Let me start by saying, this list has some very impressive guitars. They're all certainly capable of being used on stage and they'll make any player, whatever their ability, very happy to be playing them. These are some wonderful instruments.
When you're looking at acoustic guitars in the $1000-1500 range, you're looking for certain qualities, like fine solid woods, rich and complex sound, excellent craftsmanship, impressive hardware and easy comfort. But ultimately, you're looking for a great acoustic guitar that truly suits you. This price range is where you get to really define the type, style and sound you want from your guitar.So let's get going. Bookmark this page if you're worried about being interrupted. We've got great guitars and an awesome buying guide – you're going to want to be able to find your way back.
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
Don't Forget a Humidifier and Hygrometer
With all acoustic guitars, but especially ones entering this price range where you're more likely to have all solid woods, which is fantastic, but also more susceptible to environmental conditions like temperature and humidity.
To protect your investment, you should have a humidifier and hygrometer for maintaining and monitoring the humidity in your guitar's case. Without proper humidity, the wood can dry out resulting in cracking, exposed fret ends, low action or a sunken top, just to name a few possible effects. High humidity can cause wood to swell and expand creating a dull sound, high action and improper neck angle are a few symptoms of this problem.
The ideal humidity range for your guitar is 45-55% relative humidity. Help keep it there with a humidifier and hygrometer. Click on either item to check price on Amazon.
Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1500 - Reviews
So often, when talking about acoustic guitars I talk about the woods used because these choices have so much effect on the sound of the guitar.
Well, this Taylor is no exception.
The top is solid mahogany and the body is solid sapele. This combination complements the entire tonal range nicely, but definitely delivers a hearty mid-range. Though it doesn't leave out the brightness of the top, either.
Another nice feature is the V-class bracing that increases both volume and sustain while providing superb intonation.
You're going to get a lot of sound out of this Grand Pacific round-shouldered dreadnought, and it's comfortable to play.
The styling is simple and classic with lots of fine details that produce a really good-looking guitar without being flashy.
This Taylor AD27 is a beautiful instrument with an awesome, versatile sound. You're going to love playing it.
This dreadnought acoustic electric guitar from Takamine boasts a heck of a sound, rivaling guitars that are far more expensive.
The solid cedar top is paired with layered maple back and sides. The cedar can handle any player, even the most aggressive, while the maple is an extremely neutral balancer. So don't worry about the maple not being solid wood, it's doing the job it was designed to do, making this a great guitar for the stage.
The wood choices give this guitar great success across the tonal range. It's got a bright bold center, but supports both the highs and lows equally well. If you're looking for a very balanced sound, this is an excellent choice.
You don't have to be a performer to appreciate this instrument, though. It's one of the most comfortable guitars in our best under $1500 selection. The neck is smooth and comfortable, facilitating not only chord reach, but slides, bends, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. A dream to play.
Of course, the shiny black finish looks great, but like any shiny black finish, be prepared to dust it off regularly for the best effect. It'll look great whether you're sharing it with your friends, or performing on stage.
This Takamine sounds good plugged, or unplugged. The CT4B II preamp system with three-band EQ, volume control and built-in tuner work beautifully, with no discernible drawbacks.
Seriously, this is a great guitar that shouldn't be underestimated. Give it a look.
This L-00 is part of the classic Gibson Studio series. It features a smaller body shape, a slightly thinner body and shorter scale (24.75"). This makes for easier handling and it's ideal for fingerpicking, especially blues fingerpicking, but there is no sacrifice on sound quality due to its smaller size.
The Gibson L-00 excels in the mid-range, really lower mid-range, while not ignoring the top or bottom tones. It's a wonderfully rich and interesting sound that won't let you down, no matter what style of music you play.
This great mid-range is very versatile genre-wise. It's also excellent for vocal accompaniment. The electronics are excellent quality and performance-ready.
The interesting choice of woods contributes to this awesome sound. A Sitka spruce top, as you might expect, but with walnut back and sides. The neck is mahogany, with a wonderful dovetail joint for added resonance and then back to walnut for the fingerboard and bridge.
They've put a lot of thought into the function of the woods and how they work together to create the awesome sound on this guitar.
There are 2 color options available. The gorgeous walnut burst does exceed the promise of under $1500, but the natural also looks great. You should just know that both exist.
