Top 10 Best Rated Electric Acoustic Guitars Below $500 in 2017

Whether youre in a band and need to boost your acoustic guitar to point that it competes with the rest of the instruments, but you have a budget of under 500 bucks, we've got a list of the best acoustic electric guitar under 500 dollars. Of course, there are hundreds for you to choose from, which makes picking one pretty tricky. Fortunately, weve done the hard work for you, with this list of 10 of the better options for under 500 bucks. For Electric Guitars click here.

At a glance: Our top 3 picks
Your shortcut to our team's top 3 recommendations
Epiphone DOVE PRO Solid Top Yamaha FSX830C Small Body Solid Top Jameson Blue Thinline
  • Stunning quality and finish for the price
  • Dovetail neck joint
  • Excellent resonance and sustain
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Super easy to play
  • Premium product
  • Outstanding price
  • Good looking paintwork
  • Compact slimline body
Click here for priceClick here for priceClick here for price

1. Epiphone DOVE PRO Solid Top

Epiphone DOVE PRO Solid Top

The first electro acoustic on our list is very unsurprisingly an Epiphone product. The affordable Gibson brand makes a superb range of entry-level guitars, and this one is no different. The Epiphone dove pro acoustic-electric guitar is unquestionably one of the top instruments on this list, and doesnt come close to your under $500 budget.

So what do you get? Its a beautiful full sized dreadnought body with an orange-tinted violin burst finish, and - of course - a dovetail neck joint. From top to bottom, this guitar has been designed to reflect the classic Gibson and Epiphone dovetails of the 60s. The modern guitar goes one step further with a pretty little dove on the pickguard, and wings on the bridge. The hardware is made by Grover, and youll find a Fishman pickup under the saddle, and sound hole preamp.

Fit and finish is absolutely superb for the price, which means that in addition to looking great, the guitar under 500 doesnt really need much setup from the factory. This means you can pull it out of the box and get some fantastic tone instantly. The dovetail neck gives really nice resonance, and the pickup/preamp combo ensures that everything is heard loud, clear and tight.

+ Stunning quality and finish for the price

+ Dovetail neck joint

+ Excellent resonance and sustain

Why We Liked It -
With enough change to spare from your under $500 budget to buy an amplifier and other bits, the Dove Pro is a seriously good proposition for those completely new to acoustic electric guitars Under 500, or indeed new to guitars full stop. Really well made, easy to play with a narrow D neck, and a tone good enough for most.

If you are interested in having warm tone in your guitar, we also recommend you check out Semi Hollow and Hollow Body Guitars.

2. Yamaha FSX830C Small Body Solid Top

Yamaha FSX830C

Next up is the top end of Yamahas entry-level guitar offering, the FSX830C. Itll come in at just under your $500 budget, but is a premium product to back that up. This is a small-body cutaway, with a short 25 inch scale, and shallow, slightly flat oval neck. Yamaha have specifically marketed this as a guitar for those with smaller hands, and we can see that it would be a best choice if this is you - but theres no reason to be put off if youre looking for a full-size. If you are looking for an even smaller guitar, you can look into Ukulele's (click to view our top 10 guide).

This model is an updated version of the previous 700 series guitar, with the major change being special scalloped bracing on the interior. Yamaha claim that this helps to boost the bass and mids, and we have to agree. Plugged in and cranked up, this small-body (solid spruce top, rosewood body) really doesnt sound that far away from a dreadnought. Combined with the cutaway and oval neck, this is a simply awesome guitar to play.

Looks wise, there isnt anything special to comment on, aside from the fact that this guitar has a very nice finish indeed, and really does feel every bit like an under $500 guitar. For your money youre also getting a System 66 preamp with 3 EQ adjustment, and a piezo saddle pickup.

+ Excellent sound quality

+ Super easy to play

+ Premium product

Why We Liked It - Its at the top of the price bracket, but its very hard to argue that its not worth it. Many beginners will find this an easy guitar to play with, but experienced players are going to love the quality, the neck, and the hardware.

