Overview

With the right kind of information, your journey into the world of guitars can be quite an eventful and interesting one. In this article, we explore several aspects of guitars. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran guitar player, you should be able to get some benefit from reading this article.

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Takamine EF341SC Pro Series Acoustic Electric Guitar
  • Maple Back & Sides
  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Mahogany Neck & Rosewood Fingerboard
Check Price on Amazon.com
Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top
  • Rosewood Back & Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
Check Price on Amazon.com
Martin LX1E Acoustic Electric Guitar
  • 6-string Acoustic-electric Guitar with Sitka Spruce Top
  • Fishman Sonitone Pickup - Natural
Check Price on Amazon.com
Ibanez AEG12IINT Acoustic-Electric Guitar
  • Mahogany top, back and sides
  • High-quality Fishman Sonicore pickups
  • Ibanez AEQ-SP1 Preamps
Check Price on Amazon.com
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
  • Nato, C-shaped neck with hardwood fingerboard offers great playability
Check Price on Amazon.com
Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012 Electric Guitar
  • Agathis Body
  • Maple Bolt-On Neck
  • Sonokeling Fingerboard
Check Price on Amazon.com

We first start by touching upon the basic facts of a guitar. We then go on to different types of guitars. If you are considering buying a guitar, we provide you some useful tips on how to choose the best acoustic electric guitar or electric guitar for your needs. Which type of guitar should you be looking for? We will try to answer this question by helping you decide the kind of guitar that would suit your requirements the best.

Finally, we bring you some of the best guitars in the market for you to choose from. We also provide details of some used guitar websites in case of budget considerations. Read on to find out everything that you ever wanted to know about buying guitars!

Categories Of Guitars

Difference Between Acoustic, Acoustic-Electric And Electric

There are three broad categories of guitars. They are:

  • Acoustic guitars or box guitar
  • Acoustic-electric or semi-acoustic guitar
  • Electric guitar

People usually learn to play the guitar on an acoustic guitar. They could also learn on an acoustic-electric guitar because from the playing perspective, both types offer the same experience. If you know how to play the guitar, then you may be interested in all the three categories. Let us take a look at each type of guitar:

1.Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is the most basic type of guitar. The two main parts that produce sound are the soundbox and the strings. Steel or nylon strings are stretched over two fixed points with one end of the strings touching the “bridge.” When plucked, the strings vibrate, and sound is transmitted to the soundbox through the bridge.

The sound resonates in the soundbox and exits through a hole called the “soundhole.” You can pick up an acoustic guitar and play it without needing any setup. This means that you don’t need any cable, amplifier, speaker, or any associated electronics.

2.Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Even the best acoustic-electric guitar is constructed precisely the same way as an acoustic guitar. The main difference between an acoustic and an acoustic-electric guitar is that the latter has electronics. Without going too much into detail about how the best acoustic-electric guitar works, it usually has a device to pick up sound waves, and a built-in preamplifier to modulate the sound.

You can play both types of guitar without using an amplifier. However, you can drive an acoustic-electric guitar through an amp, to reproduce the sound through a loudspeaker at another location. The advantage here is that you can modulate the way your guitar sounds through a circuitry, which is not possible with an acoustic guitar. The strings of both types of guitars can be made of either nylon or steel.

3.Electric Guitar

The body of an electric guitar is made of solid wood and has steel strings. The strings of the lower (bass) frequencies are solid steel wound with metallic alloy wires. A magnetic pickup is placed in the proximity of the vibrating strings, which convert the vibrations into sound energy and send these electrical impulses through a cable. The cable connects to an amplifier which amplifies the sound.

Because an electric guitar is solid wood, you cannot play it without an amplifier. Not only will you hear the minimal sound, but the quality of sound will be poor due to lack of resonance that occurs in acoustic guitars.  

Deciding On The Type Of Guitar To Buy

Now, we come to the exciting part of our article. What kind of guitar should you buy? This question is more for newbies, because if you are already a guitarist, you may have an idea of what you need. However, even if you already play the guitar, you may find some of this information interesting.

You need to ask yourself some basic questions like the ones given below:

1. What Style Of Music Do You Expect To Play?

  • Blues and soft rock calls for an electric guitar.
  • Classic rock, country folk and alternative rock will be best played on a steel-string acoustic guitar (could also be an acoustic-electric).
  • You will require a classical guitar with nylon or steel strings if you want to play classical music.

