best cheap guitar for beginners

If you’re a beginner guitar player looking for a good entry-level guitar or you are an intermediate / advanced player on the hunt for a low-cost guitar to bring along on a camping trip or you just want a lovely second guitar for pure pleasure, you should definitely check out this post for the Best Cheap Guitar For Beginners.

Today we’ve got a list of 10 decent and really nice acoustic low budget guitars under 200 dollars.

To be fair, you can’t expect the sound and quality of a 1000 dollar guitar, but these guitars are ideal for everyone who’s starting out learning to play guitar and wants good value for their money.

A selection of guitars ranging from 60 up to 200 dollars, depending on your budget and personal preferences, there is something here for every musician.

In this price range, these guitars are absolutely the best bang for your buck.

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Best Cheap Guitar For Beginners


1 – Jasmine S35 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Jasmin guitars are a more affordable range from the well-known Takamine brand. It’s one of the most affordable and still decent guitars you can get. The Jasmine-S35 has a dreadnought body shape with a select spruce top and nato back and sides. Nato is often referred to as “eastern mahogany” and has similar properties to mahogany. The overall guitar has a nice clear sound and great for the beginner guitar player.
Top: Select Spruce
Back and sides: Laminated Nato.
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Bracing: Jasmine Advanced X Bracing
Neck: Nato
Bridge: Rosewood
Tuners: Chrome Covered
Body finish: Satin
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Jasmin S35


2 – Yamaha FG700S Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

The Yamaha FG700S is a very popular beginner guitar, it’s because it’s a very good guitar for a low budget instrument. It has a solid spruce top unlike many other guitars in this price range and it has nato back and sides as well as the neck. This guitar sounds really great, it has a warm and full sound and can easily match up with guitars that cost twice as much. Definitely a great choice!
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back and sides: Nato
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Bracing: X Bracing
Neck: Nato
Bridge: Rosewood
Tuners: Diecast Chrome
Finish: High-gloss natural finish
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Yamaha FG700S


3 – Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – Natural

Although Fender is famous for it’s electric guitars, they also make good low budget acoustic guitars. The Fender FA-100 has a laminated spruce top and basswood back and sides. A nice, simple and direct sounding guitar. Perfect for entry level, to pull out at a campfire, a party and to use on road trips.
Top: Laminated Spruce
Back and sides: Basswood
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Bracing: X Bracing
Neck: Maple
Tuners: Die-Cast
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Fender FA-100


4 – Epiphone DR-100 Acoustic Guitar, Natural

The DR-100 has long been Epiphone’s best selling acoustic guitar. It has a select spruce top and mahogany back and sides and gives the guitar a nice warm and bright tone. The guitar is available in natural, ebony, and vintage sunburst finish. The black pickguard has the iconic “Epiphone” E sticker, but if you’re not a fan, it’s easy to peel off. A really nice beginner guitar for the price and hard to beat.
Top: Select spruce
Back and sides: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Neck: Mahogany, glued
Tuners: Die-cast premium
Features: 2 strap buttons
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Epiphone DR-100


5 – Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Black

The Rogue RA-090 is a dreadnought guitar that is designed for the absolute beginner, the young musician and anyone with a really tight budget. It’s the most affordable guitar in this list and still a proper playable instrument. The top and body are made of laminate whitewood which brings out a great deal of mid-range. This is as affordable you can get and still have a guitar that sounds good for this kind of price.
Top: Laminate whitewood
Back and sides: Laminate whitewood
Fretboard Material: Maple
Neck: Nato
Tuners: covered tuners
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Rogue RA-090


6 – Fender CD-140S Acoustic Guitar

The Fender CD-140S is an all mahogany dreadnought guitar with a solid mahogany top, scalloped X bracing and a rosewood fretboard and bridge. The guitar has a sweet rich mellow tone. It also includes a multiple black/white body binding with a tortoiseshell pick guard and a really nice mother-of-pearl rosette design. Beautiful and really nice sounding as well.
Top: Solid Mahogany
Back and sides: Laminated Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Bracing: Scalloped X
Neck: Mahogany
Tuners: Chrome Die-Cast
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane
More info, Prices and Reviews for the Fender CD-140S


7 – Ibanez IJV50 Acoustic Guitar

The Ibanez IJV50 has a laminate spruce top and agatha back and sides. The guitar is presented as an Acoustic Guitar Jam Pack which includes a gig bag, chromatic clip-on tuner, guitar strap, accessory pouch and picks. A perfect solution for the beginner who is in search of a complete package.
Top: Laminate Spruce
Back and sides: Agathis
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Neck: Mahogany
Tuners: Chrome tuners

Common Mistakes When Buying Your First Guitar

Often people get inspired to play guitar and jump straight to purchasing something that might not suit them. Here are seven common mistakes people make when buying their first guitar:

Mistake #1. Getting the wrong sound – Classical, Acoustic or Electric?

You have 3 basic choices of sound when you buy a guitar:

  • Nylon String Classical
  • Steel String Acoustic
  • Electric

A lot of people believe that the best choice is to start on an Acoustic Guitar and build up to an Electric Guitar. However, I think that your first guitar should be appropriate to the style of music you enjoy listening to.

If you like AC/DC, Green Day, or say the Foo Fighters, you really need an Electric Guitar to get the sound you want. If you like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper or Taylor Swift, an Acoustic Guitar could be a good choice. Nylon String Guitars sound great for flamenco music, classical music and a lot of traditional music.

Having said this, if it’s for a child under 12 we normally do recommend a nylon string as it’s easier for them to press the strings down. Some children can have tougher hands than others, so if you have a rough and tumble child, they mght be able to handle steel strings earlier than usual. Check out our buying guide for Choosing a Guitar for a Child for more information.

If you’re not sure what type of guitar is best for you, then just think of the music that you like to listen to the most, and call or email us. We will give you a personalized recommendation.

Mistake #2. Getting the wrong size

This is something that a lot of people get wrong. Electric Guitars are much smaller than Steel-String Acoustic Guitars and Nylon String Classical Guitars, they can basically be used by most people, but you do need to consider the extra weight. An Electric Guitar can weigh 5-6 Kg which can be difficult for children to handle. We would normally recommend children be at least 13 years before they try an Electric Guitar, but this is a generalisation and some children (sometimes as young as 10) have been ok. Every child is different, and some children may be capable at a younger age, so if you consider your child to be quite strong for their age, then by all means go for an electric. We carry a broad range of sizes in our entry level range. The correct size is most accurately determined by the player’s heightage and in some cases gender. If you can tell us these three details we can give you a personal recommendation.

Electric Guitar:

  • Smaller in size than acoustic or classical
  • Good for rock, metal, pop and country music
  • Has steel strings which can be hard on young fingers
  • Can be heavy, depending on the model.
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
5 – 1280 – 125 1/2 Size – See MiniS
12+125 +Full Size – See STH


Acoustic Guitar:

  • Good for folk, pop, country, slow rock music
  • Has steel strings which can be hard on young fingers
  • Sounds bright and loud, great for strumming chords 
  • Light weight but bulky
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
5 – 12100 – 120 3/4 Size – See LSP34
12 – 15 120 – 165 Small Body – See LSPS
15+165 +Full Size – See LSP


Classical Guitar (Nylon String Guitar):

  • Good for classical, flamenco, Spanish music.
  • Available in the smallest size – 1/4 size.
  • Gentle on finger tips – perfect for young children
  • Sounds mellow and soft – not as loud as acoustic
  • Recommended for:
AgeHeight (cm)Recommended Size
2 – 575 – 100 1/4 Size – See CL14
5 – 8 100 – 125 1/2 Size – See CL12
8 – 12125 – 1653/4 Size – See CL34
12+165 +Full Size – See CL44*

* A full size classical guitar has a wider neck than other guitars. If you have small hands we recommend the CL44S slim neck classical guitar.


Mistake #3: Buying a guitar with strings that are too high and hard to play

String action is one of the critical things for getting an easy to play guitar. The easiest way to understand action is that it’s just the measurement of the gap from the bottom of the string, to the top of the fret and it’s measured at the 12th fret (the half way pint of the string).

For a beginner we recommend an action of:

  • Electric Guitars 2-2.3mm
  • Acoustic Guitars 2-2.7mm
  • Nylon String Guitars 3-3.6mm

A common issue with most entry level nylon string guitars is that the necks are usually made in a very traditional manner using a section of metal bar a few mm thick to keep the neck straight (you can’t see this bar it is built into the neck).

We started finding that this type of construction leads to the neck bending (or bowing) after about 6 months. Unfortunately with the traditional method there is not an easy way to adjust it back to normal – once it is bent it’s time to get a new guitar! This lead us to re design our classical guitars to use a truss rod. A truss rod is a much stronger example of the bar used in traditional manufacturing, but its main advantage is that it is adjustable. So if in the future you neck begins to bend it can easily be adjusted back into correct shape. Here’s our guide to adjusting your truss rod.

Mistake #4: Getting stuck with bad machine heads guitar that don’t stay in tune

Here is an example of a basic covered machine head:

These are made out of gears and pressed metal, it used to be the only way to make machine heads (so a lot of vintage guitars use this type). While it can look cool and retro, these vintage style tuners are often very hard to tune and to keep in tune.
Now there is a modern way to get a much better guitar – the die-cast machine head:

Made from a mould these machine heads are much smoother and more accurate than a covered machine head.

Mistake #5: Choosing a popular brand name because you think you’re getting a superior product

Most popular brand name guitars are indeed very good quality at the higher levels but their entry level guitars, in our experience, are not such a great deal.

In the entry-level market, brand-name guitar companies are usually forced to make their guitars with cheaper materials. There is a simple reason for this. Most major brand-name companies have a brand owner (sometimes an American company). That company buys from a factory in China, and in Australia they will have a distributor who will sell to a retailer (your local music store). It’s pretty easy to see why they can be forced to use cheaper materials. There is a lot of price pressure to get a guitar manufactured at a low enough price for everybody to take their cut of the profit down the chain.

At Artist Guitars we manufacture our Australian designed guitars at our trusted factory in China and sell direct to you. There is no need for us to choose inferior components because we don’t have the pressure of keeping the costs low.

Mistake #6: Buying a guitar without any support materials

When most people buy their first guitar they can be a little confused about what to do. A guitar can be a confusing purchase and most guitars don’t even come with a manual explaining how to use them. That becomes a problem because most people then have to search for the information (which
can be hard to find).
Unfortunately it’s during this critical time that a lot of people get discouraged and may even give up on playing altogether. The first 6 months of learning guitar are critical, statistics show that if someone can still be playing at 6 months they will be much more likely to go on to play guitar for life, so the first 6 months are actually the most important time.

Mistake #7: Paying for features you just don’t need

At the beginner level, you need a good quality instrument, but having a more expensive instrument generally doesn’t make your playing any easier. Higher level instruments are designed for high-level players who want the ultimate in sound.

As a beginner most people are not very sure of the sound, style or type of guitar that they would ultimately like to play, but after playing for 6 months or so I’m sure you will know a lot more about guitars and when it comes time to choose your next guitar it will be an easy choice. The key features a beginner needs is a guitar that is well set-up and easy to play, but you don’t really need to spend too much money on getting a better quality of sound. Higher level guitars will only sound better when your playing has progressed to the level that you can play quite well.
Most beginners find that during the process of learning (after a year or so) you will figure out your own sound. You will naturally be drawn to music that features guitar in it, and great guitar parts. So what usually happens is that your own musical tastes will change and with this change the type of instrument that suits your sound the best will also change. So when you’re ready to take the next step, you will have a much better idea of what you really want.

So in summary…

The 7 key mistakes when buying a beginner guitar are :

  1. Getting the wrong sound
  2. Getting the wrong size
  3. Buying a guitar with strings that are too high and hard to play
  4. Getting stuck with bad machine heads guitar that don’t stay in tune
  5. Buying a brand name and thinking you will be getting a better guitar.
  6. Buying a guitar without any support materials
  7. Paying for features you just don’t need

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