What Is The Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners?? – Ya Gotta Start Somewhere!

porsche
NOT my 1st car.

 
My very first car was not a Porsche.

Not even close! It was an Oldsmobile “Delta 88”: Light brown, except for the lower side panels, where they’d scraped off a ton of rust, spread it with epoxy and painted it black!!  lol

But I didn’t care, ‘cuz sometimes, you’ve just gotta go with something a little cheaper to get started. Then, later, as you get more skills… and money, you can upgrade.

Which is why we’re answering this question today: what is the best acoustic guitar for beginners??

My students (and even more so their parents) ask me all the time for this exact information. In fact, one of my students is going to get a new guitar that he has “earned” this Christmas right off of the list below!

Guitar girl taking in the sky CARTOONED

If you’re buying a “first guitar”, you typically don’t want to spend a ton of money, so we’ve kept all these guitars UNDER $200!!

There’s a total of eight guitars listed below, and they’re listed from the CHEAPEST to the PRICIEST (though under $200 for a quality acoustic guitar is really a heck of great deal).

Alright, people – let’s do this!!

The Rogue RA-100D Dreadnought

Rogue RA-100D
Rogue RA-100D

Many times I get a new student who’s totally new to music and his or her parents want to get them an inexpensive guitar that they can use for the “testing phase”, the first couple months when a kid starts something and they’re uncertain if they’ll stick with it.

This guitar is PERFECT for that. Not only do you not have to spend much money (especially if you buy from Musician’s Friend, who obviously have the best price on it!), it’s also available in FIVE different colors so the student can feel like they chose the one that most fits them.

Add to that that there were more than FIVE HUNDRED reviews on this guitar that gave it an average rating of 4.5 stars, and you can see why this one’s on the list.

The Rogue features:

  • Genuine spruce top
  • Die-cast tuning machines
  • Nato neck
  • 25-1/2″ scale length
  • Bound rosewood fretboard
  • Martin strings
  • Case sold separately

The Rogue is probably not for the intermediate player, but a better value for someone starting out as a music student I could not find.

Some colors differ in price by a few dollars. Take a look at each color and you’ll see what I mean. Usually just a buck or two.

You never know how long Musician’s Friend will keep a sale going, so act fast if you want this obvious bargain pricing!

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Musician's FriendAmazon

Jasmine S34C

Jasmine S34C

Jasmine S34C

“Jasmine” started out as Takamine‘s budget line of guitars. The line is now owned by “KMC Music Company” and comes out of China, whose manufacturing quality has really blossomed into substantial improvement in the last decade or so.

You’ll see their model S25 also touted as a great value for the money. I simply went by what real people said in real reviews, and this guitar was slightly higher on the customer satisfaction averages, though the prices of the two were about the same.

Here’s a basic rundown of the S34C features:

  • Gloss Natural
  • Dreadnought body style
  • Slim neck profile
  • Laminate Spruce top
  • 25-1/2″ scale length
  • Sapele back and sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Satin Natural finish
  • Synthetic bone nut and saddle
  • Case sold separately

For those interested in getting a little more, only Amazon is offering a guitar “bundle” with this guitar for $121.54 that includes a gig bag, picks, extra strings and a clip-on tuner!

This guitar is good for beginners to intermediates. Professionals might not be that impressed with its laminated top and hit-or-miss action from the factory, but the reviews say it all – most entry-level players are very pleased by the voice it sings with.

I also think this guitar looks really, really nice. The wood looks quality and the binding that keeps the body together appears classy. The fact that it’s a cutaway up high on the neck too would definitely make me wanna stop and give it a try.

At this price, how can ya lose?!

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Musician's FriendAmazon

Fender CC-60S

Fender CC-60S
Fender CC-60S

Musician’s Friend is having a SALE on this item at this time of writing, putting it at only $107!! Every other store I found this on was at LEAST $80 more expensive, so I’m putting this in bold right now – THIS IS A GREAT PRICE FOR THIS GUITAR!!

Fender is one of the most well-respected names in guitar-making history, so that alone is worth the price of admission. But another incredible reason to get this guitar for your beginning student (or yourself!) is that it comes with “Fender Play” guitar lessons for three months included.

Imagine your musician getting to take lessons in your own home, via computer, for three months for free! Wow!!!

Here’s what could be winging your way:

  • Body shape: Classic Design
  • Top wood: Solid Spruce
  • Back & sides: Mahogany
  • Bracing pattern: Quartersawn Scalloped X
  • Body finish: Gloss
  • Neck shape: Easy To Play
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Scale length: 25.3″
  • Number of frets: 20
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Saddle & nut: Plastic
  • Number of strings: 6-string
  • Case: Sold separately
  • Country of origin: Spain

The Fender name speaks for itself. It’s good quality, with a limited 2-year Warranty, and added strings, picks, strap and lessons thrown in for holiday good measure make this deal a real no-brainer.

