Many guitarists have a schizophrenic side. There are those days when you dream of being Jimi Hendrix, with the desire to rock big sound in a rock or blues trio. And then there are the Joan Baez days, when the urge takes us to quietly tickle an acoustic guitar around a campfire.
Rather than being burdened with several instruments, the ideal solution is to acquire an electro- acoustic guitar . You can play it absolutely anywhere, just like any acoustic. But you can also amplify it and add all the effects you want!
To help you find your way around, we have selected for you 5 of the most popular models of the moment.
Founded in 1954 by Thomann, the renowned German distributor, Harley Benton offers quality instruments at very reasonable prices . In addition to proven know-how, the brand also benefits from Thomann’s impeccable after-sales service.
The 5 Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars under $200 for Every Budget
The D-120CE BK is an entry-level electro-acoustic guitar : you’ll be hard-pressed to find cheaper unless you’re buying a toy!
As the saying goes, “ at this price, you can’t go wrong ”. The D-120CE NT is certainly not a competition guitar, but it is ideal for taking your first steps. It is also suitable for those who wish to acquire an extra instrument, to take everywhere without being in fear of damaging it.
We are dealing with a basic model. Also, some prefer to ask their luthier for customization. Robustness is not the first quality of this guitar either. If you take it on a lot of travel, plan for some medium-term repairs . That said, the finish and classic look of this instrument are remarkable for the price!
You receive the guitar “ ready to play “, and it is renowned for its ease of handling. This is thanks to the C profile of the neck and the cutaway, which go hand in hand with a featherweight. Only downside: the frets are impressive, sometimes even exceeding the handle. Some buyers went so far as to file them themselves!
On the sound side, opinions are divided, but some experienced players praise this entry level.
They praise, among other things, the accuracy of the notes and pleasant acoustics , whether plugged or unplugged (some electroacoustics are not efficient in both modes). The sound qualities of the instrument are also appreciated by lovers of clean recordings.
Ultimately, you will hardly find a decent guitar for less!
What we like:
- A guitar accessible to all budgets;
- Good finishes for the price ;
- The comfort of a wooden instrument;
- Suitable for studio work ;
- Thomann Service will not let you down.
What we like less:
- A fragile instrument , which ages badly;
- The frets are imposing, which bothers some players;
- The sound is not unanimous .
For more than a century, the Yamaha brand has been best known for its synthesizers and samplers (not to mention motorcycles!). Make no mistake: his expertise extends to most instruments, including electro- acoustic guitars .
With the CX40II, we remain on an entry-level product, but a tad more expensive than the Harley Benton D-120CE NT.
With its golden spruce wood , this guitar is simple in appearance, but it gives it a certain class, like a catch-all.
Afterwards, it is better not to inspect it with a magnifying glass: like many first-price instruments, this guitar retains some traces of its manufacture, especially small spots of glue here and there.
The materials aren’t rock solid either. Some users note in particular problems with the connectors: buzz-type background noise , small parasitic clicks when you move too much, etc.
You can possibly plan a visit to the luthier to reinforce all this. That said, in this price range, do not expect a Rolls-Royce.
Beginners and their music teachers particularly appreciate this guitar. It gives a clean and brilliant sound , both acoustically and on an amp. In addition, it comes to you tuned and ready to use, which will make it easier for novices.
The grip is comfortable, with a very low string height. The volume and tone controls are also very easy to master.
Note, however, that it is not possible to attach a strap to this guitar. It is exclusively intended for the seated position ! We can also note the absence of a battery, which requires you to plug in for amplification, but it’s not very annoying.
In conclusion, an instrument that offers most of what you would expect from an entry level!
What we like:
- An accessible product , which will not disappoint experienced players;
- A clear and pleasant sound, both acoustic and electric;
- A light instrument , with a good grip;
- A sober, yet refined design;
- Comes to you tuned and “ ready to play “.
What we like less:
- You can’t hang a strap on it.
- The materials are not very resistant and the finishes leave something to be desired, with traces of glue everywhere.
- Small problems have been reported regarding the quality of the connectors, especially when recording .
China is in the process of imposing itself in all fields, including that of musical instruments. Conceived in 2017 as an e-commerce platform, Vangoa selects and offers quality Chinese instruments at low prices.
In addition to its 12 strings and its acoustic virtues, this Dreadnought is distinguished by the extravagant quantity of accessories that come with it!
Padded gig bag, spare strings, capo, digital tuner, pickguard , several picks , user manual and audio cable are just some of the accessories included in this ultra-complete kit.
Add to that a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and responsive after-sales service, and you’ll be hard pressed to find something so complete for such a low price!
So, you will say that all that is perhaps used to mask a mediocre instrument. Don’t worry, that’s not the case at all! Admittedly, this kit is not without flaws: the capo lacks a bit of firmness , and the battery may not follow you until the end of the night.
But if we put these little inconveniences aside, we still have a well-made instrument, with neat finishes, in spruce , sapele and walnut .
These woods contribute to the particularly appreciated sound of this guitar. Like the two previous ones, it will not disappoint you either acoustically or electrically. It is also super easy to tune.
Admittedly, with 12 strings , it may not be suitable for beginners. But if you are already comfortable with 5 or 6 strings and want to expand your musical vocabulary, this is a good instrument to get started!
In addition, the neck has been specifically designed to limit muscle tension and give you total control of your instrument.
We can, of course, deplore a somewhat soporific design, but, at least, no one will blame you for the extravagance of your instrument!
Our conclusion? If only for all the equipment provided, it’s a good investment !
What we like:
- A very reasonable price for a 12-string;
- An ultra-complete accessory kit ;
- An easy to tune guitar;
- It sounds very good in acoustics as amplified;
- Quality finishes .
What we like less:
- The internal battery has a limited life .
- The capo lacks firmness.
- Matte wood is not very glamorous .
4. Ibanez Ga5tce-am Classic Thinline Electro-Acoustic Guitar: A Dream Preamp
Contrary to what its name suggests, Ibanez is a Japanese manufacturer. For more than half a century, this brand has designed nearly 600 models of guitars and basses. Suffice to say that in terms of expertise, Ibanez is not last in class! With the Ga5tce-am, we go up a little bit in price, but also in quality.
One of the main arguments of this guitar is its resistance. It is therefore suitable for both touring and eventful holidays .
Very light and well cut, it offers a pleasant grip, partly thanks to its very thin case . This somewhat limits the resonance of the acoustic sound. Apart from that, the voice of this guitar is rather appreciated by music lovers.
The strings are near the frets. This greatly facilitates the task for those who need to “ do their fingers ”: no need to force! That said, the stock strings, like on many guitars, aren’t to everyone’s taste.
Some buyers therefore advise changing them from the start , to avoid unnecessary disappointment. As long as you do, also check the position of the frets: some users find it necessary to readjust them.
In terms of options, we especially remember the preamp. It features a built-in tuner , which is always a plus. Then, it puts at your disposal a series of buttons, for a very precise control of the bass and treble.
Finally, a function prohibits any time lag between guitar and amp. This point is not negligible, because the slightest delay can sow the greatest confusion in your game!
On the look side, we stay on something very classic, but the rosette is really pretty!
In summary, this guitar deserves the detour for its robustness and its preamp .
What we like:
- A built-in tuner;
- Rather resistant materials for a model of this price;
- The preamp features a wide variety of settings;
- Featherweight and very good ergonomics;
- A nice and classic design.
What we like less:
- The sound lacks a bit of punch .
- You may want to change the strings to improve the sound.
- The frets may need to be adjusted by a luthier .
5. Epiphone EJ-200SCE — Black Electro-Acoustic Guitar: extra class!
Founded in the United States in 1973, Epiphone has established itself as a world leader in guitars. The manufacturer is dedicated exclusively to this instrument!