3. Jameson Blue Thinline

Jameson Blue Thinline

A very interesting addition to our list is this thinline guitar from little-known manufacturers Jameson. The first thing to note of course is the price. This thing is an absolute steal, coming in nowhere near even half the $500 budget. Youd be forgiven of course for thinking that this is an electric acoustic worth ignoring, but you may well be wrong.

Lets start with the looks of this guitar. Its finished in a very nice blue, fading to black around the edges, with white binding. The wood is clearly not of the highest quality or most interesting grain, but that doesnt get in the way of the fact that this is a smart looking guitar, particularly if youre not overly keen on the usual wood colouring.

Tone wise, its not bad at all, and is more than good enough to get you going, with the preamp and pickup working nicely too. Whats even better is that this is a really easy guitar to play thanks to that slim body, which sits nicely under your arm. Best if you need something to transport, or if you find full width acoustic guitars uncomfortable. To get even more comfortable, make sure you have the right guitar stool - view our favorites.

+ Outstanding price

+ Good looking paintwork

+ Compact slimline body

Why We Liked It - We simply had to include this guitar on our list because of that crazy price, which is under a quarter of the budget.

Well freely admit that its definitely in the low end of choices when it comes to material quality, tone and specification, but for this price it is certainly worth a shot if youre not sure this type of guitar is right for you. Itd be best for kids too.

4. Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought

Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought

One of Fenders most popular options in this market, the CD-60SCE is a great solid top guitar, with big sounds and a classic look for not a lot of cash.

Weve got a venetian cutaway which makes it very, very easy to get to the upper frets, and the rolled fingerboard adds to the smooth playing. Tone is, as you'd expect, superb from this big bodied, no nonsense guitar. It thunders along even without being plugged in (view the top cables here), which makes it a good choice for people who want the versatility of being able to play acoustically or electrically. Much of this is thanks to the clever scalloped x-braces in the body of the guitar.

The looks arent going to be everyones tastes - the entire thing is finished in dark brown mahogany, with a vertical, almost striped grain. Theres a plain black pickguard, and standard dot inlays on the fretboard. Its a very old school guitar, but thats probably an attraction for many people.

+ Old school looks

+ Big tone

+ Easy playing neck

Why We Liked It - Its not often you find a Fender electric acoustic guitar at this price, which is why weve decided to include it in our best ten under $500. Youre getting 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. Highly recommended.

5. Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Solid Top

Epiphone HUMMINGBIRD PRO Solid Top

The second Epiphone guitar to make our list is a modern entry-level take on the legendary Hummingbird, which is a staple of so many famous acoustic guitarists lineup, not least Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.

Its a stunning guitar, with another gorgeous violin-burst spruce top, but this time with intricate hummingbird design on the pickguard. As youd expect from Epiphone, everything on this guitar has been put together with care and attention. Theres no reason one of these wont last as long as the original acoustic Hummingbirds have.

The sound clearly isnt quite as good as a real Gibson Hummingbird, being a little too much on the top end, but for the price its very hard to argue that this isnt a very good representation, which is ultimately why this guitar is on the list. The Shadow Performer preamp and Shadow Nano Flex pickup system is very good indeed - best for professionals on stage.

+ SlimTaper D neck for easy playing

+ Beautiful detailing

+ High quality hardware

Why We Liked It - This list was always going to have a couple of Epiphones on it, and the Hummingbird certainly deserves its place.

We really like the attention to detail and design of this guitar, but the ergonomics and overall tone really back it up. The Shadow pickups are a particular highlight - really helping to get across the bright tone of this particular guitar model. You can barely believe its under $500.

6. Fender T-Bucket 300CE Cutaway

Fender T-Bucket 300CE

Onto one of the most attractive guitars on our list - the Fender T-Bucket 300CE. This is a full-sized cutaway dreadnought, priced well within the under $500 budget, and designed with big sounds and big impact in mind. We have a quilted maple top, with laminated mahogany on the back and sides for a deep, rich tone.

We really like the sound of this guitar. It has plenty of resonance, and some really nice sustain, which are complemented by a Fishman pickup and preamp combo, along with built in tuner and three band EQ for some nice adjustment.

