Best Acoustic Electric Guitar under $500 for 2020 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
Music Authority may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
Are you looking for the best acoustic-electric guitar under $500 that are durable and harmonious? We’ve searched all the available options and picked the top 5 models that are produced by reputed and reliable brands. We looked at factors like tonewood, ease of playability, quality of tuners, and durability, among others while shortlisting the models.
Read Related Reading: Best Strings for Acoustic Guitar
So read our reviews to find a guitar that will be your next music companion.
|1. Gretsch G5024E Rancher
Buy on Amazon
|2. Epiphone J-200SCE
Buy on Amazon
|3. Washburn Woodline O12SE
Buy on Amazon
|4. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
Buy on Amazon
|5. Martin LX1E Little Martin
Buy on Amazon
Our Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Reviews and Comparisons
1. Gretsch G5024E Rancher
- Body Material: Solid Spruce Top with Laminated Mahogany Back and Sides
- Body Shape: Dreadnought
- Body Back: Arched Laminated Mahogany
- Body Sides: Laminated Mahogany
The Gretsch G5024E easily stands out from other acoustic electrical instruments with its triangular soundhole and stylish pick-up. It carries over Gretsch’s brand of enigmatic architecture for acoustic players to enjoy at a very reasonable price point.
The construction of this model follows conventional acoustic guitar builds with its solid spruce top, scalloped X-bracing and laminated mahogany back and side. It comes with the Fishman Sonicore under-saddle pickup and the Isys+ preamp setup, which comes incorporated with many acoustic-electric guitars on the market.
What We Like About Gretsch G5024E Rancher
With its playful old school appeal, many consider the Gretsch G5024E to be a fun instrument to practice and perform. Construct quality and aesthetics are also cited in the reviews, with many guitar posts attracting positive feedback from friends and audiences. There are also user reports that are very happy with both its amplified and acoustic sound.
What We Don’t Like About Gretsch G5024E Rancher
It doesn’t look like a traditional acoustic guitar so some musicians might not choose this model.
- Isys+ preamp setup
- Fishman Sonicore pickup
- Doesn’t have the aesthetics of a traditional guitar
2. Epiphone J-200SCE
- Historic Jumbo-200 style design
- Solid Spruce Top
- Shadow eSonic-II Stereo Pickup System
- Grover Rotomatic machine heads with a 18:1 tuning ratio
- 1960's SlimTaper D-shape neck
Looking back on the history of Epiphone’s acoustic guitar design, the J-200SCE is a premium electro-acoustic with a reasonable price. In terms of sound, tone, and looks, it’s the real deal, offering flawless performance, with big jumbo tones that really fill the mix when you strum. And the acoustic voice is exceptional.
The eSonic2 preamp system, co-designed by Shadow, offers an impressive tone and generous sound-shaping controls. This is a lovely piece of German engineering with two pickups. There’s a low impedance Shadow NanoFlex pickup under the bridge. The Epiphone EJ-200SCE comes in four different finishes: natural, natural vintage, black and vintage sunburst. All of them have black and white bindings, crown fretboard inlays, and imitation tortoiseshell pickguards with a floral design.
What We Like About Epiphone J-200SCE
The Epiphone EJ-200SCE has a warm and balanced tone with a nice depth. It’s pretty punchy too. Being a guitar with a loud tone, the low end is both sweet and massive. The Epiphone EJ-200SCE is a loud guitar with a long projection of sound.
What We Don’t Like About Epiphone J-200SCE
Users had complaints regarding its inconsistent build quality.
- Warm and balanced tone
- Loud sound with long projection
- Inconsistent build quality
3. Washburn Woodline O12SE
- Body Body type: Orchestra/OM Cutaway: Non-cutaway Top wood: Solid Mahogany Back & sides: Mahogany Bracing pattern: Scalloped X Body finish: Info not available Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Info not available Nut width: 1.69" (43mm) Fingerboard: Rosewood Neck wood: Mahogany Scale length: 25.5" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Satin Electronics Pickup/preamp: Ye
- Your guitar is an expression of your individuality
- These wood-bound, solid-top guitars are the perfect balance of elegance, musicality and affordability
- Songwriting, finger-style, in church or on stage the Woodline may be the perfect guitar for you
- Solid select grade soundboards allow for great tone and rosewood binding adds a touch of class-leading elegance found on hand-made instruments
With its entire mahogany body and orchestra body shape, the Washburn Woodline WLO12SE has a warm tone that many people are looking for. It features a solid mahogany top with scalloped x-braces which allow the top to vibrate more freely, adding to the overall resonance and clarity of the sound.
