Why Are Acoustic Electric Guitars So Fascinating?

Something is intriguing about an acoustic electric guitar that makes it more fascinating than just an electric or acoustic one. Maybe it is the fact that you get the depth of an acoustic guitar with the power of an electric one. Whatever the case, an acoustic electric guitar introduces some interesting possibilities in sound.

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Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
  • Rosewood Back & Sides
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Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar
  • 6-string Acoustic-electric Guitar with Sitka Spruce Top
  • Fishman Sonitone Pickup - Natural
  • Robust construction
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Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic Electric Guitar Player Package
  • Mahogany body
  • Passive Piezo pickups
  • Rosewood fretboard
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Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic Electric
  • A Venetian-cutaway body for easy upper-fret access
  • Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing
  • Mahogany back and sides
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Kona K2 Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar
  • Natural high gloss finish and mahogany back and sides
  • 4-ply binding on the body and single-ply binding on the neck
  • 41" long, 3" deep body, low-profile dreadnought size
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In the early days, most acoustic electric guitars were electrified acoustic guitars. I have done the same thing to some of my own acoustic guitars way back then. However, I can tell you that it’s not quite the real thing. Today, acoustic electric guitars are designed especially with amplifying the sound in mind. The design of acoustic electric pickups has evolved into an independent science. Along with the advancement of acoustic electric guitar technology, a vast range of acoustic electric guitars is available.

So, what is it that makes it all so enchanting? If you play a reasonably good acoustic guitar, you would probably enjoy the depth and tone of each note and the sound of the chords as well. Take that sound and drive it through a good amplifier, and it will definitely sound better. Acoustic electric guitars are specially designed to have their sound picked up and amplified. The result is a high-quality signal that can be further enhanced by electronic modulation. Add a bit of reverb and flange or compress the signal, and the possibilities are infinite.

There are specific genres of music like say, jazz or the blues, that sound best when played using an acoustic electric guitar. Some of the best acoustic electric guitar players are those who play jazz and blues. The acoustic electric guitar is an extremely versatile instrument; therefore, it finds its way into several different genres of music. Yes, there is much that you can do with an acoustic electric guitar.

10 Good Options

We looked closely at literally scores of acoustic electric guitars. Finally, we could shortlist what we felt are the ten best ones. Your circumstances may be different when you are looking for a suitable instrument.

Other than budget considerations, other factors can influence your choice. What if you have small hands? Do you need a guitar that you can carry with you as you are a frequent traveler? Do you already have a setup but are looking for an excellent acoustic electric guitar to use with it? While compiling our list of candidates for the best acoustic electric guitar under $500, we have considered all these factors.

If you are a beginner, you would probably not want to spend that much. It may be that you have set a fixed budget, so you wouldn’t want to spend beyond a particular amount. If you already have a guitar or if you are an advanced player, then spending a bit more money may be alright. With all this in mind, we give you some great choices to pick the best acoustic electric guitar under $500. So, here is our list:

1. Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar

 Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar

Here’s a nice, solid acoustic guitar by Yamaha from the FG/FS 800 series. This line of guitars has been around since 1966. Yamaha’s guitars have progressed in line with emerging technology over the years. The characteristic feature of the 800 series is the “scalloped” bracing, which serves to provide mechanical strength while enhancing the resonance of the instrument.

The top is Sitka spruce, and the back, sides, fingerboard, and bridge are rosewood. The tuning keys are made of diecast metal, and there is an adjustable truss rod as well. The 3-band built-in equalizer makes it possible to adjust the frequencies across the mid-ranges. You also get a built-in chromatic tuner. The under-saddle piezo pickup picks up the audio signal. The abalone inlay along the soundhole also provides a nice finishing touch to the instrument.

To sum up, this acoustic electric guitar by Yamaha is a combination of good quality wood and electronics. The price is just under $500, but with all the useful features, it easily qualifies in the category of the best acoustic electric guitar under $500.

Pros

❖    Pleasant-looking finish

❖    Best quality wood used

❖    Unique “scalloped” bracing strengthens the instrument and makes it sound good

❖    Good quality electronics

❖    Decent sound whether plugged or unplugged

Cons

❖    Plastic saddle, nut, and bridge pins

❖    Some cases of fret buzz reported

Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic Electric Guitar

A combination of good quality wood and electronics and very affordable.