Flame amber maple is the standard colour, and it look absolutely gorgeous; very well complimented with the black sound hole detailing. Several other colours are available too, but this is the one to go for. The fretboard has a nice custom inlay on the 12th fret, with complimentary detailing on the headstock too. This is a guitar to impress.

+ Beautiful detailing

+ Good specification

+ Excellent tone

Why We Liked It - An all-round excellent choice, the Fender T-Bucket is a great looking, great sounding, and well-specified electro acoustic guitar at an attractive price.

There are very few weak points to this guitar, so it should undoubtedly be on your shortlist, which is why its on ours.

7. Jameson Left Handed

Jameson Left Handed

If youre left handed, then you might find that your choices are somewhat more limited than your right handed friends, which makes picking the best electric acoustic somewhat tricky, as there are fewer of these than standard acoustics. We have you covered though - Jamesons left-handed thinline guitar is a superb choice.

You really dont get a guitar much cheaper than this, if at all, but that doesnt mean youre getting a low quality product. Its a full size guitar, roughly in the dreadnought shape, but theyve given some great thought to ergonomics, with a handy cutaway on the upper frets, and a thinline depth.

The guitar is finished with a really nice gloss black. Yes, its going to hide the fact that this isnt made from premium wood, but it looks smart, and you wont worry about wishing youd bought something more interesting.

+ Left handed budget option

+ Cutaway and slim body make for easy playing

+ Nice glossy finish to the body

Why We Liked It - If you need a left handed electric acoustic guitar and dont want to spend too much, then you really cant do much better than this. This guitar is best suited to beginners because of not only its price, but the really nice slimline body too. All round, its definitely worth a look, and will be under most people's budgets.

8. Dean EX RES Exhibition with Aphex

Dean EX RES Exhibition with Aphex

Dean are well known for making metal-oriented guitars for the likes of Michael Schenker and the late Dimebag Darrell, but that doesnt mean they dont have a fair few acoustic options in their lineup. The electro acoustic weve picked is the EX RES Exhibition, with the Resurrection graphics. Its a choice out of left field for those looking for something different.

We really have to begin with the look. In-your-face graphics on the top, with a white finish on the rest of the body and headstock, complimented by V-shaped inlays, and a skull on the 12th (click here for 12 string guitars). It all looks incredibly rock n roll. It wont be to everyones tastes, but if you like this kind of thing, then there arent many guitars out there cooler than this one.

Its not all about the looks however - this is one of the best guitar instruments in its own right. The mahogany body makes a nice tone, and you get EQ adjustments for the preamp as youd expect for a good guitar at this price. What really stands out however, is the slim D-shape neck, which is absolutely superb, and makes quick playing a breeze.

+ Super ergonomic neck profile

+ Graphics with attitude

+ High quality construction

Why We Liked It - There are almost no competitors to this guitar in this price bracket. If you want something different for under $500, then this is it. Unashamedly inspired by its metal brothers, its incredibly eye-catching, but has the features and finish to really back it up. We couldnt not put this guitar on our list.

9. Epiphone PR5-E Thin-Body

Epiphone PR5-E Thin-Body

Another real looker to add to the list is the Epiphone PR5-E. Its not a new guitar, having been around in some iteration for more than two decades now, but the old adage of if it aint broke dont fix it certainly rings true here. Its a full size florentine cutaway, with that lovely sharp bout on the upper side.

Being a thin body acoustic guitar, its very convenient to move about, and would make a really good touring guitar if you need an acoustic for a song or two. Despite this, it still has a nice, full sound, and isnt half bad even when unplugged, which is more than can be said than even some full-body dreadnoughts.

What really impressed us with this particular guitar is the quality. Everything is very nicely finished, and we daresay that the action is highly unlikely to need any adjustment after delivery. It feels much more expensive than it actually is.

+ Beautiful construction

+ Highly convenient thin body

+ Good hardware

Why We Liked It - If youre looking for something a little different from the usual dreadnought shape, you want high quality, and all for under $500, then this is it.