This guitar is handmade at Gibson and it is impressive in every way. Definitely one of my favorites on this list. Take a good long look at this one.
This is one of Martin's most innovative guitars in a long time. They've rethought everything from the ground up and it's resulted in a good all-around guitar that thoroughly manages the entire tonal range while also bringing new levels of comfort.
You'll notice that the body is more S-shaped than a standard guitar body. That's to create additional comfort so it fits more bodies more naturally. The top bracing has been adapted to the new shape accordingly which is part of the reason it handles the whole tonal range so well.
The Sure Align neck system is one of the standout features of this guitar. The neck join itself is a different type of dovetail that is ultimately micro-adjustable, but it's where the neck meets the body of the guitar that's so special. It's sort of double scalloped to give your hand and wrist the most comfort and flexibility when playing the higher frets.
The Sure Align neck system is further supported by an ergonomic, helix-carved neck. What this means is that as your hand moves toward the higher frets, it is guided into the proper position without you having to contort yourself to reach them. It is far easier to play upper frets, similar to the ease on an electric guitar, because of the way these two features work together.
Of course the SC-13E has that big Martin sound, filling the room whether you use the electronics, or not.
This Martin doesn't cater to any one genre, but will work beautifully across them all. It's just a great sounding guitar with a lot of innovation that makes it easier to play. You can't go wrong with that.
An Interesting Approach to Guitar Practice
Tony's Acoustic Challenge takes an interesting approach to learning acoustic guitar. It's low stress focus on fun, progress and community. If you're not aiming for guitar god rock star status, you should check this program out.
A Few Program Features:
• Daily, 10-minute guided guitar practice that follows the TAC Method of Guitar improvement for having more fun with your guitar while seeing constant progress.
• Perfect for brand new guitar players, those coming back to guitar after a long time away, and experienced players who feel stuck in a guitar rut.
• Brand new guitar players will start with the “30 Days to Play” course that takes them from knowing nothing to playing fun and recognizable songs and riffs in 30 days or less. Once completed, they’ll begin the daily, 10-minute guitar practice challenge.
• 60-day money back guarantee.
This Gitane Gypsy Jazz guitar has a particular sound that is influenced by the learnings of Lulo Reinhardt, (yes, descendant of the legendary Django Reinhardt), that includes nods to Spain's flamenco traditions, and south America's Latin Jazz, in addition to the that Gypsy jazz sound.
This particular solid Sitka spruce top with small oval soundhole provides that bell-bright attack and distinctive Gypsy Jazz sound while the Santos rosewood back and sides counter with a rich bass tone.
The emphasis on the opposing ends of the tonal spectrum help define the unique sound and stylings you'll get from this guitar.
Though I will emphasize that it favors the bright tones, as you would expect of a Gypsy Jazz acoustic guitar.
All the comfort appointments, from an ultra-smooth ebony fingerboard, to a slim mahogany neck and well-shaped body make this an accommodating guitar for a lot of body types and a pleasure to play.
If you're looking for that elusive Gypsy/Latin/Flamenco jazz sound then you've found a great guitar here. It'd be hard to find one that fits the genre better.
This gorgeous Ovation Elite Plus Contour Acoustic Guitar takes a slightly different tonal step than most Ovations. Instead of the sparkly top end that sort of defines the brand, this Elite Plus puts more strength in the mid-range.
Don't get me wrong, the sound still has plenty of pop and incredibly fine clarity, but it's a little more traditional sounding. This richer mid-tone is a nice shift that gives the Elite Plus a nicely broadened range.
I love the clarity and crisp separation without so much tinkle.
The composite back has a new shape, the Contour, that's more comfortable and natural to hold. And the fingerboard and neck construction fall into a more traditional acoustic build-style as well.
The Ovation Elite Plus takes as well to light touch fingerpicking as heavy chord strumming.
This guitar is seriously versatile in the styles it can accommodate. If you're looking for a great sounding guitar with exceptional separation and clarity, then you need to be looking really hard at this one.
This Guild D-20 Dreadnought is a full size dreadnought with the big, rich full sound you would expect.
It's all solid mahogany which gives it a deep, woody sound without ignoring the top end.
The top is bright enough, but much more complex as it layers on the depth created by the all mahogany construction.
