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If you're a working professional, it’s a necessity to have an instrument that doesn’t inhibit your playing in any manner. This is especially the case with acoustic guitars, which tend to be slightly more difficult to play than electric guitars.
If you have a budget around the $1500 range, you have quite a few choices for possible guitars. Check out the following acoustic guitars and you might save yourself some time in the research phase.
Taylor 214ce-K SB – Best Overall
When someone has a $1500 budget, they will typically search out guitars by specific manufacturers. The Taylor 214ce-K SB (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an incredible value for those wanting a Taylor.
This is a grand auditorium acoustic with a cutaway body design for playability up the neck. Its body features a construction of layered Koa combined with a Sitka Spruce top, with X-bracing architecture underneath.
The neck is crafted from Tropical Mahogany with a very comfortable C-shape contour. Its fretboard is made of West African Crelicam Ebony, providing a luxurious feel to its range of 20 frets.
Like the fretboard, the 214ce-K SB’s bridge is also crafted from Ebony, featuring a Micarta saddle. At the headstock, you’ll find chrome tuners along with a NuBone nut (made by Graph Tech).
Some measurements you might find handy with this guitar include:
- 25.5” scale length
- 1.6875” nut width
- 15” fretboard radius
One of the things that makes the 214ce-K SB such a viable guitar is its electronics. An undersaddle pickup, along with Taylor’s ES2 preamp, provides a tone that sounds truly organic.
The preamp controls are found at the guitar’s shoulder, offering a 2-band EQ and volume control.
Of course, let’s not forget the real star of the show here: the aesthetics. The 214ce-K SB has a very attractive sunburst, with colors that are perfectly accentuated and faded.
The use of Koa has given this guitar a decorative aspect that is sure to make you fall in love. Nevertheless, the guitar remains incredibly tasteful without being too over the top in the decoration department.
A padded gig bag does come included with the purchase of this guitar. Despite being a gig bag, this does offer padding that is quite sufficient for storage in any car during transportation.
What’s So Great About The Taylor 214ce-K SB?
The 214ce-K SB is one heck of a guitar for the price, though it might not be a “true” Taylor. Of course, it’s only purists who claim that Taylor guitars made in the USA are the “true” Taylor models.
Nevertheless, what you will get is a luxurious guitar made in Mexico (which is still North America). In fact, you’ll find that the only difference in manufacturing is the number of miles across borders.
So, what then would disqualify the 214ce-K SB as a worthwhile guitar? Absolutely nothing rational or logical, to say the least.
In fact, the 214ce-K SB is an affordable entry to the “true” Taylor playing experience. This is the range where Taylor’s reputed craftsmanship really starts to present itself, and they outdid themselves with this guitar.
For starters, the guitar’s grand auditorium size makes for an ideal fit without being too large. Its tone is absolutely exquisite, offering a sweet brightness balanced with a tight low end.
One thing you might find to be quite excellent is the comfort of the neck. Taylor is generally known to have slimmer necks, and this guitar fits the bill.
As such, it lends itself to playability that is often missing with other guitars. This is one of the reasons why so many guitarists have opted for this guitar in their rig.
The inclusion of electronics is an absolute necessity for any working professional looking for a streamlined rig. Plus, there’s a fair chance you might not need to swap its included gig bag for a hardshell case.
This guitar is the meeting ground between tasteful (yet luxurious) aesthetics combined with practicality and good craftsmanship. Plus, you won’t be going over your $1500 budget with this guitar either, which is always nice.
Martin D-15M – Best Premium
Martin tends to be the other major company many guitarists with a $1500 budget spring toward. The Martin D-15M (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an excellent offering for those wanting a Martin acoustic.
As you might guess by its name, the D-15M is a dreadnought that features Martin’s signature design shape. However, this specific model is a bit different than the usual guitars that Martin tends to make.
The biggest difference here is that the entire guitar along with the neck is crafted from Solid Mahogany. This one difference affects multiple things beyond just the basic construction itself.
