While it may be on your wish list to spend thousands of dollars one day and get some top-notch, premium acoustic guitar, you may not be at that point in your life right now. That's totally fine!
Dropping more than a grand for an acoustic guitar is something a lot of people can't do.
Fortunately for us, you don't need to spend a grand to get a guitar that sounds like a million bucks! You can find high-quality wood, serious tone, and some unique features that create a stand out feel, all for less than $1000. You just have to know where to look.
Let's dive in and see what kind of guitars the market is offering these days for all you budgeteers.
- 1 The Bottom Line...
- 2 What Can You Expect From an Acoustic Guitar Under a Grand?
- 3 Top Standard Acoustic Guitars (Below $1000)
- 4 Top Acoustic Electric Guitars (Below $1000)
- 5 Tune Up!
The Bottom Line...
What Can You Expect From an Acoustic Guitar Under a Grand?
Considering the fact that guitars can range from under $100 to thousands of dollars, you've put yourself in a pretty considerable price range. If you play guitar casually (playing at home or playing shows here and there), there is no need to spend more than a grand.
You can find a solid wood guitar for that price with ease unless you are looking to go with a laminated body. Laminate can protect your guitar when you're on the road with it, or if you live in an extreme environment with humidity or cold, though it doesn't produce as natural of a tone.
If you can, we recommend looking for an American-made guitar. The Germans may have engineering, and the French may have fashion, but there is truly nothing quite like an American guitar. You can expect to find something that feels high-end for under $1000.
Lastly, you can expect to find pretty solid hardware for under $1000 as well, especially if you are purchasing a guitar close to the higher end of the range. If you spend a little extra, you can get a guitar with solid tuners, bone-made saddles and nuts, and even a preamp if you want to plug in.
The tone will depend on the type of wood that you, as well as the size, so it comes down to your preference and what you need.
Top Standard Acoustic Guitars (Below $1000)
Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic
Best Acoustic Under $1000
Though the Seagull Artists might look pretty straightforward at first glance, this guitar is packed with some of the finest craftsmanship in the realm of acoustic guitars.
With a solid cedar top, Mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard, it is a durable guitar with a rich, warm sound. The deep browns give it a wonderfully vintage vibe that'll make you want to pick it up and start strumming away.
In terms of the overall tone, it is very warm and rich with lots of clarity in the highs. From strumming chords with a pick to playing fingerstyle, it's easy to get a crystal-clear, high-fidelity sound out of the body of this guitar.
Thanks to the large dreadnought size, it also projects quite nicely, perfect for those unplugged situations where you still want a bit of volume. Even with the large body, the bass response isn't overpowering in the slightest, making it a great recording workhorse too.
The hardware is top-notch, meaning you won't have to worry about staying in tune throughout your show either.
Bottom Line: Seagull makes some of the best instruments on the market, and their Artist Series Mosaic guitar is a beautifully made, rich and warm sounding guitar that is bound to please any serious guitarist.
The Ibanez Artwood Vintage AVN11 is one of the prettiest Parlor-style guitars on the market today. It is very reminiscent of early 20-century acoustic guitars and comes with a gorgeous, solid caucasian spruce top and an antique brown sunburst finish.
The strength of the guitar comes from the Mahogany back and sides that are paired with Yamaha’s unique Thermo-Aged Spruce X Bracing. Lastly, the herringbone purfling, bone nut/saddle, and vintage nickel tuners, all come together to make this one of the most gentlemen-ly looking guitars on the market.
In terms of the sound, it delivers what you would expect a Parlor acoustic to deliver. You get a warm and smooth low end, a dip in the mids, and a beautiful sustain as you work your way up the neck.
Because of the slimmer profile, it’s perfect in smaller hands, though feels like a dream for those average folks as well. The tonewood is much lighter and far more stable thanks to the Thermal-Aging process, giving you dynamic playability and a louder resonance overall.
Bottom Line: The Ibanez Artwood AV11 is one of the coolest vintage guitars on the market. If you’re after a Parlor style and sound, look no further.
The Blueridge BR-343 is one of the finest looking acoustic guitars on our list, perfect for the traditional player who desires a top-notch aesthetic.
This guitar is made with a solid Sitka spruce top and has scalloped braces to provide dynamic articulation and a focused, crisp tone. The Sitka spruce is paired with solid Mahogany back and sides that give you a bit of warmth to round out the frequency curve.
In terms of feel, you’ll love the uniquely, slim mahogany neck, which provides low-action and stability for fast playing.
Now back to the aesthetic. This beauty comes with a Cross and Chalice peghead inlay and trinity position markers, all made from shimmer pearl and abalone.
In terms of design, it is a truly original piece. The Sunburst high gloss finish tops it off to give you that old-style, country look.
