beginner, learn to settle for some simple guitars, in this case, a simple acoustic-electric guitar. Leading guitar brands offer affordable acoustic-electric for beginners, for example.
Fender, Epiphone, Takamine, Washburn, Taylor, and Yamaha are some great brands with affordable guitars for beginners and intermediate players, confirmed eBay. Yet, you’ll also find more advanced guitars from these brands and Gibson, Jay Turser, and more.
Choose a Body Style
Acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars share the same body styles, except that most acoustic-electric comes with a cutaway. So, you can still see a dreadnought, jumbo, Triple 000, parlor, and so on.
But, you just have to think of two things — large-body and small-body guitars. Large-body guitars offer fuller tone, with great projection and more bass response. The small-body usually has a bright sound with a more mid-range response.
Test the Sounds
If you’re buying for the first time, do not hesitate to test the guitars. If you don’t know how to play, have someone with guitar knowledge to go with you. It’s good to have first-hand experience on the actual sound of the guitar.
Also, aside from the sound, you should be able to check the action or the fretwork. Making Music gives you a few tips on how to check the guitar before buying.
Check the Pickups
There are two types of pickups used in acoustic-electric guitars — passive and active. Passive pickups don’t require power since it’s just based on a magnetic core wound in copper. While the active pickups are battery-powered internal preamp.
These two have advantages and disadvantages. Active pickups have more clean headroom, but with a narrower dynamic range. The passive pickups, on the other hand, are sensitive to feedback but has a wider dynamic range.
Though this YouTube video talks about acoustic guitars, the tips, and other considerations are very much applicable to acoustic-electric guitars. After all, the only difference between them is the onboard electronics. So, you’re going to learn to maximize your budget and find something that you’re comfortable playing with for years.
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $200
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $500
- Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar under $1000
The Japanese guitar maker, Yamaha, was able to pull it through with its Yamaha FGX800C. Even though it’s cheaper acoustic-electric guitar, it still raises the banner of Yamaha’s tradition of excellence. In this roundup article, I salute to Yamaha and recommend it to be the best acoustic-electric guitar under $300.
Our choice was sealed because of three reasons — playability, versatility, and sound. Yamaha FGX800C is playable and although there are issues from the fret leveling, it can easily be resolved by sanding. The material, the hardware, and the electronics onboard are of high-quality to give you an easy-to-play acoustic-electric.
I would like to highlight the pickups with the 3-band EQ since this allows you to achieve versatility and excellent sound. You’ll capture the natural tone of your instrument and amplify it without any coloration through an amp. With this guitar, you know you can achieve so much more.