If you’re a beginner learning to play guitar and looking for a quality instrument on a budget, you’ll find some great options. There are many quality, durable, and affordable acoustic guitars available for anyone, whether you’re just getting started or looking to continue practicing on a new instrument.
While it may be challenging to find the ideal guitar if you’re working within a budget, we found some excellent acoustic guitars that offer a robust tone and overall rich sound that’s perfect for beginners and intermediary-level musicians.
Our top picks for inexpensive guitars are rated on five characteristics: price, design, durability, features, and materials. Many budget-friendly guitars offer the basics you’ll need to get started, including extra picks, strings, a tuner, and other items.
If you’re looking to invest in an electric guitar kit, our recommendation includes quality craftmanship with all the essentials to get started.
Best Beginner Acoustic Guitar for Adults and Teens
The Vangoa Acoustic Guitar is a fantastic choice for new guitarists of all ages and includes all the accessories required to get started, including extra strings and picks. You’ll find the quality ideal for the price range, with a scratch-resistant finish that’s smooth and easy to handle.
It’s an easy guitar to travel with and store conveniently. Vangoa’s guitar offers a robust sound that remains consistent and doesn’t require much tuning, so you’ll enjoy a great tone while you learn to play.
While the size is designed for adults, it’s also an ideal buy for children and teens. Generally, it’s a great inexpensive purchase for beginners and intermediate guitarists, whether you’re new to this instrument or need an affordable option for lessons.
- Excellent craftsmanship, with a scratch-resistant, smooth finish
- Built with a dreadnought body style, which offers a powerful and resonation
- Includes a built-in truss rod, which makes it easy to adjust the neck of the guitar
- Vangoa offers a 30-day unconditional refund, excellent customer service, and a one-year warranty
- The tuning pegs are enclosed, which keeps them protected from dust and wear
- This guitar model is ideal for beginners and students, though it may not be suitable for advanced or professional musicians
Best Cheap Acoustic Guitar for Children
The Pyle 36” Classic acoustic guitar is a convenient, compact, and quality-crafted guitar that’s perfectly shaped and sized for children taking lessons. The nylon strings are comfortable and easy to use for beginners, and it’s a compact, durable model suitable for traveling and doesn’t require much maintenance.
All the accessories needed are included in the kit, with an easy-to-use digital tuner and versatile strings that can be used for other stringed instruments, such as violins, bass guitars, and ukuleles.
Overall, this well-made guitar kit is a decent investment. It makes an excellent gift for kids, with a standard design and smaller size, so it’s comfortable to hold and play with. It’s also effortless to maintain, and it’s quick to clean with the gentle cloth that comes with the kit.
You’ll also find that this guitar lasts long and makes a fantastic introduction for beginners and an easier transition to a full-sized guitar for intermediate-level guitarists.
- This guitar kit offers everything for beginner lessons, including extra strings, cloth, gig bag case, picks, and a pitch pipe tuner
- The junior size and design of the guitar is suitable for children and easy to use
- There’s no assembly or preparation required, as the guitar is ready to play as soon as it’s unpacked
- It’s sturdy, durable, and convenient to store
- The tuner is easy to use, even for children
- Ranked in the top five best sellers in the beginner acoustic guitar kits category
- The guitar may be too small, and some people may need to upgrade pretty fast
Best Cheap Natural Acoustic Guitar
The Jasmine S34C Nex natural acoustic guitar is a lightweight instrument with a gloss finish. This dreadnought-style guitar offers a classic appearance with the option of a starter bundle.
This natural acoustic guitar is a beautiful model that embodies a classic design compatible with all ages and skill levels. It’s a great gift idea that’s affordable, with a smooth, glossy finish that’s durable and easy to maintain. This model includes sculpted wood pieces and a beautiful structure that provides consistently good tonal quality.
- Ranked a best seller in the top 15 steel-string acoustic guitars
- There’s an option to purchase the guitar on its own or as part of a starter kit for beginner musicians.
