Acoustic music is one of those kinds of music that makes our soul connect with the music. It is an unlikely surreal experience that cannot be found in other genres of music. This special type of music is created with acoustic musical instruments and acoustic guitars are one of them. This particular type of guitar has an electric counterpart known as acoustic-electric guitars. Electronic acoustic guitars have risen in popularity by a lot. We have hundreds of manufacturers who produce different models of acoustic guitars. Choosing from them is very difficult. That is why here is a list to help you buy the best acoustic-electric guitar under $500.
What to Keep in Mind
Even though companies claim their products to be error-free, it will be foolish to blindly believe them no matter how trusted the brand is. Because nothing in this world is free of error.
Acoustic-electric guitars are nothing like electric guitars. They are exactly like the acoustic guitars but have some electronic components built into them. Just like the traditional acoustic guitars, they come with sound resonators, a hollow sound box.
So it can produce loud sounds and accompany someone singing. But when it comes to pleasing a large crowd, or digitally recording your play, the built-in electronics come to play. You can easily plug the guitar into a mixing board and play it like it is your traditional acoustic guitar.
This gives you a lot of advantages and saves you from the hassle of carrying external electronic equipment that you would need with the non-electric guitars.
Musical instruments like guitars need to be free of errors or at least minimize the errors so they can produce the sound necessary. If the errors are too significant, they will hamper the sound quality and fall short in performance.
So no matter where you buy your guitar from, you must take look at all crucial components of it and give it a test drive if you can.
Before buying an acoustic-electric guitar, you should take a look at its build material, top, soundbox, neck length, and electronic parts.
The material affects the guitar's durability and sound resonance. If you feel that the guitar doesn't sound right, try using a guitar made of different materials and try different bracings. Also, try both cutout and no-cutout versions. Both versions sound different.
As it is an electric guitar, check on the electronics used in it. Are they good enough? What options do they offer you for customization? Are they compatible with your digital equipment?
Check on these factors and you will find yourself the perfect acoustic-electric guitar.
Martin Guitar X Series D-X1E
HPL Mahogany wood body
Built-in Fishman MX pickup & preamp
Cordoba C5-CE CD
Available in different cutouts and shape
Scalloped X Bracing
Available in two body shapes
Well-toned and balanced
Available in different tops
Available in no cutout version
Quartersawn Scalloped X bracing
Epiphone DOVE PRO
Dovetail neck top
Now D neck
Takamine GD30CE-NAT Dreadnought
Solid spruce top
Excellent sound resonance
Takamine’s own electrical pieces of equipment
Available in two design
Made with Rosewood and Mahogany
1. Martin Guitar X Series D-X1E
If you have done your research on guitar manufacturers, then you may know that Martin Guitar is one of the high-end manufacturers. They sell the most high-quality acoustic guitars in the market and they cost more than a thousand dollars.
But they do manufacture an entry-level guitar that costs less than 500 dollars. It does not fall short in quality either. It delivers a well-balanced rich tone for a budget acoustic guitar. The body is made with premium mahogany wood and the neck is hardwood. It has a very comfortable grip, ideal for beginners and intermediate guitarists.
The guitar is equipped with a Fishman MX pickup & preamps. You can easily plug it into your digital sound system and play it. The body shape is dreadnought and the size is just about right for everyone.
2. Cordoba C5-CE CD
Cordoba is a Spanish company. The Cordoba C5-CE CD appears to be a classical guitar by the looks of its body that features a cutout. But it is categorized as an acoustic-electric guitar. The body is made with Mahogany wood with Spanish fan bracing. It is a well versatile guitar. The top is a Canadian Cedar.
It is very hard to find Canadian Cedar tops in a budget acoustic-electric guitar. It is also equipped with Fishman electronics. The electronics work pretty well and have no flaws. The electronic control includes a volume knob, a bass knob, treble, and phase knob. Also, there is a tuner control.
The well-balanced tune and the body shape appear to be convenient for any type of guitarist including children. It is available in cutouts of both left and right, with no cutouts and a slim body.
3. Yamaha FGX800C
Yamaha is one of the most renowned musical instrument producers of our time. Their musical instruments never disappoint users. This FGX800C acoustic-electric guitar is no different.
The FG series has been around for nearly 70 years and they are pretty reliable. The FGX800C is a well-tuned acoustic guitar, equipped with the right electronics. You can plug it into any electrical amplifier, recorder, or mixer board and play as you please.
The body is not made of mahogany wood. Only the backside is. The top is a solid Sitka spruce top. It is very high quality for a budget acoustic-electric guitar.
