The Best Budget Guitars for Beginners

Black electric guitar on a red background with music flowing past

an inexpensive guitarSo you have decided to buy a guitar and it has to be an inexpensive guitar. You will need the best budget guitars for beginners, that will inspire you to play. One, which will sound nice and keep you interested.

It has to be good value for money and make you want to learn, not quit! You’ve always wanted to play and now is your chance.

So which guitar?

You’ve spent hours surfing the net and are even more confused than when you started. Because there are some really beautiful guitars on the market and they can get very expensive. You’ve wandered through your local music store and heard the sales pitch and were too nervous to try any guitars. The best budget guitars are not always in shops, although there can be some great ones.

Do you need an expensive guitar to learn to play? No!

Let’s be logical about this. You are going to have to make some decisions first.

  1. Will it be an Acoustic or an Electric guitar?
  2. Nylon strings or Steel strings?
  3. What size is perfect for you?
  4. What else do you need to start playing?

After you have answered these 4 questions you are ready to look at the top 10 best budget guitars for beginners, let’s get started.

Acoustic Steel or Nylon

If you have decided that you don’t want to bother with buying an amp at the moment. You will be buying annylon string acoustic guitars Acoustic guitar. There are three types of Acoustic guitars. A nylon string Acoustic guitar, a steel-string Acoustic guitar, and a Semi-Acoustic guitar. All can be played without plugging in to an amp, even the semi-acoustic.

Nylon string guitars have been used mainly for classical and Spanish music in the past. But are becoming very popular with players who want a mellow, sweet-sounding guitar. Who doesn’t want steel strings cutting into their fingers and want a smaller bodied guitar that they can travel with? They are also popular for women and children because of their shape and size, especially if they have the new thinner necks.

A semi-acoustic Steel-string guitar has a built-in booster for plugging into an amp. You can still hear it perfectly without plugging it in and it doesn’t affect the quality of your playing. But when you are ready to play for others, you might need some volume or sound quality control and having this built-in Pre-amp, will mean you can just plug it in and play!

The Top 5 best budget Acoustic guitars

  • Artist Guitar Classical Nylon String Cutaway 3/4 size Pack with an inbuilt tuner, a guitar strap, a padded guitar bag, 2 picks, and a spare set of strings. $115 (Designed in Australia, available in Australia and in the USA) This guitar is available in any size. As are the Artist Steel String Beginner Cutaway Acoustic pack with a Blue guitar. $149 Video is available to see them played before buying.

Artist guitars are the best

  • Yamaha 3/4 size Classical Nylon string guitar bundle with gig bag. Tuner, strings, string winder, DVD, and polishing cloth.


  • Yamaha Gigmaker  Steel-string Acoustic Pack with a spruce top. This includes a Tuner, Strings, and 2 picks. A padded guitar bag and guitar strap. Instructional DVD


  • SX Rose Acoustic Guitar 37inch Includes Gig Bag and instructional DVD


  • Ibanez Nylon string thin line classical Guitar with Cutaway and built-in onboard Pre-Amp. Semi-Acoustic. Spruce Top, Mahogany back, sides, and neck. This is a beautiful guitar with a narrow neck. Worth every penny.Steel string guitar

Here is an extra I couldn’t resist if you can stretch your budget and you want an amazing guitar for women and kids.

  • The Gretsch G5021 Parlor Acoustic Guitar. Steel-string Worth a look!


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Epiphone Les Paul Electric guitar

The Top 5 best budget Electric Guitars

If you have decided to buy an electric guitar and dream of a big sound, then there are two things to remember;

  • It will be easier to push your strings down, but the steel strings can still cut your fingers a bit until they get callouses. So take it steady and don’t hurt yourself.
  • You will have the expense of buying an amplifier and lead, as you can’t play an electric guitar without one. (Well you can but you won’t be able to hear yourself.)


  • Artist STH Brown Sunburst Electric Guitar Pack with Humbucker pickup. Includes Guitar Strap, Tuner, and bag. All sizes are available. The price varies slightly depending on what color you choose. (No amp)

Free shipping on all Artist guitars

  • Squier Mini Brown Sunburst Stratocaster Pack.  Includes a Guitar Strap, Tuner, Picks, Fender online lessons, a DVD, and polish cloth. This is an excellent value from Fender.


  • Epiphone Les Paul Vintage Sunburst Electric Player Pack Includes a 10 Watt Amp, 10 ft Cable for your guitar. Clip-on Tuner. Guitar strap. 2 medium picks and a padded Guitar Bag. Great guitar by Gibson. Also included is 3 months of Free lessons downloadable from eMedia.


  • Ibanez GRG Electric Guitar  (Guitar only) Beautiful solid poplar body. Maple neck. Available in many great colors.


  • Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar.  (Guitar only) Solid Mahogany, Rosewood Neck, 2 Humbucker pickups, and a Low fast action. Chrome machine heads. Made popular by famous guitarists Jimmy Page, Gary Moore, Peter Green, and David Grohl. It’s a Classic!

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It’s all about the size

One of the worst mistakes that you can make is to get the wrong size guitar for your body type. This will create sothis is the wrong size guitar for your body much frustration before you have even played your first chord.

There is only one solution. Take your time to look around at what is available. Whether it’s a nylon string, steel string Acoustic, or a solid body Electric, keep looking and picking up guitars until you are sure. Budget guitars are everywhere.

It doesn’t matter if you need to watch your budget or even if someone gives or loans you a guitar. If it doesn’t feel comfortable on your lap or standing with a strap, it never will.

If you have to stretch too far with your strumming hand to reach the strings, the guitar is too big. (Your elbow should be just over the top of the guitar at the front.)

If you place your thumb on the back of the neck of the guitar and your fingers won’t form the shape of a ‘C’ so your finger are on the front of the neck strings, then the neck is too wide for you.

Give yourself plenty of time and experience picking up guitars. Music shops are usually quite comfortable with you trying different guitars and will often play them for you if you ask nicely. Just don’t play, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the shop! You have been warned!

Comfort is King!

Just the guitar or a pack?

How tempting it is to buy the first guitar you see, you’re in love and then, you see the price! There are lots of reasons why you could have decided to become a guitarist. You saw your guitar hero playing and now you want to play their signature guitar. Your favorite singer plays a steel string acoustic and you love their songs.

Whatever your motivation. If you are just starting to play and don’t want to spend a fortune, you don’t need to, go for a pack. They are terrific value. They include a great quality guitar, amp, straps, picks and tuners and you go home with all you need. Happy and ready to start your playing journey. It’s worth reading more than one review on guitars.

Upgrading to a new guitar

When you have been playing a while, then maybe it will be time to sell your first guitar (or not) and buy that amazing guitar you’ve been dreaming about, you’ve earned it. By then, you will know what sound you want to hear when you play. You may have changed your style of music, so you need a different guitar. Only you can decide.

Ask any guitarist which is their favorite guitar and you will get a million answers because we all have our favorites. Some readers may not agree with my top 10 choices but I was looking for value and play-ability. You are looking for the best budget guitars for beginners.

As you progress playing over the years, your taste in guitars will settle into a pattern and you will rave about certain guitars and that is great! It takes all of us to make a community of guitarists and singers. Enjoy.

Dream big but start small

Every journey begins with little steps. Being inspired. Making a plan of action. Buying a Guitar. Finding some lessons. Practicing and enjoying each success. Until you begin to reach your dream.feeling inspired to learn to play guitar

Every guitarist we admire had to pick up a guitar for the first time. Feel their way around the body and get their hands to be accurate on the strings. Work out chords and notes.

Swear, groan, and suck their hurting fingers (consider buying a nylon string guitar.) So, why put yourself through all the work and study?

It’s all about having a secret dream. One you have never told anyone about. It’s deep in your head and heart.

You’ve decided to make it happen and it will if you just keep going. Buying a budget guitar when you are a beginner is your very first step to being an awesome guitarist.

I hope you have enjoyed this article, I will be posting many reviews on guitars and courses.

If you are looking for a brilliant guitar course have a read of this review of a great beginner’s course.

Please contact me if I can help in any way on your guitar journey.

I look forward to reading your comments.


4 thoughts on “The Best Budget Guitars for Beginners

  1. Great article, my son plays an Ibanez, when he was 12 years old he heard the song by the band POISON called “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” came home with a borrowed guitar and had the song down by the next morning, he played by hearing,but now plays by reading music and writing his own, and for other names I can’t mention. Continued success.

    1. Thanks Kimberly, what an inspirational story. What a talent, he reminds me of my eldest brother who also could learn a song by ear. How wonderful. More success to your son. Lily

  2. Dear Lily,
    Thank you for sharing so much valuable information for a guitar beginner. My son wants to start and I was wondering which guitar to get him. He is actually more the classical music type. I was surprised! But he seems to love Spanish romantic music and I guess I am happy about that, as he is 16 and could wish to play different, less complicated music.
    I am completely new to this but wish to buy him one for christmas.
    Which one would you advise? Reading through your article I guess Nylon string Acoustic would be what to look for?
    Thank you very much in advance for your answer,

    1. Hi Jan, how fortunate to have such a talented son. A lovely acoustic is the Spanish Cordoba guitars. I love mine as it is perfect for picking classical romantic pieces.
      You may wish to read my post on the perfect acoustic guitar for a beginners.

      Wishing you success with finding a great guitar for your son.


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