How to Choose an Acoustic Electric Guitar Under 500 Dollars: Quality and Sound Complete Guide

Are you a budding guitarist looking for a quality instrument without breaking the bank? Look no further!

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to pick the perfect acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars – without sacrificing sound or quality. So, if you’re ready to make an informed decision, let’s get started!


When looking to buy an acoustic electric guitar on a budget, it is important to understand that quality and sound are both key factors. While it can be difficult to find an instrument that falls under 500 dollars with both good sound and quality construction, there are a few models available for beginners and intermediate players alike. Knowing which features and specs to look for can help identify the perfect guitar for your needs.

With this in mind, this article will provide a complete guide on how to choose an acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars based on both quality and sound.

Explanation of acoustic electric guitars

An acoustic electric guitar is an acoustic guitar outfitted with pickups and electronic components that allow it to be plugged into an amplifier or PA system. This type of guitar gives you the flexibility and convenience of both electric and acoustic guitars, by allowing you to play at low volumes and still accesses electric tones. Acoustic-electric guitars require considerable know-how when it comes to shopping for the right instrument. It’s important to understand the different features and components of electric guitars so you can choose one that suits your budget and needs.

When searching for an acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars, keep in mind that cost is usually indicative of quality—the more expensive instruments tend to be better built, sometimes have higher grade parts (like pickups), better tonal variety, richer sound, improved playability, etc. Of course, this is not always the case; some budget-friendly acoustic electric models have great sound quality too. Quality also depends on craftmanship; handmade instruments tend to have better sound quality than mass-produced ones. So don’t let budget alone determine your purchase—check reviews carefully before purchasing the right instrument for you!

Budget Considerations

When shopping for a budget electric acoustic guitar, it’s important to take into consideration your own budget and price range. Generally, guitars under 500 dollars are priced at the entry-level of electric acoustic guitars and tend to be mass-manufactured with less attention to detail. However, there are some guitars that offer excellent craftsmanship and sound quality at a fraction of the cost of more expensive instruments.

Your budget should also factor in the accessories needed to enjoy your acoustic guitar such as strings, amplification equipment or cables which can add significant costs. When deciding on a budget, keep in mind whether occasional upgrades or repairs will be necessary and realistically estimate your total investment cost when selecting your instrument.

Explanation of why $500 is a good budget for a beginner or intermediate guitar player

Choosing an acoustic electric guitar for under $500 is an excellent choice for beginner and intermediate guitar players. This budget range allows guitar players to purchase an instrument with a full-scale neck, wood body and alloy strings that provide a bright, clear tone. Acoustic electric guitars at this price point are generally equipped with active electronics and a preamp to amplify your sounds for performing in larger venues or outdoor concerts.

Acoustic electric guitars within this price range also offer the convenience of playing both acoustically or plugged into an amplifier. The sound of the instrument when played acoustically provides lush resonance and warm tones, while plugging in the instrument gives you plenty of volume and a brighter sound. Many acoustic electric guitars at this price include features such as built-in tuners and versatile outputs that allow you to expand your creative pallet with pedals and multi-effect units.

Overall, choosing an acoustic electric guitar under $500 dollars is an excellent way to begin your journey into creating music or perfecting your skill set as a guitarist. With features like active electronics, plenty of volume options when plugged in, and full-scale frets that make intricate fingerstyle patterns easier to execute, guitars within this budget range will serve you well whether you’re on stage or at home jamming out in the garage.

Comparison of budget options with higher-end guitars

In order to make the most informed decision when purchasing an acoustic electric guitar, it’s important to consider the differences between budget models and higher-end options. While price doesn’t always indicate quality, you may have to give up some features with a budget guitar. Higher-end guitars offer better sounding pickups, tonewoods and overall build that can make a difference in playability.

Budget acoustic electric guitars are usually made of cheaper woods, such as laminated spruce or bathory wood. These materials help keep costs down but don’t produce as great of a tone when compared to solid wood guitars. Higher-end guitars often feature bodies made of solid spruce, maple or mahogany. These materials produce brighter and more powerful tones that can easily be amplified later on by a pick up system.

