The Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 For 2020

Best acoustic guitars under 1000

Upgrading from your entry-level guitar to the intermediate guitar can be hugely enjoying. The step up in tone quality and overall playability can make guitar playing even more enjoyable (who knew?). While there are a ton of options in the $500-1000 range, we feel there are a few standouts among the pack. While it can be difficult to buy a guitar online without actually hearing it, we have tried to provide the best overview of the best acoustic guitars under 1000 for your comparison. 

It was actually quite difficult to find faults with these guitars. Each guitar has it's own character and will fit each player differently. Strangely, we are very neutral when it comes to guitar brands. We prefer to judge the guitar on it's own unique sound and let the brand become an afterthought. ​We expect you are already well versed on what to look for in a guitar, but we'll quickly cover some of the issues to make sure everyone is on the same page. Let's get started! 

BEST 

Yamaha A3R A-Series
Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium
Martin DRS2
Seagull Artist Mosaic
Taylor 214ce 200 Series

Product

Yamaha A3R A-Series

Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium

Martin DRS2

Seagull Artist Mosaic

Taylor 214ce 200 Series

Price

[amazon_link asins=’B004MF76RO’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’audiogearlab-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’94e842bf-fa17-11e6-b375-a7342f0dd24f’]

[amazon_link asins=’B0193WHP58′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’audiogearlab-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ac26e261-fa17-11e6-ae00-719373d1ae3e’]

[amazon_link asins=’B0085GB758′ template=’PriceLink’ store=’audiogearlab-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cdf8dffa-fa17-11e6-9e9b-a701ea9961ab’]

[amazon_link asins=’B003C80SDG’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’audiogearlab-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’df264e0e-fa17-11e6-a2b3-1ff8f01adcdf’]

[amazon_link asins=’B01NCFF0YA’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’audiogearlab-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’11718445-fa18-11e6-a65a-97e4b0c0d20a’]

Features

  • Dreadnought cutaway 
  • Acoustic-electric 
  • Solid rosewood back and sides 
  • Spruce top 
  • Mahogany neck 
  • System 63 SRT Preamp
  • Grand Auditorium cutaway 
  • Layered Sapele back and sides
  • ES2 pickup
  • Spruce top
  • Mahogany neck 
  • Dreadnought body 
  • Solid Sapele Back & Sides
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top 
  • Plek tuned 
  • Dreadnaught body 
  • Cedar top 
  • Mahogany back and sides 
  • 1 and 3/4 inches neck (slightly wider than normal) 
  • Grand Auditorium Cutaway
  • Solid Sitka Spruce top
  • Layered Rosewood side and back 

Electronics?

Solid sides and back?

Additional setup?

Peer Rating

4.5
4.7
5
4.7
5

How to Select Your Guitar Within The Under $1000 Range

We like to leave aesthetics off the list at this level. We feel that is totally down to personal preference and we don't feel like forcing our visual preferences on unsuspecting shoppers. We'll mainly focus on the following main areas: tonewood, electronics and build quality.

  • Tonewood
    Acoustics live or die by the wood they are made of. We'll mainly be looking at whether the guitar has solid tonewoods for the back and sides or uses layered wood. Solid tonewoods are usually found in higher end guitars and usually age much better then their layered counterparts. However, layered tonewood typically sounds very strong right off the bat. We like to recommend a solid tonewood for the sides and back if you can swing it. This gives the guitar a little more character over the long run. 
  • Electronics 
    Have a look at which electronics come with the guitar. If you are going to be performing you need to have quality electronics. Having the ability to adjust your EQ parameters is essential. Some companies are now offering electronics that don't solely rely on piezo pickups. Instead they have a few internal mics that mimic studio quality microphone setups. 
  • Build Quality
    While there shouldn't be any issues here it still needs to be a consideration. As you near the $1000 mark it is the finer details that start to become important. Will the guitar new additional setup after purchase? How is the action and playability coming out of the factory? Some companies (Martin) will usually throw in a precision tuning (using a Plek machine) as their final step of manufacture so you know they quality is top notch. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Solid tonewood for side and back 
  • Good quality electronics 
  • Tuned build quality 

 We hope you find some value in our reviews below. We remember the experience of upgrading from a beginner to intermediate guitar during college. We were suddenly playing twice as long as usual. We wish you the best on your journey to a better sound! 

Our Top Picks For The Best Acoustic Guitar Under 1000

Yamaha A3R A-Series


90 %
Rating
Yamaha A3R A-Series
  • SRT Preamp 
  • Solid Rosewood back and sides 

FEATURES:

  • Dreadnought cutaway 
  • Acoustic-electric 
  • Solid rosewood back and sides 
  • Spruce top 
  • Mahogany neck 
  • System 63 SRT Preamp
Yamaha A3R A-Series

One of our personal favourites. The A3R uses Yamaha's unique SRT preamp. The preamp gives you the option of choosing between three professional world class studio microphones. The The Neumann U67 - large diaphram condenser mic, the The Neumann KM56 for crisp leads or fingerpicking, and the ribbon style Royer R-122 for smoother tones. An interesting feature is the blend option of the piezo pickup and the mic. This lets you get the natural acoustic tone blended in with the metallic nature of the strings. You are also able to choose between two mic postions as well as tweaking any of the EQ parameters. In short, endless options. 