Every single Blueridge guitar comes complete with a padded gig bag so that you can go gigging as soon as you get it in your hands.
Bottom Line: When it comes to beauty in design, it’s hard to think of an acoustic guitar that beats the Blueridge BR-343. With a gorgeous aesthetic, a crisp tone, and serious durability, it’s a guitar that you will cherish forever.
You rarely hear a lot of talk about Fender guitars when getting into the subject of acoustic, though the Fender Paramount Series PM-1 deserves a spot on our list with its wonderfully, natural sound and high-quality design.
The PM-1 is a standard, Mahogany-built dreadnought acoustic guitar with an organic finish that helps to provide you with highly responsive tone and versatile use.
Thanks to the unique open pores on this particular Mahogany, you get lush, warm tones with very nuanced articulation. Fingerpickers and strummers alike will notice how dynamic it is right away.
Beyond the materials, the scalloped X-bracing is placed painstakingly to give you incredible definition and sustain while keeping the durability intact.
In terms of aesthetic, you get an ebony bridge and compensated bone saddle, as well as ebony bridge pins for an added touch.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a natural and versatile acoustic tone, why not get it from one of the biggest guitar manufacturers on the planet? The Fender Paramount PM-1 is one of Fender’s most serious entrances into the acoustic guitar realm in our opinion.
The Taylor GS Mini is a smaller version of the Taylor Grand Symphony and makes for the perfect, acoustic travel companion. At a 23.5” scale length, it’s ideal for small-handed strummers and nomadic finger pickers.
Don’t underestimate this little thing though, as it packs a punch. It is composed of a solid Sitka atop with Sapele back and sides and a Sapele neck with a West African ebony fingerboard.
Beyond its durability, it has a gorgeous three-ring rosette and three-layer purfling to add to the aesthetic, making it look like it costs far more than it does.
In terms of the sound, it’s pretty incredible what you can get out of the Taylor GS mini. The resonance is solid, and the frequency curve creates a tighter low end with upfront mids and shimmering highs. While it’s not the best for projecting loud and over-the-top tones, it gives you far more control, making it a perfect guitar for recording as well.
Bottom Line: The Taylor GS Mini is one of the best travel guitars on the market hands-down. It’s versatile, has a great look, and comes at a price that will make your jaw drop!
Yamaha is always one of the biggest contenders when it comes to looking for good acoustic guitars on a budget. Their FG860 guitar is an absolute classic with the natural Mahogany design and double-cutaway shape.
It’s also one of their best-selling acoustic guitars in this lineup.
The Mahogany and rosewood come together for an impeccable tone that is dark and warm. You’ll notice it right away when compared to lighter and brighter guitars made with Spruce. The scalloped bracing not only adds to the resonance and natural sound but also gives this guitar a durable exterior.
The Yamaha FG850 uses a body binding, giving it that warm, woodiness that is so sought after. You get distinct and unique mid frequencies that help the guitar sit very nicely in solo recordings.
With that said, the larger sound hole provides that extra boost in volume when you need it, so performing live should be no worry either.
Bottom Line: The Yamaha FG850 is an incredible value overall. The unique, warm tone is unlike any other guitar on this list and the design is unlike anything you’d expect for the low cost.
Top Acoustic Electric Guitars (Below $1000)
Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB
Best Acoustic/Electric Under $1000
The first time you lay eyes on the Taylor GS Mini-e Koa, there is no doubt that you'll fall in love. The rich, dark, smooth polished wood surface not only looks like a dream to hold in your hands, but it also plays like one too.
Influenced by Hawaiian culture and style, this guitar is made with gorgeous Koa wood all around and a high-fidelity ebony fretboard that gives it a sweet, crystal-clear sound reminiscent of many high-end Taylor guitars.
The unique thing about the Taylor GS Mini-e is that it is, well, miniature.
With only 20 frets, it's the perfect travel-sized guitar and/or for anyone with small hands. Don't let the size fool you, though, as this thing projects like a king. Whether you are using it for songwriting or playing live, the Taylor GS Mini-e Koa will ride with you.
One nice thing about Koa wood too is that it is incredibly sturdy. It can handle the dangers of the road where you might accidentally bump it into things or drop while loading stuff into the van.
Bottom Line: The Taylor GS Mini-e Koa is the perfect electro acoustic guitar for amateurs and professionals alike. It is a wonderfully portable guitar with the iconic Taylor sound and a gorgeous look.
If you're looking for a guitar that can demand the stage from the second you start strumming, we recommend checking out the Taylor 114ce Series Grand Auditorium. The unique body shape and size make it a monster projector.
Beyond that, you have the Taylor Expression System 2 Pickup that is included so that you can plug into any PA or amp. From there, you can control the volume and tone with the knobs placed on the north side of the guitar.