 

2. Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar

 Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Nicknamed the “Little Martin,” this is one of the manufacturer’s smallest guitars. However, the tone is quite good, and it is a versatile instrument. The guitar has a Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides. The overall effect is smooth and glossy, with a pleasant light-yellow color. This guitar has quite a robust construction and is suitable for practicing and playing at home or at a campfire. Being compact, this guitar makes for easy transportation, and it fits comfortably in the overhead compartment of an aircraft.

Regarding the style of playing, due to its robust construction, this guitar is suitable for pushing, muting, or percussive playing. In line with this type of playing, you can use heavier gauge strings, such as 12-gauge or 13-gauge. It sounds good as acoustic and even better plugged into a good guitar amp. Being a smaller guitar, it is suitable for people with small hands or those who have some physical condition that calls for a smaller fretboard. One last but significant thing to note is that renowned singer Ed Sheeran uses a Martin LX.

Pros

❖    Pleasant tone

❖    Robust construction.

❖    Smart-looking glossy finish

❖    Good electronics

❖    Gig bag provided

Cons

❖    Extra-long hex wrench needed to adjust the truss rod

❖    Fret buzz due to low-cut nut

Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Has a Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides. The overall effect is smooth and glossy, with a pleasant light-yellow color.

 

3. Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic Electric Guitar Player Package

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic Electric Guitar Player Package

A good option, especially for beginners, is to get a guitar player package like this one offered by Epiphone. The advantage is the totally plug-and-play setup, where you unbox your guitar, plug in, and start playing. If you are new to the world of guitars, you may not be sure of what you need to get started. Even if what you get isn’t quite up to the mark, it is not such a big deal. Because usually, whatever you receive is functional. You can replace some of the accessories later on when you have a better idea about what it’s all about.

The Epiphone PR-4E is a budget guitar, but it still produces excellent results in terms of tone and durability. The guitar has a spruce top and mahogany body with a rosewood fretboard. Passive piezo pickups pick up the sound, and it comes fitted with a set of 12-gauge D’Addario strings. The cutaway is also a convenient feature where you get easy access to the higher frets. You get a 15-watt amplifier of reasonable quality, so you can enjoy the amplified sound of each note and chord.

Pros

❖    Extremely cost-effective

❖    Smart finish

❖    Comes with complete accessories

❖    Good quality 15-watt guitar amp

❖    Nice tone

Cons

❖    Pickguard not provided

❖    Tuner not up to the mark

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic Electric Guitar Player Package

A budget guitar, but it still produces excellent results in terms of tone and durability.

 

4. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic Electric

This Fender acoustic electric guitar in the dreadnought shape is medium-priced but well-placed in the list of the options of the best acoustic electric guitar under $500. It comes with a robust hard case, and you get a set of accessories but no guitar amp. So, you need to have one in place if you want to plug in and play. This guitar is suitable for beginners and intermediate players.

Regarding the style, the dreadnought shape produces an excellent resonance. Looks-wise, the guitar has a smooth, black finish, with a white neck and a mother-of-pearl design on the soundhole. The cutaway is also handy for gaining easy access to the upper frets. The top is spruce, with a mahogany back and sides, and the fretboard and neck are made of rosewood. The fingerboard has its edges rolled to make it smooth and easy to play. The internals of the guitar have “scalloped” X-bracing, which enhances the resonance while making the structure more robust. Fishman Isys III System electronics take care of the sound aspect quite nicely.

The overall comments on this guitar is that initially, the action needs a bit of setting up when you first buy it. Get a professional to give it a once-over. Once done, you will find the action quite smooth, and you’ve got yourself a good guitar at a budget price!

Pros

❖    Reasonably priced

❖    Premium quality wood

❖    Convenient cutaway for accessing higher frets

❖    Scalloped X-bracing

❖    Good-quality electronics

Cons

❖    Does not come with a guitar amp

❖    Needs a bit of initial setting up

Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Highly affordable dreadnought acoustic-electric cutaway that is great for beginners. Laminate spruce top and basswood back and sides produce great tone.

 

5. Kona K2 Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar

Kona K2 Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar

This dreadnought-shaped guitar by Kona is amazingly low-priced, but it is an ideal choice for beginners. It has a thin body and low profile. This is a guitar that you can carry around, give it a few knocks, but not lose any sleep. This guitar has a beautiful overall look and has a smooth, high-gloss finish. The top is spruce, and the back and sides are mahogany with a rosewood neck and fretboard. The gold diecast tuners look classy, and the cutaway is useful for reaching the higher frets quickly.

The guitar size is 41″, and it has the standard 20 frets. You get a few essential accessories, such as extra pickguards, a polishing cloth, and a hex wrench for the truss rod. Hence, you will have to stock up on other accessories like picks, a cable, capo, and guitar amp to get started. The electronics are passable, with a 3-band equalizer and a piezo pickup.

Pros

❖    Well-rounded sound

❖    Attractive high-gloss finish

❖    Effective truss rod

❖    No intonation issues

❖    Good traveling guitar

Cons

❖    Complaints of fret buzz

❖    Pickup could be of better quality

Kona K2 Acoustic Electric Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar

Has a beautiful overall look and has a smooth, high-gloss finish.

 

6. Ibanez GA35TCEDVS Acoustic Electric Guitar

Ibanez GA35TCEDVS Acoustic Electric Guitar

This guitar is a collector’s item of sorts because, although medium-priced, it is an impressive instrument. The guitar is good to look at, with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The guitar is compact, which makes it portable and a good companion on road trips. The Fishman Sonicore pickup, coupled with an Ibanez preamp, makes for some pretty decent electronics.

This guitar is well suited for all picking styles and for playing blues, country, rock, and pop genres. The carefully matched tonewoods create a deep and rich sound that covers the midrange, lows, and highs with crisp but mellow clarity. Load this guitar onto your car, or spend some quality time at home, strumming away. You will not be bored with this guitar, which could well be the best acoustic electric guitar under $500!

Pros

❖    Very smart to look at

❖    Well-matched tonewoods

❖    Compact and portable

❖    7th fret shines brighter as a useful reference point

❖    Convenient cutaway to access the higher frets

Cons

❖    Doesn’t sound as rich as full-body guitars

❖    Complaints of fret buzz

Ibanez GA35TCEDVS Acoustic Electric Guitar

Good to look at, with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The guitar is compact, which makes it portable and a good companion on road trips.

 

7. Gretsch G5024E Rancher Dreadnought Acoustic Electric Guitar

Gretsch G5024E Rancher Dreadnought Acoustic Electric Guitar

There’s nothing exceptional about the tonewoods of this guitar. It has a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard. However, what makes this guitar stand out in looks is the triangular soundhole and stylish pickguard. This is a retro look from the fifties. The guitar is well constructed with scalloped X-bracing, and it is shaped in a dreadnought configuration.

Sound-wise, this guitar meets expectations. Upon receiving the instrument, you don’t need any setup adjustments; just unpack it, and start playing! However, if you want to plug in, you will have to arrange for a good guitar amplifier. Once plugged in, the guitar is equipped with standard electronics: a Fishman preamp system and an under-saddle pickup from Sonicore.

Pros

❖    Reasonably priced

❖    Good sound

❖    Standard electronics that work well

❖    No need for setup when you first play it

❖    Sounds good unplugged or plugged in

Cons

❖    Guitar amp not provided with the instrument

Gretsch G5024E Rancher Dreadnought Acoustic Electric Guitar

Well constructed with scalloped X-bracing, and it is shaped in a dreadnought configuration.

 

8. Taylor Baby Mahogany Acoustic Electric Guitar

Taylor Baby Mahogany Acoustic Electric Guitar

Here is another guitar on the slightly higher side of the price bracket. It has a mahogany top with layered Sapele back and sides and an ebony fretboard. Although they call it “baby mahogany,” it is far from being a toy! This guitar has great sound and is very useful for guitarists with small hands due to its small size.

It sounds good unplugged or plugged and because it has reasonably good electronics with an ES2 under-saddle pickup. You also get a pretty okay gig bag with the instrument, but you need to be equipped with other accessories if you want to plug it in and play. You can also play it acoustically in front of a good quality microphone, and it sounds good. Due to the small size of the guitar, it’s an excellent instrument to pack for a road trip. You can also take it with you on a flight. Hence, it’s the perfect companion for the frequent traveler.

Pros

❖    Mid-range price

❖    Good quality tonewoods used

❖    Compact size

❖    Standard electronics

❖    Gig bag provided

Cons

❖    Plastic pins could have been of harder material like bone

Taylor Baby Mahogany Acoustic Electric Guitar

6-string acoustic-electric guitar with mahogany top, layered sapele back and sides ES-B electronics, durable design.