2. What Is Your Skill Level In Playing The Guitar?

If you are a beginner with absolutely no knowledge of the instrument, then you can buy one of the cheapest acoustic guitars. Once you have mastered the instrument, you can even go in for best acoustic electric guitar model available.

If you are already a guitar player, then you probably have a guitar and would be looking to upgrade the one you already have. In this case, you may decide on any of the three categories of guitars.

The cost of a guitar ranges from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It depends on the brand and the level of sophistication. If you are a veteran guitarist, then you would probably be looking at some high-end models.

3. What Is Your Budget?

Your finances limit your choices to what you can buy for yourself. If you have a limited budget, then you can opt for an acoustic guitar from the lower price range. One important thing you need to remember when it comes to guitars. When you pay more, you don’t necessarily get a better piece.

Some cheaper brands have surprisingly good sound, and some higher-end models fall disappointingly short of the expected results. If you are a beginner, it is also a good idea to start with a used guitar. There are websites where you can get some best used acoustic electric guitars which will be ideal for you to pick up some guitar basics.

Generally, however, when you pay more, you get better quality. But if you are on a limited budget, you can still get a decent piece. Remember, in the end, it depends on how YOU play to make your guitar sound good. Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley, and Tommy Emmanuel, all began small, with some of the cheapest guitars in the market!

4. Do You Have The Required Support Materials?

If you are a newbie, you need to prepare yourself with adequate support materials. Most guitars don’t come with user manuals. However, even if you receive some literature with the instrument, if you are new to guitars, most likely you won’t understand everything. 

Therefore, learn a bit about guitars before you buy one. More importantly, get at least a basic tutorial, paper, or online, which provides you with essential information about how to tune a guitar, with some simple beginner classes. You won’t have to worry about that part if you have a tutor to teach you.

5. What Are The Basic Features You Require?

Do a bit of browsing on the internet to find out what features you need to get started. Talk to other guitarists (yes, you can consider yourself a guitarist, now!) Don’t get carried away with the different features that professional or experienced guitarists use. 

As a beginner, you don’t need the best guitar with features that you don’t know how to use. As you grow as a guitarist, you will learn to use different features, but start small.

How To Select An Acoustic Guitar

Now, here comes the big one! How do we go about choosing an acoustic guitar or even best acoustic electric guitar? We have decided to discuss acoustic guitars over electric ones because this involves infinitely more skill. An electric guitar may not be easy to choose, but it is more of a technical concept. It is beyond the scope of this article.

Acoustic Guitar Variables

While most acoustic guitars are constructed similarly, there are a few differences and nuances that you need to consider. It is these factors that will contribute to your choosing on a particular piece against the other, even if both of them are of the same brand. Here are a few things you need to look out for:

Styles And Nuances

There are numerous styles of acoustic guitars. By “styles,” we mean variation in the shapes. For instance, the top surface of the guitar, the soundboard varies in width. A broad soundboard will give better resonance. 

You may prefer, on the other hand, to choose a guitar that has a narrow waist, making it comfortable to hold. Depending on the variation in shape, you can get different categories of acoustic and some of the best acoustic electric guitar models. A few of them are:

  1. Dreadnought
  2. Jumbo
  3. Concert
  4. Auditorium
  5. Cutaways

Choice Of Wood

Almost all guitars are made of wood, except a few companies that make fiberglass ones. Since the wood of a guitar largely dictates the quality of sound, it’s imperative to consider this factor. Here are some different types of wood to know about when selecting an acoustic electric guitar or electric guitar:

  • Cedar: This wood is soft and produces a bright tone.
  • Ebony: It is a robust wood and feels slick, ideal for making fretboards.
  • Mahogany: This wood is dense, which produces a sound that is strong and well-suited for blues music.
  • Walnut: Another dense wood like Mahogany, this also can be used to produce high-end tones as in blues.
  • Rosewood: Today, most Brazilian rosewood has been replaced by Indian rosewood. This material is the traditional wood used to produce guitars due to its complex acoustic properties.
  • Maple: This is mostly used to build sides and backs due to its damping properties.
  • Spruce: Spruce makes up most acoustic guitar tops, as it is lightweight but durable and has excellent tonal properties.

