So you love the melodic sound of your acoustic guitar, but want to be heard all the way to the back by your audience? An acoustic-electric guitar, also known as an electro-acoustic, might just be the compromise you need. But finding the best acoustic electric guitar under $500 is an arduous journey cause there are too many options available for consideration in this price range.
Essentially, this is a hybrid of an electric and acoustic guitar. While it looks fairly similar to a typical acoustic guitar, it’s installed with a pickup and onboard controls for volume tone tuning and equalization. Also, it can be played unplugged.
With such advanced features, you might assume that electro-acoustic guitars cost a fortune. But in reality, you can find quality instruments for under 500 bucks. Discover the best acoustic electric guitars under $500.
Here we are presenting our list of the best acoustic electric guitar in the range of $100 to $500 (alphabetical order):
- Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar
- Epiphone EJ-200SCE Acoustic/Electric Guitar
- Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Indiana Madison MAD-QTGR Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Jameson Guitars Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar
- Kona K2TBL Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar
- Oscar Schmidt OACEFCS Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Yamaha FGX800C Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Our Top 3 Recommendation
Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Acoustic/Electric Guitar
The Hummingbird is a legendary guitar with a background of epic proportions. The Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO is introduced into this millennium featuring Shadow ePerformer preamp and Shadow Nano Flex pickup system.
On its own, the Hummingbird PRO acoustic/electric can drive an all-acoustic band or rock a party to its very core with its balanced tone. With a rich history and such capability, what is it that’s holding you back from purchasing a Hummingbird PRO?
Solid spruce top is also featured in the Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric. The body and neck are gently carved and polished of select mahogany. The neck has a classic SlimTaper D profile and a 25.5” scale.
The body is attached to the neck with a glued-in dovetail joint. Pearloid parallelogram inlays are present on the rosewood fingerboard. There are also 20 medium frets in a 12” radius and also a 1.68” nut. A single-ply white binds on the fingerboard and 5 plies white and black band on the body top. The back also has a single-ply white binding. This gives off a sophisticated outlook. The “Epiphone” logo is in white and the final icing would be the classic sloped headstock.
To minimize friction, the Hummingbird Pro Acoustic/Electric has a compensated saddle for smooth action and intonation in the reverse belly rosewood bridge. Under the saddle is the Shadow NanoFlex pickup system. The classical Hummingbird floral tortoiseshell design makes it stand out from the rest even in a room full of guitars.
Most guitars of Epiphone, including the Hummingbird PRO, feature a cutting edge pickup system that can handle a gig of any size and still produce decent sounds. The controls for the Shadow ePerformer Preamp are on the upper bout and include controls for Master Volume, Treble, Bass EQ, Mute, and a Dynamics control adjusted via a frequency curve.
A low battery indicator is also present. Two 2032 batteries power up the preamp and the output jack and strap locks are made up of nickel. At the factory, the guitars are tested with D’Addario Phosphor (12-53) strings. Faded Cherry is the color of the Hummingbird PRO.
- Shadow ePerformer preamp
- Shadow Nano Flex pickup system
- Mahogany back and sides
- Solid spruce top
- Rosewood fingerboard with Pearled Parallelogram inlays
- Produces a distinctively different tone from the Hummingbird
- May show signs of wear
- Need to develop dexterity and strength to play it
- Comes in just one color
Epiphone EJ-200SCE Acoustic/Electric Guitar
Jumbo guitars are not as popular as their smaller dreadnought counterparts. Most players find them overly big although there are those who prefer this shape because of the extra volume it transmits. The EJ-200SCE is an example of a jumbo electro-acoustic guitar but with a twist.
This one has a cutaway that makes it so much easier to play than other jumbo guitars. The cutaway design is to help you access all the frets of the neck. Speaking of the neck, it’s made of maple wood while the top boasts solid spruce construction.
Another area where this guitar stands out is in electronics. This consists of an eSonic preamp system featuring a range of advanced controls and three-band EQ. These give you a good amount of tone-shaping range.
Epiphone actually developed this set of electronics in conjunction with Shadow from Germany. Shadow’s reputation is known the world over so you can rest assured that it will produce impressive sound.
- Great volume
- Excellent playability
- Equipped with eSonic preamp system
- Prone to fret buzz
Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar
If you are looking for one of Fender’s most popular models, look no further. We bring you the Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar.
The Fender CD-60SCE is the perfect instrument, to begin with, and to play till one reaches the intermediate level. Not only is the Fender CD-60SCE of high quality, but its dreadnought and cutaway design make it versatile and user-friendly.