The florentine cutaway gives this guitar a really cool edge, and it is of course backed up by the best tone, great equipment, and solid build quality.

10. Fender T-Bucket 300

Fender T-Bucket 300

A slightly different version of the T-Bucket 300CE that also made this list, the 300 is yet another fantastic acoustic offering from guitar legends Fender. A cutaway dreadnought, with a laminated maple top and mahogany body, its pretty much ready out of the box for whatever you had in mind. We think itd be best for everything from kicking bag for a jam with your friends, or even getting up on stage.

Being a Fender, the build quality is excellent. This feels like a very well made guitar, and were sure itll last a very long time. The pickup and preamp are of a good standard too, which is essential if you plan on using this to record or play loud and live.

This version comes in a gorgeous moonlight bust colour, which fades from pale grey to black, and really suits the maple top. Its a much darker, moodier look than a lot of acoustic guitars, and is the polar opposite of the other Fender weve got on our list. In fact, it might just be the nicest looking guitar here.

+ Amazing look

+ Excellent attention to detail

+ Full, rich tone

Why We Liked It - This Fender is nothing short of gorgeous, with that moonlight burst maple. It would probably be our favorite guitar on the list if it werent for the laminated top. That said, tone is still great, both acoustically and electrically. And its a Fender, for under $500. What more can we say?

Acoustic Electric Guitars Under 500 Buyers Guide

What are the Different Parts on a Guitar?

Pick Up

Different Parts of a GuitarOn a normal guitar, pickups are hugely critical pieces of equipment, and lots of guitarists will even go so far as to change them, even on premium guitars. They dont make quite such a huge difference on electro acoustics, but they are nonetheless something that you need to think about.

So firstly, what are pick ups and what do they do? As the name suggests, they are the electrical unit that picks up the vibration of the strings to create a signal that the amplifier can use. On an electric guitar, magnets are used to do this, but electro acoustics generally use a piezo style pickup ( which works with nylon strings) and then also has a preamp to boost the signal going into the amp, because the signals from non-magnetic pickups are not strong enough on their own.

Generally, the pickup will sit underneath the saddle, which is in the bridge of the guitar, because piezo pickups need to feel the vibrations to work optimally. Sometimes you will find them in the soundhole instead, and then the preamp that powers the signal for the amplifier can be placed in a variety of places.

Usually, you wont be able to see any of the electrical hardware on an electro acoustic, other than the controls for the preamp on the side of the instrument somewhere. Itll look from a distance just like any other acoustic.

Its also worth noting that soundhole pickups can in fact be retrofitted to normal acoustic guitars, but it can be difficult to get a good quality signal, and in these cases it would generally be better to use a microphone.

So when it comes to looking at the guitars you are thinking of purchasing, you generally dont need to worry about the pickup too much if they are of a high quality. In acoustic guitars, the wood, shape and quality of the guitar itself affect the tone so much more than the pickup. In a normal guitar, the pickup really shapes the sound, but in an acoustic electric under 500, the pickup is there to turn the guitars own natural sound into a signal.

That said, its always worth checking out reviews or trying out an electro acoustic first to make sure that the pickups dont add unwanted effects to the natural sound of the guitar. Theyre not all the same.


Acoustic Electric Guitar StringWhen you buy a new guitar, it will naturally come with a set of strings already on it. Depending on the guitar that you buy, these could be really nice premium strings, or they could be budget ones put on to keep costs down.

Given the price of strings, it simply isnt worth allowing this to influence your guitar purchasing decision. However, its always a good idea to find out what strings the guitar comes with when you purchase. This way, if youre not expecting them to be of a high quality, you can order a pair of better ones for when they arrive.

If youre not sure what youre looking for in string and why theyre important, then read on.

Strings can have wide ranging effects on a guitar. The higher the quality, the better the tone that you get out of them, the longer theyll last, and the easier they are to play. The list goes on and on. It can be very surprising to new guitar players how much difference a good set of strings can make.

Lets start with gauge as this is the main factor. This is basically the thickness of the string, and affects everything from the volume and depth of the tone to the playability.