Best Used Acoustic Electric Guitars Websites

If you are a beginner, it is a good idea to start with a used guitar. The reason for this is quite simple. Your intentions may be very sincere. However, for various reasons, you may not be able to go through with it.

Not to sound too discouraging, but everyone isn’t cut out to be a musician. Also, you may not realize the level of skill required, and later on lose interest. Or maybe, you won’t find enough time in your busy schedule to pursue your guitar playing actively.

For these reasons, if you are new to the instrument, it is a good idea to get a used guitar as your first one. There are several websites where you can find some best used acoustic electric guitars to get you started. Here are some best used acoustic electric guitars websites that you could visit:

Guitarcenter

Here is a retailer that sells various instruments and accessories. They have an exclusively used guitar section where you can find best used acoustic electric guitars.

Sweetwater

The official website of Sweetwater Sound Inc., U.S., this site is a sort of Craigslist for musical instruments and accessories for the best acoustic electric model in the used guitar category.

Themusiczoo

You can get all varieties of musical instruments and accessories here, both new and used. You can also buy products on installments to get best acoustic electric guitar.

If you decide to buy a used guitar, these websites offer the best used acoustic electric guitars in the market.

Best Acoustic Electric Models

Your quest for best acoustic electric guitar ends here. However, the “best” is a relative concept. How would you define the best guitar? Perhaps, you are looking for a middle-range budget guitar.

Or, if you are an experienced guitar player, you may want to look at some top-end models. So, here are five of what we consider to be among best acoustic electric guitar choices you can make:

1. Takamine EF341SC Pro Series Acoustic Electric Guitar

Takamine EF341SC Pro Series Acoustic Electric Guitar

This classic creation from master Japanese guitar makers Takamine, it is among best acoustic electric guitar choices you could make. The dreadnought cutaway guitar has a solid cedar top with its back and sides made of Maple. The fretboard is Mahogany and rosewood. With a glossy back finish, this guitar will make you feel that you have the best guitar around.

The Palathetic pickup drives pure and natural sound through the circuits, to create a crystal-clear sound that reproduces the original guitar sound. The built-in CT4B preamplifier adds to the deal, giving you a deep satisfaction with every single note you play. Although this guitar sounds good as an acoustic, it sounds even better if driven through an amplifier and speaker.

The guitar comes fitted with D’Addario strings, and the company recommends the same strings to be used as a replacement. Although it has a built-in tuner, once tuned, it stays in tune for a pretty long time, so you don’t need to use the tuner much.

The action is very smooth. The guitar comes in a hard, black case. Interestingly, world-famous musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Glen Fry also use the same or similar guitars. You are putting out a good amount for this one, but you will also get one of the best acoustic electric models in the market.

Pros

  • Best acoustic electric guitar model for beginners
  • Best quality wood used
  • Highly responsive pickup
  • Hard carry case provided
  • Strings stay tuned for a long time

Cons

  • Cost on the higher side
  • Sound quality may be a slight bit less than certain other brands
Takamine EF341SC Pro Series Acoustic Electric Guitar

Maple Back & Sides. Solid Cedar Top. Mahogany Neck & Rosewood Fingerboard.

 

2. Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This acoustic electric guitar from Yamaha sounds as good as it looks, one of best acoustic electric guitar models in the low-budget range. Tonewoods include a solid Sitka spruce top with back, sides, fretboard, and a bridge made of rosewood. The diecast tuners give it a beautiful, shiny finish. The pickup is piezo-electric, and the 3-band equalizer allows you to adjust frequencies to your liking. The built-in chromatic tuner saves you from scrabbling around for a tuner every time you want to play.

The Yamaha FS 800 series has been around since 1966. This model proves that some of the best acoustic electric guitar models needn’t necessarily be expensive. The manufacturer claims the sound is enhanced due to an innovative bracing design, making the top more rigid and resonant.

Pros

  • Excellent quality of wood
  • Built-in chromatic tuner
  • Innovative bracing design for better acoustics
  • Smooth action when adjusted
  • Good-quality electronics

Cons

  • Plastic saddle, nut and bridge pins tend to compromise the sound quality
  • Action is a bit high – needs some adjustment
Yamaha FSX830C Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Solid Sitka Spruce Top. Rosewood Back & Sides. Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge.

