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7 Best Acoustic Guitars (From $500 to $1,000)

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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, buying a higher-priced acoustic guitar is a big decision that requires thorough research before you make your purchase.

The best acoustic guitars priced from $500 to $1,000 dollars (retail) all offer high-quality woods, materials, and construction.  So, the decision should be made based on which guitar feels and sounds best to you, and your playing style.

I’ve reviewed the best acoustic and electric-acoustic guitars in this price range that are available today.   The guitar are below.

Review Criteria

All acoustic guitars included in my reviews were selected based on their widespread use and reputation in the professional music community and from my 40-year experience as a guitarist.

I’ve also added my insights gained from my 25+ years of experience running a very successful music production company, plus working with dozens of composers and thousands of tracks for my Audio Addiction Music Library, a production music library with global distribution.

For a complete overview of acoustic guitars, from construction, body styles, woods, playability, plus tips on choosing the right acoustic guitar, please see my Acoustic Guitar Buyer’s Guide.

7 Best Acoustic Guitars (From $500 to $1,000) Reviews

Established in 1974 and based in El Cajon, California, Taylor Guitars only makes guitars.  Known more for their acoustic guitars, they have earned a place as one of the top acoustic guitar makers in the world.

Their guitars are widely considered to be some of the best in the world in terms of sound quality, playability, craftsmanship, and visual appeal.  It’s no wonder that many artists such as Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, Leo Kottke, Dave Matthews, and Zac Brown play a Taylor guitar.

The two founders, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, have been pioneers and innovators in applying technology-based manufacturing processes such as computer design and laser cutting to guitar making.

At the same time, Taylor is dedicated to sustainable wood sourcing by using best practices for forest management, reforestation, and using only ethically sourced tonewoods.

The Taylor Neck

One of Bob and Kurt’s innovations was the Taylor Neck, which accomplished their goal of creating a neck that stayed straight despite aging and changes in humidity.  Their design used a continuous piece of wood all the way up to the 19th fret, while traditional necks stopped at the 14th fret.

The neck design also gives Taylor guitars very accurate intonation.

Incredibly, Taylor necks are also designed to be adjusted by a guitar tech in only about 5 minutes.

Taylor 114ce 100 Series Electric-Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor 114ce is a Grand Auditorium-style cutaway electric-acoustic guitar.  The Grand Auditorium is Taylor’s best-selling shape because it produces a bright, well-defined midrange as well as an excellent balance between lows and highs.

This versatility makes the 114ce a fantastic all-purpose guitar that sounds great whether you’re strumming or playing fingerstyle.

Construction

The Taylor 114ce is made with a Sitka spruce top.  Sitka is the most common choice of wood for guitar tops as its combination of strength, tight grain pattern, and light weight allows the wood to respond with a wide dynamic range.  It can handle aggressive strumming as well as more delicate fingerpicking.

The sides and back are layered walnut, and the fretboard and bridge are ebony.

The guitar’s styling includes Italian acrylic dot fretboard inlays, a 3-ring rosette, plus dramatic black binding and a black pickguard that complement the ebony fretboard and bridge.

The 114ce features a Venetian cutaway for easier access to the top frets.  The Venetian style cutaway is shallower and less rounded for comfort and ease of playability.

NOTE: Taylor’s less expensive guitars are made in Mexico, which has caused some prospective buyers to question their construction quality.  However, since Taylor’s guitar production is highly automated, the guitars it produces in Mexico are virtually identical in quality to those it makes in its factory in California.

ES2 Pickup System

The 114ce comes with Taylor’s Expression System® 2 (ES2) pickup design. This pickup improves on other pickup designs by placing the pickup sensors behind the saddle, rather than under the saddle.

Taylor’s research found that moving the sensor’s placement allows them to respond more naturally to the string’s vibrations.  This results in a natural tone that vastly improves on other pickup’s thin or synthetic sound.

The ES2 comes with volume and tone control knobs.

How Does It Sound?

The 114ce has the classic warm Taylor sound.  Listen for yourself:

Taylor 114ce 100 Series Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Overall

The Taylor 114ce would make a great addition to any guitar collection.

The vast majority of users find that the 114CE has a beautiful tone, comes setup ready to play with good action, and is very comfortable to play.  It’s actually difficult to find any negative reviews of this guitar, which is saying something!

Overall, an excellent guitar and real value for the money!  Highly recommended!

NOTE: A left-handed version is also available.