Generally there are five categories - extra light, custom light, light, medium and heavy. When youre buying strings, theyll usually be named one of those, but youll also find a specific number, such as 0.13 (known as 13s) that tells you exactly what gauge they are.

Heavier strings will make a deeper, louder and richer sound, particularly when combined with bigger bodied guitars. However, they can also damage smaller bridges and lightweight necks, and they can also be harsher on the fingers - both on the left and right hand - particularly if youre new to guitars. Lighter strings can also be better if you want more treble, and to really allow for detail in your tone and playing.

So the gauge is a matter of personal preference, and is influenced by the type of guitar youre using. Most of the guitars on our list, to put things in perspective, will come with medium to heavy strings, but theres no reason you cant go lighter if you want.

The gauge isnt the only thing to consider however. Theres also the material. And when it comes to materials there are potentially two bits to look at - the string itself, and the coating.

Firstly, the metal used in the string. The vast, vast majority will be some form of bronze or bronze alloy. Standard 80/20 bronze is the most common, giving a nice bright sound, and they dont cost much either. They do however age fairly quickly. Aluminium bronze strings are a bit sharper, and nickel bronze tends to give a very natural sound. Theres also phosphor bronze which last a lot longer, and have a warm tone to them.

Aside from bronze, you might also find brass, which is for that typical jangly sound that youd expect from a brassy instrument, but is not the best for many kinds of music. Silk and steel is the final option, which is extremely good for a folky type guitar where you want something soft and mellow, but again, is not that versatile.

As we already mentioned, lots of strings now come with a polymer (or similar) coating. This will drastically improve the life of your strings, but some guitarists believe that it reduces some of the sustain and resonance, and feels less natural. Again, this is a personal choice, but coated string are extremely popular. They can also be bought in different colours such as black if youre really into customising the look of your guitar.

Our last word on strings is brand. You do get what you pay for, so if you arent happy with the way your strings feel on your guitar - dont fret - you can always change them for something better.


Guitar AmpYou might think that you can just plug your electro acoustic guitar into any normal guitar amp and start playing. And while this is certainly true - you can plug it in and itll no doubt make a nice sound (and many people will do this on stage) - it isnt the best. Dedicated electro acoustic amplifiers are available, and they are designed to bring out the very best in their guitars.

If youre looking to purchase an electro acoustic guitar, then do strongly consider getting the right amp, because this will really help you to get the most out of your playing. There arent as many on the market as normal amps designed for normal guitars, but generally you want to be looking for similar things as a normal amp - good quality and clean tone.

If you think you might use some effects, then you can always look for amplifiers with effects built in so that you dont need to buy a separate pedal. These are fairly common, but generally arent as high quality as using a valve amp and pedal. Best for beginners and part time acoustic players though.

Feedback control is essential too, as this helps to reduce the feedback that is naturally likely to occur while playing an electro acoustic. Most amps come with this, but theyre not all equally good at it, so try them out for yourself when your guitar arrives, or check out what other people are saying.

Ultimately, you dont strictly need a dedicated and special acoustic amp to enjoy your new guitar, but it will certainly help if you want the full experience.


Guitar FretboardThe fretboard, also known as the fingerboard, is the part of the guitar that youre going to be in contact with the most, which means that its a very important part of the guitar, despite the fact that the body generally steals the limelight.

The fretboard is generally one of the places in which you can tell whether a guitar is really well made, or whether it was put together only with cost in mind. Thats generally because it takes fairly high quality craftsmanship to make a high quality fretboard.

A good quality fretboard will have very smooth edges, be as uniform as possible, be cleanly finished, and the fret wire (the horizontal metal delineating each fret) should be smooth and uniform too. This will make playing the guitar much nicer, and reduce the chances of hitting a note that buzzes or doesnt sound right.

Action is a very important part of being able to play well - and quickly in particular. This term refers to the gap between the strings and the fretboard. Too big and playing becomes more difficult. Too small, and the strings might buzz against the fret wires. This is can be changed by adjusting the truss rod in the neck, which alters the direction in which it bends, but the fretboard itself does play a large part.