It does feature an A-frame X-scalloped bracing crafted from Solid Sitka Spruce for resonance purposes. Aside from this, only the fretboard and bridge are not made from Mahogany, using Solid East Indian Rosewood instead.
You’ll find that there are 20 frets on the D-15M’s neck, but only 14 are accessible. This is due to the guitar’s non-cutaway body design.
Martin has spared no expense on hardware, opting to use bone for both the nut and saddle. Some classy open-gear Nickel tuners with butterbean knobs provide a smooth tuning experience.
For the most part, the D-15M’s measurements are fairly standard across the board when compared with other guitars. This includes measurements such as:
- 25.4” scale length
- 1.6875” nut width
- 16” fretboard radius
One of the biggest areas affected by the all-Mahogany construction is the guitar’s aesthetics. As you might expect, this guitar oozes a rich and dark-chocolatey color that any Mahogany-lover will adore.
If you do decide to go with the D-15M, you will get a hardshell case included with your purchase.
What’s So Great About The Martin D-15M?
As a company, Martin has seen it all and endured just about everything imaginable in nearly 2 centuries of existence. Perhaps Martin has a bit of foresight, but the D-15M is truly a guitar made for today’s guitarists.
What exactly does that mean? Well, for starters, the D-15M is effectively a slightly modernized take on a vintage Martin design.
During the Great Depression era of the 1930s, Martin had to adjust their production to the needs of the market. They essentially began making solid wood guitars with the aim of keeping the price down.
The D-15M harkens back to this logic, providing a very playable, yet affordable, take on a Martin classic. People have been feeling the sting of the economy now for a few years, so this is a welcomed sight.
Martin guitars are usually known to be fairly warm with a rich timbre. The all-Mahogany construction only enhances that reputation exponentially.
In fact, the D-15M is a solid choice for any singer-songwriter that needs a bit of depth in their accompaniment. This guitar will give you everything you need to round out your overall sound.
Perhaps the only downfall of this guitar is that it doesn’t come with any included electronics. However, for any situation utilizing a microphone, this likely won’t be that big of an issue.
The D-15M might be fairly simplistic in design and construction, but that’s what makes it a solid winner. Plus, the hardshell case ensures you won’t be breaking your budget.
Yamaha A3R ARE – Best Budget
This dreadnought acoustic features a Rosewood construction with a Solid Sitka Spruce top. Yamaha’s scalloped bracing makes this guitar’s tone come alive with excellent dreadnought projection.
One thing to note about the guitar’s top is that it has undergone a torrefaction process. This helps to age the wood and give the guitar a mature tonal profile.
Mahogany is used for the neck, crafted from 3 different pieces for enhanced durability and resistance. The A3R ARE’s fretboard is made from Ebony, offering 20 frets that are asking to be played.
With a nut width of 1.692”, the neck is a hair wider than what you’ll commonly find. However, its 25.5” scale length gives the guitar a very familiar feel in terms of fret spacing.
For hardware, the A3R ARE Dreadnought has amenities such as:
- Urea nut
- Urea saddle
- Ebony bridge
- Die-cast chrome tuners
Part of what makes the A3R ARE so worthwhile is its electric capabilities. The guitar is equipped with a piezo pickup and a powerful SRT2 preamp.
Along with the guitar, Yamaha has included a gig bag with hardened sides. There’s also an option for a Mahogany body, along with color finishes such as:
- Vintage natural
- Tobacco brown sunburst
What’s So Great About The Yamaha A3R ARE?
There was a point in time when guitarists were apprehensive to take Yamaha guitars seriously. During the 1990s in the US, Yamaha was associated with motor vehicles, pianos, and inexpensive electronic pianos.
So much has changed since then, and now, Yamaha leads the world in the quality and production of pianos. The guitar community has also recognized the incredible detail and value hidden inside Yamaha’s instruments.
It’s guitars like the A3R ARE Dreadnought that provides the valid proof you need for this claim. This is a delightful dreadnought with amenities made for playability, tone, and aesthetics.
