Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners Reviewed

Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners Reviewed

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 to a top seven, but after a lot of consideration, I was able to pick some real winners.

In the number seven spot, you’ll find the Glen Burton GA204BCO. This is a great bundle to get you started playing electro-acoustic, but ranks at the bottom of this list because the overall quality of the guitar itself is quite basic.

Our winner is the Seagull Entourage Autumn Burst CW QIT. Its non-electric cousin made one of our top choices for the best value acoustic guitars, and though it’s on the pricier end of beginner to intermediate acoustic electrics, it’s an investment that you won’t regret.

The 7 Best Acoustic Electric Guitars for Beginners – Overview

#7 Glen Burton GA204BCO Player’s Pack Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Laminated Maple
  • Body – Basswood
  • Neck – Catalpa
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Glen Burton Active 4 Band 7545 preamp + pickup

Pros

  • Everything you need to get plugged-in and playing right away
  • Well-configured electronics
  • Great value

Cons

  • Tuning machines don’t hold

Review

This great player’s pack earned the number one spot in our review of the best acoustic electric guitars under $200.

In an across the board look at the top electro-acoustics for beginners, it still ranks as one of the best.

Looking at the specs of the guitar itself, it’s not too impressive an instrument, but its sound is another story.

Despite having a laminate maple top, the GA204BCO still has a nice punchy tone that won’t leave a beginner wishing they had more.

Plugged in, it’s surprisingly good. Thanks to its 4-band EQ, you can really fine-tune your tone to bring out the well-rounded lows and mids of the basswood body and temper the brightness of the maple without losing clarity.

The amp in the player’s pack isn’t anything to blow your socks off, but it’s still an amazing value that you’ll have a tough time beating.

With the money you’ll save from this deal, you can afford to fix this guitar’s main problem, which is the unstable tuning machines. Take care of this and you’ll have an acoustic electric that will bring you happiness for years.

#6 Takamine GD11MCE-NS Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Laminate Mahogany
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Laurel
  • Electronics – Takamine TP-4T

Pros

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

Cons

  • Laminate top decreases overtone capabilities

Review

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.

#5 Fender Malibu Player Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Walnut
  • Electronics – Fishman pickup + preamp

Pros

  • Slim-taper “C” shaped neck for comfortable chords and quick riffs
  • Unique small body design
  • Great tonewood combo for classic acoustic sounds

Cons

  • Not as loud and powerful as a traditional dreadnought

Review

It was big news when Fender released their California series guitars. The Fender Malibu Player from this lineup is a really interesting acoustic electric with strikingly noticeable differences from other steel-string guitars.

Most apparent are its eye-catching finish options, small body shape, and Fender-centric headstock that set this guitar apart.

Taking a closer look at the headstock, you’ll notice that it’s a 6-in-line design that reduces string tension on the neck and adds to the tuning stability, so midsong tune-ups are no worry at all.

It has Fender’s signature SlimTaper “C” shaped neck that makes playing comfortable in any position and when coupled with the ergonomic body shape allows you to go for the highest reaches on the fretboard.

The Malibu Player’s tonewood combo of solid Sitka spruce with mahogany back, sides, and neck creates a crisp, energetic tone with great sound in every acoustic genre.

Couple all of this with a Fishman pickup + preamp and you’ve got an electro-acoustic that will carry you from your beginner days all the way to the studio and stage.

#4 Oscar Schmidt OG2CESM Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Laminate Spruce
  • Body – Mahogany
  • Neck – Mahogany
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – Barcus Berry EQ4T

Pros

  • Low-cost but good sound
  • Decent electronics
  • Smooth playing with full-bodied dreadnought tone

Cons

  • Standard dreadnought neck may be tiresome

Review

Oscar Schmidt is Washburn’s child company, specializing in entry-level acoustic guitars.

Their OG2CESM is a large dreadnought with a big tone and base-line electronic system at a price that won’t scare you away.

Like most guitars on this list, it comes with a cutaway so you can reach the highest frets, but its neck is a standard C-shape that might make high-end riffing a bit difficult.

Though the neck is a bit wide, it’s good for beginner guitars to practice on so you can build finger strength and flexibility. Get good on a guitar like this and slimmer necks will make you feel like lightning in the future.

The tone of this Oscar Schmidt is what I call basic acoustic; it’s not exactly unique or special, but it’s versatile and will allow you to play in any acoustic genre.

Its strong point is the Barcus Berry EQ4T preamp + pickup combo, which does a great job of providing a well-balanced electric tone when it’s time to plug in.

Though Oscar Schmidt has its problems, they give beginners everything needed to start down the road to guitar proficiency.

#3 Fender FA-125CE Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Laminate Spruce
  • Body – Basswood
  • Neck – Nato
  • Fingerboard – Walnut
  • Electronics – Fishman pickup + preamp

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Laminate construction doesn’t improve with age

Review

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.

#2 Yamaha APX600 Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Laminate Spruce
  • Body – Locally Sourced Tonewood
  • Neck – Locally Sourced Tonewood
  • Fingerboard – Rosewood
  • Electronics – SYSTEM65 + SRT Piezo Pickup

Pros

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

Cons

  • No clear info on body and neck tonewoods

Review

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.

#1 Seagull Entourage Autumn Burst CW QIT Check On Amazon >>

Specs

  • Top – Solid Spruce
  • Body – Wild Cherry
  • Neck – Silverleaf Maple
  • Fingerboard – Indian Rosewood
  • Electronics – Godin QIT preamp + pickup

Pros

  • Handcrafted by master luthiers
  • Godin-ensured quality
  • High-quality tonewoods for sonic superiority

Cons

  • A bit pricey for a beginner guitar

Review

Once you see the price, you might think “No way is this a beginner acoustic electric,” but I’ve got a counterpoint.

If you’re a serious-minded musician, no matter your current skill level you will want a guitar that will not only perform but sound and feel amazing while playing.

The Seagull Entourage Autumn Burst CW QIT is about the maximum price guitar I’d recommend for a beginner, but it won’t let you down in any way.

Seagull is a Godin family brand, and all of their guitars are handcrafted to ensure the utmost quality and attention to detail.

They factor everything into the design of their guitars, considering things like tuning stability, playability, and of course tone in every aspect of their builds.

The Seagull Entourage has the best of all worlds, with a slim neck and reduced nut width that make playing a pleasure, amazing tonewoods that only improve with age, and specially designed headstocks that keep your guitar in tune for hours upon hours.

If you plan to play for years, you will want a quality instrument, and this is a great investment in yourself and your musical well-being.

Interested in more Seagull guitars? Read our review of the Seagull S6 here.

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.

 

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