Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners Reviewed

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I think acoustic electric guitars are one of the best choices for beginner instruments.

You can take them anywhere and play unplugged, or you can hook into an amp and exponentially increase the number of sounds to jam around with.

They’re much more versatile than regular acoustic guitars, and having the option to go electric means there’s little chance you’ll ever get bored from hearing the same old steel-string tone.

Ready to rock? You can stay inspired to keep practicing, improving, and learning new techniques with these great acoustic electric guitars for beginners.

Our Recommendation

With so many great options to choose from, it was a real task to narrow down this list, but after a lot of consideration, I was able to pick some real winners.

My recommendation is to go with Epiphone EJ-200SCE. For a first guitar, you want to make sure you have good experience, and that’s exactly what you are getting with Epiphone EJ-200SCE. Reliability combined with powerful and quality sound that can handle even stage performance – this is something you will appreciate as a beginner and definitely something I wish I had when I just started out.

The 7 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners – Overview

Epiphone EJ-200SCE


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Maple
  • Back: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro


  • The affordable alternative to Gibson’s SJ-200
  • Cutaway for easy upper fret access
  • Solid spruce top that sounds better with age


  • Pickup system can be poorly soldered with loose connections


If you’re a fan of the Gibson SJ-200 but looking for a more affordable option, Epiphone’s EJ-200SCE is a fantastic choice. Epiphone specializes in creating guitars inspired by Gibson’s renowned instruments, and the EJ-200SCE is their budget-friendly alternative to the high-end SJ-200.

Similar to the SJ-200, the Epiphone replica features a solid spruce top and maple back and sides. However, it incorporates pau ferro for the fingerboard and synthetic pearloid for the inlays instead of pricier materials. The EJ-200SCE also offers a smooth cutaway and a simplified electronic system with two Shadow brand pickups.

I’ve had the pleasure of playing this guitar myself, and I can confidently say that it delivers a strong and impactful sound. While it may not have the same level of tonal precision as the Gibson counterpart, it still performs admirably on stage. Even if you’re a beginner, the EJ-200SCE allows you to experience the timeless appeal of the revered “King of the Flattop Guitars.”

We also included EJ-200SCE to the list of top acoustic-electric guitars for the money.

Jasmine S34C NEX


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Rosewood
  • Back: Nato
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood


  • Slim neck profile for fast, easy playability
  • Grand Concert body with cutaway for easy access to upper frets
  • Smaller contoured body shape great for small players


  • No EQ controls


If you’re looking for an affordable acoustic-electric guitar, Jasmine S34C NEX is a great option, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

This guitar excels in terms of playing comfort. It features a Grand Concert style body, slightly smaller than the traditional dreadnought, with smooth contours that make it a joy to rest on your thigh.

One standout feature is its slim neck profile, which makes gripping chords much easier compared to standard dreadnought necks. This is particularly beneficial for beginners who may experience playing fatigue, allowing them to practice for extended periods without discomfort.

While the pickup system is nothing extraordinary, it does the job well for playing at home and offers a tone that won’t disappoint.

One downside is the absence of tone and volume controls, meaning any EQ adjustments will have to be made on the amplifier.

Unplugged, the S34C NEX delivers a good, well-balanced tone across the low to high ranges, although it can sound a bit jangly in the upper registers.

Another notable feature is the cutaway, which enables easy access to the upper frets. This becomes especially valuable as you progress and start learning advanced scales.

Considering its price point, I personally enjoy this guitar a lot. However, I would hesitate to use it for performances in front of large audiences.

We also included Jasmine S34C NEX to the list of top acoustic-electric guitars under $200.

Washburn Classical Series C5CE


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Wood
  • Back: Catalpa
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood


  • Nylon strings for soft playing feel
  • Smooth gloss finish for easy transitions up and down the neck
  • Cutaway classical body shape for comfort


  • No EQ, but does have an on-board volume control
  • Engineered wood fingerboard reduces responsiveness and clarity


Finding an affordable electric classical guitar can be a challenge, but Washburn has come to the rescue with their C5CE model.

In many aspects, it embodies the characteristics of a standard classical guitar, featuring a 52 mm nut width, a classical body shape and size, and, of course, nylon strings.

However, it introduces some unique elements, such as a cutaway design, unconventional tonewoods, and a Barcus Berry preamp + pickup system.

With a spruce top and catalpa sides, this guitar produces a clear and crisp tone, enhanced by the warmth contributed by the mahogany neck, bringing it closer to the traditional classical guitar sound.

To save on costs, Washburn has opted for an engineered wood fingerboard, which, in my opinion, is its most significant drawback. Personally, I prefer fretboards made of rosewood or ebony, and the engineered wood used in the C5CE doesn’t quite meet my expectations in this regard.

Despite this, the guitar has more pros than cons, and its tone is effectively reproduced through its EVT piezo pickup.

