Best Acoustic Guitar Under 200 Bucks - Reviews and Buying Guide
So you need to get an acoustic guitar, but you're on a budget. You don't want to get a cheap guitar, and by that I mean cheaply made, but you want to get the best guitar for the money. You want the best acoustic guitar you can find that's a good value - quality and price.
Don't worry. I'm going to walk you through the things you need to know to choose the best budget acoustic guitar under 200 bucks.
Let's start with how lucky you are. There are a lot of great affordable instruments out there, from long-time reputable brands, like Fender, Yamaha and Washburn, to name a few. These manufacturers have a reputation to uphold and they're not going to sell you junk models just because you're not spending oodles of money today.
They know that if they do right by you on the lower end of the guitar-buying spectrum, you'll give them good consideration when it comes time to upgrade. You get the best out of this because it means a lot of guitar-making smarts go into making their great entry-level guitars.
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Best Acoustic Guitar Reviews
You might see me mention here that some of these guitars are better than their price point, but the Yamaha FG800 takes the cake. This guitar doesn't just punch above its weight class, it jumps straight to heavyweight and demands its respect in the ring.
The quality is tops all around, even if it doesn't go looking all fancy (though the sand burst finish is sweet). The build choices, including a solid spruce top, and attention to detail, put The FG800 in a class with Martins and Taylors that are 3-4 times more expensive.
The neck is comfortable and the FG800 comes pretty ready to play. Depending on your preferences, you may want to lower the action, or swap the strings, but that's all.
This model is a definite upgrade for the Yamaha FG700 series, with a newer bracing design that deepens the tone, giving a throatier bass sound. It still favors the top end a little but the rounding out of the sound is what has stepped it so much. Crisp and throaty, you can't beat it.
You can choose this as a starter guitar, or your traveler, but you're not going to feel a need to upgrade any time soon, if ever.
For pure playability and quality amongst budget acoustic guitars, this is the one.
This gig-worthy acoustic-electric guitar from Washburn delivers solid value at a good price.
First off, the electronics aren't detailed, but they perform well. The on-board tuner is stunningly accurate. Second is a small flaw. The image pictured is not the actual finish you'll receive. This is evidently a vintage sunburst, not the tobacco sunburst that's shown.
Besides that minor flaw, because it's still a pretty guitar, this Washburn WA90CE delivers the kind of quality you usually have to spend hundreds more to get.
The sound is awesome, loud and bright, just like you'd expect from a well-made classic dreadnought. Whether you plug it in, or not, it'll sound great. And it does sound great plugged in.
You might need to make minor truss rod adjustments to get the guitar set up just the way you like it, but overall, it's pretty ready to go. This guitar will work for you whether you're an experienced player, or a beginner. Even pros are happy to add it to their collection.
Washburn is known for their quality and they definitely don't slack here.
Great guitar, solid choice and looks good. Check it out.
Let's start with this being an Epiphone. They have their great reputation for a reason and this guitar upholds it well.
It starts with a nice solid spruce top. Combined with quality laminated mahogany back and sides, this budget acoustic guitar has a nice sound balance between bass and bright. In fact, the sound is exceptional for a guitar in this budget range.
This guitar plays well, is both comfortable and solidly built and stays in tune nicely. An all-around winner.
For as much as I praise fully solid wood guitars, laminates do have some advantages, like being more resistant to heat and moisture changes. This can be good for beginners who might not be ready for high level guitar TLC.
While this Epiphone PR-150 is priced for beginners, guitarists all the way up to pros will be happy to have this as their workhorse guitar. It shows up, performs well and is crazy reliable. You won't have to do a lot of fussing around to keep this guitar sounding good.
If you have 2 c-notes to drop, then this is a good place to do it. An excellent choice for a guitar that's worth far more than they're asking for it.
