What is the best Acoustic Guitar Under $1500 (our top pick)
Taylor 214ce and ce-K
The 214ce is one of the best overall acoustic guitars on the market. From a pure build and tone quality, you're getting a guitar that can aggressively compete in the $2000+ acoustic categories. This is what we've come to expect from Taylor, and in the $1000 to $1500 price range, the 214ce is your best bet.
As you cross into four figure financial territory, acoustic guitars become more like small investments and permanent purchases - which is scary. Because you're spending enough that you don't want it to be a rental or a temporary solution like you would expect from a beginner acoustic guitar.
You also don't want it to be the "wrong" one.
When you're above $1000 and under $1500, it becomes even more important to make a good purchase and get a guitar that suits you for the long term.
Sure, you can always sell it or even just buy another acoustic.
But if you take the time to get it right, you might not have to worry about getting a new guitar unless you just want one. That makes the process a lot more fun and enjoyable.
We've recommended the Taylor 214ce above because it's likely to be the best acoustic guitar under $1500 for the largest number of people. That said, your best might be different, so we'll add some honorable mentions and plenty of context below.
Our recommendations should always be understood as opinion. Though this does not negate the work we put in to make sure our picks are well researched, tested, and as objective as possible. Still, take them with a grain of salt. Also consider that we support ourselves with partner links from Sweetwater and other retailers we trust, if you click through them and make a purchase, we might receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Compare Additional Acoustics in this Price Range
These tables allow you to compare the Taylor 214ce to other similar acoustic guitars. If you want to compare with guitars that aren't in the table, use the launch button below to launch our search bar which allows you to search our product database for more acoustic guitars.
Taylor GS Mini Koa
Compare More Guitars
Use this button to launch a search and compare bar that allows you to look at more acoustic guitars next to the Taylor 214ce. Note that we're continually adding to our product database.
Pricing for the 214ce
Pricing for guitar gear can always change, though we'd expect the Taylor 214ce to stay in this price range for a pretty long time. If you want an updated price tag, check the tables below which are refreshed in real time.
Pricing accurate as of Fri, September 29th, 2023.
Current Amazon Pricing
Price Alert (tracks with lowest price among listed retailers)
Price History (tracks with lowest price among listed retailers)
Price History for Taylor 214ce Acoustic-electric Guitar - Natural
|Current Price||$1,099.00||September 28, 2023|
|Highest Price||$1,099.00||October 25, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$1,099.00||October 25, 2022|
Last price changes
|$1,099.00||October 25, 2022|
Does the 214ce have solid wood?
The Taylor 214ce has a few different tonewood combinations, that includes the following:
- Spruce top with Rosewood back and sides
- Spruce top with Koa back and sides
- Spruce top with Maple back and sides
With all three of these guitars you'll have a solid top with layered back and sides. We'd definitely rather see all solid tonewood - back and sides included - in this price range. Though Taylor still gets you fantastic guitars, even with the layered tonewood.
It's not like the guitar will suddenly sound bad with layered back and sides.
Just note that the type of tonewood and the species variations significantly impact the price of the Taylor 214ce as well as other guitars in this price range.
What to Look for in a $1500 Acoustic
In the $1000 to $1500 price range you're getting into some of the early ranks of pro-level acoustic guitars. When browsing your options, you should look for the following features:
- Top piece should always be solid tonewood (it's usually Spruce)
- Solid back and sides are a bonus, though thinly layered (thinner is better) tonewood is also acceptable and fairly common.
- Some form of a preamp, preferably from a third party like Fishman or LR Baggs.
- Multiple body shape options (dreadnought, concert, 3/4)
- Reputable brand (more on brands below)
To some degree these are desirable features in any price range, but within $1000 and $1500, they should be showing up regularly.
Other Good Brands in this Price Range
We've covered Taylor a lot here, but what are some other good brands to look at? If you're shopping in this price range you've probably heard of most of them.
- Other Taylor series (114, 314, 514, etc.)
- Cordoba (for nylon string guitars)
Seagull and Takamine have some popular models in lower price ranges, like the Seagull S6, but also a lot of options in higher price ranges that often get overlooked.
Is $1500 too much to spend?
For beginners, $1500 is way too much to drop on an acoustic guitar. In the early beginner and even early intermediate stages, spending over $1000 is tricky because you're still not certain to use that guitar enough to justify the cost. We'd recommend the $1000 to $1500 range for late intermediate players all the way up to the advanced and semi-pro types.
Read more: Best Intermediate Acoustic Guitars
Bright Tone Lean of Taylor Acoustics
If you go with Taylor I think it's helpful to note that Taylor acoustics are known to be brighter and more pick-friendly, as opposed to Martins which are warmer and thought to be more strumming acoustics.
Now this doesn't negate Taylor's ability to be a good strumming acoustic guitar. Most of them are.
But the lean of a Taylor is brighter, almost like a lead acoustic guitar.
This is even more true of 3/4 body style Taylors and those with a concert style body shape and a deep cutaway. The less body size, the less low end you'll have in the guitar's natural tone.
It's not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind as you shop.
Best Cheaper Alternatives
We'd recommend a couple cheaper alternatives if you want to dip down under $1000.
- Taylor GS Mini (there are several versions)
- Seagull S6 Original
- Seagull S6 Original QI (has a preamp)
These guitars have consistently been at the top of our recommendations. You can also checkout our roundup of acoustic guitars under $1000 for more suggestions.
How to Compare Acoustic Guitars in this Price Range
The comparison tool above will help you look at each guitar side by side. It lines up the features we talked about and shows you all the basic specs.
You can also simply refer back to the feature list I covered earlier, but here are some questions you should ask to help you compare:
- Which one has more solid tonewood?
- Can I get the same set of features in a cheaper acoustic?
- Do you get a preamp and electronics?
- What do the reviews and customers say about each guitar?
- What is the brand reputation?
I test a lot of guitars and gear, as do the people I work with on this site. So we make every effort to be sure that we're providing you with the best recommendations possible. When we can't get our hands on a guitar or piece of gear, we make sure to do plenty of thorough research, though in that scenario we're less likely to make a definitive recommendation.
In either case, this content is always written by guitar players and musicians. We do not use article services or any kind of ghost writing.
This is also helped by the fact that we've worked in this market for over 10 years and have gotten to know the brands extremely well.
If you have questions about our methodology, we want that to be as transparent as possible, so feel free to ask.
In the $1500 price range you're going to have a lot of options to work with, and you're not going to find any junk, given you do your research. We think the Taylor 214ce is going to be the best option to the largest number of people, but your situation could be different. Take all of that into consideration and decide on an acoustic that works for you.
I'll be happy to try and answer questions about the Taylor 214ce or other guitars we mentioned in this article.
Leave them in the comments section below and I'll see you there.