Much of the guitar manufacturing industry is still very heavily rooted in traditional ideals. Yamaha shows they aren’t afraid of pushing the boundaries of science and technology with their torrefaction process.
Vintage guitars are so desirable because they are made with wood from trees that are easily hundreds of years old. Today’s guitars are often made with fresher woods that haven’t had the same amount of time to mature and dry.
In turn, the torrefaction provides a fairly close resonant profile to that of vintage acoustics. One can make the assumption that it will only sound increasingly richer over time.
Aside from that, Yamaha’s electronics are packed with clarity, with a preamp that is very straightforward. Every dial on the guitar is clearly labeled so you’ll never become confused during a performance.
The preamp itself has a simple 2-band EQ with volume control. What makes it magical is the ability to blend different pickup parameters between microphone-style and piezo.
Takamine Legacy EF341SC
This dreadnought acoustic sports a single-cutaway design, with a Maple body. The Solid Cedar top, combined with scalloped bracing, gives this dreadnought some oomph and brightness while being fat and tight.
Mahogany is also featured in the neck, with Rosewood used for the fretboard. There are 20 frets here, which are decorated with a snowflake inlay.
For hardware, Takamine has outfitted the Legacy EF341SC with items such as:
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Rosewood bridge
- Chrome tuners
In terms of measurements, the scale length is at the lower end of the standard range, measuring 25.375”. The nut width is also a fair amount smaller than average, measuring 1.673”.
If you’re a stage performer, you’ll appreciate the Legacy EF341SC’s pickup and preamp system. This preamp is powered by a 9V battery and has built-in features such as:
- 3-band EQ
Aesthetically, the Legacy EF341SC is dressed up for a black tie affair, sporting a black color finish with white binding. This is quite the sharp look that will certainly turn some heads in your audiences.
Conveniently enough, a hardshell case comes included with the guitar’s purchase.
What’s So Great About The Takamine Legacy EF341SC?
If you’re a working professional who has high demands for their instruments, the Legacy EF341SC is ideal for you. This guitar is considered one of the premier workhorse guitars that set the standard for performance.
There’s a long history of world-class musicians having regularly used this guitar during their frequent touring schedule. Something with a reputation built over time is sure to present its worth for every cent of your purchase.
As such, you won’t find any gimmicks to be had here. Instead, the Legacy EF341SC is equipped with the winning combinations that have worked so well over the years.
One of those factors is the Palathetic pickup and CT-4BII preamp system. If you’re concerned about your plugged-in tone, this guitar will put your worries to bed.
The Legacy EF341SC is made completely by hand, which makes its price an incredible value on that fact alone. Though it is elegantly simplistic, you can tell by sight that some great care was put into the guitar’s build.
Maybe the only drawback to be had here is that this excellent guitar doesn’t come in any other color options. Some people prefer natural wood colors, but this is definitely suitable for any occasion.
In the end, the Legacy EF341SC is a guitar you can feel good about spending $1500 on. It has all the things you’d want to see if you were looking for the highest quality possible.
Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster
This definitely isn’t your like your grandpa’s old guitar. As its name suggests, the Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is essentially an acoustic guitar in a Telecaster shape.
As such, it features a Mahogany body with a Sitka Spruce top, along with a Mahogany neck and Rosewood fretboard. The neck itself has a modernized Deep-C profile, providing a comfortable middle ground for acoustic and electric players.
While it has acoustic capabilities, the Acoustasonic Player Telecaster is equipped with 22 frets. In a way, it’s almost begging to be played like an electric guitar…and well, it can.
That’s partly what makes this guitar so interesting the fact that it has a single-coil pickup. For amplified acoustic tones, the guitar employs a piezo pickup installed below the saddle.
With a 3-way switch, you’ll have access to acoustic tones, electric tones, and a combination of both. Along with the switch, a blend knob is provided, as is a master volume control.