This Mitchell T331 Dreadnought guitar is going to quickly become your favorite daily player. It has a deep, rich sound that remains bright due to the solid mahogany top. The laminated mahogany sides provide balance and stability in all climates. An all-around satisfying sound from the solid mahogany top that will only get better with time.
The build is well done with very few flaws ever making it to the player. Quality control is tight at Mitchell. There's a reason they have a good reputation for their affordable acoustic guitars.
It has a slim and comfortable neck to make playing smooth and easy. Being a dreadnought, it's overall a bit bigger, so comforts is important.
That bigger dreadnought size also gives it a big sound. You will not be left wanting for volume from this acoustic guitar. It's great for performing and home recording. What's great, is that you're getting a guitar that's in a beginner price range but that will keep even advanced players happy.
This Mitchell T331 is not flashy, but it is quality. You are getting a lot for your money. This is one of those dream budget guitars that looks good, sounds great and is easy to play.
You can't ask for much more than that.
This guitar is a beauty. Both this blue finish, and the black that's available, look great and put on a nice little show of their own.
This is a solid beginner-intermediate guitar. The V70CE Ibanez dreadnought rides on the slightly chunky side, both in size and weight, but it has good sound and is easy to play.
The cutaway makes reaching the high frets easy and gives you more flexibility when you stylize.
The electronics are good and responsive, though over the years they've been an occasional trouble spot. On current models it doesn't seem to be an issue.
For many, this is the only guitar you'll need, until you get rich and can upgrade to something serious. But many people hang onto this one for years and years and just keep playing it.
This Ibanez is low drama and high return.
Like the other Rogue guitar on this list, this is a good starter guitar, or a traveler for some. It's good enough quality and you get an acoustic-electric at a great price.
This being a dreadnought it has a pretty big sound, but not as big as others in the category that might cost a bit more. That's one of the quality differences. But this one will get a good guitar in your hands to learn on and you can upgrade when you, and your wallet, are ready.
There are some super cheap acoustic guitars that aren't worth even their low-low price (usually less than $50). This isn't one of those. Rogue does exactly as they intend. They deliver a very playable, solid choice of a guitar at an extremely affordable price.
Honestly, if you can afford a little better, I'd look harder at the rest of this list. But if this is what your budget allows, then it's worth it to get you playing. I wouldn't even include it on one of my lists if it weren't.
For a cheap acoustic-electric guitar in a dreadnought size, this is a very good choice.
I could have put this Yamaha APXT2 ¾ size on the Best Fingerpicking Guitars page, or the one for Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands, but I thought it would be good to include here, too, especially since it's so easy on the budget.
Some people feel that it's even a bit smaller than ¾, maybe more of a travel guitar, but I think that's the Thinline feature that's fooling them. Admittedly, the sound from this guitar isn't as big when it's unplugged. However, once you plug it in it's hard to tell the difference from the big boys.
This is a very comfortable guitar to play. It's easy to reach around and the scale works for people of a lot of different sizes. It's well-balanced, too. Just a pleasure to noodle around on.
It's a Yamaha, and you know how much I respect them. They make high quality affordable guitars, especially acoustic guitars, without skimping of the features. Even if you buy one as your starter guitar, you'll be happy to play it long through your intermediate learning.
Easy on the budget, easy on your body. This is an excellent and affordable acoustic-electric guitar that you won't regret owning. It'll get you through your first lesson and your first gigs and then some. With this Yamaha, you won't have to be a starving musician.
Enjoy this one!
This gorgeous 3/4 guitar from Oscar Schmidt hits some really great points.
First, it's rich in the low end and has a bigger sound than you'd expect from a smaller guitar. This is a big plus if you're a more petite player looking for full-size sound with comfort while playing.
If you're picking it up as a travel guitar, or a 'beater', it's definitely quality enough to satisfy an experienced musician.
The design is spot on, the quality is on-target, too. Oscar Schmidt has hit the mark on with this one.
This is a guitar purchase you won't regret.
I also have a longer review of this guitar on the Best Acoustic Guitars for Small Hands page.
This mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar from Fender is a daily player that's as reliable as the day is long and a solid part of any guitarist's collection.
It features a solid mahogany top with laminated back and sides, making it nicely stable and providing a full, round sound.
In addition, the Fender CD-60S features Fender’s ‘Easy-to-Play’ neck shape with rolled fingerboard edges, making a comfortable guitar to play and noodle on all day long.
It's a Fender, so you know the construction is solid. While they're known for their electric guitars, they make some pretty awesome acoustics, too. This is not just a sideline for them. Fenders are reliable guitars all around, electric or acoustic.
The CD-60S is not designed as a beginner's guitar, but if you're looking to learn on a dreadnought, this is an excellent choice. It's designed to be a workhorse and deliver quality, consistent results, and is does a great job of that.
You can't go wrong with this Fender acoustic guitar.
Now this guitar, with its glossy charcoal burst, is a real beauty. It's Washburn's Studio body design which is a little smaller than a standard dreadnought. It's not too small, though and it sounds good across the tonal range. Not unexpected, it does favor the mids and high tones.
Being a little smaller makes it easy to play and it works quite well for fingerpicking. Tonally, it can suit a lot of styles and has a pretty good genre range.
The combination of a spruce top and walnut sides and body create a nicely complex tone with good sustain. Overall it's well made. Being a Washburn, I'd expect nothing less.
In the realm of slightly smaller guitar, this is a solid choice. I still like the Yamaha FG Jr. better, but this one might work better for some. The quality and value are unquestionable.
Give the video on the other side of the link a listen and see if the Bella Tono Novo S9 is right for you.
This one's easy. My daughter-in-law recently got one of these to learn on – and she loves it. It sounds great, far and above what you would expect from a smaller guitar and the quality of that sound is rich and well-balanced across the tonal range. I'm impressed with how good it sounds. And it doesn't lack in the bass like so many ¾ guitars.
My D-I-L isn't small, she's 5'7", but she appreciates not having a bigger guitar, especially for learning. The size is also good because she travels a lot and it easily fits into the airplane overhead. We can safely say, it makes a fantastic travel guitar.
She should probably put some lighter strings on it while she learns, but the ones it came with sound good. The build is all around solid and nicely finished. It's not fancy, but it looks nice.
This just backs up my point about Yamaha. They make really solid, beginner/intermediate instruments with quality materials and you're not going to grow out of them quickly. My D-I-L may play this for years before she decides to upgrade. Though she does have her heart set on getting a resonator when she feels advanced enough. But that's a guitar for another day.
You can't go wrong here. It's a superior guitar at a reasonable price. If the ¾ will work for you, then I can wholeheartedly recommend the Yamaha FG Jr.
The description doesn't mention it properly, but this Jasmine S-34C Cutaway acoustic guitar has a solid spruce top. That is an awesome feature to get at this price point.
This guitar delivers a rich, complex sound in line with that you might get from a Taylor guitar, but maybe not quite as high end. For the price difference, that's more than fair.
The S-34C model is a grand orchestra style and size (see the size chart here for more information), which makes it more comfortable to play than some of the big dreadnoughts. It also has a nice cutaway for your high fret playing convenience.
When it arrives, you might want to lower the action a bit and put on a set of your favorite strings. If you don't have favorites and need some help with this initial set-up, don't hesitate to discuss your options with your local guitar tech or luthier.
Solid tuners keep this Jasmine in good tune and it plays and sounds far about its price class. This is a great budget acoustic guitar for beginning and intermediate players who just don't want to spend a lot of money right now. It might be inexpensive, but it's not cheap acoustic guitar. Need to save some money? This is a great choice.
This Rogue RA-090 is strictly a starter guitar, or a beater, but it's a pretty decent one if you need a cheap acoustic-electric guitar. To get an acoustic electric guitar at this price and have the electronics work well, is a good deal.