The tone of the guitar is top notch. The Rosewood sides and back project well over the entire EQ spectrum. Rosewood is known for being a little more punchy than its Mahogany counterparts. It's simply the best for projecting over the entire EQ range giving the natural, full-bodied sound of an acoustic guitar. 

If you're planning on playing with your guitar plugged in, the SRT preamp of the A3R is unmatched. 

  • Best for those looking to play with their guitar plugged in. 

Bottom Line: The SRT preamp is a huge plus for this guitar. If you are lacking a rich, full-bodied sound when you're plugged in, this should be your next guitar. 

Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium

93 %
Rating
Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium
  • Taylor quality 
  • ES2 pickups 
  • Layered back and sides 

FEATURES:

  • Grand Auditorium cutaway 
  • Layered Sapele back and sides
  • ES2 pickup
  • Spruce top
  • Mahogany neck 
Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium

For those looking for the Taylor look, feel, and sound, without paying the Taylor price. The Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium was first introduced in 2007 and was an instant hit. As this is guitar is designed for performing, it uses a venetian cutaway.  The sides are made of layered sapele, which offers extra resilience to fluctuating climate conditions. The neck is slightly narrower at 1-11/16", a pro for anyone with smaller hands. 

It uses a three piece neck, which is typcially stronger than a one piece and wastes less wood. The tuners are chrome die-cast Taylor tuners that are sealed to remain permanently lubricated. ​It uses a slightly more basic electronics compared to the A3R with only three EQ adjustments. 

  • Taylor sound and quality without the Taylor price. 

We aren't completely dazzled by this guitar, but if you love Taylor and don't want to have to dig through your couch cushions then this can be a great option. 

Bottom Line: A great option for a performance Taylor guitar. Not completely overwhelming, but a decent option. ​

Martin DRS2


93 %
Rating
Martin DRS2
  • Solid Sapele back & sides
  • Fishman Sonitone electronics 
  • Plek tuned 

FEATURES:

  • Dreadnought body 
  • Solid Sapele Back & Sides
  • Solid Sitka Spruce Top 
  • Plek tuned 
Martin DRS2

The entry level guitar from Matrin. Although entry level, it still lives up to the high standard we expect from Martin. The tone of this guitar is what you'd expect. Warm, balanced, and full of body. The solid Sapele side and back gives a strong mid-range and great sustain. The dreadnought body provides the deep low end and loud volume projection you'd expect.

The neck is made of multilaminated Stratabond - a very strong laminate that will protect your guitar from any changes in climate. The electronics, while still not up to the SRT preamp, provide a bright tone. If you are going to be using this guitar for performances, we suggest upgrading the electronics. You'll get a much stronger EQ balance and a better overall sound. 

The guitar itself is quite playable. The slimmer profile neck lets you glide across with ease. It's also setup for you right out of the box. It was precision tuned using a Martin Plek machine. Martin’s Plek machines would generally run you around $350-400, but it is thrown in with every Martin Road series guitar. 

  • A great do-it-all guitar. A perfect embodiment of the under 1000 category. 

Bottom Line: A great option for someone looking for a lot of versatility in their guitar. This guitar will do well with any genre. Great for performing and at home use. 

Seagull Artist Mosaic

93 %
Rating
Seagull Artist Mosaic
  • Cedar top 
  • Solid side and back 
  • No electronics (available for extra $200) 

FEATURES:

  • Deadnaught body 
  • Cedar top 
  • Mahogany back and sides 
  • 1 and 3/4 inches neck (slightly wider than normal) 

A unique option from Seagull. The Seagull Artist Mosaic is the top of the line guitar from Seagull. It has a cedar top, giving a slightly warmer tone compared to the typical spruce tops. The cedar is hand selected and pressure treated to ensure good quality. Cedar is typically used for classical guitars, but works well here.

The sides are made from solid Mahogany which provide a strong mid-range. It balances out well with the cedar top resulting in one of the most unique sound profiles of all the guitars on our list. 

The overall playability of this guitar is really good. Many people have commented on the great action right out of the box. We don't expect you'd need to make any further adjustments unless you were very particular. 

  • A unique warm tone. Great for fingerpicking.

This is the top of the line for Seagull so expect a lot of care and hard work put into this guitar. It is one of the only guitars on our list that is made in North America (Canada). 

Bottom Line: A great option for those looking for a unique, warm tone. 

Taylor 214ce 200 Series


93 %
Rating
Taylor 214ce 200 Series
  • Taylor quality 
  • Wood housing 
  • Sweat resistant 
  • Layered Rosewood

FEATURES:

  • Grand Auditorium Cutaway
  • Solid Sitka Spruce top
  • Layered Rosewood side and back 
Taylor 214ce 200 Series

Another 'entry-level' guitar from Taylor. The tone of this guitar is somewhere between the full depths of the dreadnaught and the tighter sound you get from a smaller bodies instrument. The layered back and sides allow this guitar to sound great right from the start. However, it won't age as nicely as it's solid-bodied counterparts. 

The electronics are good enough for performers (although still behind the SRT from Yamaha). The tuning is very stable and the intonation is exceptional. If you love Taylor but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, this is the perfect guitar for you.

​It seems everyone who picks up this guitar falls in love. The tone quality is unique enough from the other full bodied dreadnought to really make this guitar stand out.  

Really, nothing to complain about here. 

  • A great offering from Taylor. Highly recommended. 

Bottom Line: A great guitar for the experience player who wants to get their hands on the legendary Taylor sound. 

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. I love reviewing audio equipment and solving audio related problems.

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: