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Best Acoustic Guitar Under $400 – Are These The Best Budget Acoustic Guitars in 2021?

If you’re looking for a good acoustic guitar without spending too much money, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best options around $400.

This is a collection of our favorite acoustic guitars for under $400. We’ve put this list together to help you find an acoustic guitar to suit your playing style and budget requirements

There are many size acoustics available that can satisfy your musical needs, but can they satisfy your budget?

Finding the best acoustic guitar under $400 requires thorough market studies and information. Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard research for you, just read on to find your favorite new guitar! 

We reviewed some of the best budget acoustic guitars in terms of build quality, sound, and features.

Little Martin LX1R

I tested 6 products and found Little Martin LX1R to be the best acoustic guitar under 400.

This acoustic guitar is fantastic. Not only is this a great-looking acoustic guitar, but it sounds excellent too. With an exceptional, unique tonal character, this guitar produces bright sound, with a solid tone.

It has a large tonal range, meaning you can find endless new ways to articulate your musical ideas – keeping it fresh every time. Martin guitars are handmade and use the finest materials, so this instrument really is a treat to play!

I’ve tried hundreds of acoustic guitars throughout my time as a musician. Starting off on cheap acoustic guitars, and progressing to more expensive guitars, I’ve tried them all. 

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get caught up in all the confusing details. 

There are a lot of things you should consider before buying a new acoustic guitar. Just to make sure it’s the perfect new instrument for you. I’m here to show you some of the best acoustic guitars, and later in the article, give you some tips on how to choose them. 

You can find a lot of acoustic guitars for under $400. Especially second-hand. This article reviews a wide range of acoustic guitars, covering all ends of this spectrum. 

There are a few main categories that you can think about, although we cover this in more detail at the end of the post. The main things to consider are: do you need a cutaway? Do you want an electric acoustic or just a standard acoustic? Do you need a full-sized guitar, or are you looking for a smaller, ¾ sized one?

Whichever way you are looking, the rest of this article shows you a few mid to entry-level acoustic guitars. Some of these are even close to being professional-grade instruments!

Keep reading for our full exploration of the best acoustic guitar under $400

For a different selection of instruments, check out our post about the best acoustic guitars.

Or have a read about the best acoustic guitars for women!

Best Acoustic Guitar under $400 in Our Tests

6 Best Acoustic Guitar under 400 Reviews in Details

1. Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught

Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught

Product info

Not only is the Fender CD-60 Dreadnought a great-looking acoustic guitar, it’s also one of the most budget-friendly guitars too! This was one of my first acoustic guitars, and I can’t recommend it enough. It has the Fender seal of approval, so it must be good!

The dreadnought body shape creates a rich sound with a balanced tone. Thanks to the solid Sitka source top, it also has a describable bold sound, with full volume and harmonics. The solid spruce top is a gold standard for acoustic guitars, and provides harmonic vibrations and adds clarity. This guitar sounds a lot better than most other guitars in the same price range.

The slim mahogany neck felt decent, with rounded fingerboard edges and rosewood fretboard. 

It has a really easy-to-play neck, which makes chords feel a breeze. Although there was a little fret buzz from the initial setup. Although this can easily be fixed by altering the adjustable truss rod, changing the strings, or taking a few other setup steps.

Best Acoustic Guitar Under 400

The use of solid woods in the construction makes it super durable too, so it can survive the lifestyle of a gigging musician. The body is supplied in black or with a natural wood finish. I personally prefer the natural look, but it’s totally up to you. 

The die-cast tuners of guarantee solid intonation and tuned tension. Articulation is smooth to a clear high and bright low. Overall this is an excellent intermediate or beginner instrument. It has decent quality for the price, sounds great, and will last for many years.

Pros and Cons:

  • Decent sound for the price.
  • Durable, good wood materials. 
  • Needed some setup – high action. 

– – –

2. Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought

Product info

The Fender FA-125CE is an excellent electro-acoustic guitar, and I think it could be the best budget acoustic guitar on this list. This guitar uses a different body shape to the CD-60 Dreadnought, and includes electronics, but isn’t much more expensive!