Overall, this D-20 creates a beautiful sound.
Wonderful fine details catapult this guitar into a class higher than its price tag, like a dovetail neck joint that improves resonance, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, bone nut and saddle and an extremely light satin finish that ensures fantastic tonal projection.
The Guild D-20 has a very versatile sound suitable to most acoustic guitar styles. Use this for almost any genre, or multiple genres and you'll be happy with the result.
This is a guitar you really can't go wrong with.
The Martin DSS-15M StreetMaster has a solid mahogany top, and solid mahogany back and sides. This makes for an interesting, complex tone as mahogany is a dense wood.
It won't have the spritely overtones of spruce, but a rich mid-range.
Also, mahogany is one of those woods that sounds better with age. The longer you own it, and the more you play, the better it sounds.
Add to that the comfortable low oval neck and sloped shoulder design and you have a very comfortable acoustic guitar that packs a big sound punch.
The StreetMaster isn't shy and will definitely draw a crowd, so it doesn't hurt that it looks as good as it sounds.
If you're a fingerpicker, the neck shape and width are going to make you happy.
Easy to handle and plenty of space without being too wide. The neck joins the guitar in a nice dovetail which is a great woodworking choice for stability.
This is one nice guitar and if the mahogany will supply the kind of sound you're looking for this is an acoustic guitar you should be looking at.
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Taylor's red 214ce Deluxe is a pretty little guitar I just had to feature. Gorgeous in both appearance and sound, this one is pretty exciting.
The shape is Taylor's Grand Auditorium, which is comfortable, but produces a bold resounding tone. The solid Sitka spruce top make sure the top end of the sound is lively, but the layered hard maple body creates an interesting effect.
While the spruce top is creating a nice resonance, the maple body actually tempers the resonance a bit, giving it a very clear note distinction. This is great for live performances because it both prevents feedback and keeps the tone nice and clear, never letting it muddy up on itself.
The electronics on the 214ce DLX are exceptional as well. The pickup features individually calibrated sensors which capture a greater sonic range in the guitar. So even amped you get to take advantage of the wonderfully complex tone while also filling any room with sound.
This is a great performance guitar, but whether you're performing, or not, it's just a great guitar to play. It feels good in your hands, a very natural feel. Many people have said it's become their go-to guitar, even among far more expensive models. It's an everyday gem.
Even better, it looks hot! That's a winning combination.
This Blueridge guitar is based on a vintage pre-WWII style, but they still leave room for some modern accommodations, like a slightly wider neck for 21st century fingerpickers.
This classic dreadnought has a solid Sitka spruce top for a bright tone and a solid rosewood body to take that brightness and turn it into a complex and interesting sound and a balancing bass tone.
The design incorporates "handcarved parabolic top braces that respect the prewar forward x-pattern" to help create that vintage sound that really lets the top sing.
Blueridge also uses Gotoh vintage-style open-back butterbean buttons that are an excellent choice for keeping you in tune. An all-around beautifully constructed guitar.
This is one of those guitars that plays as well as other models that are four times the price. You'll be hard pressed to find a guitar with better sound and playability in this price range.
Playing this guitar is a very rich experience without the huge price tag.
This Ibanez acoustic-electric guitar sports a Grand Concert body with cutaway and solid wood all around. The Alpine Spruce top keeps the upper tones spicy and sharp while the Pau Ferro back & sides provide balance with a complex mid-tone and makes sure there's bass in there, too.
While it does handle the entire tonal spectrum well, I'd say that it still favors the mids and top end overall. If you're looking for extra strong bass, this might not be the guitar for you.
The ACFA580CE is part of the Ibanez Fingerstyle collection. It's designed for ease of handling, and, of course, fingerpicking, with: a 1.77" (45mm) nut width, super smooth ebony fingerboard, comfortable thin neck grip for easy fingering and a round neck heel that allows for easy access to a high fret position. This is where the cutaway feature is important.
Whether you're a traditional fingerpicker, or prefer the more percussive fingerstyle, this Ibanez has an open pore semi-gloss finish that creates percussive resonance, which is perfect if you like "scratch" style sound effects.
You also get undersaddle and contact pickups on the neck joint block. This dual pickup system captures the string vibration through the whole body and neck, which provides a truly dynamic tone in addition to doing a great job of transmitting percussive input as well. Dual outputs let you use the pickups individually or create a blended tone.