PROS

  • Excellent tone and playability
  • Slim neck
  • Comes with a Taylor gig bag
S

CONS

  • None

Taylor 114ce 100 Series Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
AmazonGuitar Center | Zzounds

Seagull Guitars was founded by Robert Godin in the tiny village of LaPatrie (population 475) in Quebec, Canada.  Seagull has been crafting premium handmade guitars since 1982.

With the continued success of Seagull Guitars, today nearly half the town now works in the guitar business!

All Seagull guitars are made in Canada, and the company prides itself on responsible sourcing of Canadian raw materials to create unique one-of-a-kind instruments.

From sourcing hydroelectric power to collecting and using reclaimed wood, Seagull guitars combines excellent hand-craftsmanship with sustainable ecological values.

Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar

The Artist series is Seagull’s top of the line guitar series, and the Seagull Artist Mosaic is a beautiful dreadnought acoustic guitar with a clear natural finish.

All Artist series guitars are handcrafted by a select group of guitar luthiers who hand-pick the best woods for each instrument.

Construction

The Artist Mosaic has a solid cedar top and solid mahogany sides and back.  The neck is mahogany, and the fingerboard and bridge are rosewood.

The body incorporates Seagull’s new scalloped Adirondack spruce bracing for increased support while intensifying the instrument’s tone and dynamic range.

The nut and saddle are made of compensated TUSQ, a premium product. The saddle (the piece the strings pass over on the bridge) is a frequently overlooked but crucial part of a guitar’s tone.

The saddle’s job is to transfer the guitar’s string vibrations to the guitar’s top.  A compensated saddle improves an instrument’s tone, harmonics, and playability by correctly setting each string’s intonation.

The following article is an interesting read for those who want to learn more about acoustic guitar tone and acoustics:

The Acoustics of the Guitar: The Science Behind Acoustic Guitar Tone

The Artist Mosaic comes with a custom light semi-gloss finish that helps the guitar’s tone and resonance.

How Does It Sound?

The combination of cedar top and mahogany sides lends itself to a warm, rich sound.  The Artist Mosaic shines with a beautiful tone.

Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar – Example 1

Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar – Example 2

Playability

The Artist Mosaic’s neck is slightly wider than normal, so playing this guitar is very easy and comfortable for those with larger hands or are just learning how to play.  Wider spacing makes for cleaner performances, especially when fingerpicking.

Overall

The Artist series is Seagull’s premium line but is priced well under other manufacturer’s top of the line guitars.

The Artist Mosaic is often compared in tone to $2,000-$3,000 guitars in terms of quality and tone.

It’s a highly recommended guitar in the under $1,000 range and is a fantastic value for the price!

PROS

  • Beautiful tone
  • Handmade in Canada
  • Thermally Regulated Instrument Case (TRIC) with shoulder strap is included
  • A bundle is available that includes a tuner, strap, picks, capo, and polishing cloth
S

CONS

  • Cedar is a softer wood and can be prone to scratches and dings

Seagull Artist Mosaic Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon | Guitar Center |zZounds

C.F. Martin & Co., the makers of Martin Guitars, needs no introduction; it’s one of the iconic names in acoustic guitars.

This family business has been producing acoustic guitars for over 175 years.  Their innovations include X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and the dreadnought style guitar.

In the last decade, Martin has been upping its game by using a Plek Pro machine in its production process.  The Plek Pro is a computer-controlled device that scans and checks a guitar under actual playing conditions.  It is used to create perfectly aligned and calibrated frets with optimal action.

By using the latest technology combined with time-honored skilled craftsmanship, Martin continues to create best-in-class acoustic guitars for players of all skill levels.

Martin DRS2 Electric-Acoustic Guitar

The Martin DRS2 is Martin’s most affordable solid wood electric-acoustic guitar.  It’s known for its legendary Martin tone and ease of playability.

Construction

The DRS2 features a solid wood Sitka spruce top, and sapele back and sides.  Sapele is a sustainably grown African hardwood that has a tone similar to mahogany but with additional high-frequency overtones.

The neck is made of a select hardwood, and its ergonomic taper makes it very comfortable to play.

The fingerboard is made of FSC® Certified Richlite.  Richlite is a material composed of resin-infused paper!

While this seems an odd choice for constructing a high-quality guitar, Richlite is a very versatile product that’s used in many premium products, including guitar fingerboards.  You can learn more at Richlite.com.

What’s more, the FSC® certification “ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.  FSC® Certified means that all of the wood components of a guitar meet the stringent requirements of responsible forest management set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).”