Featuring solid spruce and a mahogany bottom and sides, this quality guitar will satisfy any guitar player with its warm, balanced sound. The instrument has solid intonation and has an accurate sound. The narrow-angled headstock ensures correct string tension, and the chrome tuners had a reliable tuning. 

These acoustic-electric guitars contain internal electronic pickups for quickly and easily connecting to an amp, PA, speakers, mixing desk, or more. It uses a Fishman preamp system with onboard controls and an integrated tuner. This thing sounds great, and it’s super useful to have the tuner there whenever you need it.

Fender's FA-125CE

Fender’s FA-125CE also includes a cutaway that makes it easier to hit those high notes. This feels a lot different from your typical dreadnought guitar, where you can’t really get much higher than the 12th fret. With a cutaway, the entire fretboard becomes your fingers’ territory. 

The fingerboard edge is rolled which also makes playing easier, smoother, and less painful. 

The instrument is perfect for first-timers or intermediate players. You can find some decent bundles that come with an extensive accessory kit.

This is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, and certainly one of the best under $400. 

Pros and Cons:

  • Uses a cutaway shape to improve reach to upper frets.
  • Includes built-in Fishman pickup for amplification and recording. 
  • Durable, reliable tuning, a solid workhorse instrument. 

– – –

3. Yamaha GigMaker /  Yamaha F325D

Yamaha GigMaker /  Yamaha F325D

Product info

The Yamaha GigMaker is the perfect package for beginners who want to get started with an acoustic guitar. It includes the acoustic guitar itself, a gig bag for transportation, a clip-on tuner, a guitar strap, and a bunch of guitar picks. It even includes a few extra strings in case you snap them!

The guitar itself is a Yamaha F325D, which is known to be a decent beginner or student model. The F325D’s Dreadnought body provides a rich and full-bodied sound. The solid spruce tops ensure a crisp and clear tone while the rosewood fingerboard provides a smooth playing surface.

If you’re looking for an exciting new guitar with a dreadnought body, this could be the perfect acoustic guitar package for your next musical adventure! It’s time to take the first step into the new world of music. This guitar has all the features it needs to be set up properly, which I found it did to feel good. Thankful it has a double-action truss rod, which lets you adjust the action to your level of preference. 

Yamaha saw the need for an easy-to-play, affordable acoustic guitar that’s always in tune and sounds amazing. The GigMaker is designed with beginners in mind so you can enjoy playing music right out of the box. For an upgrade over this guitar, check out the Baby Taylor – although it is a bit smaller!

Pros and Cons:

  • Includes accessories.
  • Reliable, good-sounding guitar.
  • Budget-friendly, very affordable. 
  • Needed setting up to feel nice. 

– – –

4. YAMAHA FG800

YAMAHA FG800

Product info

Yamaha FG800’s are excellent beginner guitars, and all-around well-made musical instruments. These have been a popular model for many years, and are known to sell out in Guitar World very quickly

FG820 uses a solid Sitka spruce top to provide excellent protection, sustain, and durability. The guitar provides a louder and deeper tone thanks to a combination of spruces and mahogany. The new scalloping bracing pattern emphasizes low frequency along with better projection. 

Available in natural gloss finish this guitar comes in two different shapes including the FS Concert size. For beginners, this option is good because of the comfort of the body and neck. 

Yamaha FG800

Other hardware elements include dye-cast tuners, which have very stable tuning. An adjustable truss rod for setting the neck. The rosewood bridge and rosewood fingerboards are high quality, and the fretboard has a great feel overall. It felt super easy to perform chord transitions, no matter how complex 

Overall the FG800 is a brilliant dreadnought model acoustic guitar. This great guitar is made of affordable-yet-high-quality woods and offers excellent playability, projection. It has a tone that makes it one of the best acoustic guitars for beginner or intermediate players.

Pros and Cons:

  • Great tone, loud projection thanks to dreadnought body shape. 
  • Well-made rosewood fingerboard, easy and nice to play. 
  • High-quality wood materials, create a strong sound and tough guitar. 
  • No electronics included. 

– – –

5. Ibanez Performance Series PC12MHCEOPN Grand Concert

Ibanez Performance Series PC12MHCEOPN Grand Concert

Product info

The Ibanez Performance serious comes with some premium features rare in affordable guitars. This is one of the best acoustic guitars under $400, and one of the best mid-range acoustic-electric guitars on the market.