Why play guitar if you cannot slide your fingers smoothly along the fretboard and have a good quality of resonance? Don’t you worry because the Fender CD-60SCE, with its lower frets and scalloped “X” bracing, makes it to be yours.
The Fender CD-60SCE has a natural finish, with a black and white neck and body binding. Talk about color combinations! It comes in black, mahogany, natural, and also left-handed. To add the cherry on top, it has a “mother of pearl” acrylic design around the sound hole. So with chrome tuning knobs at the ready, what are you waiting for?
It features a Fishman Isys III System electronics with an active onboard preamp. We also have a detailed Fender Sonoran SCE acoustic electric guitar review, considering its authenticity.
- A Venetian-cutaway body allowing easy fret access
- Solid spruce top with a scalloped “X” bracing
- Easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges
- Left-handed guitars available
- Has built-in tuner
- Comparatively Heavy
- Made in China
- Usually has a lame sticker on it
Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Ladies and gentlemen, black is officially back. Yes, you heard me right. Allow me to introduce to you, the Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic. It is not just black, it’s glossy black. Buy the glossiest black guitar and start up your own gothic band perhaps? Or if you are not into black, why not go for the natural or sunburst? It’s cheap, it’s elegant and it’s waiting for you!
We also have a detailed review on Ibanez Talman TCY10, in case if you want!
The Ibanez PF Series PF15ECE Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic, with its mesmerizing body provides a rich, and sweet sustain. The arch also makes way for your thighs to fit in if you wish to balance it on them. Plug it in and start your own School of Rock.
Accurate reproduction of the guitar’s natural tone is assured by the Fishman Sonicore pickup and the AEQ-2T preamp. Unlike other guitars, the Ibanez PF15ECE stands out due to its gloss black finish, gold die-cast tuners, and pearl dot inlays.
- Mahogany back and sides produce warm lows and good sustain
- Under saddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp helps to retain natural tone
- Onboard Tuner included
- Lightweight (less than 7 pounds)
- Does not have high action as strings are fairly close to the fretboard
- May have fret buzz
INDIANA Madison MAD-QTGR Acoustic-Electric Guitar
This is probably one of the lightest guitars out there. The Indiana Madison quilt top guitars bring together sound, playability, and beauty at an affordable price. These guitars have a lovely flamed finish. There are cream-colored binding on the back and sides, and on the top too. The top also has pearl-loid purfling and pearl-loid diamond markers are there to assist you to navigate your way up and down the neck. The guitar comes in quilted blue, quilted green and quilted tobacco burst.
- Lightweight (only 4 pounds)
- Photo quilted Linden wood top, back, and sides
- Sealed diecast tuning machines
- Free 30 minute lesson
- It would be better to change the strings that came with the guitar.
- Green and blue, not available for left-handers
- Not a decent finish
- Less bass due to size
Jameson Guitars Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar
Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar by Jameson Guitars features an unbelievable cost-to-benefit ratio. The Thinline has a blue finish that is sure to turn people’s heads and draw them to your performance. Apart from its design, another aspect that makes the Jameson Thinline stand out is its cheap price. Even on a shoestring budget, you’ll be able to afford this guitar and benefit from advanced features that are usually reserved for pricier models.
For instance, both the back and sides are made of Nato wood alongside a spruce top. The neck is built of maple while the fingerboard is made of classic rosewood. All these components work beautifully together to produce solid sound sporting brighter mid-range frequencies.
Furthermore, the Jameson has a thickness of only three inches, making it the lightest in our review. This means that it’s very easy to carry around.
- Available in different finishes
- Added electronics: gives you the freedom to play through an amplifier or as it is
- Sound could be better
Kona K2TBL Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar
The Kona K2 Series Electric Acoustic Guitars has a thin body and is a good cross between an acoustic and electric guitar. Does this make it the perfect crossover instrument for the electric guitarists looking for a true, balanced acoustic sound without a large body adjustment? Yes! Yes, it does.
It consists of a sleek body with a low profile dreadnought size. The cutaway body also has an EQ-505 3-Band Active Piezo Pickup System, with encircled Gold Die-Cast Tuners and 2 Gold Strap Pins.
It has a spruce top with Transparent Blue Finish. The back and sides are Mahogany and the fret board and bridge are of rosewood. There is a single-ply binding on the neck and headstock and 4 ply binding on the body are also present.
- The slim neck is great for players with small hands
- Good resonance
- This guitar comes with few extras i.e, Polishing cloth, Neck wrench, extra pickguards, etc.