Similarly, budget pickups are often equipped with under-powered preamps which lack impedance control and vary greatly in sound response depending on the model type and how it was wired together during manufacture. Higher-end magnetic disc pickups or piezo transducers provide a consistent sound response throughout their range while being virtually unobstructed by other elements from your rig such as effects units or compressors.

The last major comparison between budget models and higher-end guitars is construction quality which can influence playability in many ways depending on the specifics of individual builds (notching, fretwire size). Many high end models feature precision notched frets so that you can reach any given string at any given fret position with ease as opposed to more costly labor intensive hand craftedmodels that may require considerable adjustments before you’re able to use them live or in recording sessions without loose string buzzing or unnecessary note inaccuracies caused by sharp fret ends .

III. Quality Considerations

In order to make sure you get the best acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars, there are some quality considerations that you should take into account. Here are some of the components and products you should watch out for when choosing an electric acoustic guitar.

  1. The Neck: It is important that the neck of your guitar is solid and well-built, as this component plays a key role in the feel and sound of your instrument. Make sure it is straight and true, with no breaks or flaws.
  2. The Pickups: Pickups determine how loud or quiet your guitar will sound when plugged in. For a good sounding electric acoustic, look for high-quality active pickups such as humbuckers or single-coil pick-ups.
  3. Materials: Generally speaking, wood used to make an acoustic electric guitar will have more influence on sound than solid body electric guitars because wood can vibrate more freely than metal structures found in conventional guitars. Common materials include mahogany, rosewood, spruce, and cedar among others; each with its own distinct tone characteristics and qualities that can be used to shape one’s desired sound palette.
  4. Hardware: Look for hardware made of stainless steel or chrome plated brass as these materials create a smooth surface that minimizes friction between components like tuning machines bridges and tailpieces resulting in a better reponse from string movement over time. Make sure all parts are firmly attached to avoid rattling sounds during performance jam sessions.

Overview of factors that contribute to the quality of an acoustic electric guitar

When looking for an acoustic electric guitar under $500, it is important to consider many factors that contribute to the quality of a guitar. These include construction type, electronics, the tonal character of the top woods used in body and neck construction, bridge type and nut width. Carefully considering these factors will ensure that an acoustic electric guitar purchased for under $500 meets your sound, playability and quality expectations.

Construction Type: Acoustic electric guitars vary in construction types – solid body, semi-hollowbody or full-bodied. Solid body guitars are typically lighter but may have a higher degree of sustain than hollow-body models or full-bodied models. Semi-hollow body guitars use a solid center block with chambers creating a warmer sound while providing sound isolating capabilities. Full body acoustic electric guitars offer maximum resonance afforded by all wooden constructs which create a more organic live sound performance that is ideal for medium to larger performance spaces.

Electronics: The electronics systems on an acoustic electric guitar often determine how the instrument sounds both live and through amplifiers and stereo systems. The costlier preamp systems are far superior to stock units as they utilize multiple attack points including tuners, mid and treble EQ controls with phase switches for feedback control when playing live shows in larger venues.

Tonal Character: Tonal characteristics of different tops woods used in snd acoustic backs affect playability as well as what you hear from your amp when playing plugged-in. Mahogany is often found on budget guitars while better grades start at Sitka spruce which produces brighter tones than mahogany while Rosewood offers a thicker lower end than either spruce or Cedar topwood options.

Bridge Type: Different bridge type shapes can be useful on particular styles of music or when playing specific tunes. Standard pins provide an edgy attack while compensated bridges help tame string bellying reducing intonation issues making it easier to achieve accuracy when playing lead lines.

Nut Width: Nut width affects action as well as playability so it is important to select one that best fits your skills or hand size if you have difficulty navigating around wider widths.

Comparison of features and materials that affect quality

Finding the right acoustic electric guitar within a budget of 500 dollars or less is complicated. When it comes to acoustic electric guitars, many elements have to be taken into consideration in order to make sure that you are getting the best quality for your money. Many unknown factors such as tone woods, electronics, pickups, bracing, insulation and more turn up when making a comparison of different instruments.