However, to make that price point with acceptable electronics, they had to sacrifice somewhere. The top and body are laminated 'whitewood' and the fingerboard in simulated rosewood. It does have a nice, slim C-shaped neck that makes it comfortable to play.
While you won't be taking it to the Grand Ole Opry, you can certainly jam with friends, or maybe use it for a small gig at a local venue, or busking for the weekend crowds. It's plenty good for practicing and learning and upgrading your skills.
Another feature I like, especially since this is sort of a fun guitar, is that it comes in a variety of colors. There's the standard natural finish, but it also comes in black, red, green and blue. Some colors may take a little extra time to get, so plan ahead.
All-in-all, a solid choice for a budget guitar. If you're getting into guitar and wondering if you're going to stick with it, this is a good choice for an inexpensive guitar that plays well and stays in tune. It gets the job done.
The Luna Tattoo Travel guitar is perfect for just that, being an inexpensive quality guitar that you can drag around with you, whether that's camping on the weekend, to the college dorm, or to visit the grandkids, and not have to worry about.
It's also good for people with smaller hands, or a smaller build as it's more comfortable to play. This Luna has solid construction and is a good guitar, but it's not over the top amazing.
The sound, as in many ¾ size guitars, lacks in the bass, but is fun and bright on top. Overall, it's fun and easy to play. Definitely expect to have to get the action lowered after it arrives, as it's uncomfortably high for most people. Otherwise, you don't have to do much of anything else to get started. It's mostly ready to go.
The tattoo designs are a nice touch and based on Hawaiian motifs. It's a unique and interesting design element that sets this guitar apart from a lot of others in this range. Subtle, but definitely not a plain Jane.
If you need a travel guitar, this is a nice one that will serve you well.
This Johnson Thinbody is nice because it provides added comfort while still producing a really robust sound. It definitely provides a bigger sound than you would expect from a thinbody, and it pulls it off nicely.
It doesn't hurt that it's pretty to look at. The blue burst has some pop but isn't overstated, keeping the look very professional and classy while still standing out.
The other nice feature is that this guitar comes with a pickup, so it's really an acoustic-electric. In this price range, that's a nice addition and allows you to plug in any time. The electronics are basic but they get the job done. No fancy EQ, or anything, though.
When you combine the quality of this guitar with the comfort and ability to plug into an amp, this Johnson guitar is a great choice for any level of player, but definitely suits the beginner-intermediate guitarist range best.
This is a nice guitar at a nice price. Don't miss out.
I can say this a hundred times, you can't go wrong with a Yamaha - and this one is no different.
From the spruce top to the solid construction, this budget acoustic guitar gives a big, rich sound. It's easy to play and arrives not needing a bunch of work. It stays in tune nicely and there's no lack of volume from this dreadnought guitar.
If you're a beginner, it's a great place to start. But what's great about Yamaha is that they make guitars you're not going to grow out of quickly.
That makes this guitar great for beginners and more experienced players. Short of bumping up to something really high end, almost anyone would be thrilled with the quality of this Yamaha.
It's a great value all around. Looks and sounds great, well made and will last for years. There's a reason so many people love it.
In this price range, when in doubt, go for the Yamaha.
This Fender Squier is definitely a beginner guitar, but it's a pretty good one. It has Fender's slim, easy to play neck and is laminate wood all around which makes it durable while still producing a big round sound.
This comes as a bundle, and that can definitely be a benefit for new players. It's nice to get everything you need and not have to worry about making a run to your local music store, or ordering something else, just to get started.
My only hesitation is that there are other guitars on this list in a similar price range that aren't just for beginners and that you won't grow out of so quickly.
And if you want to stay with Fender, which is a fine choice, the CD-60S (above), while a little more expensive, is a guitar you can plan to keep for a long time.
This Squier Dreadnought is the one you pass on to friends, or resell, when you get serious about playing and want something better.
If this bundle suits your needs and your budget, then go for it. But if you can look through this list and do better to suit your needs, I'd recommend taking a closer look there.