In many ways, this is going to feel like a very familiar playing experience if you’re used to Fender guitars. It has staple Fender features such as:
- 25.5” scale length
- 1.6875” nut width
- 12” fretboard radius (a smidgeon flatter than the typical 9”)
Rounding out the overall construction of the guitar, and holding everything together is hardware such as:
- Rosewood bridge
- Tusq nut
- Tusq saddle
- Die-cast tuners
A padded gig bag comes included with this guitar, which is a nice touch for a traveling professional.
What’s So Great About The Fender Acoustasonic Player Telecaster?
Depending on your point of view, the Acoustasonic Player Telecaster could be considered blasphemy. Because of its inclusion here, you should know that the author embraces modernity if it’s practical.
The Acoustasonic Player Telecaster definitely pushes the boundaries of “normal”, but it serves a purpose. Before we acknowledge the guitar’s benefits, let’s first state that this guitar won’t be for everyone.
With that being said, the Acoustasonic Player Telecaster presents itself as a musical Swiss Army knife. It’s essentially ready to handle any type of guitar sound within a moment’s notice.
Need some crystalline acoustic parts or a hot-rodded electric Telecaster tone? Simply flip the 3-way switch and you’re literally prepared to meet the task.
The Acoustasonic Player Telecaster does sound a bit thin when it isn’t plugged in, but that’s to be expected. This guitar is much more similar to the size of a semi-hollow electric guitar.
Depending on your semantics, you might prefer to call it a semi-hollow electric. However, its construction resembles that of an acoustic, with some tasteful amenities for comfort.
The most notable of these is the dual-purpose forearm comfort bevel on the guitar’s top. Not only is it functional, but it serves an aesthetic purpose, too.
Plus, you aren't limited to just one different color option, which is always nice.
What To Look For In An Acoustic Guitar Under $1500
For $1500, you have quite a range of acoustic guitars to be able to choose from. This is a price that usually requires some good forethought and expertise as to the quality of the guitar itself.
Not exactly sure if you know what you should be looking for in a guitar? It must be said that perhaps buying guitars at this price level isn’t the most ideal thing to be doing.
However, some people just honestly do not know, despite being well-versed in the guitar itself. If this is you, you’ll find the following information to be of great use.
Keep in mind that some research will be required on your part as to what is ideal for you. The following information will give you a pathway of concepts that you can use in your research and review processes.
Acoustic guitars come in many different shapes and sizes, with something for everybody’s preferences. To help narrow your research, first decide whether you prefer to have a cutaway body design.
Acoustics with cutaway designs allow for complete access to the instrument’s higher ranges. However, if you primarily play basic chord shapes, this might not be a necessity.
Perhaps the most iconic acoustic guitar design is the dreadnought, which also happens to be one of the largest. These come in both traditional and cutaway styles.
Dreadnoughts can be a bit large for some people, but they have some of the best volume projection. If this is too much, consider possibly looking at auditorium/concert acoustics.
Auditorium/Concert acoustic guitars will be a bit thinner, with some of the overall body size pared down. Some models will have deeper contours, and many will offer cutaway design options.
Going even smaller, you have parlor and travel guitars, which are smaller in every aspect. You probably won’t find too many options for these designs near the $1500 as they use less material overall.
There is a huge debate as to whether the wood used in a guitar makes a difference in its sound. While the electric guitar is more debatable, acoustic guitars have a noticeably perceptive difference between different woods.
This goes for not only the body, but for the construction of the guitar’s neck, as well.
Manufacturers use many different kinds of woods in their guitars, but for around $1500, you’ll commonly see:
You’ll need to do your due diligence and spend time with each type and combination offered. By doing this, you’ll find whether you have a preference for something bright and balanced, or warm and smoky.
Similarly, you may want to spend a little time figuring out what your ideal fretboard material might be. Most acoustics have something similar to Rosewood, but some options do have Richlite, Ebony, Jatoba, etc.
Feel & Playability
Aside from the actual sound of the guitar, the way it feels when being played is of utmost importance. The ideal acoustic should allow you to play freely, unobstructed from any physical roadblock.