The solid mahogany top surface and is covered with open pores adding to the instrument’s rustic looks. The wood-based areas are laminated with front and rear surfaces, this reduces scratchability, and increases sustain and volume. 

This guitar uses a rosewood bridge and fretboard, paired with a strong mahogany neck. The neck feels great to play with and is well refined. You can feel this guitar has excellent build quality.

Ibanez Performance Series PC12MHCEOPN Grand Concert

It uses has six chrome die-pressed Grove tuners, a steel socket nut, and a bone saddle. All of which combine to create super tight tuning, with a mild amount of protection over environmental changes like heat and humidity. 

When unplugged these acoustic guitars have a lovely rich tone, with a full volume and bright tops. The guitar provides an incredibly smooth and natural sound. Along with an Ibanez under-saddle pickup and AEQ2T preamp and built-in tuner, the sound of the instrument is easily enhanced with amps and mixing equipment. 

For the price, this is a fantastic instrument. It has all the features you need to hold a great performance. It sounds top-notch, and it feels sublime.

Feeling that your guitar’s sound is too muted? The Grand Concert is the answer to your needs. 

Pros and Cons:

  • Beautiful natural mahogany finish.
  • High-quality built-in Ibanez pickups.
  • Very durable, strong.
  • Slightly heavier than other acoustic guitars.

– – –

6. Little Martin LX1R

Little Martin LX1R

Product info

The Little Martin LX1R is a professional acoustic guitar made for guitarists who want a great sound and a great look in a small package. This is a ¾ sized guitar, so it’s noticeably smaller than most models.

Made by Martin Acoustic Guitars, this instrument is a seriously nice instrument. It’s suitable for professionals, but would also make the nicest first acoustic guitar any player could dream of! This thing will last a lifetime, and the natural satin finish doesn’t wear out quickly either!

Whether you’re an occasional player or you gig professionally, LX1R is the perfect guitar to take with you on your musical travels. It packs a punch in terms of tone, quality, and adaptability. 

It sounds fantastic whether played over a campfire or when practicing in your living room. It uses only the finest quality hardware, which keeps it sounding and feeling great.

These acoustic guitars have sustainably sourced wood components, a mortise and tenon neck joint, a non-scalloped X-Brace, a standard tapered neck, and chrome-enclosed gear tuners, ensuring that they look as good as they sound.

Little Martin LX1R

Little Martin guitars are constructed to withstand late-night jam sessions, lengthy recording sessions, and lots of strumming or plucking. These acoustic guitars made have traditional designs, superb tones, and feel great to play

In addition to Martin’s renowned tone, these guitars have enhanced playability that makes playing a joy regardless of your experience or skill level. Whether you play rock, country, folk, bluegrass, or jazz, these guitars provide an effortless playing experience.

Martin’s unmatched guitar and string products continue to be the preferred choice of artists worldwide for their unmatched quality, workmanship, and tone. Still entirely handcrafted. The standard is still in place. Martin guitars are authentic—not knockoffs.

If you can afford it, this is one of the best acoustic guitars you can buy from this price range.

Pros and Cons:

  • Superior materials, and hand-crafted construction.
  • Unmistakeable, unbeatable Martin tone. 
  • A professional guitar that will last a lifetime. 
  • ¾ size, easy for travel, busking, and practice. 

– – –

Buying Guide: Things to Keep in Mind when buying acoustic guitar under 400

What to look for when buying an acoustic guitar under $400.

Before you make a decision on what to spend on an acoustic guitar, you should first figure out what type of acoustic guitar you are looking for. There are several types of guitars with varying price ranges.

Design – Shape, and Size. 

No two guitars are alike, but the best one shares some similarities. There are several factors relating to the design of the guitar. The size and shape are one part of it. Do you want a full-size guitar or a smaller one? If the guitar is for a child the appropriate size and weight should also be considered. 

You can also choose between a dreadnought body or a cutaway. Typically dreadnoughts have a louder sound with better projection, but cutaways have the advantage of opening access to the upper frets. It depends on your playing style. I recommend cutaways for lead guitarists and dreadnoughts for rhythm players.