It's worth it to take a moment to appreciate the look of this guitar. A nice sunburst finish and abalone rosette are nice touches in this price range. This doesn't look like a cheap acoustic guitar and it doesn't play like one either.
This Mitchell acoustic-electric guitar is in the Auditorium size class, making it easier to handle than some of the larger models. But it's no slacker on sound. The mahogany back and sides give it a warm tone and a lot more volume than you'd expect.
The on-board electronics aren't fancy but the 3-band EQ will get the job done and a little more from a budget acoustic-electric guitar.
It's great for practice, light gigging and home recording. Being easy to play also makes it ideal for classroom and church playing opportunities. It's an all-around utility guitar of fine order.
This is one of those guitars that falls into, good for its price range. The Mitchell may not be fancy, but you'll get more than you expect and be happy with it for a good, long time.
This parlor guitar from Gretsch is based on the vintage models of the early and mid-20th century and it sounds like it, in a fun, light way. Something that you could imagine accompanying a barbershop quartet, or the like.
The brightness of the Jim Dandy contrasts the deeper tones of a big dreadnought, but can be a nice complement to it either in the same collection, or playing as a duo on stage.
The Jim Dandy definitely doesn't bring a lot of bass, though, so be aware of that.
Being a parlor guitar, it's got a little smaller scale. At 24", the scale is an easy reach for most players, making this a very fun guitar to play.
This Gretsch is well put together and looks good, if not flashy. It's perfect if you want to try something with a different sound to give your music a new feel. It would also be good for learning as it's not too loud and if you wave housemates to consider, this is a very considerate guitar.
Vintage sound is the key phrase here. If it works for you, this guitar is a good deal. There's a video on the other side of the link, if you're curious.
An all mahogany travel guitar that really emphasizes the bass and mid-tones is an interesting treat.
Without a doubt, this is a well-made travel guitar, perfect for someone who needs that kick-around while on-the-go guitar that you don't have to worry about.
And it's not one that you're going to 'suffer along' with while you're traveling. This one is a joy to play and definitely sounds good enough to keep you happy without regret.
You might even find it becoming your daily practice guitar, or the one you use while writing songs.
If you need a good little guitar and want a lot of bass, this Carlo Robelli is a great choice.
Best Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide - 7 Things to Look For
The Big Questions
So let's start with the big, important questions.
1) Steel string acoustic, or classical guitar?
For this discussion we're only talking about steel string acoustics. This is the kind of guitar you want if you want to play blues, rock, country, or pretty much any pop genre of music.
Classical guitars, the ones with nylon strings, are for playing classical and flamenco, or Spanish, guitar. I have a discussion about that here
Don't worry, I'll be creating a page for purchasing great budget-minded classical guitars soon.
2) Why are you buying this guitar?
Are you a new player looking to get started on the guitar?
Great. And you're probably thinking that you don't want to spend much, in case it doesn't work out. That's certainly valid. No one wants to invest a lot of money in something they're not sure about. There are a couple thing to consider with this strategy, though.
First, if you don't end up liking it, or having time for it, or it doesn't work out for any reason, you have a guitar that doesn't have a high resale value. Maybe you'll give it to a friend, or donate it, but selling it on Craig's List isn't going to net you a lot of return on your investment.
The second pitfall is the one I'm hoping to help you avoid. There are companies out there that make very cheap beginner instruments that aren't worth squat for anyone to play. They make playing miserable because they don't stay in tune, or are hard to play or they sound muddy and awful. Trying to learn to play on a bad guitar sets you up for failure. But that's why you're here, you don't want to make that mistake. Stick with me and you'll have all the information you need to make a wise choice for buying the best inexpensive acoustic guitar that's right for you.
By the way, I have a bunch of information for beginning guitar players on this page.
Or are you looking to buy a guitar for your kids to learn on?