Fretboards can be tidied up - known as dressing - if they need a little adjustment, but theres no substitute for one thats simply been crafted to a great standard.

Of course its not all about quality - looks are important too. If youre wanting a guitar that really looks the part, then you might want to think about the inlays on the fretboard. They can range from plain dots to much more extravagant designs.

Should You Go For a Used or New Guitar?

This is a big question for guitar players of all kinds when theyre looking for a new guitar, either for the first time, or to add to their collection. And of course its going to be true for electric acoustic guitars too.

Unlike lots of other products, guitars dont tend to change massively in their specification or technology as the years go by, which means that its less obvious that you should buy new. Unlike a car or phone, your guitar is not going to be outdated in a few years.

Little illustrates this better than the fact that guitars from decades ago can be highly valuable, and even lower and mid-range ones tend to hold their value perfectly well. After all, if everything is still there, its going to make a sound just like a new guitar.

Price is generally the big deciding factor in this. You could buy a mid-range guitar thats a few years old for the same price as a brand new entry-level one, which makes it an attractive proposition. The only real issue however comes from what weve just covered - guitars dont tend to depreciate that much, so you might not have to spend that much more to get something new unless you dont mind buying a guitar thats a little beaten up.

New or Used GuitarAnother thing to consider is the warranty, which could be more important than you think. If you buy a used guitar, and something goes wrong with it, youre going to need to sort it out yourself. With an acoustic guitar, this is fairly unlikely. With an electric, it can be a pain, but there are lots of interchangeable parts readily available.

On an electro acoustic guitar however, it can be a fair amount more annoying. Theres every chance that the preamp is not easily interchangeable for instance, so if it fails, you might need to find a direct replacement, or someone who knows how to fix the internals. If its a preamp with EQ and other settings it could be fairly complex. This is made worse if youve bought an electro acoustic thats a few years old. Buying new with a warranty removes this issue for several years.

The final point of course is that sometimes its just nice to have brand new things, and theres nothing quite like unboxing a guitar for the first time.

What You Should be Looking For in a Guitar?

So youve read our reviews, or youre looking at other guitars, but youre not actually sure what youre looking for in an electro acoustic. This is something a lot of buyers will struggle with, so youre certainly not alone. Lets go through a few of the big things that you should consider when youre picking between the selection.

The most obvious one to look at will of course be the shape and size of the body itself. Most acoustics, and therefore most electrified versions, are of the dreadnought style. This is the second largest size (under the uncommon jumbo), designed for full-bodied tone and volume. It works especially well electrified, so youll find the vast majority of them are this shape.

The downside to the dreadnought is of course its size and depth, which is awkward to play for some, and isnt the easiest to transport. To combat this, while retaining that beautiful classic shape, a lot of manufacturers have released slimmer versions, often known as slimline or thinline guitars. Youll find several of these on our list. So youll need to decide whether you want the full tone and volume of a dreadnought, or a bit more of an ergonomic shape.

While were still talking about the body, we should also cover something that youve probably seen mentioned a few times - solid top. This is where the top (face) of the guitar is made from solid pieces of wood rather than laminate. It will improve resonance, sustain and more, but its also more expensive. Some of the guitars on our list are solid top, and some are not, so be aware.

The type of wood will change the tone too, but thats not such a big consideration on lower-end guitars like the ones in our list.

What to look for in an Acoustic ElecrticLeading on from this is the neck. There is actually quite a lot of variance between necks, which is why its good to know what shape you prefer when shopping online. The most common are D and C shapes, but theyll come in a variety of thicknesses and depths. If you know what style you prefer, then go for that, as itll be much more comfortable to play.

Another thing to consider here is that some necks will be painted, and some wont. Again, its all about preference, but some people prefer the feel of an unfinished neck.

Access to the neck might be important too. If you think the music youre going to be playing will require a lot of access to the upper frets, then you probably want a guitar with a cutaway, which allows you to get your hand right into the last few frets.