Would I choose this for a paid performance? Perhaps not for a high-profile gig, but I would certainly use it for an open mic night without hesitation.

We also included Washburn Classical Series C5CE to the list of top acoustic-electric guitars under $200.

Epiphone PR-4E


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Back: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood


  • Amazing value players pack featuring an amp, a cable, and more
  • Decent tonewood combo
  • Made by a highly dependable company


  • Mass-produced laminate guitar


Just like Fender and Yamaha, Epiphone consistently impresses us in our reviews. We’ve explored their electric guitars, hollow bodies, and their acoustics, which often make it to our list of best guitars. It’s no surprise considering they’re a subsidiary of Gibson.

While the Epiphone PR-4E may not be the greatest guitar in terms of overall quality, it’s featured here for its incredible bundle. Let me tell you why.

Now, I usually have reservations about laminate top guitars, as I tend to favor solid top instruments. However, in this case, I’m making an exception because the value of this deal is simply outstanding. For under $300, you’ll receive not only the PR-4E guitar but also everything you need to unleash its amplified capabilities.

This player pack includes the guitar itself, a 1/4″ instrument cable, a strap, a set of picks, a tuner, AND AN AMPLIFIER. Considering that the cost of an amplifier alone often exceeds the price of most other guitars on our list, the PR-4E player pack is an absolute steal.

The guitar itself is a solid acoustic-electric with a decent tone. While it may not stand out as exceptional, it certainly holds its own. If I had known about this incredible bargain when I purchased my first acoustic guitar, I would have jumped on it without hesitation. So, if you’re a beginner eager to enter the world of guitar playing, I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity.

We also included Epiphone PR-4E to the list of top acoustic-electric guitars under $300 price range.

Fender CD-60SCE


  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Back: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Walnut


  • Fender “Easy-to-Play” neck shape for fast, easy fretting
  • Cutaway for smooth shredding of the upper frets
  • Solid spruce top with great projection


  • Inferior plastic pickguard
  • Fret buzz in some instances


Fender is a brand that consistently earns top rankings in our reviews. One such example is the Fender CD-60S, the non-electric counterpart to the CD-60SCE, which has been featured in our roundup of the best blues acoustic guitars. With its reputation as a household name, Fender needs no introduction.

The CD-60SCE is a sleek electro-acoustic dreadnought with a wide cutaway and a smoothly tapered neck, delivering the exceptional playability you would expect from any Fender instrument. Its classic tonewood combination produces a bright, clean, and clear tone that is accurately captured by the Fishman pickup. While not the loudest voice in the guitar world, it certainly speaks volumes beyond its price tag.

When you receive the Fender CD-60SCE, the action is set low enough to ensure that you won’t strain your fingers while fretting your first chords. However, you may need to make slight adjustments to the truss rod to raise the strings and eliminate any fret buzz.

In my opinion, Fender’s affordable range guitars are primarily suited for beginners. However, intermediate players looking to expand their collection will find more than enough enjoyment in this model to justify its cost.

We also included Fender CD-60SCE to the list of top acoustic-electric guitars under $300.

Takamine GD11MCE-NS


  • Top: Mahogany
  • Body: Sapele
  • Back: Sapele
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood


  • All-mahogany construction for extra earthy lows and mids
  • Great tonal balance
  • Superior palathetic pickup delivers unclouded amplification


  • Laminate top decreases overtone capabilities


This electro-acoustic by Takamine is from their more affordable G series line but comes with the perks that make high-end Takamines some of the best on the market.

I love guitars with fully mahogany bodies and find their warm earthiness to be the most pleasing acoustic tone you can find.

The only downside to this guitar is the choice of laminate rather than solid wood for the top, but it’s not a big enough downfall to discredit this model entirely.

Laminate top or not, it still sounds beautiful and resonates like a dream, with a smooth playing natural finish that makes fretwork a breeze.

Takamine’s big plus is their smart-designed palathetic pickups. In this scheme, each string is represented by an individually shielded piezo element. This transmits highly precise frequencies while picking up on the soundboard’s vibration for increased resonant performance. Read more about Takamine’s palathetic system here.

So, whether you’re playing amped-up or unplugged, the tone of the GD11MCE-NS is sweet as spring water.

Fender FA-125CE


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Laminated
  • Back: Basswood
  • Neck: Nato Wood
  • Fretboard: Walnut Wood


  • Lightweight design makes player fatigue a thing of the past
  • Single-cutaway dreadnought body is loud and articulate
  • Walnut fingerboard is smooth and responsive in all ranges


  • Laminate construction doesn’t improve with age


Here’s a more affordable entry from Fender — the FA-125CE.

This guitar is designed for beginner players, keeping things lightweight and easily maneuverable so you don’t tire halfway through a practice session.

It has a cutaway dreadnought body that booms with a pleasant traditional acoustic tone and lets you play the highest reaches of the fretboard with ease.

Hearing the subtle changes you’ll need to make to perfect your playing is easy with the bright responsiveness of the walnut fingerboard, which adds just enough lows and mids to balance out your sound.