- This orchestra-style guitar is designed with a stylish, classic finish and natural wood that produces a rich and balanced sound
- The slender neck profile, lightweight, and overall shape makes this guitar easy to hold and play
- There’s more accessible access to the high frets on the board due to the cutaway design
- Jasmine is a quality brand that offers various popular designs, including the Jasmine S35 acoustic guitar
- While this guitar is ideal for all ages, it’s not recommended for younger children
Best and Most Affordable Taylor Acoustic Guitar
Taylor guitars are well known for their quality craftsmanship and sound quality. This Taylor BT1 Walnut guitar features a mahogany and spruce top, walnut wood on the back, and ebony on the fretboard. It’s an ideal instrument for a beginner guitar player and an affordable choice for kids taking lessons. Taylor offers a standard guitar that’s travel-friendly, durable, and produces excellent tone and volume that’s impressive and consistently top-notch.
It's a great acoustic guitar option that’s portable, small, compact, and includes a gig bag. This Taylor model is three-quarters the size of a standard dreadnought acoustic guitar, and it’s a favorite among famous musicians and music styles, including folk, rock, country, blues, and classical guitar.
- Taylor guitars, including this model, are among the better quality cheap acoustic guitars for all skill levels, from a beginner guitarist to a professional musician
- Includes six acoustic guitar strings and a gig bag, which is ideal for portability and travel
- Taylor is a reputable brand that offers a wide range of sizes, natural solid wood, including parlor guitar, dreadnought guitar, grand concert, and smaller models, including the Taylor GS mini.
- This guitar produces a powerful volume and sound that’s ideal for small stage performance
- It’s a reasonably-priced budget guitar that doesn’t compromise on quality, so you can enjoy playing for years.
- The guitar doesn’t include accessories or additional items, such as picks, additional strings (in addition to the six provided), or a cleaning cloth.
Affordable Martin Acoustic Guitar
The Martin 1x1e Little Martin guitar is a fantastic solid spruce instrument with a high-quality textured finish, a Rust Stratabond neck, chrome tuners, and the option of either rosewood fingerboard or solid Morado.
Like the smaller Taylor guitar, this Martin acoustic guitar is three-quarters of a full-sized instrument and includes a set of six steel strings and a gig bag. Martin guitars are versatile and offer essential elements for playing quality music of all genres. This brand also features an acoustic-electric guitar and other styles, including classical guitars.
- It’s an excellent instrument for every level of guitar player
- CF Martin and Company is a well-established, reputable company that manufactures an extended range of acoustic guitars with excellent sound quality
- It’s a best seller and offers all the essential elements for beginner guitar players, children, and adults
- Includes a padded gig bag, which protects your guitar during travel
- Textured finish on the top, sides, and bottom, with a spruce top and high-pressure laminate for increased durability
- It’s an easy guitar to maintain and enjoy for many years
- Ranked as one of the top 50 sellers in the steel-string acoustic guitars category
- This model doesn’t provide extra picks, straps, or additional strings, which have to be purchased separately
- The cost is a bit higher than other cheap acoustic guitars, though it’s a good investment and less expensive than similar Martin and Taylor guitars, which typically cost more.
Selecting the Best Cheap Guitar: Buyer’s Guide
If you’re shopping for your first guitar, you may initially find the options overwhelming in terms of price, features, makes, and models. Musical instruments are available in many styles, though if you’re a beginner, a simple structure that’s durable and inexpensive is a practical choice.
When you review guitar options, it’s essential to consider the following characteristics to narrow down the suitable model for purchase.
What to Look for in an Inexpensive Acoustic Guitar
When you buy an inexpensive guitar, consider some essential characteristics to ensure that you’ll get the most out of your instrument. While some acoustic guitars for beginners have less volume and strength in their tone, they should be durable and easy to tune so that you can play with a consistent sound.
The quality of wood and materials in your guitar impact the tonal quality and durability of the instrument. If you select a guitar with laminated wood, you’ll find there’s less vibration than solid wood models. Inexpensive guitars are typically laminated, though you may find decent pricing for some brands made of solid wood, which is the best option for overall quality of tone and volume.
The Size and Shape of the Guitar
The size of the guitar, either junior or full-size. A smaller guitar is ideal for children new to learning music, though you’ll likely want to upgrade to a more giant, full-sized guitar to continue with intermediate or advanced training. A chart is ideal for determining the best guitar size for children, based on their age.
