Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500

The Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Under $500

Whether you are just starting out or you have years of experience playing guitar, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are buying one. For example, do you just want a guitar to play around the house and for friends? Or is your dream to play in a band and rock it on stage?

A standard acoustic guitar will be perfect if you are planning on playing for friends or on your own, but if you have bigger plans, then an acoustic electric is the better option. These guitars have a built-in pickup system or on-board microphone, allowing the guitar to amplify its sound. From here, the sound can be played through a speaker or a PA system.

This connection allows you to control the consistent tonal output of your instrument and makes it easier to play and hear when you are live on stage. It is also just much easier when you are on tour, as you don’t have to struggle with a microphone that needs to be tweaked. You will also be able to move around on stage – it is just so much more practical.

Many of these guitars have their own unique design that will provide you with the best possible sound. Some have been designed to make it easier for you to play, whether it is a larger cutaway or a mini-jumbo body, though smaller still provides lots of sound.

As far as looks and colors go, you have a wide variety to choose from, whether you like the classical look, a nice tobacco burn, or even all black. The options are truly endless.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar

We are going to be looking at 6 different types of acoustic electric guitars that are under $500 in this guide. We’re here to help you decide which one will be your next purchase.

So let’s get started and see what is available!

The Washburn Festival EA15 Mini Jumbo Cutaway, Acoustic Electric Guitar

This design has been a great success for the last 25 years. Washburn designed this festival guitar series to meet the needs of performing musicians. This series became one of their best selling guitars and also one of the most copied in the world.

The mini jumbo body of the guitar is perfect for youngsters or smaller players. The design of the cutaway also makes it very easy for the player to reach the upper frets and play the guitar with ease. Even though it is a smaller design, the quality of sound that it produces is still some of the best. The built-in pickup system will ensure good quality sound when you connect it to a speaker system.

The tobacco burst gloss finish provides the guitar a classic feel and the faded coloring from dark to light brings out the character of the wood.

Specifications

  • Weight – 1.6 ounces
  • Dimensions – 41.5 x 16.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Color – Tobacco burst gloss
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 6

Pros

  • Easy to play ande great sound
  • Easy to play due to smaller size

Cons

  • Preamp could be a better quality

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The Ovation Applause 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

The sleek design, beautiful sound, and uncompromising playability of this guitar will surely take your playing skills to a different level. The Ovation Applause has been in production since the 1970s, and it comes with high-end features that offer you plenty of value for the money. Even though you can get this guitar for much less than you would have expected, the quality of the guitar is still top notch.

The mid-depth body of the guitar with the satin-finish soft ‘V’ neck will ensure a comfortable playing experience. The trademark Lyrachord Roundback of the guitar, along with the scalloped X-bracing, will project a great musical tone along with good volume, bass, and balance. The guitar’s sound has remarkable note clarity and nuanced tonal complexity. This quality of sound is all thanks to the outstanding design of the guitar.

The Ovation Slimline pickup that is built into the guitar will provide you with great clarity, definition, and tonal balance when you connect it to a speaker or PA system.

Specifications

  • Weight – 1.6 ounces
  • Dimensions – 4.5 x 16.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Color – Black
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 6

Pros

  • Full, well rounded sound
  • Great action while playing
  • Installed with high-quality strings

Cons

  • Backing is slippery due to plastic material

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The Guild D-240E Acoustic-Electric Guitar 

The Guild is known for its signature arched back design, which results in great volume and projection, full sound, and long sustain. The powerful and full-bodied tone of this guitar will provide you with a classical acoustic sound and balanced voicing as a guitarist.

The guitar is built with mahogany sides and an arched mahogany back with a solid spruce top, which allows for the great sound the guitar produces. The guitar features a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge with a bone nut and saddle and Guild’s Fishman-design AP-1 electronics. The pickup can be plugged straight into a PA system, and you can be assured of a clean and beautiful sound.

Final touches are a mother-of-pearl rosette and a period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, finished off with a matte polyurethane finish. In the end, this guitar is easy to travel with and is a great overall playing guitar. It is easy to manage too, as it is lightweight and has a vintage aesthetic to it that looks great on stage.

Specifications

  • Weight – 20 pounds
  • Dimensions – 42 x 15.8 x 4.8 inches
  • Color – Natural wood
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 6

Pros

  • Great to play and sounds great
  • Gig bag included – Sturdier than most
  • Design makes it easy to manage and it looks great

Cons

  • Frets can be problematic and become unplayable
  • Frets can cause a buzzing noise

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The Oscar Schmidt 12-String Acoustic Electric Guitar

This Oscar Schmidt is one of the easier 12-strings dreadnoughts to play on the market currently, and that is thanks to the cutaway that allows for easy access to the upper frets.

The guitar has a beautiful and expensive looking marquetry rosette that just adds to the guitar’s beauty. Not only is this guitar great to look at, but it also has a powerful full sound and superb tone. The guitar also features an onboard MET-A07 preamp and tuner that will allow the beautiful sound of the guitar to play through a PA system or amp.

The guitar also features a spruce top with a mahogany back and sides, diecast tuners, a rosetek fingerboard, and an adjustable truss rod.

This guitar also comes with a manufacturer lifetime warranty.