 

3. Martin LX1E Acoustic Electric Guitar

Martin LX1E Acoustic Electric Guitar

This guitar is one of the smaller models, but it still has the standard 20 frets. The sound and tone are pleasant. The top is Sitka spruce, and the neck is Mahogany, which provides a smooth action. The construction is robust, making this best acoustic electric guitar choice for students, traveling and using around a campfire. 

It is also compact enough to fit into the overhead compartment of an airplane. Another feature that makes it an excellent travel guitar is that it contains high-pressure laminate (HPL), which offers better resistance to humidity or temperature than wood.

The guitar comes with a decent gig bag. It sounds as good unplugged or plugged in. Since this is a smaller model, it is convenient for shorter people and is popular with teenagers. It has a reasonably low action, which is useful for people who have a weak left hand. One interesting fact about this best acoustic electric guitar model is that Ed Sheeran uses it as well.

Pros

  • Good-quality wood
  • Suitable as a travel guitar
  • Compact enough to carry in an airplane
  • Good intonation

Cons

  • No lifetime warranty
  • Neck is a bit heavy
Martin LX1E Acoustic Electric Guitar

6-string Acoustic-electric Guitar with Sitka Spruce Top. Fishman Sonitone Pickup - Natural.

 

4. Ibanez AEG12IINT Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Ibanez AEG12IINT Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This is one of the best acoustic electric guitar models that you can get that looks good as well. The body is Mahogany, and the top is spruce, with a rosewood bridge. The Fishman Sonicore pickups are of good quality, and the customized Ibanez preamp delivers the goods. The overall effect is a sweet, bright tone, which can be driven through effect pedals or processors to create some fantastic sound variations.

You get the guitar with a built-in tuner, but if you prefer, you can quickly get an external one for a few dollars for better results. This instrument is among best acoustic electric guitar models that sound good unplugged. However, you can get better satisfaction by driving it through a good-quality guitar amp and speaker.

Pros

  • Clear, sweet tone
  • Good quality wood used
  • Smooth action on the lower frets

Cons

  • Does not come with a case
  • Pickguard not provided
Ibanez AEG12IINT Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Mahogany top, back and sides. High-quality Fishman Sonicore pickups. Ibanez AEQ-SP1 Preamps.

 

5. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This guitar is one of best acoustic electric guitar models, but still reasonably priced and ideal for beginners. The top is spruce, and the sides and back are basswood. The Nato, C-shaped neck has a hardwood fingerboard for easy playing. The electronics are also of good quality with a Fishman pickup to provide excellent sound reproduction. Another good part of the deal is that it comes with the following accessories:

  • Hard case
  • Extra set of fender strings
  • Fender guitar strap
  • Three fender picks
  • Austin Bazaar Essentials DVD
  • Fender Play trial subscription

This guitar has a rich and deep voice thanks to the added resonance from the dreadnought configuration. The all- laminate construction makes the instrument robust as well as good-looking. Thanks to the accessories that come with the guitar, you can start playing as soon as you unpack the instrument. You also save a considerable amount of money, because you don’t have to go shopping around for these things.

Pros

  • Good quality wood used
  • Accessories provided
  • Excellent sound reproduction
  • Strings stay in tune after being broken in
  • Built-in tuner is of good quality

Cons

  • Tendency for fret buzz in some guitars
  • Needs a few setup adjustments for best results  
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.

 

3 Best Budget Acoustic Electric Guitar Models

An in-depth discussion on acoustic and acoustic electric guitars wouldn’t be complete without mentioning best budget acoustic electric guitar models. After a great deal of searching, we were able to identify a few low-budget acoustic electric guitars to suit every pocket. The three guitars featured in this list range from rock-bottom cheap to medium and then, more expensive (but not as expensive as to make you bankrupt!). All the three guitars in this list deliver sound that is good enough to be able to play the instrument and share your music with others.

Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This best budget acoustic electric guitar from Yamaha offers a good guitar playing experience, despite being one of the cheaper models. It is a prime example of the fact that you CAN get a cheap guitar that sounds good. With a spruce top, the back and sides of the guitar are made of nato wood. It has a dreadnought shape, lending a nice deep tone when played acoustic. The guitar sounds even better when played through a good guitar amplifier.

