Somebody please help me with buying a new guitar - acoustic or electric? $300

First of all, I am in the dilemma of going acoustic or electric or electro-acoustic. I have a budget of 360 USD/ 300 Pounds. I had been to the local guitar store yesterday for a quick look, and really liked a black tanglewood electro-acoustic guitar. It had low action, was really comfortable to play. But I like really wanna get an electric guitar. I even tried a Yamaha Pacifica, it was good too. Both of them felt nice and were comfortable, but in my budget, I can only get one of them comfortably. I don’t wanna like cheap out and like get a compromise of a cheap electric and cheap acoustic guitar. So, I am all ok with just getting one guitar. But I just don’t know for sure if I should get an acoustic/electro-acoustic or an electric guitar.

I listen to a lot of Beatles, Eric Clapton (I especially like his unplugged album, its my favorite album), John Mayer, Dire Straits, Eagles, AC/DC, Paul McCartney and Ed Sheeran.

I am like really divided on what kinda guitar to get. I saw justin’s guide and in that, it said, if you are unsure then get an electric, so should I get the pacifica (or some other good electric guitar that you might suggest) ? or should I get the tanglewood, given what I have told you about my song preferences and the fact that I am a beginner.

tbf my biggest concern is will I be able to play blues-ey kinda songs (I am referring to Eric Clapton’s unplugged album) on the electric guitar ? like will they still sound good ?

Last but not the least, if you have any other suggestions for a guitar besides these two (the yamaha pacifica and the tanglewood blackbird I believe its called) within my budget please do mention them.

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@justamathguy If you want to play blues, I’d recommend going with an electric. There’s a lot of string bending going on in the blues and with the players you mentioned. It is a LOT harder to bend strings on an acoustic than on an electric unless you have very strong hands/fingers. Playing Clapton’s unplugged stuff will still sound good with a clean electric sound (not the same as the record, but still good). Give it a try when you go to the store again. Try to do a full tone bend on both kinds of guitars and then imagine trying to do that dozens (or hundreds) of times during a practice session.

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Hi there. There are several guitars out there that are budget friendly for around your price range. For electric, Fender makes a brand called Squier (from Billy Squier) that sounds decent. I bought my daughter a mini Squier strat for Christmas last year and it sounds Amazing for the price. I think a telecaster would be better for blues, but a start would work too. Yamaha is not bad for a starter Acoustic. I think Alvarez acoustic guitars might be in that price range. Those are really decent. Fender, Ibanez, and Epiphone also make acoustics. All three are great on electric guitars. Fender could be hit or miss on acoustic with those all being made in China.

Like you said though, get what feels good for you. If you only can get one or the other, remember an electric will need an amp, which could be costly as well if you don’t have one. That said, I would suggest starting with an acoustic. I play an entry level Martin guitar for my acoustic and I love it. That one I play goes for around $400 US. You can see me playing it here quite often in the record yourself and progress section. I talked a friend into buying one too here and he found a used beauty for around $350 US.

I hope that gives you some food for thought. Good luck to you.

Jeff from California

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Thanks for the advice, I will make sure to try playing a song or parts of it (from the unplugged album) the next time I go to the store. The store guy had suggested like a fender wattman amp if I went with an electric guitar to stay within my budget. Is that any good ? it was around 80 pounds iirc.

Unfortunately, Martin Guitars aren’t available, where I am from. And the ones which are imported here, are like luxury items just due to the import duties. I will be sure to check out the Squire series, one of my colleagues got one just last year. I had tried an Epiphone but I found it a little too heavy and small.

Darn that is too bad. I’m sure you will find something that works for you. My 10 year old daughter just played her Yamaha acoustic on stage with me a couple weeks ago, to give perspective on Yamaha being stage worthy. She has a mini one of course, but one could assume the full sized ones are decent too. For electric maybe the Squier? Have a great day.

Hi @justamathguy don’t worry, by the time you are ready to play the kind of songs you aspire to, you will probably have both the (Electro-) Acoustic and the Electric. So you just sequence the songs and styles you want to play. If it is all about strumming, or playing country blues, wou will not need to bend excessively, the first 2-4 years you will be happy with the acoustic.
If you want to dive headlong in soloing of course that is a different story. I don’t think there are songs in the 2 JG Beginners books that are not playable on the acoustic.

Whatever you do, try and get a good brand, and be prepared to stretch the budget, by trying out guitars that are say 1.5 to 2 times more expensive then what you think you can afford.

And, its not unusual for Amps to be 0.8 times to 1.5 times the price of the guitar you end up buying.

If an electric, don’t forget to look to the semi hollow bodies and full hollow bodies, for instance by Ibanez, that are in the 400 EUR range, as well as the Squirers by Fender.