And the Musician’s Friend price??? Insane!

Who knows how long it’ll last, so if you have a budding singer/songwriter needing a good guitar… get it while it’s reduced or you’ll kick yourself later!

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Sam AshAmazonMusician's Friend

Carlo Robelli G600CE

I can’t believe how much comes with this guitar for this price. It’s rare to see an acoustic with electronics in it below $150. This allows the player to plug into an amp, or a sound system, and be heard a LOT louder because of it.

Carlo Robelli G600CE

Great for someone who plays acoustic but also likes to play with other musicians. The only way an acoustic player can be heard over drums, for example, is to be amplified. With this guitar, they’re ready to go!

This guitar is also a “cutaway“, which means you can play high up on the neck because the body is cut so your hand can get up in there. That’s also usually on more expensive models.

Oh, and they’re also throwing in picks, a strap to hold it on, a gig bag to carry it in, and a tuner! Unbelievable!!!

This guitar is only available at Sam Ash, but I just had to add it to the list. For value at this price, it can’t be beat. At least not this week! ;-0

Features:

  • Acoustic-Electric Guitar
  • Dreadnought Body with a Comfortable Cutaway Design
  • Built-In Tuner with a Backlit Display for Dark Stages
  • 3-Band EQ Control for Shaping Your Tone
  • Spruce Top with Agathis Back & Sides
  • 25.5″ Scale Length
  • Blackwood Fingerboard
  • Chrome Tuners
  • Includes Padded Gig Bag, Guitar Strap, and Picks

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Sam Ash

 

The Cordoba Disney Pixar “Coco” Mini Guitar

Coco poster
My “Coco” poster to inspire students!

How cool is it and Pixar put out a film that starred… a guitar?!!
 

If you haven’t seen “Coco” yet, then by all means do so.

Yes, it’s an animated cartoon. Yes, it’s meant more for kids than adults. But if you’re an aspiring musician, or are buying for one, it’s still well worth seeing… and supporting.

It’s not often that a movie comes around that can single-handedly increase total sales volumes in the music instrument field. But “Coco” definitely did, with the production of this guitar.

Cordoba "CoCo" guitar
Cordoba “CoCo” guitar

Here’s a quick breakdown of the guitar:

  • Spruce top with laser-etched figuring
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Travel Size
  • Smaller C-Shape Mahogany Neck with Shorter 22.8″ Scale Length
  • NuBone Saddle
  • Cordoba gig bag and strap included

Notice that this is a classical acoustic guitar, NOT a standard six string. The big difference? The strings on Coco’s guitar are nylon, not steel.

Nylon strings are softer and not as hard on the fingertips for little kids. The younger the child, the more they’ll appreciate nylon strings. Also the sound of this guitar, because of the nylon strings, will be softer and gentler.

To hear what I mean, listen to Tavi playing the 7/8 model in THIS VIDEO.

A full-size classical guitar will also usually have a much wider neck, but on this model that’s not the case. It’s made to be really easy for a child to play it. Is that why on some sites it’s getting all 5 STAR ratings in the reviews?! Who knows, but it’s obvious a lot of people really like this fun guitar!

Maybe it’s the laser-etched Spanish motif on this guitar that summons the love. If kids are a fan of the Coco movie… that would certainly make them go gaga!!!

But don’t think that because it’s related to Disney that they went all rinky-dink on this one. They didn’t. They used quality wood and I think, based on what I hear coming from the videos, that it sounds really good.

Included with each purchase is a gig bag and a guitar strap. All in all, a great deal for a low-priced guitar that plays in a niche all its own.

Follow these links to get your own “Disney magic”!

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Sam AshAmazonMusician's Friend

Fender CD-60S Dreadnought

Fender CD60S
Fender CD60S bundle

This is another golden “Fender” guitar find that I discovered online by researching for days just for you.

Amazon is selling this guitar, which differs from the other Fender guitar above only in COLOR, at a price that is beating out the other stores by a long shot!

I don’t know how they’re doing it, but They’re a full SIXTY BUCKS cheaper than all the rest. Gotta love those holiday sales!

You really can’t go wrong getting this model. The reviews on Sam Ash AND Musician’s Friend are totally all FIVE stars, which you don’t see that often. Plus, it’s backed by Fender’s standard warranty.