The saddle is compensated white TUSQ which is a premium saddle material used in high-end guitars.  A compensated saddle improves an instrument’s tone, harmonics, and playability by correctly setting each string’s intonation. 

Built-In Pickup and Preamp

The DRS2 comes with a Fishman Sonitone pickup and onboard preamp with rotary controls for volume and tone.  The unit is powered by one 9V battery that lasts about 100 hours of use.

How Does It Sound?

The DRS2 has a crisp midrange, and the Sitka spruce top gives detail and depth to the high frequencies. The sound is pure Martin!

Martin DRS2 Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Overall

The Martin DRS2 is a best-selling acoustic guitar that delivers that sought-after Martin tone at a lower price point.

For a solid wood guitar, it’s an exceptional value!  Like all solid wood guitars, the sound will increase in depth and character with age.

The DRS2 also includes a case which makes this a best buy at a price well under $1,000.

Recommended strings are the SP Acoustic 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium (MSP4200) strings.

PROS

  • Beautiful Martin tone
  • Solid wood construction
  • Made from sustainable woods
  • Built-in Fisherman Sonitone System
S

CONS

  • None

Martin DRS2 Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon | zZounds | Guitar Center

Guild Guitars have been making guitars since 1953 and are one of the top names in electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and electric basses today.

Guild began as a small guitar workshop in New York founded by Alfred Dronge, a former music-shop proprietor, and George Mann, a former Epiphone Guitar executive.

Today, the company is based in Santa Monica, CA and has its production facility in Oxnard, CA.

One of their achievements was producing the first dreadnought guitar with a cutaway to have better access to the higher frets.  Today, this cutaway design is used by just about every guitar manufacturer.

Guild Guitars will forever have a part of music history, with their guitars used on records and live performances by artists such as John Lennon, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Richie Havens, Eric Clapton, Brian May, and many others.

Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar

The Guild D-150 is a dreadnought “Western-style” acoustic guitar with the classic Guild sound and playability.

The guitar is part of Guild’s Westerly Collection of guitars that pays homage to Guild’s roots.

In its early days, Guild was based in NY but had their factory in Hoboken, NJ.  As demand for their guitars increased, they moved production to a much larger former furniture manufacturing facility in Westerly, RI.

Looking at the move as a stepping stone, they also improved their production processes and hired additional highly skilled employees.

It was at Westerly that Guild flourished and became known for the quality of their instruments.

The D-150 continues this heritage today with excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail, and high-quality materials.  And as a nod to its past, the headstock features a classic 1960s Chesterfield logo that gives this guitar an old-fashioned appeal.

And with its full-bodied tone, the D-150 is an excellent guitar for all playing styles.

Construction

The D-150 features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid wood Indian rosewood back and sides.  Indian rosewood is also used for the fingerboard and bridge, and it uses Sitka spruce scalloped X-bracing for excellent stability and voicing.

For smooth playability, the C-shaped thin neck is made of polished satin mahogany.

The guitar features an upgraded bone nut and saddle for enhanced tone and projection.

Its styling includes a mother-of-pearl/black/ivory rosette, a tortoiseshell pickguard, matching ivory-colored binding and bridge pins, and nickel-plated hardware.

The guitar is finished with a glossy polyurethane coating that brightens the beauty of the wood while enhancing its tone.

How Does It Sound?

As a dreadnought, the D-150 has a deep rich bass and warm midrange. It is also known for its sustain when playing chords.

Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar

Overall

The Guild D-150 is a beautiful natural wood guitar.  It delivers rich crisp tone, good volume, and nice sustain.  It’s priced right at the top of the range, but it’s well worth the price.  Highly recommended!

It also comes with a lightweight polyfoam case.

PROS

  • Traditional style and design
  • Solid wood and organic saddle and nut provide a warm, balanced tone
  • Slim smooth neck for easy playability
  • Case is included
S

CONS

  • None

Guild D-150 Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon

 

Yamaha needs no introduction as one of the world’s largest and best-known manufacturers of quality musical instruments.

Although Yamaha has been in the music business for over a century, it wasn’t until the 1940s that they began making guitars. And up to the early 1960s, their guitars were only sold in Japan, so there was little notice of their guitars in the U.S. and Europe.

However, that changed in 1969 when Country Joe McDonald played a Yamaha acoustic guitar at Woodstock.  The resulting PR, helped by a Woodstock documentary and photos that showcased the guitar in action, put them on the map in the U.S.

