Best Cheap Acoustic Electric Guitars Under $200

Budget Acoustic Electric Guitars

Eventually, many guitar players will want the ability to plug their instrument to an amplifier or a recording console. This is the reason why acoustic electric guitars are rampant, even in the entry level market. As always, we feature the best of them right here, to help you get a good acoustic electric guitar right at the start.

Contents

The Best Cheap Acoustic Electric Guitars

Gearank Sources Street Price
Jameson 900 Series Thinline 84 1400+ $100
Donner DAG-1CE 87 10+ $140
Oscar Schmidt OG10CE 86 10+ $180
Ibanez V70CE 91 300+ $200
Ibanez PF15ECE 85 70+ $200

Jameson 900 Series Thinline

84
GEARANK

84 out of 100. Incorporating 1400+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
Jameson Guitars 900 Series Full Size Thinline 6 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar

With its thinline 3" thick body, the Jameson 900 Series acoustic electric guitar is easier to carry around and less prone to feedback. But because of its shallower body, acoustic projection and volume is expected to be lower than its bigger counterparts. For plugging in, it has a passive pickup and basic volume and tone control. Finally, this guitar comes in various colors, in case you have a particular aesthetic preference.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Thinline with Cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Nato back & sides
  • Finish: Black (Many Other Color Variants)
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Not Specified
  • Neck Profile: Not Specified
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: 1.685"
  • Number of Frets: 20 /li>
  • Scale Length: 25.5"
  • Nut Width: 1.685""
  • Electronics: Built-in Pickup with Tone Control
  • Pickup Type: Passive

Overall response is generally positive, mostly because of its affordable price tag. As expected, many of the reviews are from beginners, or from the relatives that bought the guitar for them. Interestingly, there are some experienced guitar players who appreciate its comfortable thinline body shape and playability. There are also a number of users who are surprised at how good the tuners keep the strings in tune, which is a common problem for guitars in this price range. The guitar's amplified sound also gets some praise.

On the downside, there are complaints about the need to file the fretwires, while others find the action a bit on the high side.

If you're looking for an affordable acoustic-electric guitar that's conveniently compact, then do check out the Jameson 900 Series Thinline.

Donner DAG-1CE

87
GEARANK

87 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$140
Donner DAG-1CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

The Donner DAG-1CE is a straightforward acoustic-electric guitar in the familiar dreadnought shape, only this one is affordable and comes with some nice freebies. It features standard wood configuration, which includes spruce for the top and mahogany for the back and sides. The neck has a slim C" shape profile for comfortable playability and it comes with a built-in active preamp with EQ controls for adjusting treble, bass and mids. Finally, this guitar comes bundled with extras that include a guitar strap, a capo, a pickguard, an extra set of guitar strings and a bundle of guitar picks, all of which add to the already good value you are getting out of this guitar.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Dreadnought with Cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: African Mahogany back & sides
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: C Shape
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: mm
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: Not Specified
  • Nut Width: Not Specified
  • Electronics: Built-in Pickup and Preamp with 3-Band EQ
  • Pickup Type: Active

The Donner DAG-1CE gets a lot of compliments for its value for money, with many describing it as a great beginner's guitar. It's acoustic and amplified sound are also well received by many users. Build quality is also well received, especially when considering the price.

Unfortunately, it is not without issues, as there are reports of improperly filed frets, and string height inconsistencies, the usual issues found in cheap mass produced guitars. Thankfully, these are issues that can be fixed with some work.

If you are looking for a good value full-size acoustic electric guitar, then the Donner DAG-1CE will meet, if not exceed your expectations.

Oscar Schmidt OG10CE

86
GEARANK

86 out of 100. Incorporating 10+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$180
Oscar Schmidt OG10CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

While dreadnought is still the most popular shape, there are other shapes that provide a slightly different tone and comfort. One such shape is the concert size, with its narrower "waist" that makes it a bit more comfortable to sit on your lap, and a subtly warmer sound. This is the particular shape that the OG10CE comes in, and it is doing well enough in the market to warrant a spot on this list. It is made by Oscar Schmidt, a sub-brand of Washburn. It features an all-laminate body (spruce top and catalpa for the sides and back), and comes with a built-in active MET-10 preamp system with built-in tuner.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape: Concert with Cutaway
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: Catalpa back & sides
  • Finish: Transparent Green
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Not Specified
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: Not Specified
  • Nut Width: Not Specified
  • Electronics: MET-10 Preamp Tuner/System
  • Pickup Type: Active

Good aesthetics seem to be the most common reason why many users get interested with the Oscar Schmidt OG10CE, a testament to its overall build quality, which is quite impressive given its price. Acoustic sound quality also gets a lot of positive comments, even from guitar instructors.

There are some reports of fret buzz and minor action related inconsistencies, all of which are workable. There are also a few users who feel that the plugged-in sound lacked a bit of bottom end, but since it has built-in EQ, it can be adjusted.