Here’s what ya get:

  • Dreadnought Body style
  • Solid Spruce top with scalloped “x”-bracing, Mahogany back and sides
  • Gloss-finish Mahogany neck with 20-fret rosewood Fingerboard
  • Rosewood Bridge with compensated saddle
  • Includes picks, strap and Spare strings!

If your musician has been at this a while, he or she will truly appreciate a guitar made by a music industry legend – Fender. I would even go so far as to say that if the quality of the guitar SOUND, for the price, is most important to you or your player, this acoustic would be my #1 on today’s list.

As usual, I don’t know how long this Amazon sale price will go on, so if this is the ticket… buy it now!

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Sam AshAmazonMusician's Friend

Yamaha GigMaker Pack

Yamaha Gigmaker Acoustic bundle
Gigmaker Acoustic bundle

As a music instrument company, Yamaha has always been, for decades, at the forefront of producing quality instruments at fair prices.

This instrument bundle is one of the latest to showcase their strength and their commitment to musicians around the globe to bring us well-made products at affordable prices.

This pack is obviously loaded to the gills with extras:

  • a gig bag
  • an instructional DVD
  • a guitar strap
  • a QT11 digital guitar tuner
  • Extra strings
  • Guitar picks

Here’s a look at its basic specs:

     
  • Laminated Spruce top
  • Meranti back, sides
  • Nato neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Die-cast chrome tuners
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Gig Bag, instructional DVD, guitar strap, tuner, strings and picks included
  • Limited lifetime warranty

But it all starts with a really good guitar, the finely-crafted Yamaha F325. Look at those review ratings! It’s easy to recommend a product when its customer satisfaction is near the 5 star mark consistently.

If you’re a student wanting to step up from a cheaper acoustic, or you have a child that you think has “earned” their first quality instrument, this is a great choice.

The free lessons on the DVD don’t hurt either. Those are easily downloadable, by the way, into a computer to watch. Most kids I know these days prefer to let the computer be their portal to the world (don’t get me started on video games!!).

All in all, a dependable value that gets you everything needed to sound good and go farther than ever in your musical pursuits!

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Sam AshAmazonMusician's Friend

Ibanez AW54 Artwood Acoustic

Ibanez Artwood Acoustic
Ibanez Artwood Acoustic

If I were to pick one guitar that, as a seasoned pro, I might be interested in, it would be this one. The reviews by some very experienced players tell of a surprisingly above-average sound coming from this instrument.

This guitar also had THE highest review ratings out of any other guitar I looked at. Obviously Ibanez is doing something right in this AW54!

I have this one on the list for those who want to have the highest quality and don’t mind paying extra for it, even if it IS a “first guitar”. You know who you are.   😉

The guitar consists of:

  • Dreadnought body
  • Solid mahogany top
  • Mahogany back & sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood bridge and fretboard
  • Chrome die-cast tuners
  • D’Addario EXP strings
  • Open pore natural finish
  • Ibanez Advantage bridge pins
  • Case sold separately

If you’re an intermediate to professional player and want another acoustic (like I do… ALL the TIME!), it doesn’t sound like you could go wrong with this axe, judging by the reviews and specific praise all over the Internet for it.

I also think the open-pore natural wood finish looks really sweet.

Here’s a video with quality audio to give you warm taste of the honey that flows from this baby:

Okay, so… anyone else gettin’ serious G.A.S. for this instrument besides me?!! I bet I’m not alone… Lol

I also notice that nobody is putting this one on sale. That usually means one thing…

It sells so well as is they don’t have to.

See you at Checkout! 😉

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Sam AshAmazonMusician's Friend

The Bottom Line

holy grail of guitar toneWe musicians always want the best gear at the best price if we can help it. Today we’ve shown you eight different ways to reach that goal for acoustic guitars under $200.

Rest assured that we spent waaaaay more time investigated these deals, and dozens of others, than you’d probably ever want to do. It’s all to help you, and ourselves, make the wisest pro audio decisions we can, as we chase after that elusive holy grail… the quest for excellent sound and tone!

The closest I’ve come is having a guitar handmade, which you can READ ABOUT HERE. But, trust me… it was more than $200.   😮

If you like any of the guitars you see above, use our links to snag the deal, won’t you? It helps fund our research, and doesn’t cost you a penny more!

Thanks for stopping by Seriousgas. We hope you’ll be a regular here, and look forward to hearing your animated stories of inspiring gear and instruments. Leave us a note in the Comments. We’d love to hear about it!

Now, go… make… sounds!!

Teaj

Let's Syndrome Socialize!!