Since then, Yamaha has been producing high-quality, affordable guitars that have attracted aspiring guitar enthusiasts and professional musicians alike.

Notable musicians that play Yamahas are Dave Navarro, Frank Gambale, Bob Seger, James Taylor, Santana, Bob Marley, John Denver, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan.

Yamaha A-Series A3M Electric Acoustic Guitar

The Yamaha A-Series guitars feature a traditional Western body style with a cutaway for easy access to the upper frets. The A-Series guitars are available in quite a few size, wood, and color options:

  • Sizes: concert (AC3M) or dreadnought (A3M).
  • Woods: laminate mahogany (A1M), laminate rosewood (A1R), solid mahogany (A3M) or solid rosewood (A3R)
  • Finish: vintage natural or tobacco sunburst

Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.)

The A3M incorporates Yamaha’s A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) proprietary wood-enhancing technology.

In Yamaha’s words,

“Through precise control of temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure, the molecular properties of the wood can be manipulated into a more acoustically ideal condition, similar to the molecular characteristics of woods in instruments that have been played for years.”

The following short video shows the difference in sound quality:

Secret of Yamaha Acoustic Sound Projection

The result is a guitar that has a rich vintage tone that sounds like a much older guitar. 

Construction

The Yamaha A3M is a dreadnought electric-acoustic guitar with a cutaway.  It has a solid wood Sitka spruce top treated with the A.R.E. process.  It also features solid mahogany back & sides.

The guitar features Yamaha’s new scalloped bracing that provides a deeper low end and more harmonic overtones in the mid frequencies.

The neck’s high comfort profile is designed with a straighter neck taper that makes playing feel effortless.  The hand-rolled fingerboard edges give the guitar a smooth feel for ease of playability.

The vintage styled pickguard is a shout back to the classic N1000 guitar that Yamaha released in 1975.

SRT2 Pickup & Electronics

The new SRT2 pickup system is designed for stage performance.  The SRT pickup itself has individual elements for each string for better response and accuracy than regular ribbon piezo pickups.

The pickup system includes two microphones models (a Neumann U67 condenser mic and a Royer R122 ribbon mic) that you can choose to add the sound of these high-end microphones to your guitar’s sound.

The guitar’s tone can be mixed from a natural vintage sound to a standard piezo mic sound by adjusting the Blend control.  There are also controls for volume, bass, and treble. 

How Does It Sound?

The combination of Sitka spruce and mahogany are a classic acoustic guitar pairing that gives the A3M powerful lows, clear highs, and rich mid-range with quick response.  This is one nice-sounding guitar!

Yamaha A-Series A3M Electric Acoustic Guitar

Overall

The Yamaha A3M looks like an expensive guitar and sound like an expensive guitar.  But its price that’s well under $1,000, this makes it a best buy and top pick!

PROS

  • Excellent tone
  • Beautiful styling
  • Features Yamaha’s latest technology
S

CONS

  • Case is not included

Yamaha A-Series A3M Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon | Guitar Center | Zzounds

 

Taylor Guitars is one of today’s premier guitar makers.  Established in 1974, the incredible tone, playability, and craftsmanship of their guitars has attracted some of the world’s top musical talent to become customers.

Taylor has also been on the leading edge of ecological sustainability by sourcing eco-friendly fair-trade materials for all of their guitars.

Their 200 series guitars feature solid Sitka spruce tops with a selection of layered tonewoods for the sides and backs.  These guitars deliver the classic Taylor sound at an affordable price.

Taylor 214ce 200 Series Electric-Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor 214ce 200 Series electric-acoustic guitar is right at the top of our price range, but its look and tone make it well worth the cost.

It’s a Grand Auditorium style guitar with a Venetian style cutaway.  The Venetian cutaway has soft round lines that make it very comfortable to play when accessing the higher frets.

The 214ce features a superior combination of layered woods and Taylor’s trademark structural design that provides rich sound quality and superb playability.

Construction

 The 214ce has a gloss finished solid Sitka spruce top paired with satin-finish layered rosewood back and sides.  The combination is very visually appealing as well as provides a beautiful warm tone.

The guitar employs forward shifted x-bracing that makes the guitar very responsive to both fingerpicking and strumming styles.

The guitar also features elegant white binding, Italian acrylic dot inlays, a faux tortoiseshell pickguard, and an ebony peghead overlay.

The upgraded TUSQ nut and micarta saddle are high-end products that improve the guitar’s tone over regular plastic pieces.

