Top Five Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars for Under Five Hundred Dollars
Everyone Wants a Guitar!
At one point or another in life most everyone wants to play a musical instrument. The guitar is often thought of as a near universal instrument for a variety of reasons, and so most often people want to at one point or another see if they can play the guitar. I only play acoustic guitars nowadays, and the acoustic guitar is preferable simply because you do not need amplification or electricity to make music with it.
There's no need to disturb the neighbors, and if you live in an apartment or tight nit community - then the acoustic guitar is the guitar for you to play and practice with until you'll be somewhere where you can plug in and turn it up. Tons of acoustic guitars these days come with the simple pre amp electronics that make it an instrument that is easily plugged in and turned up, or even more easily taken on a hike, or camping excursion, or simply played while you sing pretty love songs to your significant other.
There's no end in sight for the applications and joys of playing a guitar, and there is absolutely no type of music than can't be made with one - guitarist range in style from the singer poets like Bob Dylan or Joan Baez, Paul Simon, and other - to the absolute virtuoso musicianship of persons like John McLaughlin, or Al Di Meola, and on to the traditionalist folk masters like Doc Watson, Tony Rice, or Norman Blake.
Whether you are a picker, a rhythm master, a finger stylist, or any combination of those - the steel string acoustic guitar is the most favored type of guitar for making the most types of music. I'll never slight classical guitarist, and Hubpages has a staff member that could tell you all about classical guitars, and classical guitar music - I'm just not that guy, I'm a steel string acoustic guitar guy .
So because the steel string acoustic flat top guitar is the most common instrument with the widest variety of uses in guitar music making, it's my hopes here to provide the reader with what I think of as the very BEST possible instruments that can be purchased and easily found either online or in a music store for the very reasonable price of less than five hundred dollars.
The Blueridge BR-2M Acoustic Guitar
For a list price of just $399.99 the Blueridge BR-2M tops my list simply because the Blueridge Guitar Company makes so many fine guitars. The fact that this guitar is a hundred dollars under my top end for this list of $500.00 is also a MAJOR factor involved in my decision to rank this the single best guitar for less than five hundred American dollars.
This specific Blueridge guitar features a one year warranty, a solid spruce sound board top, laminated mahogany back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a mahogany neck. The width of the neck is the standard these days for most dreadnought guitars, 1 5/8 inches at the nut.
There have been some complaints with this guitar - and those mostly have to do with the lack of attention to detail that is sometimes present in these instruments. In other words - there has been concerns with a poorly applied finish on the guitar, and inconsistencies in the "action" of the guitar. What I mean by action is that the set up, or play-ability has been a concern for some persons who've purchased these guitars.
Some have felt that the strings were too high off of the neck, making this guitar difficult to play - but the simple fact of the matter is that this guitar is going to be louder and clearer in it's tonality than probably any other guitar in it's price range, and having the action of the guitar adjusted is clearly covered under it's one year warranty. The complaints registered for this instrument are, by and large, superficial, or altogether extraneous in nature.
The Epiphone AJ-18S Acoustic Guitar
The Epiphone AJ-18S comes with a limited lifetime warranty, a solid spruce sound board top, laminated mahogany back and sides, a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, mahogany neck, and is measured at 1 5/8 inch at the nut. These specifications are the same as the Blueridge guitar, but the shape and dimensions of the body of this guitar are different, and this guitar sells for ten dollars less.
The Epiphone guitar company was traditionally a part of the Gibson guitar company, and this guitar is built with the Gibson tradition in mind, and in some ways mirrors the Gibson Jumbo guitars of old. The slumped shoulders design of this guitar distinguish it from the more common dreadnought design guitars that nearly everyone copies from the legendary guitars of C.F. Martin & Company.
This guitar is built with Gibson traditional guitars in mind, and that alone distinguishes it as different in shape, tone, and style from the more common Martin guitar imitations. While there have been issues with inconsistencies in the quality of materials used to build this guitar, the specifications and attention to detail have nearly always been reported as perfect.