Tone Woods: The type of tone wood used in the acoustic electric guitar’s construction directly affects the guitar’s sound. Mahogany and cedar have warm tones while spruce tends to be brighter. It is important to pick an acoustic electric guitar that uses quality materials for its body construction.

Electronics: You should always check an instrument’s electronics before committing to a purchase. Internal preamps affect the projection and tone of the acoustic electric guitar while pickup systems play an important role in capturing its sound accurately when amplified or recorded.

Pickups: Pickups come in two types — magnetic and piezo pickups. Both offer distinct qualities when recording or amplifying an acoustic electric guitar which makes it essential to choose one that works best for your style of playing or desired sound characteristics.

Bracing: The bracing pattern used on an acoustic electric affects its resonance, sustain and clarity so take this into account when evaluating different models under 500 dollars. It is worth opting for instruments that use scalloped bracing since this type offers slightly more volume and sustain than traditionally-braced guitars do.

Insulation: Quality instruments need insulation around their electrics as well as Potentiometer (Pot) components in order for them not to become prone to production spikes which could damage both the equipment connected to a set up as well as ending up sounding distorted through your amplifier’s speakers. Look for components such as Pots with good insulation around them on any instrument you plan on purchasing from a store at this price range since this would add value significantly over those without insulation installed on them due higher effects if not properly insulated!

Tips for assessing quality when trying out guitars

When trying out guitars – whether they are acoustic electric or solely acoustic – there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when assessing quality. Guitars should have a smooth playing neck that is easy to grip, sound balanced when strummed and demonstrate good resonance under the fretboard. It may be helpful to have a guitar technician available to offer guidance, and if you’re buying your guitar over the internet or by catalog, be sure to double-check return and exchange policies before purchasing.

Top considerations when assessing an acoustic electric guitar include the build materials, hardware features, feel (playability) of the instrument and the electronics. While materials like maple or a rosewood fingerboard can add prestige, more important factors would include single one-way truss rods for easy adjustment and excellent craftsmanship for stability in construction.

The core tone of an acoustic electric guitar should not be compromised by lower woods used for the sides, back or finish coatings (lacquers). Using European spruce wood on top of the instrument can produce warmer tones with greater volume pedals.

In terms of hardware components such as control knobs and tuners, solid brass mechanisms are recommended; as these won’t tarnish over time due to sweat or moisture caused by frequent play. For budget-conscious players wondering how to choose an acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars – pay close attention to what accessories like strings come at that price point – these can often make or break an instrument’s sound quality! Finally consider electronics features like vibrato systems (for performing live) and pickups that enhance sensitive movement between strings while remaining lightweight. All these tips mentioned can help you make informed decisions when selecting an acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars so you get maximum value for money invested!

Maintenance and Care

As with any musical instrument, it is important to properly maintain and care for your acoustic electric guitar in order to ensure you get the most out of it. The following tips will help you keep your instrument in top condition:

– Regularly check the guitar’s hardware for loose nuts, bolts, and screws. Tighten them if necessary, as this can affect the tone of the instrument significantly.

– Make sure that all parts of your acoustic electric guitar are secure – especially the neck joint and bridge. This will prevent buzzing from strings being too loose or tight.

– Clean all parts of your guitar regularly with a soft damp cloth, and make sure to clean away any dirt or grease build up on parts such as frets and tuning pegs.

– Use a string cleaner such as ‘Stringeze’ or similar, to remove oil build up on your strings caused by sweat or humid conditions after playing – this will help maintain their sound quality longer.

– For further protection, use a good quality hard shell case while transporting your acoustic electric guitar – this will also help preserve its value should you need to sell it in future.

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Explanation of how to properly care for and maintain an acoustic electric guitar

Caring for and maintaining an acoustic electric guitar is just as important as choosing the right one for your needs. To ensure its longevity, maintain optimum performance, and protect your investment, certain steps must be taken. Here are some tips to ensure optimum care of your acoustic electric guitar.

String Maintenance: Keeping the strings in good condition is not only important for sound quality but also essential to protecting the finish of the fretboard. Dirt, dust, and oils can build up on the strings, creating a rough surface that can cause damage to the fretboard’s finish over time. Periodically cleaning and lubricating the strings with a polish cloth will help prolong their lifespan and keep them looking like new. Occasionally reviving them with new strings may also be necessary if they become overly worn or damaged.