- Frets may have edges and Fret buzz may happen
- Original strings may be tough
- No built-in tuner
- You have to make some adjustments before it’s near-perfect to play.
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All Oscar Schmidt guitars are set up perfectly in the factory. You can play them right out of the box. With a mesmerizing mahogany neck and spruce top, with an active EQ, the Oscar Schmidt is a decent acoustic-electric guitar to begin with. It’s not the $1000 Taylor, Martin or Gibson but it gives you acceptable quality within the good value for your money.
- The action is surprisingly good for the price range.
- Good quality strings.
- Beautiful guitar with excellent price
- Playable straight after unboxing
- Not the best sounding guitars
- Picks up a bit of background noise when plugged in
And now, if you are picky about colors, boy do we have a treat for you. The Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar comes in 9 colors, namely Tobacco Sunburst, Figured Natural, Light Amber Burst, Natural, Dark Red Burst, Black, Dusk Sun Red, Oriental Blue Burst and Vintage Sunburst.
Ever felt like going on a long trip with your friends, singing along the way? Or saw a Hollywood movie where the characters sit around a campfire and hum to the chords of a song? No matter where you go to, the Yamaha APXT2 3/4-Size Acoustic-Electric Guitar is your partner in crime at a simple cost.
The original version, the APX500III guitar, was the best-selling acoustic electric guitar of one time. The APXT2 is a smaller version of it. This well-constructed compact guitar features an ART-based pickup system. Great sensitivity and accuracy is also delivered with Yamaha’s proprietary tuner.
- Perfect size for a child but also the perfect travel guitar for adults.
- Extra low action ensures easy playability
- Comes with a built-in tuner
- Cutaway design allows much easier access to the lower frets
- Light weight
- Volume is slightly low when unplugged compared to a full-sized guitar
- The tuning keys may not be the best
- The neck edges are not rounded but are sharp
- Not designed to be used with nylon strings
Yamaha FGX800C Acoustic-Electric Guitar
To wrap our list of best acoustic electric guitar under $500, here we review one of Yamaha’s popular FG series guitar. The FGX800C comes from a long heritage of the incredible FG Folk series of guitars that was introduced back in 1966. Like others before it, this electro-acoustic guitar gives you great value at an entry-level price. Thanks to its reasonable pricing, the FGX800C is perfect for first-time owners who don’t wish to break the bank for their enthusiasm. But this does not mean that it falls short in any aspect.
In fact, the guitar’s top is made using genuine and solid Sitka Spruce wood. This connects to a neck made of Nato wood. The back and sides are also built using Nato wood while the fingerboard and bridge are constructed of rosewood.
Performance-wise, the guitar sounds as gracefully as it looks. As you strum its strings, you’ll be able to enjoy a mix of low and mid-range notes. The blend of quality materials in its build leads to warm tones with well-balanced chords.
Also worth pointing out is the Yamaha System-66 pickup. This, combined with the preamp electronics guarantee the true sound of your acoustic-electric guitar’s nato and spruce tonewoods.
- Solid construction that provides durability
- Produces clear, rich and warm tones
- Available at a decent price with high value
- Comfortable to play, particularly for the experienced
- The sound can be too metallic for some players
- Heavy strings that novice players find uncomfortable
Buying a Best Acoustic Electric Guitar under $500
Every guitar player has certain things that are unique to his/her style of playing. For instance, some will feel comfortable playing jumbo guitars while others opt will opt for soft nylon over steel strings. So when you decide you want a new electro-acoustic guitar, first determine your playing style.
Type of Electronics
As would be the case if you were buying an electric guitar, you need to make a decision regarding the type of electronics:
- Active electronics- these guitars have a piezo transducer for prevention of signal loss. They often come with preamp systems that run on batteries and three bands of equalization.
- Piezo saddle transducers: these are lightweight pickups used alongside preamp systems. They enable you to connect to an amplifier.
- Dual source systems: these guitars will have a piezo transducer as well as a mic integrated in the body. The benefit of these electronics is that they have lots of amplification.
There are two main kinds of acoustic-electric guitars: those with a large body and those with a small body. If you’re looking for one that delivers fuller, louder tones, the big-bodied guitar is your best chance. But if you want one that’s easy to handle and carry around, then a small-body guitar is better.
All that glitters may not be gold, but people do like ogling at shiny objects. Likewise, regardless of a guitar’s features, its shape and size and color does say a lot. A guy with piercings, tattoos and a mohawk will definitely not roam around with a bright pink guitar. Your guitar is your weapon of choice. Then why not buy one that suits your personality?