The Fender DG14 S TF Acoustic Guitar
Most people associate the Fender Guitar Company with their famous electric guitars, and that is rightful and good. The thing is though, and I didn't know it until I became the owner of one, Fender also makes some VERY GOOD acoustic guitars! Do NOT make the mistake, as I had previously done, of thinking that Fender brand acoustic guitars are not excellent - they ARE!
The Fender DG14 S TF distinguishes itself from the pack by having maple back and sides - a tone wood that produces it's own unique characteristics very different from the more common rosewood or mahogany instruments. Maple guitars often have very strong middle and upper frequency tones, and this guitar is no exception to that rule of thumb. My thoughts are that this is more a guitar for the picker than it is for the rhythm specialist - but my thoughts have little value when not knowing YOUR particular style of play.
This guitar comes with a limited lifetime warranty, a solid spruce sound board top, the maple back and sides already mentioned, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and a mahogany neck. Also outside of the norm for these instruments is the measurement of the width of the neck at the nut that this guitar has - it's 1 11/16 inches at the nut - a bit wider than most, and also, this width neck is often preferable.
Though some reports include cosmetic flaws with the finish of this guitar, the price of the instrument, $389.00 US dollars - put it beyond reasonable, an excellent guitar from an old and time honored manufacturer!
The Hohner HW 640 Acoustic Guitar
Hohner has been making acoustic instruments for a very long time - what is so surprising here is the cost to value ratio of this guitar. For a mere $300.00 US dollars anyone can purchase this instrument - and for an instrument that is brand new, and featuring a solid spruce sound board for it's top - I can't imagine a better deal anywhere. This Hohner guitar comes with a limited lifetime warranty, a solid spruce top, laminated maple back and sides, a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, a maple neck - which is somewhat unique, and a neck width at the nut of 1 11/16 inches.
The neck is not solid maple - it's grafted from three pieces. This guitar, priced at three hundred dollars - was never intended to win anyone's beauty pageant. The value of this guitar is not so much in it's looks, which are plain and simple - but in the REAL area of importance, it's sound and play-ability.
The Takamine G-330S Acoustic Guitar
The Takamine G330S Acoustic Guitar features Solid Spruce top, Nato back and sides, Rosewood fingerboard, Chrome tuning machines. With Satin finish acoustic Dreadnought this guitar rival the mid and many upper line models of other popular makers.
The G Series from Takamine has created great controversy. Play a G Series guitar and you're apt to think it's one of the finest acoustic/ electrics made. Guitars that will grow with you!
The Takamine Guitar Company has a long and well deserved reputation for making guitars of an outstanding value per cost, and this is another on of them. The list price of this guitar is just under the $500.00 dollar mark, but also includes a pre amp for acoustic/electric play.
This guitar comes with a limited lifetime warranty, a solid spruce top, laminated nato back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, mahogany neck, and a width at the nut of 1 9/16 inches, a width of neck that is very rare to find.
In conclusion I'd like to state that these are all terrific guitars. None of these guitars has a laminated wood top - every single one of them has a solid spruce sound board, or top - and that is the defining feature of a REAL acoustic guitar. Guitars with both laminate back and sides, and a laminate top are always the type of guitar that you buy for someone who is not certain that they are interested in learning guitar - these guitars though, with a SOLID top, are guitars that anyone can use, play, travel with, and enjoy for what is most often their entire lifetime.
Many professional musicians use guitars such as these when touring and playing live - owning a one thousand dollar to one hundred thousand dollar Martin guitar is one thing, but touring the world and living in cheap motels is quite another thing. While Martin makes some outstanding laminate side and back acoustic guitars with solid spruce sound boards or tops, those guitars, for simply having the Martin name on them, are generally priced outside of this price range simply for that alone.
It's a tremendous mistake to downplay any guitar that is made with either mahogany or maple back and sides - those woods are no less fine woods than the most often desired rosewood species - in fact, maple and/or mahogany are truly preferable for playing leads. All of these guitars feature laminate back and sides - if they were the any of them all solid wood construction instruments - then they could be easily priced at twice these prices. In any case - these are all tremendous values so far as intermediate level guitars are concerned, or they could be even beginner or professional guitars - depending on economics and circumstances.
Tony Rice, The Greatest Living Flatpicking Guitarist.
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