Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners (Updated September 2023)

Published on 28 September 2023

Friends, welcome to our blog on the Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners! When embarking on the journey towards becoming a guitarist, the question of whether to begin on an electric or an acoustic guitar is the first big decision you’ll need to make.

It’s not a simple choice, either: both have pros and cons relative to your experience and expectations of guitars and guitar music.

We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ on the subject of whether one should learn on acoustic or electric. What excites you more?
Choosing an acoustic guitar generally means you can be self-sufficient. You don’t need to pay for an amplifier, cables and the rest of that. If you just want to grab a guitar, sit on your couch and strum some songs, an acoustic guitar sounds like a good shout for you!

With that in mind, I’ve rounded up five suggestions from our large stock of instruments. Lots of choice can be great, but this level of variety can sometimes prove to be a problem when you don’t really know what to look for, so my selections will hopefully provide some clarity and context. Some of these are full size, others aren’t. Most have steel strings, but others don’t. That’s another debate too but, in terms of popularity at least, it seems that most people want to begin playing with the percussive sound of a steel string guitar over the expressive pluck of a nylon string guitar.

You should make your decision based on what feels good and what you actually want to hear when you play: if you like Indie and Rock, a nylon string classical guitar is hardly going to inspire within you the dedication required to gain skills on the instrument. Bear that in mind! By the same token, steel strings definitely demand a higher ‘pain’ price on your fingertips, so if you want to ease into things, consider going nylon when choosing your acoustic guitar strings. There is no right and no wrong, only what you choose to do.

Anyway, here are a selection of seven excellent acoustic guitars that will not cost the earth. These have been picked because they are both great to learn on and are fantastic value.


The Guitars at a Glance


EastCoast C1-34 Nylon String

The desire to become a legendary guitar player can begin at any age. If younger people feel the calling, indulge them with this EastCoast C1-34 three-quarter sized classical guitar. This guitar is altogether smaller than a standard acoustic guitar and also has soft nylon strings instead of stronger steel strings. Nylon strings are easy on those little digits, and the guitar itself is very manageable for younger or smaller people to handle.

Nylon string classical guitars like this always make a pleasant sound, and they aren’t overly loud either. Volume can sometimes be a struggle for new players to overcome, so a softer tone can actually encourage more playing!

Whether a player continues on the road of nylon string guitar playing, or crosses over to a steel string model, guitars like this one are a very suitable ‘soft’ introduction! I’ve also noticed plenty of guitarists hanging on to these ¾-sized nylon string guitars after they’ve upgraded to a full-sized instrument because they make great ‘travel’ guitars due to their size! This EastCoast model actually comes supplied with a soft gig bag too, which will come in very handy!

One word of warning, though: please do not consider restringing a guitar like this with steel guitar strings! Nylon string guitars must only be restrung with nylon strings, and there are really no alternatives to this. Nylon string guitars are actually made in a completely different manner to other acoustic guitars, and will not be able to handle the extra tension brought about by steel strings, so please do keep that in mind!


Yamaha F310

Yamaha, as we’ve noted on many occasions, do not make bad quality products. Whether it’s a motorcycle, a piano, a lawnmower engine or an acoustic guitar for beginners, buying Yamaha is money well spent. Their entry level guitars and basses are the standard by which other guitars are set. It has been that way for years, meaning they are not only great for the money, they are consistent. These two factors do not always align!

This acoustic guitar, the Yamaha F310, is a fine example of this. It’s a no-frills dreadnought style acoustic with a comfortable neck, easy action (string distance from fingerboard, essentially) and a good strong sound that satisfies. The dreadnought is the cost common acoustic guitar shape. It’s relatively large and deep, with a loud sound that projects well. Dreadnought guitars are considered equally good for both strumming and fingerpicking, so until you have particular preferences, a dreadnought like this is a solid first choice.


