Best acoustic guitars under 1000 – What to look for and best features


So you’re looking for an excellent acoustic under $1000 ?

Before we dive in, here’s a little about me :

I’m a professional guitar player from the UK now living in Canada with my family. I play locally in my duet and am involved with a couple of different community theater companies as well as playing in my own gypsy swing group. Django style .. kinda 🙂

Things to Consider

I have played and bought several guitars online and although I must admit I was a tad skeptical about buying something I hadn’t played at first, I decided to do my research and I’ve been pleasantly surprised within this price range.. for the most part.

Price Point

Ok so how much should you pay for a guitar that’s going to sound good and last long enough for you to get your moneys worth ? Well to be honest, a good player should be able to make almost anything sound relatively good.. well almost anything!

Sure its great to have a $2000 plus Martin or Taylor with scalloped frets and pearl inlays but no you certainly don’t need to splash out that much just to have a good sounding instrument. These days there are some great sounding guitars out there for under a grand.

Sound type

Some acoustics sound great plugged in but then lack the sustain to really hold their own without the help of a pickup. So if you’re looking for versatility and want to play at gigs and at home, I would suggest getting an acoustic with a built in pickup. However, if you’re just looking for a guitar to practise on and maybe jam with friends or at a campfire then you can certainly skip the electronics.

If like me, you like to play music in different styles and want to find a ‘chameleon’ guitar (That is to say, a guitar which is capable of delivering more than one sound well), then I believe my recommendations will do the trick.


For those looking to travel light I have included a smaller 24” scale length size guitar in my list as it has a smaller size body with a regular fret type radius. It’s also a great pic for kids or teens who aren’t quite big enough to hold a full size dreadnought.

In conclusion

Whatever guitar you choose it should be one that resonates with you. Everybody has an opinion but what matters to me is that it matches that full professional sound I wanted and it’s a model that’s easy to pick up and make music with on a regular basis.

To start with I can highly recommend the outstanding :

Yamaha NTX 700 – (Nylon strings)

Get yours here

  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Nato Neck
  • Nato Back and Sides
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • A.R.T. 2-pick up system
The neck is the perfect size for electric and acoustic players, quite a bit smaller than a full classical neck radius.


African Sapele wood finish

This guitar has been truly excellent for me since 2016. With its smaller body size and frets, it seems like it was made for predominantly electric players who are looking for a classical sounding guitar without the large fret distances. Large frets can be tricky to navigate if you are not used to playing a nylon string classical so this model is just the best of both worlds.

It’s SOOO darn easy to just pick up and play and has a real nice warm sound unplugged but when you engage the 2 way fishman pickup it makes it that much more versatile. It features a built in tuner as well as bass, treble and mid controls.

In the past couple of years I’ve used mine for Jazz and Pop arrangements and also Gypsy music in several theater productions. I went with the Nato finish but you also have a choice of flamed maple back and sides, should you wish to … flame it up.

Epiphone EL-OO Pro (Steel strings)

One of my students recommended my next pic as her dad had given her his guitar to practice on but she found it’s large body uncomfortable to hold for long.

I was really impressed! The Ep features a smaller body size and both the sound quality and ease of use were 10/10 for me at this price. It also includes an adjustable Fishman pickup so you can adjust the volume and tone with your fingertips from two small knobs just beneath the sound hole.

Get yours here

Another Yamaha !?  Yep. My next solid recommendation :

Yamaha APX 600 (Steel Strings)

    • Non-scalloped X-type bracing
    • Full, natural tone.
    • Thin-line body, top-fret access, stage ready.
    • Piezo pickup with 3-band equalizer and chromatic tuner.

Coming in at way under $1000 I found this guitar so comfortable on my
knee with its thinline body and cutaway. It’s definitely easy to play and it’s
slim bod won’t leave you with red strumming marks under your arm. Bonus.

It is a full length guitar but has a streamlined thin body so it’s way easier to handle than other bulky dreadnoughts. If you’re looking for a steel string with great playability and a nice natural tone, this is a TPP ( Top Paul Pic 😉

Get yours here

Best beginner or travel guitar ?

If you’re looking for compact size with fab features, look no further!

Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar

Wow this thing sounds delicious! Smooth sounding tone and good sustain. Definitely a play anywhere model with a reduced size.

  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Solid Tonewood Back and Sides
  • Unique Contour Neck Shape
  • Features 24-Inch Scale Length
  • Features 15 Frets
  • Portable!

Get yours here

My best pics

Ok so that’s it, my top picks for acoustic guitar buyers. I can really stand by these models and hope you are as impressed with them as I have been.

Feel free to send me any recommendations of your top pics.



7 thoughts on “Best acoustic guitars under 1000 – What to look for and best features”

  1. Hi Paul
    There is a lot of good advice here for both beginners and experienced guitarists. I played guitar for about 5-6 years and just when I started to get good I just stopped. I think life just got in the way. I always wanted a Martin Steel String Backpacker Travel Guitar to drag around everywhere with me. Keep the articles coming.

    • Hey Steve, yes the back packer guitars are super portable and sound surprisingly great :p

      I’m currently writing an article on the Snark guitar tuners as they’re fantastic!
      Thanks a bunch for your comment and sorry for the late reply.



  2. Hey Paul!
    This article is very informative! I’ve been playing folk music for a few years now but I’m hesistant when it comes to choosing a new instrument to invest my time and money into. While I have my go-to acoustic, I will definitely keep this in mind for my next campfire/travel guitar. Cheers!


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