It could be the fact that the competition boosted manufacturers to make better instruments or just technological advancements, but after sifting through the market, we were able to single out four guitars with outstanding value for money.
What makes a good cheap acoustic guitar is first and foremost the ability to deliver strong basses and low-end frequencies, which is a common problem among budget instruments. Additionally, other standard factors apply – solid overall sound, durability, price and reliability.
With all that stuff in mind, check out the goods we have in store for ya below. These are the 4 best acoustic guitars under $100 on the market.
Our first pick is the pretty Jasmine. Available for as low as $80, this lady comes with a full-sized dreadnought body and surprisingly delivers the genuine punch of a $200 guitar if packed with solid strings.
We’re looking at a sturdy body (see full specs) consisting of a spruce top and laminated nato back and sides, along with a sleek satin finish and an easy to grip nato neck with 20 frets, a rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays. Also included in the mix is a rosewood bridge, a black pick-guard, bone saddle, and a set of 6 chrome tuners.
The sound is surprisingly resonant for this price. Needless to say, we are talking beginner stuff here, and our primary goal was essentially finding instruments for less than $100 that sound like decent beginner six-strings, not $100 stuff with $4000 sound. With that said, the S35 fulfills that goal and offers a sound every that will give every beginner a great sonic image of the instrument’s possibilities, all while pushing the player to strive for more.
Up next is an even cheaper option: the Rogue RA 090 and it packs about the same punch as the Jasmine. On the down side though, complaints regarding damage seem to be more frequent here, hence the risk factor is a bit up.
But then again, when summed up those complaints compile a small percentage of total users, and we do have to point out that the guitar sounds good. It’s resonant and strong, it has a chunky neck, and even a sexy rosette in the middle!
So, the features: this dreadnought six-string utilizes a white wood body with spruce top, and a nato neck with 25-3/8 inch scale length and a rosewood fingerboard with 20 frets and dot inlays. Further on up the road, we’re looking at a dovetail neck joint and a set of nickel covered tuners. It’s among the best acoustic guitars under 100 bucks you can buy.
For just under a Benajmin, you can get this Pyle model complete with a gig bag, shoulder strap, picks, and extra strings—everything you’ll need to get started with the instrument. It’s designed with the beginner in mind, with diecast chrome-plated tuning pegs to keep it well in tune and a smooth, easy-to-play action.
The PGA20 gives you the classic dreadnought shape and natural finish that for most people represents the archetypical guitar. It’s a full-sized instrument with an all-wood construction. It’s also hand-assembled—an indicator of consistency and build quality that can be rare in the budget acoustic market.
The body and face of this guitar are of laminated linden wood with an attractive high-gloss cherry stain. This is not a solid wood, and won’t resonate quite as well as a soundboard of spruce or mahogany, but compared to other laminate guitars it gives you better clarity on the front edge of your notes, with better depth and resonance in the low end. The sustain is consistent across the range of the instrument and the tone has a warmth that’s rare to find at the price point.
The durability of budget guitars is another primary concern, and again the Pyle PGA20 delivers. It has a solid enough build to stand up to the potential abuses that can be inflicted by a beginning player. The laminate on the body helps to protect the wood from changes in heat and humidity, while the hand-crafted elements of the construction mean the neck, bridge, and headstock are built to last. With all these features, the Pyle PGA20 easily becomes one of the best acoustic guitars under $100.
Main Street Guitars MAS38TR
Finally, another awesome pick of the low-budget realm – the MAS38TR from Main Street Guitars. Utilizing a slightly smaller body, this instrument is perfect for younger players, featuring a classy cutaway body with linden top, back, and sides.
The six-string is very practical and well-suited for travel, but also packs a quite decent punch, with a slightly richer middle-range groove and a distinctive rattle.
In the rest of the mix, we’re looking at a maple fingerboard attached to a mora neck, as well as a sleek set of chrome tuners and brass frets.
Overall, this is a very solid buy. It stays in tune exceptionally long – as long as you regularly change the strings that is – perhaps longer than any of the six-strings on the list. It’s resonant and has the looks. Basically, for about $50, you can actually start an amazingly rewarding hobby and perhaps even a stellar musical journey, which is kinda mind-blowing when you think about it a bit.
What to Look and Look Out for When Buying a Guitar under $100
We’ll be honest with you – there’s a lot of garbage out there within the given price range. We had to sift through many instruments that are basically children toys and not something you can practice on. The first thing to watch out for is that hollow ukulele-like sound. If a guitar makes that, avoid it.
Secondly, if the guitar has a decent sound you’ll want to see that it has as much bass power and resonance it possibly can. Instruments from this budget range tend to struggle with delivering lower frequencies, so make sure to always test out the thicker strings.
Finally, watch out for cracks and damages. Cheap stuff tends to be on the fragile side, and any damage can be impossible to repair.
With all that sorted out, we can say that the four fellas we listed here match those criteria to the full. Would we recommend venturing out and buying another guitar. Maybe, but it’s best to stick to these four lads. They’re the best acoustic guitars under $100 that we could find. Good luck!