If this guitar suits your style, it's a great buy and not one of the most expensive guitars on this list. Top quality from Ibanez.
The Yamaha FG Red Label harkens back to their folk guitars of the 1960's, but with updated improvements that make them even better.
All-solid construction with a Sitka spruce top for brightness and mahogany back and sides to support deep tones and resounding volume give the FG great balance and have it sounding great across the tonal spectrum.
The upgrades include scalloped bracing for better resonance and increased sustain. They've also added their new Atmosfeel™ pickup and preamp system, specifically designed to make the amped sound as close to natural as possible.
It's a really well-conceived sound system. Plugged in without sounding plugged in.
Besides all of the technical aspects, the Yamaha FG just feels good. A buttery smooth ebony fret board and comfortable neck size and shape make for an ideal guitar playing experience. Good feel, great tone, and beautifully made. This acoustic-electric guitar has a lot going for it.
This is another one of those guitars that's punching above its weight class.
Easily a professional quality sound and feel at a reasonable price for a serious player.
Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1500 - Buying Guide
The 3 Most Important Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a $1000-1500 Guitar
For some people the $1000-1500 price range is their first guitar, and for some, it's a goal you have to save up for after you've been playing a while.
These questions are for the person who's been playing guitar for a while and are looking to upgrade. Some of them may be difficult for a beginner to answer, but you can still get a good idea of what to look for, even if you're a new player.
What kind of guitar will suit the style of music I enjoy playing?
You might start playing guitar certain that you want to play one kind of music, but then you discover another genre and start exploring, and falling in love with, that.
It's perfectly fine to change your mind and discover you're a different kind of guitar player than you thought. Are you a lead or a rhythm player? Did you think you wanted to play metal but discovered that you love blues, or classical?
Whatever your preferred genre is, now is the time to choose a guitar that suits it well. There's a guitar design for every genre and every purpose, and you want one that's going to make your chosen style of playing as straightforward and as easy as possible. You don't want your guitar getting in the way of your progress and learning.
Or maybe you're still exploring different techniques and genres and you want a guitar that performs well for the widest range of styles. That's fine, too. You may always be a multi-genre player and want a guitar that works well in many situations, and sounds great across the board.
This price range gets you the kind of guitar that you'll keep for a long time. You want it to be as close to ideal as possible.
What type and size of guitar are most comfortable for me to play?
If you need a smaller guitar to get a more comfortable reach, or one with wider string spacing for fingerpicking or because you have large fingers, now is the time to seek out these features.
No matter how much you love the look of a guitar, the most important thing is that it's comfortable for you. This will make you play better and practice more enthusiastically because you enjoy spending time with your guitar.
When I went to buy my first new motorcycle, I loved the Ducati Monster Dark, The matte black paint job and the lines on the bike suited my tastes perfectly. Then I sat on one. Absolutely uncomfortable – for me. No matter how much I liked the look of the Ducati, it wasn't a good fit and no amount of customization was going to fix that. There was a Suzuki, on the other hand, that I sat on and chatted with people for an hour before I remembered I was sitting on a motorcycle.
That's the kind of comfort you're looking for.
You want a guitar that just fits you, one that you don't have to think about.
Pay attention to your current guitar and determine what you like, what you don't like and what could be better. Scribble a quick list and use that when comparing specs on the guitars in this price range. There is no one perfect guitar for everybody. Take some time to figure out which guitar is going to be the absolute best possible for you.
What kind of sound do I want from my ideal guitar?
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of choices and decisions that go into determining how a guitar sounds. Every model is different. If a guitar is geared toward a certain genre, it will favor a particular sound. Even brands are known for the types of sound their guitars create.
You should know what kind of sound to expect from a guitar geared toward your chosen genre (if you've chosen one) and what kind of sound you like for your playing.
Do you prefer more bass, complex mid-tones, or crisp highs? Mellow, or bright? Delicate, or powerful?
If you have the opportunity to try the guitar out in person, go for it. That way you can hear what it sounds like in your hands and determine if it's really what you're looking for.
If you can't get one in your hands before making your purchasing decision, check out the way a guitar sounds on YouTube. Just type the guitar model into Google and the videos that come up across the top are usually demo videos. Watch and see if you like the sound.
