When considering cheap acoustic guitars one is almost always torn between the desire to learn to own a great acoustic guitar and the reality of not having a lot of extra cash. However, just because you are on a budget does not mean that your desire to learn to play guitar should be put on the back burner.
Understanding that there are plenty of individuals who would love to play the guitar but who cannot afford the top line models, many guitar companies have introduced a model or two which, while not as good of quality as their higher end models, are definitely more affordable. This means that even if you budget will only allow you to spend $100 or less on a guitar, you can still get a fairly decent instrument that will at least give you a feel for what guitar playing can really be like.
A brief look at some of the best choices for good acoustic guitars under $100 should help you in sorting through the possible options. While these are by no means the only guitars available for under $100, they are some of the best models we’ve found. And while you can probably find some that cost less, they are lacking enough in quality that they aren’t recommended.
Recommended Model Under $100
Jasmine Takamine S35
The Jasmine Takamine S35 is our top recommendation for those looking for an acoustic guitar for under $100. While it is not a solid top acoustic guitar (and you won’t find a solid top for under $100) it does have a top made of select spruce. When combined with its nato back and sides it produces a fairly rounded tone that gives you a solid grasp on what guitar playing is supposed to be like. Not being a solid top guitar, the Jasmine S35 does tend to go out of tune fairly quickly, but for a cheap acoustic guitar (it costs just $99.99) it is not a bad choice, especially for beginning acoustic guitars. You may have to play a bit with the strings until you find some that eliminate the buzzing that tends to plague the S35, but strings are not that expensive. However, if you want a much better sound, you can spend an extra $100 and purchase the Jasmine Takamine S35Q that has a solid spruce top and will give you a much better feel for real guitar playing.
Other Models Under $100
The Epiphone DR-100, a King of low-priced guitars, may not have the depth of tone you would get from a solid-top guitar, but at just $99, it is a great choice for those who have to stick to a budget. The body of the DR-100, so large that you can set your lunch on it, delivers great volume. The DR-100 is billed as having a “select spruce top” which is high quality laminate, but laminate just the same. Without the solid top, your guitar will be lacking not just in tone, but also in ‘tunability.’ In fact, you will probably find yourself having to retune it quite often, and if you play for longer than an hour, be prepared to re-tune the instrument at least once. If you play it too aggressively it also tends to get a bit ‘strident’ sounding; almost tinny. It is, however, a sturdily made instrument that is designed as a beginner’s acoustic guitar and can take quite a bit of wear and tear before it will quit on you. If you can spring for an extra $100 you will find that the Washburn WD10S Flame Top is (at just $199) a much better choice when it comes to tone and can still be considered to be a cheap acoustic guitar.
Squire by Fender SA-100 Pack
The Squire by Fender SA-100 Guitar Pack is more than just a cheap acoustic guitar, it is a starter pack that has been put together especially for those just learning to play the guitar. Not only do you get a guitar, you also get a gig bag, an electronic tuner and picks, all for ~$99. It’s a pretty good acoustic guitar as well, even though it has a laminated spruce top. This is a pretty big guitar though. It has a wide and deep body that can be a bit difficult for younger players to handle. Combine that with the tendency of the SA-100 to go out of tune fairly quickly, and you would probably be better off spending an extra $100 and getting the Yamaha GigMaker Deluxe Guitar Pack Yamaha GigMaker Deluxe Guitar Pack instead. The Yamaha sports a solid top guitar as well as all the other accessories (with the addition of an instructional DVD).
Squire by Fender MC-100 Mini Classical
The Squire by Fender MC-1 Mini Classical Guitar is not a bad guitar if you are looking for something under $100 that will fit smaller hands and fingers. It’s built to ¾ size and has a laminated Agathis top, back and sides. While they are very sturdy (they’re built specifically for music classes in elementary schools) they are not the best when it comes to tone. If you want a more rounded flavor, you might want to consider (for just $20 more) the Ibanez IJC30 Quickstart 3/4 Scale Classical Guitar Pack which not only comes with the same size guitar, but a gig bag, an electronic tuner and an accessories pouch.
When it comes to choosing a cheap acoustic guitar for under $100, your best option is to read and re-read all the guitar reviews. You will want to make sure that you buy the best model for your money. Of course if at all possible, you can save up for a little bit longer and put the extra towards a better quality guitar, which is recommended if you plan on playing for any length of time. If you are anxious to get started, the guitars above can be a great choice for you, especially if you are not sure if you will want to continue playing or not. As far as cheap acoustic guitars are concerned, they are some of the best, and can at least get you pointed in the right direction.
Cheap acoustic guitars are often poorly made. Remember, you get what you pay for ... Please avoid buying a cheap guitar at a superstore, as the sound quality may be miserable and the guitar may fall out of tune constantly. Then, the beginner guitar player becomes unnecessarily frustrated and loses interest - all due to the shortcomings of the particular, poorly-made instrument. Rather, for great quality quitars, check out these best
acoustic guitar reviews.
Still not convinced? Cheap acoustic guitars typically have laminate versus solid wood tops. And they likely have laminate sides and backs. The sound does not resonate in the body of the instrument nearly as well as a guitar with a solid wood top. Again, I urge you to spend a little more (price point starting at ~ $199) for quality
best beginner acoustic guitars.
Back to my original point above ... you get what you pay for. In my opinion, you can find "true" quality acoustic guitars starting at $199. Any less than $199, and I'm skeptical you will enjoy the instrument.
Here's my list of favorite, beginner guitars.
If you're seeking to purchase a large quantity (minimum order = 100 pieces) of value-priced guitars, check-out
HKG Brand Wholesale Guitars.
HKG brand guitars are available wholesale to the trade only. They work exclusively with guitar importers, dealers and distributors worldwide. The HKG brand is manufactured in China and features finely crafted acoustic, acoustic-electric and electric guitars in a variety of styles and price ranges.