Go over the wide range of colors they have to offer. Guitars come in various shapes and sizes too. Check out their cutaway designs or stunning looks. The design also helps in balancing your guitar. By placing the guitar on your thigh and strapping it over your neck you get a more comfortable position to learn how to play instead of standing and straining your back all day. Also look for what strap goes best with your guitar, the thin ones or the broad ones. There are loads to choose from.
A glossy body also radiates an elegant vibe and makes it seem rich and bright. Every object has to be an eye candy in order to attract customers. Not only the best acoustic electric guitar is a treat to the eyes, but their shapes and sizes also affect their playability and the sound they produce. The best feature is probably in the endpin strap button at times. It is the built-in transducer. Plug in an amp and the transducer works as a microphone, picking up every note as you play.
While buying a guitar also remember to go for brand names. Some companies have been in the business for decades, if not centuries. They are reliable and trustworthy and have their customers’ best interests at heart, least they should risk their reputations. Therefore try buying from a renowned brand.
Epiphone’s manufacturing dates back to the 1873s, which makes them one of the oldest and most revered instrument makers in America. They have made instruments for every style of popular music. Their name evokes both history and the spirit of the invention. And now in the 21st century, they bring back a historic name in a new generation. The rebirth of a legend.
The Yamaha has been in business for a long period and millions of people have been seen using it as the perfect tool to express their music. FG gained their respect due to their quality, playability, dependability, and value. The Yamaha FG has simply been dubbed as one of the bests in its league, since in introduction in 1960. With a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern guitar-building techniques, the Yamaha FG is a tremendous example of Yahama’s uniqueness.
But then again, there are brands which have taken over the market by supplying a huge number of supplies but of poor quality. Not many people understand that the products are a rip-off and end up buying them. Chinese products usually tend to be cheaper and therefore it is probably the best for novice players or for others who have just started gigging or want to plug in straight to an amplifier or a mixing desk.
The best acoustic electric guitar under $500 are not just inexpensive but also easy and comfortable to play with. When either strummed or finger picked, while being plugged in, these fantastic guitars produce sweet, acoustic tones of great volume. Hence people end up caving in for such products.
Benefits of Buying the Product
With an acoustic, you would basically play folk, pop, or rock songs. You can also go with country music. You create a good rhythm. With an electric, you have the opportunity to play rock n’ roll or metal. These two instruments give you the chance to play contradictory genres of music. So say you are a fan of both folk songs and heavy metal. Would it be feasible to buy an acoustic and an electric? Would that be a smart idea? So why not go for something that comprises of both such features.
Acoustic-Electric lets you do both. In the case of electric, you would need a microphone to amplify your sounds. But in an acoustic-electric, you can just plug it in to make your sounds reach the end of the room. You don’t always have to drag around a microphone with you. Just ask someone to bring an amp.
That will do. The electric and acoustic components complement each other. The acoustic guitar provides wonderful resonance and portability. The electric is famous for its high end amplification, effects, accessories, and recording gears. This hybrid monster gives you versatility without compromising any quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
People have a lot of queries they need to discuss before they go off to buy a guitar. Here are some questions which are asked more often mostly by the beginners.
Are guitars only for right-handed people?
Answer: No, guitars can be for left-handed people as well.
Can I change strings?
Answer: Yes, You can.
What is the difference between exotic wood and spruce top?
Answer: Specific models are made with an exotic wood top, which is typically to give the guitar a unique appearance. These are usually a natural or lighter stain finish to allow the wood grain to be visible. Models which are painted or stained to give a certain color are made up of spruce tops. Spruce wood, although simple in appearance, offers great tonal qualities for acoustic guitars.
Can I play without an amp? How does it sound?
Answer: Yes, you can. It sounds great.
How is a guitar tuned?
Answer: Using a tuning machine is the easiest option to do the job. We have a detailed article on how to tune a guitar, you can check that if you are interested.
Are my fingers going to hurt?
Answer: Yes, at first they will. But donu2019t get discouraged. You get used to it.
Different players will consider different things when purchasing acoustic-electric guitars. However, the most essential features that top everyone’s list are budget, sound performance, and experience.
All the guitars which we’ve reviewed strike a good balance between pricing and playability. They are all sorted as the best acoustic electric guitar under $500 due to affordable pricing and they fitted with advanced features that you’d expect in higher-priced models. If you’re not able to decide on which one is the best, consider your style of playing, the set of electronics you deem important, and the guitar’s shape.