When you’re looking for the best acoustic electric guitar under 300, it’s important to consider what you’re looking for in an instrument. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll guide you through the process and make sure your search ends with a worthy addition to your home or collection.
With this article, you will learn the best way to choose an acoustic electric guitar. We’ve reviewed five different models in the $200-$300 price range, and each one has specific features that make it unique.
Before getting into our reviews, let’s take a look at some of the criteria you should keep in mind while making your selection.
NOTE: If the under $300 price tag doesn’t work for you, take a look at our other reviews on Best Acoustic Guitar Under 1000 Dollars and Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under 500.
What different types of acoustic electric guitars are there?
The first distinction to be made is between solid-body and hollow-body acoustics. Let’s begin with hollow-bodied guitars.
Hollow body electric acoustics are usually bigger and are popularly used for their warm full tone. To achieve this sound, musicians may select from an array of pickups designed for acoustic guitar, which connect to an external acoustic preamp. This arrangement prevents the electrical components from interfering with the acoustical aspects of the instrument.
The downside to this approach is that it increases the overall weight, which can become a nuisance during long practice sessions or live shows. On the other hand, hollow bodies are more fragile and susceptible to feedback. It’s also harder to amplify these types of the guitar without an external amp – you’ll need to raise the volume on your amp or risk feedback at higher volumes.
Solid-body acoustic electric guitars are more popular, simply because they’re easier to handle overall. While solid bodies do have their pickups, these tend to be quieter than hollow-bodied equivalents. That’s not a downside per se, just something to keep in mind if you want the option of turning up your volume without annoying everyone around you.
Best acoustic electric guitars under 300
Without further ado, here are five models worth checking out. Remember to keep in mind your needs while reading this article, and select a guitar that will match them perfectly.
Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The Yamaha FX325A Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a professional instrument that features an onboard EQ to help you get the perfect sound. It has a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, rosewood fretboard with 20 frets, die-cast chrome tuners, and a satin finish. The guitar also includes built-in electronics for easy amplification. It’s the perfect guitar for the budding Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney, with its deep lows and bright highs that are just waiting to send your voice into gear.
The Dreadnought Body Style combines traditional crafting techniques with modern-day advances to give you an instrument that is durable, versatile, and leaves other guitars in fear of its heavy-handedness.
You’ll be getting a Spruce top made from actual spruce wood which gives the tone both power and contour at any volume level. 2 pieces of Nato on either side balances out this beast providing durability as well as personality through variance.
• Clear, projecting sound with a dreadnought design.
• Humor-filled review +dreadful tune that makes you walk in circles.
+ Comes in a gig bag bundle and is the perfect beginner guitar
+ Nice, solid dreadnought design with clear projection to amplify your sound
Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a dreadnought body style with a black finish. It features an onboard preamp, D’Addario EXP16 Coated strings, and Fishman Sonitone electronics to give you the best sound possible.
This guitar was made for both beginners and experienced players alike! If you are looking for that special instrument that will last your entire life, this is it. For anyone who loves music or wants to learn how to play their favorite songs on the acoustic guitar, this is the perfect beginner’s guitar for them!
The Fender CD-60SCE dreadnought acoustic guitar is a great choice for any beginning or intermediate player. This affordable, all-solid wood model features a solid spruce top with scalloped “X”-bracing and mahogany back and sides for excellent tone.
Other appointments include an onboard tuner, rosewood bridge and fretboard, tortoiseshell pickguard, and chrome machine heads with Pearloid buttons. Case sold separately.
• Tuned to perfection
• Beautiful, sleek design with a mirror black finish
• Acoustic-Electric Acoustic Guitar has great sound and sustains the notes for longer than most guitars
Some quality issues in finishing.
Takamine 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar
A Takamine 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Right Handed, Sunburst (GD51CE-BSB) is a great choice for any guitarist. This guitar has a solid spruce top with a mahogany back and sides to help produce the strong sound that this guitar is known for.
The GD51CE-BSB also comes with Fish-man electronics so you can plug it in at any time to make it sound even better!
Takamine 6 string acoustic-electric guitar is made of solid spruce top and rosewood back, Slim mahogany neck. Built-in tuner with three-band EQ. An elegant Sunburst gloss finish. Its tone of voice is professional, very suitable for singers or songwriters who love playing guitar at home or on stage.
• High-quality materials and construction, the slim neck is great for small hands or beginners
• Great tone for live performance
• Built to last.
- Hard to find any similar guitar at this price point.
Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
This is a Yamaha FGX800C Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar. This guitar has a spruce and mahogany top, back, and sides. It also features an acoustic bridge which provides excellent sound projection with the natural tone of your instrument. The cutaway design allows easy access to the upper frets for those that need them.