If you don't like the sound, but it seems like a guitar you should like, find a different demo video. Sometimes the style the demo guitarist is playing is absolutely contrary to your playing style or sound preference. If you're unsure, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
Make sure the guitar you're getting sounds good to your ear and feels right for your personal playing style.
The Best Woods for Acoustic Guitars
When you're spending upwards of $1500 for an acoustic guitar, you should know a little something about the woods you're getting.
In this price range, you can mostly expect not only a solid wood top, but usually the back and sides are solid, too, though usually a different wood from the top.
Occasionally there are reasons for using laminate/layered wood for the back and sides, so don't let that turn you off if you like the way a guitar feels and sounds. And look at Ovation. They've been using composite bodies since their inception.
Every wood/materials choice affects that way a guitar sounds. It pays to know what type of tonal influence each wood has on your guitar.
Here's a quick reference
Acoustic Guitar Tone Woods Cheat Sheet:
Spruce – bright, great in the mid-range
Cedar – warm, round, good for fingerpicking
Mahogany – bright, punchy
Rosewood – strong bass, excellent treble attack
Hawaiian Koa – rich in the mid-range, crisp in the treble
Walnut - crisp highs balanced by deep, woodsy low end
Indian Rosewood – versatile tonally, robust bass, spicy top
Sapele – great through entire tonal range with top end sparkle
Tropical Mahogany – balanced with complex mid-range
Maple – neutral, a bit punchy in high end
Ovangkol – rich mid-range, great treble response
Take a look at my more complete descriptions of tone woods.
What to Look for in an Expensive Acoustic Guitar
So the price range we're talking about is a step up for most people. There are certainly more expensive guitars for pros and amateurs with extra cash. But for most people, this is the jump into getting a really good guitar.
We've already talked about some of the most notable upgrades, like wood expectations, when moving up to a $1000-1500 guitar. Here are a few other things you should expect to be better when you spend more money on a guitar.
The tuners, bridge, bridge pegs, nut, saddle, etc. should all be top quality and work smoothly (if they're meant to move). You don't want to see plastic in these elements. I mean, if a part is plastic and that's the only negative for you, it shouldn't be a deal killer because you can always upgrade the part. But I wouldn't want to see a lot of plastic or cheap bits.
If you're getting an acoustic-electric guitar, do a little research on the electronics. Make sure they're good quality and will carry you into performing if that's what you're destined to do. You should fully expect your electronics to work as you expect and be no hassle. You shouldn't put up with a guitar that good 'except' the electronics aren't great. On an acoustic guitar they don't have to be fancy, but they should definitely sound great in this price range.
At this level, you shouldn't be finding flaws when the guitar arrives. Binding should be neat and clean, inlays beautifully executed. The guitar should feel solid and sound great. The neck should be straight, the finish clean and smooth, and there shouldn't be any fret problems. It never hurts to have an awesome finish, if that's your style, but simple can be beautiful, too.
Excellent Tone Woods and Sound Quality
As we already discussed, more solid wood used and a range of top wood and body wood choices, all contributing to the overall sound of your new guitar. Remember, some solid woods gain better sound with age and the more you play them. That's why it's important to get quality woods that produce a tone you like now, because it will evolve with time. You should love the way this guitar sounds.
Getting a Guitar That's Close to Ideal – for YOU
The biggest thing this price range gets you is the ability to decide which features are most important to you. You can choose the kind of sound, feel and look of your guitar without having to compromise a whole lot. You're looking for a guitar that you're going to love. You need to feel this as much as you think it.
While you're not paying for full customization, you're going to be able to get a lot of what you want. That's why it's good to figure out what you want going into this quest.
The goal is to find a guitar you're going to love.
Knowing When You're Ready to Upgrade Your Guitar
Some people wonder how good of a player you have to be to invest in a good guitar. This leads to them wondering if they're worthy of owning a good guitar.
Here's the criteria for whether or not you deserve to get yourself a good quality guitar.
Do you enjoy playing guitar?
If your answer is, "Yes, I do gather enjoyment from playing the guitar," then you are plenty qualified and worthy of owning a high quality guitar.
It's not complicated. You deserve to enjoy yourself, and sometimes that means having an awesome guitar.