If you would like eventually to learn fingerstyle (Say Clapton Unplugged ), look to a smaller body style than a dreadnought (e.g. Orchestra or even Parlour). If you like a big strummy sound, then of course the Dreadnought model acoustic is right for you. At least try out an entry level Martin or Taylor, next to your Tanglewood. There are some up and coming Canadian guitarmakers that might have suitable offerings for you (Seagull, Boucher) where you can have your solid top for a reasonable price. And for something utterly Bluesy, there are the Jim Dandy model Gretsch guitars.

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@justamathguy You would need an amp. It’s been a long time since I was in the market for an amp, so I’m not a ton of help there. But there are a couple of other threads going on in this section on amps that might help.

One thing I could suggest, if you don’t mind playing through headphones, would be a Fender Mustang Micro at ~$90USD. It plugs directly into your guitar and has several amp models and a few effects. You can also link it to your phone or tablet thru bluetooth so you can play along with songs or backing tracks. I have one for traveling as I can fit the Mustang Micro and earbuds in my guitar case and have everything I need for practice or just playing for fun.

As for guitars, Yamaha Pacificas, Mexican-made Squires or Chinese-made Epiphones are all good choices and gives you a wide choice of body styles and pick-up types.

One option that can really help your budget is buying your guitars second hand. If you have friends that are guitar savy, that’s a big help as there are things you need to look out for. Obviously the action is one, but the neck has to be checked carefully, the frets as well and the body. I’ve bought a number of guitars second hand in excellent condition for about half of new price.

Tricky dilemma for sure. The problem with electric is that some of your budget goes towards an amp. With electro-acoustic you could buy the guitar now and then get an amp once you’ve saved some more. Obviously with a straightforward acoustic guitar then all of your money goes into the guitar.
I’m a beginner, I’ve tried and failed a few times. I started with an electric guitar because that’s what the hard rock and metal bands that I listen to use. I think that became a distraction, trying to run before I could walk, wanting to play something by Metallica (or similar) without having good fundamentals. This time around, I’ve bought myself an acoustic guitar (I do still have an electric one) but all of my practice is on the acoustic, working on those fundamentals. If you can get chords sounding clear on an acoustic guitar, transferring them to electric later will be easy. I’m not saying don’t start with an electric guitar if that’s where your heart is, just sharing how it’s gone for me. You won’t play blues like Clapton on acoustic, but you will get the basic skills that can transfer to an electric later.

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@justamathguy are you somewhere in Asia? Then look at the some of the Japanese or Korean brands. Some of the prime international brands have their Acoustics and their Electrics produced in Asia, and it may be that they are allowed to sell in local markets. That said, Yamaha Acoustics, Epiphone Acoustics and Electrics, and of course Ibanez are all Asian, and they are good brands.

Sorry to be a pedant.

The Squier company is over 100 years old.
Billy Squier is a bit younger.
There is no relation.

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Hello @justamathguy and welcome to the community.

First up, you face a real dilemma and my initial answer would be do what you already know - go for a better model of one type only, not two cheap models of each type.

For electric factor in the cost of cables, amplification etc.

For acoustic, you absolutely do not need the ‘electro’ aspect which also adds $$$ to the price tag. Simple acoustic is all you need. Pay more for a better guitar without the electrical parts.

Electrics - consider Yamaha Pacifica, Squier Affinity Strat.
Acoustics - consider Yamaha FG.

Amps - consider Blackstar Fly or Boss Katana Mini.

I had no idea. I guess I just assumed squier is from
Him. Lol

Hi Richard.

What is your opinion on the boss katana 100 watt full size amp? I was debating on that one today. $350 US dollars

Could you please explain why I should try something smaller than a dreadnought, if I plan to learn finger-style (which I do btw, with my old one I had already started learning a bit of finger-style) ?

Thanks for the advice. The Yamaha FG looks like it has a dreadnought style body and @TRJ was saying I should get something a little smaller than that, because I really wanna play finger style eventually. Although, I have seen some guitarists play finger style on electric guitars as well on YT or is that fake ?
For acoustics, you suggested only Yamaha, is Tanglewood not a good brand ?

Yep, I am from India. A Korean brand called Cort is also available at my local shop.

Yamaha, has these “India Exclusive” versions of their guitars which are made in India, which are like half the price of the ones made in Indonesia and China. Are those any good ? I did try one in store, it was nice.

Dreadnoughts are the standard / default body size. They are an everyday, all-purpose guitar.

Dedicated fingerstyle players will likely focus more on the width of the nut - an extra little bit of width spaces the strings fractionally further apart which suits the style.

Do not get bogged down in that at all. Focus on a comfortable guitar that feels and sounds good at your price point. It may or may not be smaller bodied.

Cort would be okay to consider too if you get a chance to try one in person.

Tanewood, like Yamaha, do guitars from cheap to expensive. At the budget end Yamaha are more likely a reliable choice with better build.

Yamaha India exclusiveI have no knowledge of though they may be sub-par if priced super low…

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