The same rules apply for your kids as apply for you. There's no way to discourage a new player faster than giving them a bad guitar.
However, I do have a page filled with information about buying guitars for kids, from size charts to nurturing their motivation.
Or are you an experienced guitar player who wants to expand your repertoire?
Well, then you already know some of the things we're going to talk about. But if you've been playing an electric guitar from the beginning you might have a few gaps in your knowledge about acoustic guitars. I presume that's why you're reading this. Welcome.
Now that we know you're in the right place, let's dig in.
Solid Wood Top vs Laminate Top
A solid wood top is made from a single piece of wood, while a laminate is made from three thin sheets of wood laminated (glued) together.
The standard answer is that a solid wood top is always better. You get better, crisper sound from solid wood, while a laminate top can sound a bit dull.
However, in this price range it's good to remain open-minded. I'm not knocking a solid wood top, but it's not like a luthier is hand selecting the finest piece of spruce for your beginner guitar. A less scrupulous company will use low quality wood just so they can say 'solid top'. But we're going to avoid those. However, let's look at some of the advantages of laminate tops.
First, they're durable. Certain top woods, even good ones, are softer and can dent easily. This is less likely to happen with a laminate top.
Second, they're not as susceptible to temperature and humidity changes. With a solid wood guitar, if it gets really dry (below 40% humidity) where you live, especially in winter, you may have to install a humidifier and store it in a hard case to keep the wood in good condition.
Alternately, leaving it in a hot car in the afternoon is really rough on a solid wood guitar, too. It's not that you can do these things with impunity to a laminate guitar, but it will tolerate these extremes better, should they happen.
If you need a guitar that can take a bit of a beating, you might want to consider getting a laminate. This would be true if you're looking at this acoustic purchase as a travel guitar, too.
Staying open to a laminate guitar will also give you more choices in this price range. If you see the perfect guitar, from a quality brand, but it happens to be a laminate top, don't rule it out.
If none of those things apply to you, get the solid wood top (probably spruce), from a good company, for the best sounding acoustic guitar in this price range. I have a rundown of the different top woods and their characteristics, if you want to read more.
Package Deal vs Guitar Only
In this price range, you'll see a lot of package deals for acoustic guitars. They're designed to provide a beginning player with everything they need to get started. You don't have the dilemma of spending your budget on the guitar and then, guess what, you need all of these other things that add onto the tab.
The package usually includes a case, strap, extra strings, picks, tuner, sometimes a capo, etc. They might make it sound like all that stuff is included for 'free'. Of course, it's not.
If you have a $200 package deal, depending on how many extras they include, you're getting maybe a $150 guitar + accessories. You are not getting a $200 guitar and a bunch of free stuff.
Why does this matter?
The point is knowing the quality of the guitar you're getting. If you're looking for the best inexpensive acoustic guitar for this price, your money should all be going toward the guitar. Doing this will probably get you a solid wood top (if desired) and might leave room for an acoustic-electric option, so you really need to consider your budget.
Can you afford to stretch a bit and spend $200 on the guitar and buy the accessory pack separately? Or, do you have a hard ceiling of $200 for the whole deal? This is entirely up to you.
An accessory pack sold separately will run between $32 (with stand, no case) to $85 (with stand and hard case), depending on the type of case and quantity of stuff you get.
If you have a hard $200 limit, by all means, get the starter pack. It's not a bad deal and it makes sure you have everything you need, so there's no delay or disappointment when it arrives. Just remember that the fancier the accessory kit, the lower the actual value of the guitar.
Size and Shape
I have a chart and discussion of size and shape for acoustic guitars that should give you what you need. If you're a person of smaller stature, or with small hands you might consider a ¾ size guitar, or a parlor guitar. There are also some slim body acoustics that might suit you.
Otherwise, you'll be seeing a lot of dreadnought body and grand concert styles.
A cutaway is a nice feature. It's the scoop-shaped cutout on the body, just under the fretboard.