The guitar has a solid spruce top that provides clarity and projection while the back and sides are a laminate Sapele to help provide protection and durability.
The sound of this guitar is essentially a Taylor on steroids. You get a bright, cutting tone that is larger than life, considering this guitar isn't that big.
It comes complete with a soft case so that you can take it with you on the go wherever you please.
Bottom Line: The Taylor 114ce provides a traditional aesthetic and larger-than-life sound that is perfect for any playing situation. The electronics make it ideal for live performances as well!
Yamaha doesn't typically get put at the top of very many acoustic guitar lists, though the A3R Dreadnought Cutaway is one of our favorite acoustic guitars in the game.
It has a gorgeous Sitka Spruce top and rosewood back and sides, which come together to give it a unique tone. In terms of overall tone, it's very loud in the lower-mid ranges. You can thank the scalloped bracing that is present on the top of the guitar for this. It's perfect for getting that vintage tone without much work, as well as solid for folk music.
Yamaha used their exclusive Acoustic Resonance Enhancement Process on this guitar to "age" it a bit too. The added SRT2 electronics system is perfect for live performance, providing you with all the controls you need to dial in the perfect volume and tone when plugged in.
There is a special bass control button that helps to reduce feedback a bit, as well as a blend control button that switches the mic type.
Bottom Line: The Yamaha A3R is an easy-to-use acoustic/electric guitar with solid construction and a unique, vintage sound thanks to the Yamaha aging process.
Once upon a time, dreadnought Martin guitars were almost unattainable thanks to the high prices. They eventually decided to relocate their facilities to help cut costs so that more people could own their high-quality guitars.
The relocation didn't change the standard though, as this guitar still sounds incredible. It delivers a crisp, tight, and clear sound that only Martin could.
In terms of the build, it's wildly smooth. The Sapele back and sides and Stratabond neck are covered with a satin finish to give it a top-notch look.
In terms of the overall tone, you get something that feels alive. The bass response snaps really nicely while the high end is bright and crystal clear to add that little cherry on top.
Martin has added in a Fishman preamp that makes it perfect for playing live too.
Bottom Line: If you've always wanted a Martin guitar, now is your chance. The Martin Road Series DRS1 delivers a high-quality aesthetic, a unique and tone-friendly voice, and a build quality that is like no other.
PRS guitars are top-of-the-line. Thank the lord that they've created their SE series, which takes the best qualities of their high-end guitars and puts them on guitars that are sold in an affordable price range.
The SE Tonare T40E has a gorgeous Sitka Spruce Top and Ovangkol back and sides for a uniquely present tone. The ebony bridge is incredibly high-quality while the Mahogany neck provides smooth playability that feels like butter from the moment you pick it up.
If you are someone who likes to play live, you'll dig the fact that they've added Fishman GT1 electronics on the inside. Simply plug into the small output jack on the back and start fiddling with the rotary-style tone and volume knobs to dial in your perfect sound.
The overall tone of the PRS SE Tonare T40E is dynamic and balanced, delivering a richness that is unparalleled thanks to the unique classical fan-style and X-bracing. You get an insane amount of resonance with the grand body shape too, making it perfect for projecting in unplugged situations.
Bottom Line: The PRS SE Tonare 40E delivers high-end acoustic quality at an affordable price. It's the perfect guitar for live performance with the large, tonal resonance and exceptional electronics system.
Another excellent downsized guitar is the Martin Dreadnought Jr. It is made with durable, solid wood construction and a bound top edge, making it far strong enough for those who travel a lot.
While it may not have the depth of a full-size dreadnought guitar, it does provide the same basic tone with a punchier low end and a present mid-range. It's the perfect guitar for the old-school fingerpicking guitarist. At 24" in scale length, it is on the smaller end of acoustic guitars.
Seasoned players will love the unique sound and classic Martin feel while new or younger players will dig the fact that it is small and easy to play. The Sitka Spruce top gives it a classic look and clear sound while the Sapele back and sides hold the guitar together and add to its overall strength. They've also added in electronics so that you can plug it in and play on-the-go with ease.
Bottom Line: The Martin Dreadnought Jr. is one of the best introductions into the world of Martin guitars and provides high-quality playability and tone for what you would typically pay over a thousand to obtain.
So can you find yourself a good acoustic guitar for under $1000? Absolutely!
Whether you want to keep it near the lower end and spend $400 or use your whole budget to get all of your dream features in one axe is up to you!
It's not hard to find a guitar in this price range that will last you a lifetime.
If you're looking to go purely acoustic, we recommend the Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic for its high-quality craftsmanship and beautiful tone.
If you're looking for a guitar that can plug in when you decide to go live, we recommend getting yourself a Taylor GS Mini-e Solid Koa Top ESB for the top-tier electronics system and unique Koa tone.
Leave a Reply