12 Replies to “What Is The Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners?? – Ya Gotta Start Somewhere!”

  1. Sondra, the parents of a student of mine just bought that EXACT guitar, because the M.F. price is so RIDICULOUSLY low!! You’re on the right track.

    I wish all of you here at Seriousgas were near Detroit… I could teach you all!!!  Lol

    I hope your son stays with it and find this musical instrument a way to really enjoy each moment of personal expression and create something uplifting… both for him, and US.  😉

  2. Rob, you and others with the same dreams and wishes are why I do what I do. So glad I could give you what helps you overcome a hurdle and get to what counts – MAKING MUSIC!!

    Do stop back in and take advantage of my free lessons and insights. They are designed to maximize your understanding and potential with the instrument.

    Once you get your guitar (use my links – it costs you nothing extra!) read THIS ARTICLE, for example.

    After that continue with the series to be a well-rounded guitarist student. Best of musical success to you!!

  3. Indeed, Laura! I just had the parents of a student of mine use my links today to get him the black Fender acoustic for Christmas. It’s going to be “happy holidays” for sure!

    Since you’ll be starting up guitar, you’ll get a lot of help from my posts on how to play and avoid bad habits. You can read the FIRST ONE HERE.

    Look forward to teaching you free lessons from afar right here at Seriousgas!! 😉

  4. As a parent, this blog post is music to my ears!   I am looking into guitars since my child is interested in guitar lessons.  Yet, as you so clearly pointed out – just because a kid thinks he wants to do something doesn’t mean that he will still be interested two or three months from now.   I also liked your Porsche analogy.  That is so true – even if my son does end up loving guitar.   At this stage, he simply would not be capable of appreciating what a really nice, high end guitar will offer.  (I can’t either honestly.)   

    You have assembled a great list of choices.   At the moment, I am leaning toward the Fender CC-60S.    Again thank your for taking some of the hard work out of my search for a beginners guitar.   

  5. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar and I am as ready now as ever.

    But I am shocked that I can get a guitar for less than $200?That’s awesome because the cost was one of the things holding me back.

    I’m just a beginner so I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money.It’s good that you did a review on these different guitars because I am going to stick with the basic cheaper one.

    Thank you so much for your excellent review!

  6. I love that you can get such nice guitars for under 200 dollars. My favorite one is the Jasmine S34C, because it looks exactly like the one my mom had when I was little. And it’s right in my budget also!

    Right on time to put on my Christmas wishlist, so my boyfriend knows what to get. Now I just need to head over to my mom and see if she still has her guitar books… 🙂

  7. Very glad to hear it, Bala!! Teaching your son is a real joy. He is becoming a fine musician, and with this new guitar you’re getting him… MAN, will he be stoked!!!

    Happy holidays!!!

  8. Great article and thorough review on guitars for beginners, Teaj! Very useful for parents like us who do not know much about guitars. You made it really easy to buy one and our search super easy!!!!!!!

  9. Please do so, Dee! These are simply fantastic values that will stand the test of time, except perhaps the first one which is more for a little kid.

    I think the most beautiful one is the last one – that Ibanez is calling MY name!! lol

  10. Indeed, Koda! Thanks for the compliment. Yea, that Yamaha has such glowing reviews everywhere on the Net, I don’t think a beginner could ever go wrong picking that one up.

    So you started on electric, eh? I tell my students it doesn’t matter much what you start on, as long as it’s not HARD to play. After the first year of lessons then you have to start thinking about whether electric or acoustic style is your thing.

    Or get BOTH, which is what I did!!  Lol

    Here’s the electric that fulfilled a lot of my dreams: MY FAVORITE!

    Thanks for visiting, Koda. Stop by again!

  11. OMG, your first car sounds just like mine! Yeah, I didn’t have a Porsche either and I love the analogy. This is a great article about beginner guitars and they’re less expensive then I would have expected. And the guitars all look beautiful! 

    Thanks for giving details about each instrument, too. I’ll be looking here if acoustic guitars go on a loved one’s holiday gift list for sure.

  12. I would recommend the Yamaha GigMaker. My cousin got one of these as his first axe and he let me play it a little last christmas. I’ve played top of the line guitars for several years/ Own fenders, gibsons etc. But the gigmaker was actually better than I thought it was going to be. It has good playability, the sound is crisp and it stayed in tune when I played it aggressively. My very first guitar was a squire strat, and i Loved that guitar, but I probably would have been better off playing acoustic when I started. Anyway, nice article. It’s good for beginners out there to have some good recommendations to guide them when purchasing a new guitar. HAApy axe playing~~!!! (:  

     

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