Another top quality feature of this Yamaha guitar is the scalloped x bracing. Such types of bracings can only be found in high-end guitars like the Martin guitars. So if you are looking for something that has many high-end features yet affordable, then choose the Yamaha FGX800C. It is the best budget acoustic-electric guitar in the market.
4. Ibanez AW54CEOPN
This attractive guitar from Ibanez has a very noticeable vintage vibe. Its body is made of Mahogany wood. The price is very cheap in comparison to others on the list. But it is equipped with high-quality parts. The top of the guitar is made with solid mahogany wood.
This solid piece gives the tone a more solid sound and the soundbox resonates the sound better. The body has a cutout design which is convenient to reach the frets near that area. Speaking of frets, it goes to 14 frets, like the Martin guitars. Well, it gives the guitarists more space, it puts much tension on the strings.
So this guitar must be picked with high tensile strength strings, otherwise, the strings will fall apart after a few play sessions. The electronic equipment is the Ibanez AEQ210TF. Not Fisherman, but it has Fishman Sonicore. It is equally effective as the Fisherman equipment. So there is no worry about electronics. You can Plug’n’Play as you please.
5. Yamaha CGX102
Yet another acoustic-electric guitar from Yamaha. Yamaha has been around for a long time and their instruments are well reliable and trusted by musicians around the world. Just like their high-end equipment, their entry-level equipment such as this Yamaha CGX102 guitar delivers performance up to the standards.
The material used to make this budget acoustic-electric guitar is Nato wood. It resonates naturally. As it is producing natural tones, you have the liberty to alter and tune the sound as you see fit.
6. Takamine GY11ME
This acoustic-electric guitar, Takamine GY11ME, comes in a much convenient parlor shape. Parlor shapes are more slim and slick than the other ones like dread knights. As the shape is smaller, anyone of any age can pick it up and play with ease.
The guitar is made out of Mahogany. From top to neck and body, everything is made of Mahogany. It gives a rich tone to the sound. The neck is C in design. You can get a better grip on it. One thing unusual about this guitar is its long neck. Even though it is smaller than your average guitars, the neck is way longer than average, It has 20 frets.
The electronics used in this guitar is TP-4T, Takamine’s piece of electronics.
7. Fender CD-60SCE
Fender is a well-known brand for producing some legendary acoustic guitars. Fender has specialized in producing high-quality guitars of all kinds at a comparatively low price. The Fender CD-60SCE happens to cost less than $500 but delivers excellent tones.
The top is spruce and the body is made out of Mahogany wood. The bracing is a little different. It has Quartersawn Scalloped X bracing. This bracing creates a deep and rich sound when you hit the strings. And with the electronics, which is from Fishman, this guitar is ready for any situation. It can satisfy a crowd of thousands.
8. Epiphone DOVE PRO
The Epiphone DOVE PRO has a dreadnought body with a beautiful finish. It even has a dove on the body, enhancing the artistic look. The top is a dovetail neck joint. The sound resonance is also good enough. Overall it is a great budget guitar.
9. Takamine GD30CE
Takamine has been producing some excellent low-budget acoustic-electric guitars. The Takamine GD30CE is one of their excellent guitars. It has a Maplewood built back and slide. The sound resonates very nicely with these woods. It has a nice cutout design and a natural finish. It is equipped with Takamine’s TP-4TD electronics.The Epiphone DOVE PRO has a dreadnought body with a beautiful finish. It even has a dove on the body, enhancing the artistic look. The top is a dovetail neck joint. The sound resonance is also good enough. Overall it is a great budget guitar.
10. Yamaha FSX830C
Again another Yamaha guitar. We know that Yamaha musical instruments are well reliable and trusted all around the world. So we cannot finish our list without products from this brand. This guitar from Yamaha is available in two shapes- Concert and dreadnought.
The top is solid Sitka spruce. The body is made of rosewood and Mahogany at the back. It resonates pretty well and the electronics are System 66. It is a well acoustic-electric guitar for its price.
Acoustic-electric guitars are like traditional acoustic guitars. They both have the same sound quality and tones. Just like acoustic guitars, acoustic-electric guitars are ideal for acoustic music, folk songs, and others alike. The only notable difference between the acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars is the electric components, body shape, and price.
Acoustic-electric guitars have a cutout body and the price is higher. But it delivers more functionality than acoustic guitars. So if you have to choose between acoustic guitars and acoustic-electric guitars, choose the acoustic-electric guitar.
You can also read about How to Write a Good Hook for Song?