It allows for easier access to the higher numbered frets, the ones that are over the body of the guitar. You may not need it right off, if you're just learning, but if it's available on a guitar you like, why not get it?
Tuning Keys, Bridges, Saddles and Nuts
This is one of the places where the difference between a cheap guitar and a good inexpensive guitar become more obvious.
To start with, if the tuning keys are poor quality, as they often are on a really cheap guitar, your instrument won't stay in tune for more than a few minutes. Playing out of tune, or having to stop and retune constantly, will seriously dampen your enthusiasm to pick up the guitar and play.
This is one of the worst things you can do for your motivation. If you groan every time you think about practicing because you know you're going to have to put up with this problem, you've already lost most of the battle. This isn't a challenge that makes you grow and build character by working through it. It's the reason a lot of people quit.
It doesn't matter how cheap you got that guitar package - if the guitar is unplayable, it's a waste of money.
Ideally, you'd want the bridge to be made out of wood, preferably rosewood or ebony. These are hard, dense woods which do a great job of transferring the vibrations of the strings to the top wood, or soundboard, of the guitar. The thing you don't want is a plastic bridge. Not only is it a poor vibration conductor, but they're prone to breaking.
For the nut and saddle, the preferred material is bone. Plastic has that vibration deadening problem and it just doesn't help the sound of your guitar. Again, it's also not as durable. The good thing is that the nut and saddle are fairly easy to replace. This is one of the quickest ways to upgrade your guitar without breaking the bank. Though if you're new to this, I highly recommend having the guitar guru at your local guitar shop do it.
Setting It Up
When you first get your guitar, it may not be completely ready to play right out of the box. There are adjustments that might need to be made. Some are easy, some require a semblance of tool-worthy skill, and some should absolutely be done by an experienced tech or luthier.
A simple adjustment to the truss rod in the neck, managed with a basic hex wrench (usually provided), isn't too intimidating for a new player. And polishing the frets and fretboard on your new baby is part of the fun. But when you start thinking about sanding down your bridge or, if necessary, adjusting nut height, which requires a special set of tools, you might want to consider taking it to a guitar tech.
This is like taking your car in for a tune-up. It needs to be done occasionally to keep your guitar in its best shape. Also, an experienced tech can spot small issues before they become real problems.
If you decide to tackle it yourself, take a look at the article below, and check out some YouTube videos. Even though I can do a lot of the adjustments myself, I still take my guitars to a pro to make sure I'm getting the best out of them.
For a full rundown of the set-up procedure, if you're interested, I'm going to send you over to this article in Guitar Player magazine.
When to Upgrade
So you've found the best budget acoustic guitar for you, but you know it's not going to last forever. If you enjoy playing and keep with it, you're going to want something that enhances your growing skills and lives up to the level at which you're playing.
There are a couple of different ways this could go.
You learn the basics and decide you want to go in a different direction, like to a classical guitar, or an electric. That's fine. Make the change whenever feels right to you. At this point, though, I'd recommend moving into an intermediate or advanced guitar in whatever direction you choose, if your budget allows. You're ready for it.
Or, you love the steel string acoustic and want to keep moving forward, but you know that you could be getting more from your guitar. Something with both a solid wood top and body, in a wood of your choosing, that resonates brilliantly for your style of play. Upgraded components that hold tuning and enhance the tone. Everything just a bit, or a lot, better than your budget model, because you're going to be playing it for a long time.
I can't tell you when the urge to upgrade will happen. Though the more you play, the faster you advance and you'll probably be looking to upgrade after about a year – depending on your level of patience. If you're taking a slower approach to learning, or your budget is somewhat restrictive, a while longer then. There's no requirement to upgrade. It's more of a natural desire once you reach a certain level.
All that really matters is that you enjoy playing. If you play your budget guitar for years and years and are having fun with it, more power to you. My advice always ends with the same formula, and it holds true here, upgrade or not – do what's right for you.
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