The Oscar Schmidt OG10CE is a good looking yet affordable concert size acoustic electric guitar that's easy to recommend.

Ibanez V70CE

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Ibanez V70CE Acoustic Electric Guitar

Ibanez is well known for providing good quality instruments in every price point, from those used by virtuosos like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, to affordable acoustics meant for the average joe. The V70CE is part of their extended line up of instruments, a standard dreadnought acoustic electric guitar with Ibanez' quality control reputation backing it up. It features a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck and built-in electronics with basic EQ.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape:
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: back & sides
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Ibanez Slim Profile
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length: Not Specified
  • Nut Width: 1.6875"
  • Electronics: Ibanez AEQ200 Pickup and Preamp with Treble/Bass Controls
  • Pickup Type: Active

Many users point to the Ibanez V70CE's good sound and playability as the main reason they are happy with the instrument. Some users describe its acoustic tone as being full sounding with good low end, while others appreciate its clarity. Plugged in sound also gets a lot of thumbs up from users who are happy with how balanced and natural it sounds.

There are a few complaints from experienced users who compare its quality to more expensive guitars, specifically mentioning fret buzz issues, and minor aesthetic flaws.

Still, given its price tag, good market reputation and big brand backing, the Ibanez V70CE is a great buy for those who are starting out.

Ibanez PF15ECE

85
GEARANK

85 out of 100. Incorporating 70+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
Ibanez PF15ECE

Ibanez secures a second spot in this list with the PF15ECE from their performance series line. This acoustic electric comes with a familiar setup, having a dreadnought cutaway body with spruce top, mahogany back and sides and x bracing. For its plugged in sound, Ibanez equipped this guitar with their AEQ2T pickup and preamp system, which comes with a 2-band equalizer and tuner.

Specifications:

  • Body Shape:
  • Top: Spruce
  • Body: back & sides
  • Finish: Natural
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck Profile: Not Specified
  • Fingerboard: Nandu
  • Fingerboard Radius: Not Specified
  • Number of Frets: 20
  • Scale Length:24.96"
  • Nut Width: 1.654"
  • Electronics: AEQ2T Preamp with 2-Band EQ and Onboard tuner
  • Pickup Type: Active

Build quality and aesthetics are two of its most attractive traits, as attested to by many reviewers. Many are happy with how the overall natural look of the guitar matches its familiar dreadnought acoustic tone. There are also reports of users satisfied with its playability and amplified sound.

As expected in this price range, there are reports of some users receiving the guitar with the action set higher than they want, while others encountered minor finish blemishes.

Check out the Ibanez PF15ECE if you're looking for a more natural looking and sounding acoustic electric guitar.

Things to Consider When Buying a Cheap Acoustic Electric Guitar

  • Basic Tonewood Overview

    There are many different wood types used in guitar construction, and they have a big impact on the resulting sound, especially when talking about acoustic guitars. Unfortunately, there aren't many different tonewood to choose from in this price range, but most of the guitars come with the familiar combination of a spruce top and mahogany (along with its other variants) on the back and sides.

  • Laminated vs Solid Wood

    Acoustic guitars with solid wood tops are preferred by many because of the open and vibrant sound they produce, on the flipside, laminate wood are cheaper and more resistant to weather changes, making them ideal for entry level guitars. Ideally, every guitar should be made out of premium solid wood, but real world budget constraints, especially in the entry level market, along with various environmental factors call for cheaper alternatives.

  • Body Shape

    Physics dictate that different body shapes of acoustic guitars affect the overall sound. Generally, bigger and thicker guitars like those with the familiar dreadnought shape have more low end and projection. Thinner and smaller ones emphasize the upper mids and highs, and they are also lighter and often times more comfortable to play. Most entry level guitars come in the dreadnought shape, probably because beginners are easily impressed with volume projection - that is until they develop ears for nuances.

  • Passive vs Active Pickups

    Active undersaddle acoustic guitar pickups are generally preferred for their realism and overall volume. And this is true both in the upper and lower spectrums of the market. The downside to these pickups is their power requirement, which entails having to use batteries. On the other hand, passive pickups are more discrete, but they don't offer the same tone, controls and features as active ones.

  • Common Fretboard Issues

  • More often than not, manufacturers of cheap acoustic guitars tend to cut cost by skimping on fretboard quality. And there are plenty of reviewers who go out of their way to drive this point home. Thankfully, fretboard issues like high action, fret buzz, and sharp fret wires are often times easily corrected.

Cheap Acoustic-Electric Guitar Selection Methodology

The scope for this guide includes all acoustic electric guitars in the sub $200 price range. We then narrowed down our focus to those that are readily available from major US music gear retailers. We ended up with a short list of 14 acoustic electric guitars, along with over 2,300 relevant data sources, which include the most recent reviews and ratings from experts and actual users. All these data were then analyzed by the Gearank Algorithm, resulting in scores out of 100 that best reflect current market sentiments. We then used the Gearank scores to further cut the list to just the cream of the crop, as presented above. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

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