Neck & Bridge Care: A guitar’s neck and bridge are two of its most vulnerable parts, so proper care is essential to ensure that they remain in top condition. To prolong neck life, make sure to clean it regularly with a soft cloth or low-lint paper towel; never use any abrasive chemicals on it! Bridges should also be cleaned regularly with a cloth dampened in warm water; once dry, use an applicator such as beeswax or petroleum jelly along the saddle edges to protect against oxidation.

Tuning & Storing: Keeping an acoustic electric guitar tuned correctly will prevent unnecessary wear on both its body and internal components like nuts/saddles/tuners/etc. Also avoid storing it in extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) or overly damp environments; always store inside at room temperature where possible! Finally, do not rest it against objects such as bed posts or chairs – this can cause both damage to the body and tuning instability due to string tension adjustments when moving around while playing!

Tips for cleaning and storing the guitar

It is important to regularly clean and store your acoustic electric guitar to keep it sounding its best and extend its lifespan. Here are some tips for cleaning and storing your guitar:

– Clean your strings with a string cleaner at least every two weeks; if you live in a dry climate, consider washing your strings weekly.

– Dust the neck, body and headstock using a damp cloth regularly. For deeper cleaning, you can use a polishing cloth or special cleaning solution specifically designed for guitars. Be sure not to use harsh chemicals or soaps that may damage the finish of the instrument.

– Use denatured alcohol (91% isopropyl) to clean around hardware (bridge pins, bridge saddles, pickguard/scratchplate) as needed.

– When not in use, store your guitar in a sturdy case in an environment that does not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent relative humidity. Inspect all parts of the guitar on a regular basis for signs of wear or damage. Avoid exposing the instrument to extreme changes in temperature or humidity which can cause warping or cracking wood components on the instrument.

Common issues with acoustic electric guitars and how to troubleshoot them

When an acoustic electric guitar is not performing well, there are several common issues that could be causing the problem. These common problems can range from faulty electronics, to problems with the strings or action of the guitar.

Electrical Issues: One of the most common issues with acoustic electric guitars is faulty or dirty electronics. This can cause a distorted sound when playing an electric guitar, or may lead to feedback while playing with amplification. In order to troubleshoot this issue, first check if all wires and connections are secure and properly connected. If everything appears to be in order visually, it might come down to cleaning away dust and debris from your electric components with a specialized cleaner often used for electric guitars available at local music stores.

String Issues: Beyond misconnections in wiring, acoustic electric guitars can also experience damage on their strings due to excessive wear and tear over a long period of use. Depending on the type of strings used in your model this could take a toll on the sound quality being produced by your instrument. Shortening string length through a truss rod adjustment can be one way to see if this solves any discernable decrease in sound output from your guitar’s pickups. Another way is through replacing old strings with new ones for any tonal improvement you may want to obtain as opposed to making further adjustments within the guitar itself.

Action Issues: The action of an acoustic electric guitar refers simply its distance off the fretboard; if it’s too high or too low it will be noticeable when pressing down onto strings while fretting chords or solos alike This issue should easily be fixed by getting help from an authorized repair technician who will know exactly what tools need to be adjusted evenly and consistently across all frets as each string diameter are slightly different even when purchased under one specific line brand like Elixir etc., Alternatively, you could also consult guidebooks available online that provide step-by-step instructions on how you might accomplish this task yourself if desired so be vigilant before starting such at project!


A guitar should be chosen based on your preference and the needs of the user. An acoustic electric guitar under $500 can range from beginner’s models to professional-level models. Depending on which type of model you are looking for, these qualities can be adjusted accordingly.

For example, sound quality is an important aspect to consider when choosing an acoustic electric guitar under $500 and it is important to look at the components that it is comprised of in order to properly assess.

Lastly, playability should also be evaluated in order to ensure a level of comfort when playing. Taking all of these aspects into consideration ensures that the purchase decision is made with confidence and that the user ultimately obtains a quality instrument for their money and skill level.

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