What are the best acoustic guitars under 1500 dollars? Well, I scoured the internet and did some research for you, so you won’t have to. I combed through the top six Google search results for “best acoustic guitars under 1500” (as of the time of this writing), compared their lists, and pulled out the ones that were mentioned in more than one list. Hey, if multiple people decided the guitar was worthy of being on their top guitar list, it must be pretty good, right?
So here’s the result of my efforts: The top seven guitars in the upper-mid price range that were mentioned on at least two “best of” lists.
I’ll note by each guitar how many lists it was on, for your reference.
Disclosure: Product links may be affiliate, meaning I get a commission if you click through and/or purchase.
The Best Acoustic Guitars Under 1500 Dollars
This guitar was mentioned on all six lists I looked at!
This black guitar is made of maple back and sides and a cedar top. It has a mahogany neck that is topped with a rosewood fingerboard. It is an acoustic electric guitar, and is equipped with CT4BII electronics. The solid cedar top of the guitar can sound sweet and mellow or loud and powerful, and the maple back and sides perfectly reflect the sound. The guitar has Takamine’s palathetic pickup, which is one of the most natural sounding acoustic/electric pickups, and the deep cutaway shape makes it easier to reach the higher frets. The guitar comes strung with D’Addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light, 12-53, which are the strings recommended on Takamine’s website. Many reviewers are saying this is the best sounding guitar they have ever played; you definitely will not be disappointed.
I’m not sure there are any!
This guitar was also mentioned on all six lists!
CF-Martin is a recognized name in the guitar world for a reason. They have been making quality acoustic guitars for close to two centuries, and this beauty is no exception. This dreadnought acoustic guitar is made of solid mahogany. The guitar has a vintage, old-fashioned look, but don’t be fooled; It has an exceptional warm tone that is strong, crisp, and clear, due to the mahogany wood. The dreadnought body shape also gives it a loud, powerful sound. The D-15M has 14 open frets, and the bridge and fingerboard are made of East Indian Rosewood.
The guitar does not have a cutaway shape, so it is harder to reach the highest frets.
There is no electric connection on this guitar; it is straight acoustic, so if you want an acoustic-electric, go with guitar #1 on this list.
This guitar was on five out of the six lists.
This rosewood and spruce guitar is a grand auditorium shape, which is smaller than a dreadnought and has a tighter waist. It has a shallow cutaway to help reach the higher frets and is equipped with Taylor Expression System electronics. The guitar produces clear, well-defined notes, and has impressive balance across the tonal spectrum. The 214CE is made with Taylor’s forward-shifted pattern bracing, which moves the typical X bracing forward, closer to the soundhole. The guitar also features Taylor’s relief rout, which is a groove carved along the inside edges of the top of the guitar to enhance its tone. The neck has a matte finish, as opposed to the typical gloss neck finish, so your fingers will not stick to the neck as much as they might with other guitars. It is an overall good quality guitar that is a great contender in this price range.
One reviewer mentioned that the electronics aren’t that great
This guitar was on three lists.
This guitar from the Loar is not your typical guitar. Its unique, vintage design gives it character – it is modeled after guitars from the 1920s and 30s, and is the product of extensive historical research. This guitar is not just an antique style curio, though; it has excellent projection and quick decay, and is a perfect jazz guitar. The solid spruce and solid maple tonewoods resonate clearly and give you a great playing experience. The sunburst pattern on the guitar lends it even more character – this guitar really is something special to look at!
Not a typical-looking guitar
No cutaway, so it is harder to access the higher frets
Ovation Melissa Etheridge Signature Elite AA Solid Spruce Top Acoustic-Electric Guitar with Hard Case, Pearlescent White
This guitar was on two lists.
This pearly white guitar is another one that has a unique look. It was designed by acoustic-rock legend Melissa Etheridge. It has a spruce top, mahogany and maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard stained black. The front of the guitar is not the only thing different about this instrument- it has a unique bowl-shaped body as well. Reviewers love this guitar for its sound, its looks, and its easy playability.
Not a typical-looking guitar
It doesn’t have the pearl dots along the fretboard that most guitars have
This guitar was on two lists.
This dreadnought guitar with no cutaway has a sitka spruce top, rosewood back, sides, and fingerboard, and a slim mahogany neck. These tonewoods give the guitar a full sound, deep bass and strong cutting power. The guitar has traditional forward shifted X bracing and
boasts a beautiful dalmatian-style pickguard and mother of pearl neck and headstock inlays.