EastCoast G1

It used to be that beginner acoustic guitars with torture instruments in all but name: brutal machines with unrelentingly thick strings that sat half a mile above the fingerboard and tore your fingers to a messy pulp. It was a triumph of endurance to learn on these monstrous devices, but thankfully we now live in a more enlightened age.

Beginner acoustic guitars have never been more player-friendly, and we’ve got a pretty lovely example to show you today in the form of the EastCoast G1. Available in a rainbow’s worth of colours, the EastCoast G1 is finished to a lovely standard, with a comfortable neck that’s easy to make chord shapes on. The body is a great shape: it’s a folk style, which is easier to hold and play than other styles but is still full-sized. This means that beginners and more experienced players alike can enjoy playing this guitar without compromise.

As you’ll have seen from our photos, it’s a beautiful looking guitar, too. It’s available in 6 different colours, all with a gloss finish and lovely details like binding around the body and neck. The EastCoast G1 is a lot of guitar for not a lot of cash!


Alvarez AF30CE

Alvarez are one of our most popular brands in the beginner to mid-price bracket, and the reason for that is simple: they make excellent guitars for a great price! Alvarez put loads of research into each model they design, and make sure every guitar is packed with value. Quality levels are high across the board - just like Yamaha - and I think they are basically very tough to beat for the price.

Today’s choice is the Alvarez AF30CE. This is an electro acoustic, so you can plug it into an amp or PA system if you want. The body shape is ‘folk’, which differs from brand to brand but is generally smaller and more manageable than a dreadnought, which is the standard shape for acoustics.

We picked a folk-size guitar because it really suits everyone, and the sound is still very versatile: the slightly smaller body size actually makes it more suitable for most playing situations, since it doesn;t ever sound too big or boomy.

Most importantly, the top of the body (the most important part of the guitar in terms of generating tone) is made from a piece of solid spruce, as opposed to a laminated multi-ply situation that you might find elsewhere. This solid tone vibrates more freely, creating better tones and actually increases in sonic richness over the years as it seasons.

Given the cost of this Alvarez, and the great feel, lovely sound and host of features, I think this is one of the wisest purchases you can make, for beginners and beyond.


Yamaha APX600 OBB

We’ve looked at Yamaha already, with their excellent value and super-popular F310 entry level dreadnought. They offer a wide range of instruments for beginners and students, so I feel that this Yamaha APX600 in Oriental Blue Burst is also well worth including on this list.

Why? Well, it’s a highly functional, very popular model that offers something a little different in terms of size, shape and looks, especially when compared to the multitudes of brown dreadnoughts that occupy the acoustic guitar market!

The APX is a range from Yamaha that is designed primarily for the gigging player. For this reason, the APX has a smaller body (slightly smaller again than the Alvarez AF30CE, though they are all still full-sized guitars!) since smaller bodies are less prone to on-stage feedback issues. The APX600 has an original body shape and an oval sound hole, and it’s one good looking guitar! That blue burst finish is gorgeous, and there’s cream binding on the body (front and back edges) as well as the fingerboard, so this is a guitar you won’t be able to take your eyes off!

The neck is also slim and very easy to work with for beginners, so the comfort factor is high, especially when you consider how easy the guitar’s body is to get your arm round! All of these tactile elements make the APX600 a guitar you want to keep picking up and playing, which is half the battle when you’re new to guitar playing!

Importantly, this is another guitar that will take you beyond your initial beginner stages. It’s ready to go on stage as soon as you are!


Epiphone J-45 Studio

One of the most famous acoustic guitars ever is the Gibson J-45, used on countless recordings and tours over the last 60+ years. Gibsons, of course, are top-end USA made guitars that carry accordingly high price tags, but for beginners, students and established players on a budget, there is the Epiphone J-45 Studio.

Epiphone are Gibson’s sister brand, and produce affordable replicas in the Far East. There’s actually far more to the Epiphone story than this, but that is perhaps a story for another day! What is important right now is that they make official replicas of famous Gibson guitars, and that they are not only very good indeed, but are quite affordable too.