What to look for when buying an acoustic guitar under $400

Purpose and preference

Some instruments produce basses and trebles richer than others. Other people create a softer or clearer sound that may be more suitable for playing with fingers rather than a pick. The point here is, you should pick a guitar that suits your needs and playing style. Certain guitars are better suited to different situations. This is mostly related to the way they sound, how many frets they have, and whether they have electronics or not. 

You should pick out a guitar that has all the features you need, and has a sound that suits the style of music you want to play. 

Action and Intonation

Correct action makes a difference in the ease with which a musical instrument is played. The action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. A higher action requires more strength to pin the string down but results in a cleaner tone. Lower action is easier to play (particularly with chords), but creates a messier sound with more fret buzz

fretboard

Intonation is the ability for the guitars to remain in tune throughout all strings, across the entire fretboard. You need to have correct intonation for the guitar to sound in tune wherever you play on the fretboard. If the intonation is off, different frets on the same string will sound in tune with each other. Bad intonation can make you sound like a terrible guitarist! 

Normally, it doesn’t cost much to get these elements addressed by a guitar tech. If you do some research, these things are also fairly easy to change yourself at home. 

In short, you can change the action by raising or lowering the bridge or changing the gauge of strings you use. To change the intonation you need to adjust the length of the string, usually with some mechanism in the bridge.  

Action and Intonation

Nylon vs steel strings

Before buying, you should decide on what kind of strings you want on your guitar. You can’t always swap them after!

Nylon strings are easier for beginners to play as they are softer, they also have a warmer, mellower tone.  

Steel strings produce clearer tones than nylon strings, with much more complex and exaggerated harmonics and higher frequencies. Although they are harder, sharper, and loaded with more tension, all these factors make them harder to play than nylon string guitars.

 With enough regular practice, you will develop callouses on your fingers. This makes it less painful to play.
Traditionally nylon strings and classical guitars are designed and constructed quite differently. Nylon-stringed bridges are completely different from steel-string, and they aren’t compatible. You can’t load a steel-stringed guitar with nylon strings! So bear this in mind before you buy. 

Personally, I recommend you own at least one of each type – one nylon strung, one steel strung. This way you can experiment with both types of sound and feel. 

FAQs

What is the best inexpensive acoustic-electric guitar?

The best inexpensive acoustic-electric guitar is the one that suits your needs.The decision depends on the style of music you want to play, your skill level, and what you can afford.

Generally speaking, an inexpensive acoustic-electric guitar is the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought. It has a slim neck shape that makes it easy for people who have smaller hands to play it with ease. It also has a cedar top and nato back and sides. It sounds nice unplugged or amplified through the built-in Fishman electronics. You won’t find many other good-quality acoustic-electric guitars in this price range, particularly with the Fender name. 

How much should I spend on an acoustic guitar?

The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a guitar to take around with you, you might want to go with something cheaper. But if you are practicing guitar at home and want it to sound the best possible, then it is worth spending more.

For relatively new players, anywhere between $100 and $400 is a good starting point. For more intermediate players, look at guitars for around $300 to $600. Professional guitarists play guitars anywhere from $400 and above. 

Conclusion

Overall, we thought the best acoustic guitar under $400 was the Little Martin LX1R.

This is a truly fantastic instrument, no compromises have been made in the design and manufacturing process. Every material used is super high quality. These guitars are hand-made, so you can trust that a skilled Martin luthier has built them with the utmost love, care, and attention. 

This is at the top end of $400, so it’s going to be more suitable for experienced players than beginners. These guitars are just excellent all around. They sound superior to all guitars on this list, they have super strong durability, and they even smell really nice! It’s random, but the wood they use just smells fantastic…

Anyway, I seriously recommend this as one of the best acoustic guitars all around, let alone under $400. It’s a marvel that this guitar is under $400, as they could charge a lot more. This is a ¾ sized guitar, so it’s ideal for traveling with too, and won’t take up much space in your house

You can find the Little Martin LXR1on amazon today!
Didn’t find your dream guitar? Don’t worry, read our post about the best Epiphone acoustic guitars.