It houses a Fishman Isys+ electronic preamp and pick-up system with a built-in tuner, a common combination used by many guitar manufacturers, including those that cost more. It also features NuBone nut and saddle, something that is normally seen only on more expensive acoustics. Finally, the OS12SE is intended to be appealing to the eyes, with its rosewood and maple binding, and a distinct rosette.
What We Like About Washburn Woodline O12SE
It’s hard to argue that the Washburn Woodline O12SE is an eye-catcher, and it certainly helps a lot with its high scores. Users describe it as having a soft warm sound that’s perfect for more complex styles like finger-picking. Action and playability also get a lot of thumbs up, with a lot of people describing it as really easy to play. Finally, many users are happy with the clean design, down to the tiny specifics.
What We Don’t Like About Washburn Woodline O12SE
While many appreciate its warm tone, it probably won’t be liked by those who prefer the brilliance of spruce-topped guitars.
- Good playability
- NuBone nut and saddle
- Not preferred by those who like spruce-topped guitars
4. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
One of Fender’s most common choices on this market, the CD-60SCE is a great solid top guitar, with big sounds and a classic look for not a lot of cash.
It has a Venetian cutaway that makes it very easy to get to the top of the frets, and the rolled fingerboard adds to the smooth action.
The tone is, as you would expect, superb on this big body guitar. It thunders even without being plugged in, which makes it a good choice for people who want the flexibility of being able to play acoustically or electrically. All of that is due to the clever scalloped x-braces in the guitar shell.
The entire lot is finished in dark brown mahogany, with a vertical, almost lined pattern. There are a simple black pickguard and a regular dot inlay on the fretboard. It’s a very old school guitar, but it’s definitely attractive to a lot of people.
What We Like About Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
You don’t always see a Fender electric acoustic guitar of a big size, which is why we’ve chosen to include it in our top five under $500. You get a really high-quality mid-range guitar for not a lot of money here, with Fishman electronics and one of the best necks on the list.
What We Don’t Like About Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought
Some slight string buzz when playing power chords. This can be corrected, however, by adjusting the action.
- Scalloped x-braces in the guitar shell
- Dark brown mahogany gives an old school feel
- String buzz while playing power cords
5. Martin LX1E Little Martin
The Ed Sheeran-favored Little Martin sounds a little futuristic, but we’ve been captivated by his more traditional spruce-top voice since the first strum. If you’re a classic Martin fan, it’s only miniaturized with a lovely crispy sound.
Its conventional sound may lead us to the traditional ‘American’ finger-style, and its buoyant voice would certainly be heard above the larger guitars, either in the ensemble or in the recording. It’s serious fun.
The material may be man-made, but the fingerboard and bridge look like thick ebony. While the dark-hued HPL back and sides are soft, rich mahogany with the central core material of the back provides a dark line of binding to give a classy feel.
Martin has a preset EQ (Equalization), and without that, the tone is a little bit muddly and boxy. It definitely sounds more conventional with the contour switch, which cleans the middle a little and adds some crispness.
What We Like About Martin LX1E Little Martin
Like its acoustic voice, Martin sounds very ‘conventional’ plugged in, and that’s no bad thing. It’s pretty quick to dial in: we scooped a little lower-middle tone, and that was all about it.
What We Don’t Like About Martin LX1E Little Martin
Some users may find this model to be too plain.
- Conventional acoustic sound
- Crisp sound and classy feel
- Looks too plain
Washburn Woodline O12SE is the best acoustic electronic guitar under $500 according to us. With a solid build and high playability, this guitar pleases players of all levels. Also, it’s affordable and durable.
However, we’ve also mentioned other options for you to choose from if you’re looking for models from other brands.
So choose an ideal one and keep strumming.
Read Other Related Reading: Best Acoustic Guitar Pickups