ES-2 Electronics

The Expression System® 2 pickup (ES-2) system has been designed for top-notch sound quality.  Taylor’s innovation was to relocate the pickup from under the saddle to behind it; this allows the piezo-electric crystals to react organically to the string’s vibrations received through the saddle. The result is crisp, clear sound with more dynamic range than other systems.

The ES-2 system comes with bass, volume, and treble controls, and is powered by a 9V battery.

How Does It Sound?

The 214ce sounds just how you expect it to sound – warm, rich, and detailed.

Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium Acoustic Guitar

Overall

The Taylor 214ce is one of Taylor’s most popular guitars.  It has a well-rounded warm tone that works well for live playing as well as recording, and the neck’s smooth feel and curvature make it very easy to play.

It’s ideal for someone’s first higher-end guitar or an upgrade from a lesser-quality (and less than great sounding) guitar.

A lightweight hardshell gig bag comes with the guitar.

PROS

  • Beautiful sounding guitar
  • Made with high-quality, sustainable woods
  • Expression System® 2 creates clear and detailed sound
  • Hardshell gig bag is included
S

CONS

  • None

Taylor 214ce 200 Series Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon | Guitar Center | zZounds

Blueridge Guitars is one of the brands of San Francisco, CA-based Saga Music, a musical instrument producer of acoustic guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos and more.

Though it is not a household name, Blueridge acoustic guitars have won many converts to their premium-quality guitars that are very affordable.

Blueridge guitars all have a traditional/ vintage vibe.   Blueridge takes authenticity seriously so that every detail from wood selection to inlay design adds to the vintage-era accuracy. However, they also consider environmental issues like deforestation, so each guitar is eco-friendly without losing the old-school classic charm.

Looks without substance doesn’t mean anything, so Blueridge combines traditional styling with modern guitar-making techniques. Each detail is researched and tested before being put into production to ensure historical and musical accuracy.

Blueridge BR-160 Acoustic Guitar

The Blueridge BR-160 was created in the style of vintage, prewar dreadnought acoustic guitars.  It’s part of Blueridge’s Historic Series that combines early 20th century sensibilities with modern day improvements in construction and playability.

The BR-160 combines a classic solid-wood body with innovative detailed design.  The result: bold, rich sound.

Construction

The BR-160 has a solid wood Sitka spruce top and solid wood Indian rosewood sides and back. The combination of spruce and rosewood creates a powerful sound with lots of low end.

Blueridge uses hand-carved, rounded forward X-bracing to support the guitar’s structure and tone.  This bracing technique was used on pre-war guitars for many years and has stood the test of time.

The slim mahogany neck is very comfortable and features a dovetail neck joint and an adjustable truss rod. Choice tonewood is used for the fingerboard.

The detailed styling of this guitar includes mother-of-pearl inlays on the neck, an intricate turquoise and mother-of-pearl design on the rosewood headstock, and white herringbone binding on the top. The Dalmatian style pickguard gives it a unique rustic feel.

The attention to its prewar roots continues with nickel-plated, open-back tuners with white butterbean-style buttons.

The organic high-gloss tobacco sunburst finish completes its vintage look. 

How Does It Sound?

The Blueridge BR-160’s solid top, back, and sides produce a mellow vintage sound with crisp, clear tone and solid bass.

Blueridge BR-160 Acoustic Guitar – Video 1

Blueridge BR-160 Acoustic Guitar – Video 2

Overall

If you like the look of a vintage guitar that sounds amazing, the Blueridge BR-160 is a top choice.

It has a warm tone with well-defined mids and highs and lots of sustain.  It’s not a loud guitar, so if you want a guitar with a big sound, this may not be for you.  But for a softer, mellow, more intimate sound, the BR-160 could be right for you!

PROS

  • Solid wood top, sides, and back
  • Vintage look and sound
  • Historically accurate materials and design
S

CONS

  • Case sold separately

Blueridge BR-160 Acoustic Guitar

Check Price:
Amazon | Guitar Center

 

Final Thoughts

Buying a high-quality guitar becomes much easier with a little research and knowledge of what to look for.

I’ve written these reviews of the best guitars in the $500 to $1,000 price range (and my Ultimate Acoustic Guitar Buyer’s Guide) to help make your search easier and faster.

Ultimately, the guitar you choose should be one that feels comfortable to play and has a tone that appeals to you.  Whatever feels and sounds right may be your next perfect guitar!

Good luck with your guitar search!

Have you decided on your first guitar? Let us know in the comments below which one you chose, or if you’re a seasoned player, what was your first guitar?

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