Specifications

  • Weight – 5 pounds
  • Dimensions – 41 x 4.8 x 16 inches
  • Color – Tobacco Sunburst
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 12

Pros

  • Low action which makes it easy to play
  • Produces great quality sound
  • Great quality guitar

Cons

  • Needs to be re-tuned often
  • Fret bars are to high

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The Ovation CS28P-KOAB Celebrity Standard Exotic Super Shallow Depth

This guitar is very comfortable for anyone to play, due to the Super Shallow slim-profile body. Despite the guitar having a small body, it has a powerful sound, thanks to scalloped X-bracing and Ovation’s trademark Lyrachord roundback.

These models have set the bar quite high for live performance thanks to the Slimline pick and the OP-4BT preamp system. The preamp also features a 3-band EQ, gain/volume control with an onboard tuner and a low battery light. The roundback body of the guitar also helps in preventing feedback even at some of the higher volumes. This system makes it very easy for musicians to get the perfect tone on stage.

The guitar’s neck has a very slim and fast feel to it, due to the narrower neck. The fretboard has a curvature that allows for easier chording and gives more the feel of an electric guitar. The guitar has a 20 fret Ovangkol Fretboard and a 10” fingerboard radius, which also contributes to the fast feel of the guitar.

Finally, the gorgeous exotic wood and other stunning finishes really let this guitar stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Specifications

  • Weight – 1.6 ounces
  • Dimensions – 41.5 x 16.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Color – Koa Burst
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 6

Pros

  • Great looking guitar
  • Produces great tunes with mellow sounds
  • Very comfortable to play

Cons

  • Guitar neck might might cause problems

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The Ovation 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

This guitar is from the Celebrity Standard series, and it is perfect if you are making Ovation your first guitar. The guitar will provide you with top quality sound that is well rounded, and the style and features provide the guitar a classical look.

The guitar was designed with a classic mid-depth Lyrachord cutaway body featuring a solid spruce top with a quarter-sawn scalloped X-bracing. This bracing pattern will provide you with a natural tone and optimal response and power when you are playing. The whole design of the guitar will give you that classic Ovation sound that is full and projects remarkable note clarity, balance, and nuanced tonal complexity.

The other main features include the playable neck with a rosewood-veneer headstock and a natural satin finish. For playing live, you have the Slimline pickup and OP-4BT preamp system with an onboard tuner and volume/gain control, which will provide you with optimal sound.

The finishing touches on the guitar include an elegant pearloid rosette and a beautiful ivory white binding with an overall natural gloss finish.

Specifications

  • Weight – 8 pounds
  • Dimensions – 44.8 x 19.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Color – Natural
  • Hand Orientation – Right
  • Strings – 6

Pros

  • Fantastic built in tuner
  • Easy to play and manage
  • Smooth, solid design

Cons

  • Neck and fingerboard wider than most
  • Doesn’t produce a very loud sound

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Buyer’s Guide

We had a look at 6 beautiful acoustic-electric guitars in this buyer’s guide. Choosing the perfect one for your use will definitely not be an easy task. There are a lot of factors that play a great role in choosing the guitar for you.

Everything depends on how you play, what kind of acoustic guitar you currently have, and most importantly, the type of sound that you are after. Do lots of research on the guitar that you are considering purchasing. Without even leaving your house, you can have a look at some video demonstrations. Even better, visit your local music shop and play the guitar that you have in mind, to hear if the sound is what you are looking for.

Also remember to test out the pickup, and listen carefully if it gives you the same sound that is coming out of the soundhole. The only difference is that it should be louder and bigger once amplified.

Here’s a final recap on the guitars we looked at:

The Washburn Festival is perfect if you are a bit on the smaller size, because the shape of the guitar makes it very comfortable to play and easy to manage. The upper frets are also easily accessible due to the cutaway, adding to the comfort of playing this guitar. Even though the Washburn guitar is smaller than most, it still has a loud and beautiful rounded sound. This is the perfect guitar for around the campfire or even in a band, and the tobacco coloring also brings out the character of the wood beautifully.

The Ovation Applause has a bit of a more rock ’n roll vibe to it, mostly due to the coloring. The design of the guitar has resulted in a fantastic balance in musical tone, volume, and bass projection. The built-in pickup will ensure a clear sound that is balanced acoustically. This is the perfect guitar if you want to take things further as a guitarist and progress in your playing.

The Guild D-240E is a great guitar if you are just starting out. The design of the guitar allows for great volume and projection, a full sound, and a long sustain. The guitar also has a very classic aesthetic that will look great on any occasion, and the pickup will give you a powerful clear sound.

The Oscar Schmidt is one of the easier 12-strings to play on the market. The cutaway makes it super easy to get access to the upper frets for easier playing. The guitar produces great sound and the pickup will ensure you get the best sound quality possible, including when it’s carried through the PA or speaker system.

The Ovation CS28P-KOAB Celebrity has a very exotic appearance, setting this guitar apart from the rest. This model has a narrow neck that plays easily and has a very fast feel. The design makes for a natural acoustic tone, optimal response power, and remarkable note clarity and balance.

The Ovation 6 String Acoustic has an all-natural look to it with the classic design. The design will also allow for great sound, note clarity, and balance. The neck is designed so that it can be played effortlessly, and it is finished off with a natural satin finish and a rosewood-veneer headstock. The pickup will also ensure you get the best quality sound when playing through a speaker system.

Conclusion

Do any of these sound good? You be they do! So, go out and start playing a few guitars and find the perfect one for you!

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