So we end with this model with an unforgettable design . It is significantly more expensive than the previous ones, but you get what you pay for!
The EJ-200SCE is for those who are tired of wood-colored guitars, who are looking for something a little more refined. We obviously flash on the black color , whose elegance is timeless.
We also like the minimalism of the rosette , the dandelion patterns on the top and the crowns that adorn the neck. In addition to giving it a little art deco, even flamenco touch, these details make all the originality of a guitar that your friends will not soon forget!
The icing on the cake, it does not fall into the “pretty from afar, but badly finished up close” category. Even if you inspect them with a magnifying glass, the finishes are impeccable .
With a weight of more than 5 kg , it is a somewhat heavy guitar. But if that doesn’t scare you, you’ll appreciate its performance. The sound is as warm as it is organic, both in acoustic and electric modes.
As a result, the EJ-200SCE lends itself to most musical styles. The bass, round and ample, are particularly praised by those who have tried it. Some even went so far as to compare this guitar with a high-end Gibson , that’s telling you!
Only small downsides: the battery could have lasted longer, and some adjustments may be necessary at the start. In theory, the manufacturer guarantees factory control and settings , for a ready-to-use instrument.
However, it seems that on some copies, the frets are slightly unequal in size, which can cause discomfort or impact the intonation of the notes . If necessary, you can file them or, if you don’t have the soul of a craftsman, call on your favorite luthier.
Overall, it is an excellent model, very competitive in its price range.
What we like:
- An original and stylish design ;
- Finishes that stand up to scrutiny;
- An integrated tuner to simplify your life;
- Authentic and warm sound;
- Suitable for most musical genres .
What we like less:
- It’s a heavy guitar ;
- The battery drains a little too quickly;
- The frets are of unequal sizes .
How to choose your electro-acoustic guitar: the buying guide
As we have seen, an electro-acoustic guitar first has the advantage of its versatility . You can take it anywhere without lugging a heavy amp with it! The sound palette at your disposal is also much greater than with a simple acoustic guitar.
You will also avoid the inconvenience of feedback , frequent when using an external microphone to amplify an acoustic. To choose well, here are some tips.
The budget: how far to go?
If you’re just starting out, count between €70 and €200 for a good entry-level product, but don’t buy just anything. Using a reputable brand allows you to combine quality and low price.
If you buy online, do not hesitate to read the opinions of previous buyers , to avoid unpleasant surprises!
Weight, size, shape, strings…
If you’re used to playing the guitar, you already know what types of gauges and strings are right for you. Otherwise, choose light models , so as not to break your back at the start.
Also be careful with the strings, especially if they are too rigid , made of metal or very far from the frets. Take the time to “do your fingers”!
The style: sober or original?
This point really depends on your personal taste, but also on the style of music you play and the type of visual aesthetic that usually accompanies it. Our selection has focused on rather sober-looking guitars , but there are much more extravagant models.
In any case, don’t make the mistake, common among beginners, of buying a guitar just because it’s pretty. Also take into account its acoustic qualities, the durability of the materials and the comfort of the grip.
With or without accessories?
Whether it’s a bag, a tuner or a set of spare strings , accessories are always a plus. You’ll never go broke buying them separately, but do you have enough experience to choose them well?
If you are just starting out, a complete kit will therefore be ultra-practical. But do not be impressed by the quantity of accessories: it is only of interest if the instrument itself is of quality.
And now it’s up to you !
The models presented here have been acclaimed by consumers . You can rely on this success, or explore similar models before deciding. The choice is in your hands!
- 1 The 5 Best Acoustic-Electric Guitars under $200 for Every Budget
- 2 4. Ibanez Ga5tce-am Classic Thinline Electro-Acoustic Guitar: A Dream Preamp
- 3 5. Epiphone EJ-200SCE — Black Electro-Acoustic Guitar: extra class!
- 4 How to choose your electro-acoustic guitar: the buying guide
- 5 And now it’s up to you !