Does not have a cutaway so the higher frets are harder to reach
Does not come with a hard case, only a padded gig bag
This guitar was on two lists.
This guitar is very similar to the Blueridge 160 above, but has a smaller body size, so it might be a better choice for someone with a smaller build or who prefers smaller guitars. It has a sitka spruce top that provides clean articulation and a crisp tone, along with Santos rosewood back and sides for a deep bass and strong cutting power. It has a slim mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard and beautiful mother of pearl inlays along with a dalmatian-style pickguard.
Small body size (this can be a pro or con, depending on what you are looking for)
Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide
How should you choose which acoustic guitar to buckle down and buy? There are a few factors to take into consideration.
The Guitar’s Playability Features
Certain features or characteristics of the guitar affect how easy it is to play. These features are body shape, neck width, neck finish, cutaway, and action.
Body shape – Most of the guitars on this list are dreadnought guitars, which is an extremely common body shape. Dreadnoughts are large and have a loud volume. If you have a smaller build, you might find it easier to play a guitar that is not a dreadnought, such as the Blueridge BR-183.
Neck Width – A slimmer neck makes it easier to reach all the strings and wrap your hands around the guitar. However, if you have longer or wider fingers, you might prefer a slightly wider neck so your fingers won’t be cramped.
Neck Finish – A heavily-varnished neck can feel a bit “sticky” and make it harder to switch quickly and cleanly between chords. Most players prefer a satin finish neck.
Cutaway – A cutaway makes it easier to reach the highest frets on the guitar, but does affect the guitar’s overall sound. If you don’t plan on playing much on the highest frets, consider a guitar without a cutaway. If you aren’t sure, a cutaway does make it easier to play those high notes.
Action – Action refers to the strings’ distance from the neck. High action means the strings are further away, and most people find that harder to play. Action is adjustable, though, so don’t worry about it too much (unless you specifically want a guitar you can play right out of the box.)
What is the guitar made of?
The highest-quality guitars are usually made of solid wood. Solid wood guitars usually sound the best, and the sound quality improves over time. In the close to 1500 price range, you should definitely be getting a solid wood top, and very possibly a solid body, as well.
The next option that a guitar can be made of is wood laminate, which is thin layers of wood glued and pressed together. This is cheaper than solid wood, but usually doesn’t sound as good.
The last option a guitar can be made of is synthetic materials. The Ovation Melissa Etheridge above has a synthetic body.
Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric?
Another thing to consider is if you want to have electric components to your acoustic guitar. An acoustic-electric guitar simply means your acoustic guitar has a small electric panel on the side that allows the guitar to be plugged into an amplifier. This helps make it louder if you plan on performing or recording – if you don’t have the electronics and you want to amplify, you need to have an external microphone.
However, if you just plan on playing your guitar at home as a hobby, you may not need the amplification, and the electronics would be unnecessary. Some of the guitars on this list are straight acoustic, and some are acoustic-electric. Keep your needs in mind when deciding which guitar to purchase.
Extra Decorative Features
A guitar can have extra decorative features, such as the Blueridges above – they have a patterned pick guard and a beautiful mother of pearl inlay. Other guitars, such as the Martin D-15M, are more plain looking. Guitars can also be painted different colors, such as black or sunburst, with a darker brown on the edges and lighter brown in the middle. And some guitars are only varnished to look shiny, and the natural color of the wood shines through. It all comes down to personal preference of the guitarist (that would be you).
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that very heavy paint or varnish over the wood can affect the guitar’s sound. When buying from a quality company (such as the ones on this list), that shouldn’t be such a concern.
Our top pick for best guitar in the mid-to-high-end price range is the Takamine EF341SC, followed closely by the Martin D-15M. They are both extremely high quality guitars that you are sure to love. If you want a cutaway, go for the Takamine; if you prefer a guitar’s sound without a cutaway, go for the Martin.
Looking to buy a guitar but can’t afford to spend so much? Check out our list of best acoustic guitars under 200. (Keep in mind that while the cheaper guitars are much more affordable, you definitely are sacrificing on sound quality, ease of playability, and longevity.) We also have a list of best electric guitars under 300, if you prefer to go in that direction.