Of the many potential models to pick today, I’ve opted for the J-45 Studio. This delivers, in my eyes, a classic (and classy) look that isn’t too decorative compared to other models, so it’ll hopefully appeal to a greater cross section of players. It’s still a handsome guitar though, and its ‘slope-shouldered’ dreadnought design (as opposed to a more ‘square shouldered’ dreadnought like the Yamaha F310 we looked at) is characteristically true to the Gibson original. This is a straightforward, good quality acoustic guitar that everybody can get along with, and it’s a little bit more special than some due to its association with Gibson.

A comfortable C-shaped neck profile makes this a pleasure to play, and the slope-shouldered ‘Advanced Jumbo’ (Epiphone’s terms, not ours) shape adds a little distinction. Available in either Natural or Vintage Sunburst, this guitar is what I’d call a ‘safe bet’.


Taylor GS Mini Sapele

For my last choice today, I’ve deliberately gone up outside what most of us might consider to be a ‘beginner’ price bracket. Why? Well, I very much want to recommend this particular guitar, and I feel that a lot of beginner guitar players will try this, love it, buy it and then keep it as their main acoustic for a long time!

So, what is it? It’s the famous Taylor GS Mini, and I say ‘famous’ because this is one of the best selling acoustic guitars in the world, at any price. Taylor are one of the biggest acoustic guitar brands on the planet, and they are mostly associated with costly, high-end instruments. Whilst the GS Mini isn’t cheap compared with what we’ve seen today, I’d say there’s a good case to be made that it still represents very good value.

So, the GS Mini is ‘Mini’ because it’s a scaled down version of Taylor’s Grand Symphony body shape, hence GS. It has a slightly shorter, narrower neck so it’s very easy to play, and it sounds quite incredible. In my opinion - and as somebody who has both sold thousands of guitars and owned a fair few themselves - it is almost impossible to find a better playing, better feeling and better sounding guitar at the price, or indeed any price close to it.

Taylor has absolutely aced it with this design: it is small enough to appeal to beginners and those who want a portable travel guitar, but it’s also big enough to quite quickly become your go-to guitar, no matter how experienced you are as a player. This is really why the GS Mini has proven to be such a hit these past 8 or 9 years: it really is almost everything to almost every player.

The GS Mini comes in quite a few renditions: Taylor offers different wood combinations as well as issuing models with & without pickup system, but I’m recommending the Sapele version to you today. Sapele is a very sustainable wood with tonal qualities similar to the more expensive to buy mahogany. Taylor use three layers of this for the back & sides of the body, then use solid Spruce for the top. The result is a palette of tones with depth and sparkle that you really shouldn’t expect at this price point! Impressive is not the word!

If you decide to spend the extra money and go for a Taylor GS Mini, my guess is that you will not need to upgrade for quite some time, if at all.


Starter Packs and Bundles

It’s definitely worth me mentioning the number of starter packs and bundles that we have for sale, too. Some of the guitars I’ve talked about today - and a great many others - are available from our site and in store as part of a pack. These packs differ in contents from brand to brand, but you’ll find straps, plectrums, tuners and other goodies in each one.

These make lovely gifts, and are also useful for people who aren’t used to buying guitar-related things. How do you know what to buy? Well, these packs should see you right for at least a while, all in one simple purchase!


Best Acoustic Guitars for Beginners


As with the best electric guitars for beginners blog, I’ve aimed to give a broad overview of what is out there. We have a huge number of instruments available at low prices, so please take these recommendations as a starting point for your own explorations.

I’ve kept to a (mostly) low price here since that is perhaps indicative of most first-time guitar purchases, but there is no reason why you cannot buy the best guitar within your means to learn on. Learning is all about having fun and enjoying yourself, nothing more. Whatever it takes to get you strumming away and learning is what you should do!

As always, our in-store guitarguitar team members are available to help you select, try out and buy your first guitar. If you aren’t sure what to go for, just have a chat with them! Otherwise, please have fun browsing our wares on the site!


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About the author


Features Editor, Warehouse

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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