This is all brought together with Fender’s Fishman pickup and preamp, featuring a 2-band EQ you can use to modify your amplified tone to your liking.

Yamaha APX600


  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Back: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood


  • Sturdy construction will hold up against inevitable bumps and bangs
  • A great high-end student guitar
  • Beautiful, complex tone


  • No clear info on body and neck tonewoods


Despite its unknowns, this is one of my favorite Yamaha guitars.

You might be turned off not knowing what woods your guitar is made from, but give the APX600 a few minute test run and you’ll see whatever secrets Yamaha is keeping doesn’t prevent them from crafting a great acoustic electric.

This model is super clean sounding and shines in every range, with a voice that works just as well in hard-stomping outlaw country as it does in fingerpicked folk.

It may be a laminate-top guitar, but the unusual oval soundhole and specially-designed non-scalloped X-bracing produce a full natural sound that is difficult to find in other beginner models.

Yamaha’s SYSTEM65 preamp brings this model to life when you hook it to an amp, delivering each range with sonic purity and never giving an unpleasant tin, even in the topmost frets.

The narrow string spacing and cutaway body allow you to take your riffs anywhere you please without sending your hand into spasms, so with the Yamaha APX600 there’s nothing preventing you from practicing any technique you please.

Buyer’s Guide

Why Are These the Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners?

Saying what makes a guitar good for beginners is a bit of a fool’s errand.

I would tell you that any acoustic that has six strings is good for beginners, but you’ve come here looking for specifics so I’ll tell you what I like about these models.

First, I took into consideration the average cost a beginner will be willing to spend on a new acoustic. You might be of the fortunate few to whom money isn’t an object, and so many of these models will be beneath you.

But, if you’re like the average entry-level musician, you need to work within a certain budget, so I mostly chose guitars that you can get for under $300. We’ve got a whole list of acoustic electrics at this price range if you’d like to see more.

Outside of this, many of these models have necks with slim designs that make practicing for long amounts of time more feasible. The less you have to bend and stretch to hit the basic chords, the more likely you are to keep at this new hobby.

Of course, I chose only acoustic electrics that sound good, both unplugged and through an amp. You don’t want to play a tinny noisebox, so each of these models was selected to make your practice time as enjoyable as possible.

What Are These Guitars Good For?

The lower-priced models in this list are going to be everything and more that you need for practicing, songwriting, and novice home recording.

They sound fine and play better, but aren’t of the caliber of tone that you’ll want to play any shows with. I won’t tell you that they’re not suited for open mics, but be aware that when you make your first official stage debut that you’ll want to upgrade to a guitar like one of these models.

That being said, the Fender Malibu Player and the Seagull Entourage are both in the higher-end category of beginner to intermediate instruments, and I chose them specifically for musicians who know that their ultimate goal is to hit the stage.

Not only will these guitars be an absolute joy to practice and learn with, but they are perfectly suitable to performances big and small.

I Don’t Have an Amp, So Should I Just Buy a Regular Acoustic?

In the lower-cost price ranges, you’ll find more standard acoustics with solid tops, but that’s about the only difference in quality.

I like to recommend acoustic electrics to everyone because they have a huge potential outside of traditional acoustic music.

There will probably come a time when you grow bored of hearing the same tone every day, and if you find yourself an amp and effects pedal, a whole new universe of tonalities opens up to you.

This was what kept me interested in guitar in my early days and I attribute it to my continuing musical hobby 16+ years later.

An additional benefit of these guitars is the cutaway and slim neck designs. These features make playing a lot more fun and easy, so you’re less likely to give up due to aching hands and low-fret repetition.

What Tips Do You Have for Beginner Guitarists?

First, of course, is practice, practice, practice.

If you find yourself getting frustrated with a particular scale or chord, give it a rest and practice something else.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques.

Always challenge yourself, and don’t be content with knowing just the simple open chords.

Write songs! This is a great way to keep yourself motivated.

Pay attention to your playing posture. If you play too long with bad form, this can be a hard habit to break and can ultimately lead to preventable injuries.

Read our how-to guides. We’ve got lots of handy tips on our website that are meant to take your playing to the next level.

And finally, have fun! Guitar is a hobby, not a chore, and if you stop having fun then take a break and find a way to make it enjoyable once again.

The Final Word

I salute you on your goal of finding the best acoustic electric guitar for beginners and hope that you found these choices suitable for your needs and desires.

Finding the perfect guitar for you takes patience, research, and trying out different models, so don’t rush into anything and wait til the right guitar calls out to you.

Once you find it, I guarantee the best guitar will be worth the wait.


Alan Jackman

Meet Alan, the guitar-slinging, blog-running, lesson-giving machine. By day, he shreds on the six-string like a rockstar, and by night, he shares his knowledge with the masses on his online blog. With Alan, you'll learn how to play the guitar like a pro!

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