The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 in 2018 – reviewed right here!
If you are looking for the best acoustic guitar under $1000, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up the top models in the $500-$1000 price range to make your search a whole lot easier. These acoustic guitars are carefully selected based on their features, build, comfort and feel as well as overall sound quality.
We’ve picked out the best of what the most trusted of guitar brands have to offer. The guitars on our list are all highly recommended and have received nods from the most discerning guitar players. Let’s get the ball rolling!
Our Top Acoustic Guitars under $1000
|Taylor 114ce||The Taylor 114ce is another great guitar under $1000. It combines excellent craftsmanship, tone and playability in one versatile instrument. This is an acoustic-electric guitar with a Grand Auditorium body shape and has a cutaway for more access to the upper end of the fretboard. Acoustic amplification is seamless with the Expression System 2 pickup.|
|Martin Road Series DRS1||Martin seems to be trying to keep up with Taylor by also offering acoustic guitars under $1000. Case in point: the Martin DRS1 guitar, part of Martin’s Road Series and designed specifically for the traveling musician on a modest budget. With a solid sapele body, the DRS1 is both durable and rich-sounding, something hardworking guitar players will surely love.|
|Breedlove Pursuit Concert||If you’re in pursuit of a professional career in music, consider making the Breedlove Pursuit Concert your go-to acoustic-electric guitar. The Breedlove Pursuit Concert guitar with a cutaway features a solid koa body, mahogany neck and East Indian rosewood fingerboard. The koa wood produces a bright sound initially but this becomes richer and warmer the more the guitar is played.|
|Yamaha A3R||The Yamaha A3R is part of the company’s A Series of acoustic-electric guitars. This dreadnought with a cutaway has a warm, rich and resonant sound that will make you wish you have this guitar right now. The A3R has impressive specs too, plus it comes with the new SRT2 electronics. It’s hard to believe this guitar is priced below $1000, really.|
|Epiphone DR-500MCE||With an all-solid wood construction, Epiphone DR-500MCE is truly one of the best acoustic guitars you can buy for under $1000. Aside from a solid wood construction, this guitar also features Shadow pickups along with an eSonic2 stereo preamp with a built-in tuner, a phase switch, a stereo blend switch as well as tone and volume controls.|
|Eastman AC422CE||The Eastman AC422CE has a Grand Auditorium body style with a cutaway for effortless access to the upper frets. Made of all solid woods and equipped with a Schertler Lydia pickup system, this versatile and stage-ready acoustic guitar also features a mahogany neck and an ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlays. Great for flatpicking, fingerstyle, strumming and vocal backing.|
|Ibanez AE255BT||From the Ibanez AE lineup of acoustic-electric guitars comes the Ibanez AE255BT, a baritone acoustic guitar with a 27-inch scale. This guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top, ovangkol back and sides, mahogany neck and a cultured maple fingerboard with a beautifully designed wooden inlay. The baritone scale gives the guitar a rich, deep tone and a long sustain.|
Kudos to Taylor for making more of its quality guitars more accessible to a greater number of musicians. The 100 Series, to which the 114ce belongs, is the company’s most affordable line of acoustic guitars. The Taylor 114ce is the series’ Grand Auditorium acoustic-electric guitar with a cutaway. For an all-around guitar with a price that doesn’t go a cent beyond $1000, it’s a steal!
The Taylor 114ce boasts a solid Sitka spruce top with a Forward Shift Pattern bracing, layered walnut back and sides, sapele neck and genuine African ebony fingerboard and bridge. Because of its stiffness and density, walnut has a tendency to have a bright top end but without overshadowing midrange tones.
Other appointments include a three-ring rosette, a black pickguard, black body binding and Italian acrylic dot inlays on the fingerboard.
Making the Taylor 114ce ready for a plugged performance any moment is the Expression System 2, which features Taylor-patented behind-the-saddle transducer. The pickup system consists of three pickup sensors, each of which is uniquely calibrated and positioned in a different area behind the saddle. Paired with a custom-designed professional audio-grade preamp, the ES2 does exceptionally well in amplifying the acoustic guitar tone naturally.
The Martin Road Series DRS1 is a guitar you’ll be proud to own – and play wherever life takes you. This acoustic-electric dreadnought is ready for the road with its durable solid wood construction. And thanks to its modified low oval neck profile, you’ll find the DRS1 extremely comfortable to play, whether you’re standing or sitting on stage, in a recording studio or a town square.
The top, back and sides of the DRS1 are made of solid sapele and have a satin finish, while the top braces are made of solid Sitka spruce. The guitar is made more durable and affordable by the use of sturdy yet sustainable materials such as Stratabond for the neck and Richlite for the fingerboard and bridge. The overall build of the Martin DRS1 guarantees many productive hours through many miles.
Even with the use of alternative materials, the DRS1 has that rich tonal quality that Martin guitars are known for. The warm acoustic sound can be amplified through the built-in Fishman Sonitone pickup-preamp system, which includes controls for tone and volume.
Other features include a black pickguard, a tapered headstock, ABS white dot fretboard inlays, chrome enclosed tuning machines and a single ring rosette.
With its stunning koa body, the Breedlove Pursuit Concert guitar is a feast for the eyes. It’s a treat for the ears too, with its sweet and rich acoustic tones. The solid koa top and the laminate koa back and sides will initially produce a bright tone, which becomes warmer and richer the more the guitar is played. Over time, the wood opens up and develops its resonant tone – all the more reason to keep playing!
This guitar also features the Breedlove Bridge Truss, which reduces tension on the top of the guitar. This means that the top, or the soundboard, vibrates more freely to produce a clear and balanced sound with plenty of sustain. The mahogany neck contributes to adding sustain as well, while making the guitar more sturdy.
The Breedlove Pursuit Concert koa guitar also has an East Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, abalone purfling, gold closed gear tuners, black binding and dot fretboard inlays. For amplification, this guitar has a Fishman Isys+ pickup-preamp with volume, bass, treble and phase controls as well as a tuner. And for seamless interfacing with recording software, it’s equipped with a USB port. How’s that for versatility?
- Comes with Fishman Isys electronics with a tuner
- Has a USB port
- Cutaway makes it easier to play notes in the higher frets
- Factory-set action is high; proper setup recommended
- Not much bass
As part of the Yamaha A Series, the A3R has everything a performing musician needs in a guitar.
With a solid Sitka spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides, the A3R produces a well-balanced tone across the range. The sound is stronger and louder in the low-mid ranges, thanks to the new scalloped bracing on the top of the guitar. The soundboard of the A3R is also treated with the Yamaha-exclusive Acoustic Resonance Enhancement process, making the guitar sound like you’ve been playing it for many years.
The Yamaha A3R is equipped with SRT2 electronics, a new pickup system that Yamaha developed and optimized particularly for stage performance. It has controls for volume, treble, bass and blend. Pushing the bass control button activates the auto feedback reduction feature. The blend control button doubles as the mic type switch when pushed.
The neck of the A3R is made from African mahogany while the fretboard is made of ebony. The Yamaha A3R has a Traditional Western body shape that produces clear highs and powerful lows with full-body resonance. The cutaway, slim neck profile and hand-rolled fretboard edges make playing across the neck a breeze.
The DR-500MCE is part of Epiphone’s Masterbilt Collection of guitars, which are all made using solid tonewoods, equipped with modern electronics and have that distinctively classic and rich Epiphone tone.
The Masterbilt Collection has been Epiphone’s premier line of acoustic-electric guitars since 1931. The Epiphone DR-500MCE is one of the latest models to be added to the lineup. The new Masterbilt guitars continue tradition by being having solid tonewood bodies. For the DR-500MCE, Epiphone used solid Sitka spruce for the top with Sitka spruce braces, and solid mahogany for the back and sides. The 25.5-inch scale neck is also mahogany, while the fretboard is rosewood. The fretboard is adorned with “split-diamond” pearloid inlays.
Modern Masterbilts like the DR-500MCE are also built using traditional construction methods as well as materials such as hide glue, hand-scalloped bracing and a bone nut and saddle.
You can say the Epiphone DR-500MCE is truly a modern classic. What makes it modern is the built-in Shadow eSonic2 preamp system, which comes with a tuner along with tone and volume controls as well as a phase switch and stereo blend controls. The guitar is also equipped with a Shadow NanoFlex pickup. This vintage-style beauty is definitely a keeper!
- Awesome sound
- Has a cutaway for easier upper-fret play
- Electronic system has everything you need
- Some reports of defective pickups
- Initial setup and replacement of stock parts may be necessary (strings, saddle, bridge pins)
Eastman has produced a lot of great guitars over the years and the AC422CE is no exception. This acoustic guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, a mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, a two-way adjustable truss rod, hand-carved scalloped X-bracing and a Venetian cutaway. The body is bound in ivoroid binding and is given a natural gloss finish.
The Eastman AC422CE also has enclosed chrome-plated Gotoh tuning machines, an abalone rosette, a rosewood bridge, bone saddle and a Schertler Lydia pickup built in. The neck width of the guitar measures 1.75 inches at the nut, which is made of bone. The guitar has a scale length of 25.5 inches.
The guitar sounds terrific. The sound it produces is balanced across the range, with an impressive projection. The rosewood gives it a nice and rich low end with a lot of clarity and articulation. Every string and every note can be heard clearly. The sound both unplugged and via the pickup is balanced and resonant.
The Grand Auditorium body shape makes the Eastman AC422CE a versatile instrument, whether you’re a strummer, fingerstyle player, flatpicker or all of the above.
The Ibanez AE255BT is an acoustic-electric guitar with a baritone scale and 27-inch scale length. It features a solid Sitka spruce top with AE special scalloped X-bracing, ovangkol back and sides with back bracing for maximum tone projection and Ibanez custom electronics. The combination of solid Sitka and ovangkol gives the AE255BT a smooth tonal character, with wonderful highs and mids suited for vocal accompaniment.
The guitar also has a mahogany neck, walnut body binding, abalone and maple rosette, cultured maple fretboard and bridge, chrome die-cast tuners and a specially designed wooden fretboard inlay.
The cultured maple used in the fretboard and bridge is an engineered material made using maple wood and epoxy. Mixing and compressing maple with epoxy resin gives it greater strength and stability while also providing a smooth fretboard feel and a solid sound.
One of the company’s goals in designing the AE lineup was to reduce the number of cuts made into the guitar body and minimize the size of the electronic components. This is why Ibanez used a T-bar undersaddle pickup in the AE255BT. The custom electronics effectively deliver a natural acoustic live tone, making the Ibanez AE255BT a great guitar for performing musicians.
Our Buying Guide for the Best Acoustic Guitars under $1000
Suitable for intermediate players
As guitarists acquire more skills and become better players, they also begin to have an idea of what they want in their next acoustic guitar. When they feel they’ll be ready to hit the stage or the recording studio soon, they start to consider choosing an acoustic guitar that already has a pickup. Other guitar players strive to have a guitar with a solid wood top because it sounds better the more it is played.
The guitars on this list were selected based on not only what they can offer but also how they meet the needs of intermediate players. From a better-quality build and onboard electronics to visual appeal and a more refined acoustic tone, these guitars have everything you may want in an intermediate-level instrument.
However, these acoustic guitar models under $1000 aren’t just for intermediate guitar players. No matter your skill level, you will surely be glad to have one (or more!) of these in your arsenal. Professionals can use them as primary or as backup instruments, and beginners will surely have a more productive and enjoyable time practicing when they have a guitar such as the ones we’ve listed above.
The craftsmanship, playability and sound of these guitars are all excellent. Guitar players are usually advised to buy the best guitar their money can buy, so if you have a budget of $1000 you will not go wrong with any of the guitars in this list.
Let’s do a quick roundup of the top acoustic models in the $500-$1000 range and highlight their best features.
Taylor 114ce – One of Taylor’s most affordable acoustic guitars. Grand Auditorium body shape with a Venetian cutaway. Solid Sitka spruce top and layered walnut back and sides. Sapele neck and ebony fingerboard. Expression System 2 electronics featuring a behind-the-saddle transducer with three pickup sensors. Bright and well-balanced sound.
Martin Road Series DRS1 – Designed and built for the road. Solid sapele top, back and sides, Stratabond neck and Richlite fingerboard. Has the warm resonance as well as the rich and balanced tone that musicians love in a Martin. Equipped with Fishman electronics with controls for volume and tone.
Breedlove Pursuit Concert – Striking looks, thanks to a solid koa top and laminate koa back and sides. Mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard. Has a bright tone when first played, but will develop a warmer tone over time. Also features a cutaway. Equipped with Fishman Isys electronics and a USB port for easy interfacing with audio software.
Yamaha A3R – Dreadnought guitar with a cutaway. Solid tonewoods used are Sitka spruce for the top and rosewood for the back and sides. African mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard with rolled edges. Warm, ‘mature’ sound with plenty of resonance. Ready for the stage and recording studio, thanks to the new SRT2 pickup system.
Epiphone DR-500MCE – Made using solid tonewoods – the soundboard is Sitka spruce and the sides and back are mahogany. Mahogany is used on the neck as well, while rosewood is used for the fingerboard. Equipped with a Shadow NanoFlex pickup and Shadow eSonic2 preamp with a tuner. Also has a cutaway for effortless upper-fret play.
Eastman AC422CE – Grand Auditorium body style with a Venetian cutaway for easier playing at the higher frets. It boasts a solid wood construction: Sitka spruce for the top and East Indian rosewood for the back and sides. This guitar is made more sturdy by a mahogany neck, which is topped by a fast-playing ebony fingerboard. Comes with a Schertler Lydia pickup system. Impressive tonal quality and projection.
Ibanez AE255BT – Baritone-scale guitar with a solid Sitka spruce top and ovangkol back and sides. Mahogany neck with a smooth cultured maple fingerboard with a vine-y inlay design. Beautifully rich, smooth and deep tone. Equipped with a custom-designed T-bar undersaddle pickup and preamp system.
And that’s it! Which model is your top pick for the best acoustic guitar under $1000?