Looking for the best acoustic guitar for beginners? The choice of beginner acoustic guitars for kids can be overwhelming, so let’s try to make your decision much easier!
If you think a full sized acoustic might be a bit too much to handle, click here to look at smaller 1/2 and 3/4 sized options. Any of the guitars on this page will be perfect for adults, or kids from around age 11 and older (roughly 5 feet and over).
Below you’ll find quick links to my 3 best acoustic guitar for beginners depending on budget, but be sure to continue reading further below where I’ll look at each option in greater detail.
Before we take a more in-depth look at the guitars I’ve suggested above, there’s a couple of extra points you’ll need to consider before picking up your first acoustic.
Steel String or Nylon String Acoustic Guitar?
Many guitar teachers suggest that it is beneficial to start out on a classical guitar rather than a steel string acoustic. Why? Because nylon strings are easier on your fingers. Don’t do this, seriously. All guitar strings will hurt fingers at first (less so with nylon), but the body adapts, calluses form, and that problem is quickly dealt with.
Buy whatever guitar is best suited to the style of music that you (or your child) ultimately wants to play. A classical guitar is designed for classical, flamenco, latin etc, not strumming chords around a camp fire. Anyone who is desperate to become the next Ed Sheeran isn’t going to have much fun on a nylon string acoustic. The best acoustic guitar for beginners is the guitar best suited to the task!
Acoustic or Electro-Acoustic?
Another thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not you need a guitar equipped with electronics. As a beginner, you probably aren’t going to be plugging in to an amp any time soon, but it is nice to have the option for later on, plus most electro-acoustics come with a handy in-built tuner.
Think carefully about what you need, because although these added gadgets are great to have, they obviously come with a higher price tag. If you like the idea of having an in-built tuner, but don’t need to plug into an amp, a cheap headstock tuner can be had for just $10.
Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners
Jasmine S35 – Best Budget Choice
The Jasmine S35 is the most affordable guitar that I recommend in this list, and at the time of writing is the best-selling acoustic guitar on Amazon. In terms of sheer value for money, it’s going to be really difficult to beat this little gem which comes in at a mere $80. Just check out the hundreds of glowing player reviews at the link below!
It features a Spruce top with Agathis back and sides, coupled with a nato neck and rosewood fingerboard. Its slim neck profile will make it a little easier to handle for new players. A smooth satin rather than gloss finish will ensure that your new guitar won’t become covered in unsightly fingerprints.
For under $100 you needn’t look any further! For players on a budget, this is my top pick for the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
If you have a little extra cash to splash then the Yamaha FS700S (above left) is definitely a guitar to seriously consider. The FS700S has a slightly smaller Concert body size, which will make it a little easier to handle for new players. However it is also available in a bigger Dreadnought size as the FG700S (above middle) if you would prefer. Or for a little extra money you can also consider the FGX700SC (above right) which adds a cutaway and electronics.
Importantly, all of these guitars feature a solid wood top. This means that the top portion of the body is constructed of solid wood, rather than the cheaper laminate options found on less expensive guitars. A guitar with a solid wood top is generally going to give a better quality of sound when compared to one with a laminate top. If you’d like to read more about this, head to the bottom of the page for a section which covers this in more detail.
All of these models feature a solid sitka spruce top, nato (eastern mahogany) back and sides, and a nato neck with rosewood fingerboard. The FGX700SC introduces a cutaway for improved upper fret access and built in electronics and tuner for around $100 extra. Models are available in both natural and sunburst. If you have $200-$300 to spend, one of these is my choice for the best acoustic guitar for beginners.
The DR-100 is Epiphone’s most affordable and popular acoustic. It’s priced only very slightly higher than the Jasmine above, but crucially, is available in a wider selection of colors! Natural is present and accounted for, and you also have the choice of a sunburst or black finish. Another advantage this guitar has over the Jasmine is that you have the famous Epiphone name on the headstock which will ensure that it will hold its value very well over time.
The DR-100 features a select spruce top with mahogany back/sides and a mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard. A slim neck profile means that this will be a great choice for new players, or for players transitioning from an electric guitar. It is also backed up by Gibson’s famous limited lifetime guarantee.
Click here if you’d like to view a quick overview video of the guitar.
Earlier on in this article I touched upon the idea of solid wood tops giving a better quality of tone when compared to cheaper guitars with laminate tops. Let’s take a more detailed look at why this is the case.
An acoustic guitar body is composed of three main sections – the top, the sides, and the back. You can see how this composition comes together in the handy dandy diagram below. On budget guitars, most (or all!) of these sections will be laminate. As we move up in price we’ll start to see solid wood tops, and eventually all sections will be solid wood in higher priced guitars.
Laminate is composed of many thin layers of wood, which is generally made up of several cheaper sections of wood underneath and then a more expensive, pretty wood on top. Solid wood is exactly what it says on the tin – one solid piece of wood. The reason laminate doesn’t sound quite as good is because it doesn’t resonate as well as a solid piece of wood, giving a slightly thinner tone.
The diagram below shows the advantages and disadvantages to both. At the end of the day I would choose a guitar with a solid top if budget permits, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it. To a beginner’s ear, the difference is going to be very small.
Strings and Accessories
Click here to check out my article which features several must-have accessories that you’ll probably want to pick up with your new acoustic.
On top of that I really recommend grabbing at least one extra set of strings with your purchase. You don’t know how long your new guitar will have been on display, or packed away in a warehouse, so the factory installed strings might not be in the best condition. A fresh set of strings will greatly improve the quality of tone from day one. You also never know when one of those pesky guys will snap, so it’s best to have a set kept aside so that you don’t have to stop playing.
Myself, i’m a D’Addario guy – so I can heartily recommend a set of EJ16s as being a fantastic all round performer. Save money by picking up the value pack of 3 sets I’ve linked to. I use these on all of my acoustic guitars.
So there you have it – I hope this article has helped you to find the best acoustic guitar for beginners!