Yamaha FGX800C is a professional acoustic guitar with Nato back & sides. It has a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, which give you superior sound quality. The Yamaha FGX800C features an under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3-band EQ, so you can plug it into any PA system or recording device.
• Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
-Feel the warmth in tone with this beautiful acoustic guitar
-The rosewood fingerboard and bridge are a beautiful addition to this instrument. It is sanded down not only for the sound but also for aesthetic purposes so that it looks gorgeous when you sit it on your coffee table or hook it up to your 4K TV
• Diecast Tuners
-Die-cast tuners are durable and long-lasting because they are made of metal instead of plastic. You will never have to worry about them getting out of tune again since these tuners stay fine-tuned all year round
• System 66 features an under-saddle piezo pickup with a 3 band EQ, adjustable mid-range frequency.
Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey Acoustic/Electric Smokestack
The Gretsch G9520E is a remarkable acoustic/electric guitar that features an intricate smokestack soundhole pickup pre-amp. The tone is professional and the projection is excellent. This guitar plays well, feels great to hold, and looks stunning. It’s no wonder this model has been so popular for decades!
Gretsch G9520E Electric Guitar is an outstanding instrument that combines the charm of a vintage design with modern features. The basswood body and neck are finished in gloss polyester, while the fretboard is made of walnut.
The rosewood fingerboard has 22 medium frets, with dot markers on the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, and 15th frets. A Bigsby B60 tailpiece provides smooth action for easy string changing. Two Fender-designed Wide Range humbucking pickups produce a clear tone with plenty of power.
• Unique tone of voice.
• Great for smaller children looking to learn guitar.
• Headphone jack included.
• A must-have item if you’re interested in country music.
Not that great to produce traditional tunes.
What to Look for When Buying an Acoustic-Electric Guitar?
If you pick up a classical guitar, there’s no doubt that the first thing you’ll notice is how light and thin it feels compared to an acoustic guitar, thanks to its hollow body (more on this later). But as with electric guitars, the materials and the quality of craftsmanship have a big impact on how good the guitar sounds and how easy it is to play.
The first thing I do when buying a new acoustic electric guitar is plugged it into an amplifier and see how it sounds. The next step is checking the playability, which can be affected by things like the neck, string action (distance between strings and fingerboard), and the strength of the guitar’s top, back, and sides.
A good-quality acoustic electric guitar doesn’t need to be uncomfortable for a beginner or amateur player. Before you start playing it has to feel familiar in your hands – not too heavy or bulky, but also not so light that you can’t control it well enough to fret notes and chords. The ideal weight for an acoustic-electric is between 3lbs and 5 lbs, although it’s possible to buy models that weigh more than that. They usually have a solid build, but some models take advantage of lighter woods like maple or basswood to provide the feeling of a lighter instrument.
It’s important that your guitar can withstand daily wear and tear, especially if you plan on using it to perform regularly. If you’re mostly looking for an instrument to practice with at home, having a durable guitar may not be as important because the chances of putting nicks and scratches in it are a lot less. If you’re planning on taking your guitar with you everywhere you go, however, it’s a whole different story. In that case, having an instrument that can withstand bumps and drops is essential.
5. Budget and Uses
Price is a major factor in deciding which guitar you buy. You’ll have to pay more for guitars with better tonewoods and finishes, or ones with high-quality hardware, pickups, and special electronics. Another thing to consider when shopping around is the number of frets on a guitar neck. This can range from 12 up to 20 frets, all of which can be a pain if you’re a beginner. If that’s the case, I would recommend going with a guitar that has at least 14 frets or more.
6. Guitar Body Styles
There are three main guitar body styles – acoustic, semi-acoustic and electric. Semi-acoustic models (often called hollow body electrics) are by far the most popular type of acoustic electric guitar. They’re usually made of wood or laminated woods, although some models feature other materials like carbon fiber. These guitars can be very loud acoustically, but they’re usually better for playing live than recording. They have a hollow body most often made of laminated woods like spruce and mahogany. This type is the least expensive one available in the market.
7. Wood Types
The type of wood used in the construction of an acoustic electric guitar can also affect its tone. Most buyers will probably be concerned only about the quality and the cost of a guitar’s finish, but factors like how it’s constructed and what kind of wood is used should be considered as well. Solid woods are preferred by most players because they provide the best tonal quality and volume.
Types of Acoustic-Electric Pickups
Acoustic-electric guitars usually have either magnetic or piezoelectric pickups. All other things being equal, the price of a guitar is generally lower if it features magnetic pickups than if it has piezo pickups.