One of the first things to pay attention to is the overall feel of the neck contour itself. Everyone has a preference, but not every guitar neck is going to feel the most comfortable to you.
Some common neck contour shapes on acoustics include:
C-shape contours tend to be the most comfortable, while V-shape necks can be a bit too extreme for some. Most (but not all) contours will usually feature some slight tapering to provide an even feel across the neck.
Once you’ve found a comfortable neck, take into consideration how well the guitar actually plays. Assess whether any potential issues could be remedied with a simple setup by a guitar technician.
Generally though, for $1500, you shouldn’t have to do a whole lot to the guitar to make it playable. Something like this is more commonly accepted with budget instruments where you aren’t paying for quality.
The other thing to note is whether or not the guitar itself accompanies your own body in a non-awkward manner. Consider trying out multiple body designs to see which might be the better fit.
One thing that could be a deal-breaker when buying an acoustic guitar is whether it has electric capabilities. Being equipped with a pickup of any type allows for convenient use for public performances.
However, not every acoustic guitar has electronics installed, so if this is important, seek it out. Do keep in mind that you can use an external pickup down the road (which can lack its own features).
In general, you’ll need to take some time to consider how you’ll be using the guitar. Is it to be used in the studio only, only at home, on the stage, or in every scenario?
The features a guitar has should allow it to fulfill its intended role without buying something extra. At this price, you want to make sure you aren’t spending any more than you need to.
Something else to consider is whether the guitar comes with anything for portability. A case is always preferable, but there are some acoustic guitars at this price not even offering a gig bag.
Some would argue that the cost of the case/gig bag is included in the price. But the extra amount of “guitar” purchased for $75-$100 is often negligible.
Nevertheless, after associated sales taxes, having to purchase a case could easily put you beyond your intended budget.
Budget & Finances
If you’ve decided to spend $1500 on a guitar, chances are, it took some time to make that decision. A $1500 expenditure isn’t something to take lightly, even if it is a guitar.
With that being said, we’re going to trust that you have the wherewithal to comfortably make such a purchase. If it means you’ll be living off of instant ramen for a year, you might want to reconsider.
Something you might want to consider is whether you want to spend the entire amount on 1 guitar. For this price, you could easily purchase 2 pretty decent acoustic guitars for the same price.
Buying 2 guitars will allow you to keep a guitar tuned in an alternate tuning. Such convenience is an absolute luxury when you’re performing on the stage.
Nevertheless, don’t be too staunch in your preferences to ignore the used market. You can easily find a used version of an acoustic guitar, usually at a considerable discount.
When going this route, use the information previously given to help you, while being more discerning about overall condition quality.
Something else you might consider is whether you’ll finance the guitar, dividing the cost into smaller monthly payments. You can get 1-2 years of payments with 0% APR, but it can wreak havoc if you miss payments.
Plus, being under the weight of 1 or 2 years of payments is a heavy load to burden. Nevertheless, if you’re a working professional, you could easily make the cost back by playing monthly gigs.
In general, if the guitar isn’t being used to make money, it’s probably best to avoid financing and purchase outright.
Best Brands For Acoustic Guitars Under $1500
Sometimes, it can help to check out the guitars that set the standards for quality across the entire industry. The following brands are some of the most well-known and respected among guitarists around the world.
Martin is one of the oldest American acoustic guitar manufacturers still in operation today. Guitarists seek out Martin guitars for their iconically traditional designs, crafted with extreme care and an eye for detail.
Taylor is an American company that was founded in the 1970s and quickly found a dedicated base of artists. Today, Taylor continues to innovate and improve upon the acoustic guitar, ensuring that the Taylor legacy lives on.
Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1500, Final Thoughts
For $1500, you’ll want to be extra certain that the guitar you purchase is worth every penny spent. Luckily, with the information given, you won’t have too difficult a time trying to make that kind of judgment.
Take your time when trying each guitar and resist feeling like you have to rush while in a music shop. You’re free to be as meticulous as you need, but make sure you have some fun, too!