The above information pertains to all kinds of acoustic guitars, but when it comes to acoustic electrics, theres also the electronics to think about too. As we discussed in the pickup section, this isnt something you need to worry about too much outside ensuring you have good quality gear. What you might need to look for however is EQ adjustment and other options on the preamp. Some guitarists will want full control over their tone, and others will want to let their guitar shine by itself. Again, its all down to preference.

Are Acoustic Electric Guitars Under 500 For Beginners or Professionals?

When considering guitars under $500, a lot of people will be concerned that were only reviewing the cheapest entry-level electro acoustics for beginners. And in some cases this is true - if youre just getting into guitars, or this is your first electro acoustic, then you probably dont want to spend too much.

That said, many of the guitars in our shortlist are more than capable of being used by professionals, and would certainly suit a studio environment, or even the stage, particularly if youre looking for something you can grab for a song or two. Wed strongly recommend the Yamaha FSX830C, the Epiphone Dove Pro, and the Epiphone Hummingbird as being great all round guitars that professionals can use too.

Remember that so much about a guitar is down to preference - not all professionals want the same thing, and neither do beginners.

Top Choice - Epiphone DOVE PRO Solid Top

Epiphone DOVE PROOur top choice simply couldnt be anything other than the brilliant Epiphone Dove Pro Solid Top. Its an all-round fantastic piece of kit that just feels like a great mid-range electro acoustic despite being priced right near the very bottom.

The first thing youll notice about this particular guitar is the looks, and attention to detail. The violin burst on the top looks great, but then you have this fantastic dove image on the pickguard, along with wings that sit neatly on the bridge. It all feels like a lot of time has been spent making sure the guitar looks good, even close up where the finishing is concerned.

Being inspired by classic dovetail guitars, youd expect the Epiphone Dove to recreate some of their beautiful tone, and were please to say that it does just that. Youd be very hard pressed to find another electro acoustic guitar within $500 of this one that sounds any better - its that good. Hardware is top notch, and quality feels great too. This is a guitar to keep for a long time - its really not a budget stopgap, which is why were so impressed.

Premium Choice - Yamaha FSX830C Small Body Solid Top

Yamaha FSX830CFirst things first; being a small body with a compact neck, this guitar isnt going to be for everyone, but given that it does everything almost flawlessly, this is our pick for those who dont mind hitting the top of the $500 budget.

The quality is exactly what you want from a guitar of this price, and more. There are no rough edges to the frets, the binding is super even, there are no marks on the finish. Its nearly perfect, and lots of people would be hard pressed to tell that this isnt a much more expensive guitar than it is.

The sound from the FSX830C is modern and tight, lending itself very well to being amplified. The small body means it wont quite stand up to the competition when played acoustically, but then thats not really what this guitar is for.

In short, if you want something thats nice and portable, that you can easily take for band practice or do a couple of songs while youre on stage, then this Yamaha acoustic electric guitar under 500 is the one to go for.

Great Value - Jameson Blue Thinline

Jameson Blue ThinlineThe Jameson ThinLine simply couldnt not be our great value pick. Its pretty much the cheapest electro acoustic guitar that you can order right now, but manages to be a very respectable guitar despite that. No, youre not getting premium hardware, wood, or build quality, but you are getting a guitar that has been designed to play well that wont lets you down.

We really like the blue/black burst coloring. It just goes to show that you really dont need to spend a lot of cash to get a good looking guitar. The finishing is pretty good, with no signs of real cost-cutting measures, no unfinished edges, and nothing that feels like it might fall apart. Despite being a thinline guitar, it still sounds nice, and has plentiful volume and depth. For practicing yourself, it could certainly be used unplugged.

If youre really not sure if and electric acoustic guitar is for you, and you just want something to play around with, then you can do a lot worse than giving this great little guitar a go. It would be best for kids too, especially if they want to get up on stage or play loudly through an amp.

So whether youre looking for something just at entry level, or youre hoping to get something premium for your money, you are sure to find something that suits you in our best ten list. Theyre all under 500 bucks, theyre all great at what they do, and youd do well to order any of them.

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