Although some people claim that they don’t like playing with magnetic pickups because they can sometimes pick up interference from electrical appliances and power cables. Magnetic pickups will sound better when playing with more volume since they can respond to lighter touches and play softer.
Piezoelectric (or contact) pickups provide a very rich and clear tone. However, they require some external source of power for them to work. This usually means batteries or phantom power from an external preamp or mixer.
Piezos tend to be very high impedance, which means they won’t pick up as much background or extraneous noise from amps or PA systems. The good thing about piezo pickups is that pretty much all guitar players love the tone of them because it’s usually a bit more “direct” and “punchy.”
These pickups are generally considered to be a better alternative to piezo because they’re not as expensive and you don’t need external power sources. Another reason why a lot of people choose magnetic pickups is that they usually offer a more dynamic response, which particularly helps when playing live.
Most acoustic electric guitars come with either one or two pickup systems, but you’ll also find a few that have three. A two-pickup system usually consists of a magnetic pickup and a piezoelectric pickup, while a three-pickup system features one magnetic and two piezo pickups.
There are also instruments, mostly higher-end ones, that use “transducer” pickups. These pickups convert the mechanical energy of a vibrating guitar string into an electrical signal using electromagnetic induction. This type of pickup is great for both live and studio applications because they’re extremely high quality.
Does Tonewood matter?
Tonewood is a critical ingredient in the recipe for great tone. All other things being equal, the better the wood, the better the guitar.
Most tone-woods fall into two categories: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods are stronger and denser than softwoods, which makes them more durable but also more expensive.
Basswood, for example, is a relatively cheap wood that features prominently in many guitar models. It’s light and very easy to shape, which means it’s particularly well-suited to guitars with really radical body shapes.
On the other hand, mahogany is considered by some to be the tonewood of choice for neck construction. It’s also a very strong and dense wood, which explains why it’s so often used in neck construction on high-end electric guitars.
A common type of tone-wood is spruce, which is the most commonly used wood when it comes to tops on acoustics. Spruce is also very good for the back and sides of an acoustic guitar.
This wood is often used to make classical guitars because it has a warm sound that doesn’t overpower the instrument’s natural tone.
Rosewood (and rosewood fingerboards)
Rosewood is another kind of classic tonewood, which explains why it’s often used on the fretboards of electric guitars.
The back and sides of most acoustic guitars are usually made out of maple because it plays nicely with the treble frequencies produced by the top wood. The best type of maple for this purpose is flamed, quilted, or curly. Maple also looks very attractive, which is probably why it’s often used for the fretboards of electric guitars.
The top wood is probably the most important factor in a guitar’s tone. It looks nice and it makes up a large part of an instrument’s soundboard, which means it has a huge impact on what you hear when you play the guitar.
While most guitar tops are made out of spruce, some models use nato (also referred to as Eastern mahogany) instead. Nato is harder than spruce and features a lot of resin. This makes it extremely durable but also very heavy.
This is another type of mahogany that’s often used to construct tops on budget acoustics because it’s relatively inexpensive.
Laminated vs. Solid Top
A laminating process involves gluing thin pieces of wood together to make one solid piece. This makes it possible to produce tops with beautiful patterns and grain (such as the highly sought-after flame maple ).
A solid top, on the other hand, is made out of a single piece of wood. Solid tops are harder to make but they have a better sound.
A lamination process, which is used to cut down on the weight of the top wood. This means that it’s easier to move around but without any structural reinforcement, you have no idea how much tension your guitar top can handle before it cracks or warps. Most electric guitars are built this way.
X bracing is a type of lamination that involves cutting out sections of the top wood, which allows it to better handle tension. This makes it perfect for acoustic guitars, which are traditionally built with x bracing because they need top woods that can take a beating. It also reduces the amount of feedback you get from the guitar, which is ideal for live situations.
Some electric guitars with really radical body shapes and unusual pickup configurations also feature x bracing because it allows manufacturers to build the instrument at a lower cost.
Bolt-On vs. Neck Through
This refers to how the neck is attached to the body of a guitar. A bolt-on neck features a section that’s bolted directly onto the guitar, whereas there are 2 or 2+2 sections where the neck is glued into place (in the case of the neck-through instruments).
Can Cheap Acoustic Electric Guitars Still Sound Good?
The short answer is yes. Acoustic-electric guitars are designed to be played through an amplifier or a PA system, which makes them capable of producing a good sound that’s loud enough for live performances.
Although the better the guitar you buy the better its tone will be, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. One of the guitars I recommend in this article is surprisingly cheap.
If you are looking for an affordable guitar, all of these models are solid quality for what they cost. We hope that after reading our article on the best starter guitars under 300 you have found the instrument that is right for your needs.