The Olney Hymns

The words of John Newton & William Cowper with a fresh and new musical style

5 Acoustic Guitars under $500

My wife will be the first to claim that we have a lot of guitars around our house. She might say there are too many but after all these years together, guitars are a habit of mine she seems to tolerate with forbearance and grace. 

One of the guitars we have is an old Guild G37 that I bought in 1974 for $330. That was a lot of money for a young kid to come up with in those days. I dreamed of a Martin HD28 but the reality of my world was a relatively inexpensive Guild. Case not included. 

That old guitar still sits in the corner of our house. But it does tend to roam. Sometimes on the couch, sometimes on a chair, on the guest bed or up against the wall. It roams from room to room, from hand to hand, always ready. Ready for a shadow of a song idea. Ready for a family sing along. Ready to sing a grandkid to sleep or other times be too loud and wake them up. It's not the best sounding guitar we have but it is probably the most used. From me or my wife to my kids and grandkids. 

That old guitar has been with me from singing John Hartford's "Dancing In The Bathtub" to our oldest daughter while she was a baby in the bathtub to me sitting on the side of my bed strumming out the idea for "Holy And Anointed One" to singing the Ozark Mountain Daredevils "Chicken Train" to my grandkids while they jump around flapping their arms like chicken wings. That old guitar is part of the story of my life. 

One of the questions that comes up from time to time on a Facebook page that I am part of is the query asking for input on an inexpensive but functional guitar for the budget minded person. For this article I picked the price ceiling of $500 and began to look through a few different well known web stores that most would be familiar with. Until a few days ago I never paid much attention to them but was surprised at the considerable amount of choices available to todays guitar player. There are some great guitars out there and you don't have to sell your mule and wagon to get one of them. Yes, most of them are made in either China, Indonesia or some other country we only have a general idea where they are, but that doesn't mean that they are being made by some old fella armed with only a ruler and a hatchet. If China can make iPhones they should be able to make guitars. The quality of these over the years is getting better and better and the chances of finding a remarkably versatile instrument are pretty danged good. 

So, for all that jabbering, here are just 5 guitars that I found slumming around just a couple web stores. In no order of preference :)

These are just a taste of what is available. You might just find that inexpensive guitar that you will be playing 30 years from now. 

1. Recording King RD-T16 - $499.99. I have played Recording King instruments a few times at the NAMM show and in a few guitar shops and I have to admit they are a hidden gem and worth a look. 


#2 Guild D-240-E. $399.  Includes Guilds AP-1 Pickup. 


#3 Ibanez AW535. $399.99


#4 Yamaha LL6. $499.99


#5 Takamine GY93. $479.99