Your first acoustic guitar can be a big purchase. With prices ranging from under $100 to up in the thousands, the world of acoustics and what dictates their price may seem more than a little foreign. After all, there are body shapes to consider, tonewoods to take into account, and even the nylon vs. steel-string debate to throw a wrench in your planning.
That being said, a classic steel-string dreadnought acoustic is the most popular choice, being the image that most people conjure up when they think of an acoustic guitar. We've created a list of a few stellar steel-string dreadnought options and even threw in a travel-sized model to give you plenty of options to choose from when shopping for your first acoustic guitar.
|Model||Type||Best For||Price||On Reverb|
|Yamaha FG700S/FG800||Sitka-topped dreadnought.||Tone quality.||$150-$200||Shop Now|
|Taylor GS Mini||Travel-sized.||Kids, guitarists on the go.||$150-$500||Shop Now|
|Seagull S6||Cedar-topped dreadnought.||Hand-crafted finesse.||$170-$580||Shop Now|
|Takamine G Series GD30||Spruce-topped dreadnought.||Simplicity.||$220-$540||Shop Now|
|Washburn WD10S||Alaskan Sitka spruce-topped dreadnought.||Value.||$160-$350||Shop Now|
If you're not sure whether to start with an acoustic or electric, be sure to check out the Reverb guide to buying your first guitar for some guidance there.
Taylor GS Mini
Guitarists on-the-go, kids, and players who generally want or need a smaller guitar.
Takamine G Series GD30
Players who aren’t interested in visual or practical bells and whistles and just want to play.
If you look at any list of beginner acoustic guitars, you’ll probably find the FG700S somewhere on it, if not at the very top. Yamaha is a popular choice for guitarists who are just getting started, given their modest prices and reliable build quality. But the FG700S, clocking in at just under $200 new, is special. It's got a top made of Sitka spruce, which is one of the most commonly used woods for guitar tops due to its ability to sound good with all types of woods and styles of playing. In addition, it's got a nato body and a rosewood fretboard and neck — altogether, the FG700S is comprised of components that are perhaps deserving of a much heftier price tag.
Those components come together to provide a tone quality that has made the FG700S one of the most popular acoustic guitars out there. For the price, it’s hard to get richer, more balanced tone along with exceptional note definition. Of course, it’s still a beginner guitar, but what more can you ask for from a $200 acoustic?
Yamaha recently updated its FG line to include the FG800 which is almost the same as the FG700S but with a few upgrades like internal scalloped bracing, which enhances the natural projection of the guitar.
Great for: Beginner guitarists who want the classic dreadnought experience without shelling out the big bucks.
Taylor GS Mini
See? Told you we’d include a travel-sized guitar in here. The Taylor GS Mini is a scaled-down version of Taylor's popular Grand Symphony body shape, making it more akin to a modern-day parlor guitar than anything. And although its body is smaller, it really doesn’t skimp on sound. Made from Sitka spruce as well as laminated sapele for its back and sides, the GS Mini produces an articulate sound with lows that would fool you into thinking you were listening to a much larger guitar.
Of course, the best thing about the GS Mini is its size. Since it’s so small and light, it’s perfect for traveling guitarists, kids who want a “real guitar,” or simply those who prefer sized-down acoustics. New, these little guitars cost around $500, but you can snag one used for much less.
Great for: Guitarists on-the-go, kids, and players who generally want or need a smaller guitar.
The Seagull S6 is another beginner option that pushes the limits of $500 new but can be found used for a steal. The S6 is pretty much the quintessential Seagull acoustic — it has a hand-crafted finesse to it, seen in elements like its hand-finished neck, that makes you feel like you’re playing a much more expensive instrument, but it's still an easy guitar for newer players to pick up and play. And despite its traditional looks, the S6 has something going for it that most beginner acoustics don’t have: a unique mixture of high-quality tonewoods that will make the S6’s sound stand out.
With pressure-tested cedar on top and gorgeous Canadian wild cherry for the sides and back, the S6 won’t sound like the other guitars on this list. Cedar is smooth and warm with a characteristic darkness and flavor that spruce seems to lack. Seagull has produced a variety of different S6 variations over the years with varying woods, specs and added features like onboard electronics, but all center on the basic quality recipe that have made the S6 a perennial favorite of guitar teachers.
Great for: Guitarists who want their tone to stand out in a cedar-topped crowd.
Takamine G Series GD30
Another entry to the spruce-topped dreadnought pool, the Takamine G Series Dreadnought, otherwise known as the GD30, offers high quality for a crazy-low price. Solid spruce combined with mahogany back and sides give the GD30 a fantastic resonance and tone for virtually any style of music you could want to play. A thin mahogany neck adds to the GD30’s playability, particularly for those of us with smaller hands.
Simplicity is what makes the Takamine GD30 so great for beginners. Beyond its solid build quality and solid top, the GD30 is a no-frills entry into the world of the acoustic guitar—at a totally excellent price point. Takamine also makes variations on the basic GD30 in 12-string, cutaway and acoustic-electric configurations, all of which maintain the line's bang-for-your-buck reputation.
Great for: Players who aren’t interested in visual or practical bells and whistles and just want to play.
Washburn is often excluded from lists like these despite its great reputation for value, and it’s a shame. Sleek and streamlined, the Washburn WD10S has its minimalist look down pat. Solid Alaskan Sitka spruce tops off the WD10S and is finished off with mahogany for its back and sides, giving it the classic makeup of a dreadnought and the depth of sound and articulation you’d expect from a quality acoustic guitar.
And it’s got well-built components, too, including (but not limited to) scalloped bracing, chrome die-cast tuners, and a rosewood-capped headstock complete with a mother-of-pearl Washburn logo. Washburn has been making quality beginner acoustic instruments for decades, and dreadnaughts like the WD10S remain a long-standing pillar of the catalog.
Great for: Newbies who want something sleek-looking with high-quality accoutrements that won’t break the bank.
Our Choice: if you’re looking for the classic dreadnought experience, it’s hard to go wrong with the spruce-and-mahogany combo and affordability of the Yamaha FG700S. It’s capable of producing full sound while still emitting distinct, lucid notes and does it all for an impressively low price.Need a Teacher? Check out Reverb Lessons Quality Acoustics Under $500