 

9. Ovation CE44-5 Acoustic Electric Guitar

Ovation CE44-5 Acoustic Electric Guitar

Here is a guitar that you may have to pay a bit more for than others, but then, you are getting a good deal in terms of appearance and quality, not to mention that it still falls within the $500 limit. The unique multi-hole sound hole adds a nice touch to the appearance and helps to separate the clear highs with decent bass response. The cutaway shape allows you to access the higher frets with ease.

It is a sturdy instrument with scalloped X-bracing that also helps in adding quality to the tone. The guitar has an excellent unplugged sound. However, thanks to reasonably good electronics, the sound is quite impressive when you plug in. The pickup is Ovation Slimline, and it has an OP-4BT preamplifier with a 3-band equalizer. There is a built-in tuner as well.

Pros

❖    Unique multi-hole

❖    High-quality tonewoods used

❖    Scalloped X-bracing for added strength and better tone

❖    Good electronics

❖    Built-in tuner

Cons

❖    Comes with medium-gauge strings so you may need to change to lighter ones

❖    No guitar amp provided

Ovation CE44-5 Acoustic Electric Guitar

Classic mid-depth Lyrachord cutaway body with a solid spruce top featuring the Elite multi sound hole design, which provides clear highs and focused, balanced bass response.

 

10. Breedlove Discovery Concert CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Breedlove Discovery Concert CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

At first sight, the thing that strikes you the most about this guitar is the rather broad base. The added internal volume provides additional depth to the overall tone while playing acoustic. The guitar top is Sitka spruce, and the back and sides are Sapele, with a rosewood neck. The guitar has a beautiful, glossy finish. It comes with a gig bag as well. Whether you are a beginner looking for an excellent instrument to learn from or you are an experienced player looking for a good deal, this guitar delivers the goods.

The guitar sounds good, thanks to the considerable size and the select tonewoods used. It also sounds good plugged in. A unique feature of this guitar is its pinless bridge. Any guitarist who has changed strings at least once is likely to have encountered difficulties with bridge pins. These pins tend to get jammed in the pinhole, and it becomes difficult to lift the pin. This has no pins; problem solved!

Pros

❖    Pinless bridge

❖    Nice sound

❖    Adequate internal volume

❖    Glossy finish

❖    Slightly wider neck useful for thicker fingers

Cons

❖    Doesn’t fit in the overhead bin of an aircraft

❖    Action tends to be too high so it needs adjustment initially

Breedlove Discovery Concert CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Solid Sitka spruce top with sapele back and sides Nato neck with rosewood fingerboard Chrome mini tuners with Fishman electronics.

 

Get The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar (Under $500) Today!

Once you have decided how much you are ready to spend on an acoustic electric guitar, half the job’s done! There are many options available for choosing the best acoustic electric guitar under $500. If you buy any of the best acoustic electric guitar under $500 featured in our list, you will be assured of a satisfactory guitar playing experience.

While compiling our list, we considered several factors that contribute to what makes a good guitar. You may have some personal preferences, so, with this in mind, we created a list of ten guitars to provide you with a broader choice. We also realize that everyone has budget constraints. If you are looking for the best acoustic electric guitar under $500, it doesn’t mean that you will be comfortable paying $499.99! Hence, we have some low-budget options in our list, as well as a few more expensive guitars. However, regardless of how much you pay, you should be able to get a guitar that you can enjoy playing from this list.

We hope that you get the guitar of your dreams soon. It is our endeavor to make your job of finding the best acoustic electric guitar under $500 an easier task. We trust that you have found this article useful and interesting. Please let us know how you feel about it through your valuable feedback and comments. We will be glad to get back to you with answers to any questions you may have.

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Robert Smith
Robert is a guitarist who holds a bachelor's degree in music issued by the Manhattan School of Music. With several years of hands-on experience, he’s now deeply interested in teaching his knowledge and insights with everyone.

Hard work was necessary to create Trusic.com. As an old-school musician, Robert wasn’t knowledgeable in HTML, CSS, Analytics, front/back-end code, and more. It took him time to create a plan and form a team of musicians who could write solid, well-made articles for all audiences interested in musical instruments.

Now Trusic.com is alive and the whole team is hoping to provide readers with insightful material to choose the most convenient instruments and instrument accessories for beginners or even advanced level students.