The electronics are standard but good, with a System 53 piezo pickup with a preamp and 2-band equalizer. This guitar is suitable for beginners, or someone with thin fingers. It comes with a gig bag and a strap, and you also get a tuner along with the guitar. It is easy to tune and it stays in tune for a considerably long time. The action is smooth and low so that a beginner wouldn’t have too much difficulty playing it, especially on the higher frets. It’s a great guitar to learn to play with. Perhaps after a year or so, when you realize that there are better sounding guitars, you could consider upgrading.

Pros

  • Sounds good played acoustic
  • Fairly standard electronics that reproduce satisfactory sound when plugged in
  • Good quality wood used
  • Smooth action

Cons

  • Guitars were received in damaged condition
  • Flimsy gig bag and other accessories
Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Dreadnought Body Style Spruce Top Nato Back & Sides

 

Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Moving on with our best budget acoustic electric guitar list, here’s a reasonably-priced product from Fender. Looks-wise, this is a nice-looking instrument, with a stylish cutaway that gives easy access to the higher frets. The top is spruce and the back and sides are made of mahogany. The guitar has internal scalloped X-bracing. This feature offers two benefits – firstly, it enhances the acoustic quality of the instrument, and secondly, it offers additional mechanical strength. The fingerboard has rolled edges which makes for a better playing experience.

The guitar comes with some useful accessories as follows:

  • Hard-shell guitar case
  • Digital tuner
  • Extra strings
  • String winder
  • Set of guitar picks
  • Polishing cloth
  • DVD featuring guitar lessons

However, since a guitar amplifier isn’t provided, you would have to get one, along with a cable, in order to plug in. This guitar is a bit pricier than your typical budget acoustic electric guitar, but you will feel the superior difference when you start playing.

Pros

  • Stylish-looking guitar
  • Good quality tonewoods
  • Scalloped X-bracing
  • Rolled edges fingerboard
  • Accessories provided

Cons

  • Initially, need to adjust the action
  • Some complaints of string buzz
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.

 

Ibanez Performance Series PF15 Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Ibanez Performance Series PF15 Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This guitar is very similar to the Ibanez AEG12IINT that we featured above. However, there are differences. Although it may look the same, it is cheaper, but still sounds good enough for us to give it a mention in our list of best budget acoustic electric guitar models. This guitar is a dreadnought, made up of a variety of tonewoods – spruce top and sapele back and sides. The fretboard and bridge are Nandu wood.

The guitar also features internal X-bracing for better tonality and mechanical strength. The cutaway body helps you to get to the higher frets with ease. The preamp is Ibanez’s own AEQ-2T model, and there is a built-in electronic tuner, as well.

Pros

  • Doesn’t need much adjustment to play right out of the box
  • Nice-looking instrument
  • Sounds good when played acoustic
  • Internal X-bracing provided
  • Good-quality tonewoods used
  • Cutaway body provides easy access to the upper frets

Cons

  • Complaints of internal cables getting loose
  • When plugged in, has a natural reverb and sustain that needs to be adjusted
Ibanez Performance Series PF15 Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Mahogany neck Cutaway Dreadnought body Spuce top with sapele back and sides

 

Choose A Super Acoustic Electric Guitar Today!

With our best budget acoustic electric guitar options, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a guitar! However, expect to spend a few hundred dollars at least. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, intermediate level or a professional. When you buy a guitar, you need to put a lot of thought into it and spend time choosing a good piece.

In this article, we discussed different aspects of acoustic and acoustic electric guitars and even touched upon electric guitars. We also highlighted the various factors that affect the performance of a guitar and what to look for while choosing one.

However, since it’s easy to get confused with so many brands and models in the market, we made a list of some of the best acoustic electric guitars available. We covered some expensive guitars, budget models, and several brands in between as well. With so much information at hand, it should surely enable you to find a guitar that suits your requirements. It’s likely that the guitar you buy will be with you for a few years. So, choose carefully, spend your money wisely, and buy a guitar that will make you proud!

We hope you found our article interesting and beneficial. If so, please let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you about your guitar playing experiences and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Happy guitar playing!            

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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.