Five Acoustics under $200 to Get Budding Guitarists Started

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Washburn WD100DL

It’s time to talk acoustics. Acoustic guitars are among the best instruments, not just for new guitarists, but new musicians in general to take up. You don’t need anything more than the guitar, the fretboard is easy to figure out even on a very basic level, and you’re one power chord shape away from recreating most rock hits out there. Plus, unlike wind instruments, while developing the muscle memory and finger strength the rest of the family doesn’t have to hear sounds reminiscent of a dying elephant resonating throughout the house.

So, if whether your a newcomer to the instrument, or if you just want to add an affordable new instrument to your collection here are five acoustics that make for a good place to start without shattering your bank account.

Yamaha ¾ Scale

Yamaha 3-4 Scale

The Yamaha ¾ scale guitar is handy in two ways. With a nut width of just shy of two inches a guitar like this is appropriate for people with smaller hands (like hands on kids who could use a more constructive pass time than all of these video games that seem to be dominating the world). The smaller size also makes a guitar like this handy if you like to travel a lot. For $160 you’ve got a guitar that gives you everything you need to jam without as much space requirements. You might even have an easier time playing in a chair with arms on it with one of these.

Probably the biggest compromise you make with a guitar like this is the sacrifice in getting a bigger sound. With no electronics either a guitar like this probably isn’t good for more than the average bedroom guitarist.

Epiphone AJ-100CE

Epiphone AJ-100CE

The Epiphone AJ-100CE is an excellent guitar, and not just for beginners. At $150 you get a full mahogany and spruce sound with electronics to plug into an amp. The Nanoflex pickup might not be a Fishman, but it’ll get you by. Plus with the cutaway up by the high frets you get that elusive access that isn’t quite as available on other acoustic guitars.

For the price of this guitar you could get yourself a decent amp to plug into with what money you preserve. After that you can entertain modest crowds or aggravate obnoxious neighbors at all hours of the night.  Whichever is a bigger priority to you.

Ibanez V70CE

Ibanez V70CE

The V70CE from Ibanez can probably be viewed as an alternative to the AJ-100CE. It shares a few similar characteristics like spruce and mahogany body, the cutaway for higher fret access and a built-in pickup. With a price of $199 this guitar barely meets the criteria to qualify for this list. Apart from the finish there isn’t any outstanding difference between this and the Epi, so you’d most likely want to get your hands on them and find out first hand which one fits your hands better.

Fender CF-140S

Fender CF-140S

The folk-styled CF-140S is a straight forward dreadnought acoustic. Unlike the previous inclusions on the list this guitar is a normal device of sticks and strings. Full sized sans electronics. A guitar like the CF-140S is probably better for those looking for something somewhere between the Yamaha and the Epi and Ibanez. Big enough to get that full acoustic sound, but probably not the sort of thing you’d play for crowds much bigger that the sort that gathers around a camp fire. But with a good enough mic and amp I can probably be proven wrong with that assertion.

In any case it’s a sturdy guitar that can easily get the job done, and well. And at $199 it’s a fair exchange.

Washburn WD100DL

Washburn WD100DL

Washburn’s inclusion on this list comes in the form of the WD100DL, which can be yours for the asking price $149. For such a modest price this one gets a bit more of a red carpet treatment than the others. I mean, it’s not made out of zebrawood or purpleheart or anything, no. This one’s pure mahogany through and through, save for some rosewood here and there. But it does throw some gold tuners in to spruce up the appearance, along with some snappy finishes.

But the appearances don’t speak much on behalf of the sound and feeling. The WD100DL can get its point across as well as the other additions on this list. Honestly, I’ve always thought Washburn could get away with charging a bit more for some of their guitars. They make good in the bang for buck ratio.


Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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