The shape and design of the guitar are important because certain bends or curves can impact how easy or difficult it is to play. For example, some beginners experience challenges playing with a bow or a back bow, and if there are any issues with the guitar neck, this can affect progress.
The distance between the fretboard and the strings, the overall model shape, and materials may enhance or cause difficulty playing the guitar. For this reason, the design and size of the instrument should be compatible with the musician.
Acoustic or Electric Guitar
There are advantages and drawbacks to choosing an acoustic or electric guitar. Acoustic guitars require less equipment and allow you to focus on techniques and chords, while electric guitars allow you to explore a broader range of sounds. On the other hand, electric guitars are easier to play and ideal for some beginners.
If you choose an electric guitar, it’s best to invest in a kit that includes an amp, headphones, instrument cable, and a digital tuner. Acoustic guitars require less equipment, though you’ll want to ensure your kit has extra picks and strings. If you plan to travel with your guitar, a soft storage case and straps are also important.
The Three Main Types of Guitar Body Designs
There are three main body types to consider when buying a guitar, jumbo, parlor, and dreadnought. The parlor size is typically around 25 inches in length, while the dreadnought is closer to 25.5 inches, and the jumbo size is up to 26 inches. You’ll find a bit of variance in size and shape within each of these styles, though they’re generally easy to recognize.
You can find a fantastic video about different guitar body designs and their differences over here:
Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing the Best Cheap Guitar
Should I buy my guitar online or in a store?
When you buy a guitar in-store, you’ll have the benefit of “trying” out the instrument by holding, playing, and hearing how the guitar sounds. This option is essential if you’ve never played the guitar before, as you’ll want to get comfortable with a specific style or model based on the varieties available.
While you may want to choose the first guitar for your child in a store, you may find online shopping easier if there aren’t any available music stores in your area. It’s also less time-consuming to review guitar kits online, though it’s vital to ensure you find all the specifications, including the dimensions, materials, and features for each model.
Should I buy a new or used guitar?
A new guitar may be ideal, especially if you find a great deal or kit with all the accessories and equipment. On the other hand, used guitars are an excellent option to consider if you’re looking for a specific model or vintage style that is no longer available. There are distinct advantages for a new guitar, including the brand-new feel and look, the best technology available, based on the make and model, and warranty options.
There are some great reasons to consider a second-hand guitar. Ideally, it’s a worthwhile option if you’re looking to save significant money while finding a specific brand or model that’s typically more expensive new. If you enjoy the vintage sound of an older guitar, including a rare model or collectible, second-hand guitars are best for finding a unique sound and instrument.
Which is a better option, steel or nylon strings?
Nylon strings are typically easier to play if you’re a new guitar player and not yet accustomed to steel or metal strings. Steel strings are the popular choice for most guitarists, as nylon strings are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes and require tuning more frequently.
Should I buy a guitar kit that includes all the required accessories?
If you choose specific brands, such as Taylor, Fender FA 100, or Gibson acoustic guitars, you may have fewer accessories included. It’s essential to determine if your goal is to focus on the quality of the instrument, as you already have the equipment compatible with your brand choice, or an all-in-one package or kit that’s more affordable and will save on the cost of additional items.
What are the advantages of buying an acoustic guitar?
Acoustic guitars offer a rich, robust sound without the need for an amplifier or electric equipment. While acoustic guitars offer a limited range in tone, it’s an excellent option for beginners, and it’s less expensive than electric guitars. It’s also ideal if you plan on learning to play R&B, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, and folk music.
You’ll also find the acoustic sound gives you a clear indication of your progress, especially if you’re a beginner. This guitar offers an authentic range that’s ideal for playing chords and practicing a variety of music genres.
There are a few reasons why electric guitars are an option to consider, either as an alternative to acoustic or a second instrument. Electric guitars are easier to play, and they make a great choice if you or your child enjoy popular styles of music.
They are available in various colors and sizes, with greater versatility to play various songs. You can adjust the amplifier's volume to create music as loud or soft as you want, including the option of headphones, so you can play without anyone else hearing a sound.
While electric guitars are an excellent investment for beginners, it’s essential to have your instrument's appropriate equipment and accessories. When you’re shopping for a quality guitar within a budget, and you’re looking to learn the fundamentals of playing guitar, an acoustic instrument is the best option for price and simplicity.