Information and Advice

Acoustic guitar recommendations under £160

January 01 2023

Having taught thousands of beginners we also had the opportunity to recommend guitars to just as many.

My first question when asked to recommend is always, ‘what’s your budget’? The returning question is often, ‘what should my budget be’?

How long is a piece of string? Never less than 80 is the answer, unless buying that piece of string second hand. If you Google ‘buy cheap guitar’ you’ll find loads of results on the likes of Amazon for acoustic guitars from China that come with spare strings, a carry case and tuner for around £69. Seems like a bargain! It’s not. The sound won’t be too bad but it won’t be comfortable to play and within a couple of months you’ll have either given up or splashed out on a new guitar. But, for not too much more you can get yourself something that not only sounds nice but is comfortable to play.

Here are my recommendations for acoustic guitars all under £160 (at the time of writing on 01/01/2023). If you’re wanting an electric then watch this space for blog number 2

East Coast D1 Dreadnaught

Brand and Make: East Coast D1 Dreadnaught
Place to buy: Andertons in Guildford
Cost: £89 (on sale for £75 at the time of writing this blog)
What I thought of it: It has a big bold beautiful sound and is not uncomfortable to play but the action (distance between strings and fretboard) is a bit high making it slightly less comfortable or fast to play than some of the others listed here. But, this is the best guitar I’ve found for less than £90  

East Coast J1 Mini

Brand and Make: East Coast J1 Mini 
Place to buy: Andertons
Cost: £99
What I thought of it: This guitar has a much lower action than the D1 Dreadnaught and is really nice to play but the sound is a bit high pitched for my liking and this tinny sound would likely be exacerbated if playing with a plectrum. This is a good guitar for travel as it’s slightly smaller than others.  

Brand and make: Epiphone DR100 
Place to buy: Andertons or online.
Cost: £129 (£99 from Gear4music at the time of writing)
What I thought of it: It has a big bold sound but the strings can feel a little bit tight especially if fingers aren’t used to playing the guitar yet. If you’re all about filling a room acoustically with sound though, this is a good one. The DR100 was my first guitar and I upgraded it after about 8 months due to the string tightness but I’ve also recommended this to loads of beginners who I see playing it still many years later. A good one for strong hands.

Yamaha 310

Brand and make:  Yamaha F310
Place to buy: Yamaha music store in Soho or most guitar shops on Denmark street (Rose Morris, Wunjo, Hanks) or online
Cost: 129
What I thought of it: This is probably my favourite guitar under £130. It’s very comfortable to play and has a nice sound. When I played it for the first time, I felt like I had something closer to the £300 mark under my fingers.

Brand and make: Ferndale D2-CE Dreadnaught
Place to buy: PMT
Cost: £159
What I thought of it: This is the cheapest electro acoustic guitar (you can plug it into an amp or PA and amplify it, or play it unplugged and it will work just like any acoustic guitar) that I’ve found that also plays well. Really good if gigging/ live performing/ open micing/ busking is your dream.

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Nicola Cortese
Nicola Cortese
03/02/2022
I started a course in Jan as a beginner with Thomas and I can already play 5 songs!.. with simple chords :) both Thomas and Fiona are really lovely and they really know how to teach whilst having fun! I'd highly recommend dropping at one of their Thursday's open mic! Tons of fun and talent for free!!!
Jonny Pollard
Jonny Pollard
02/02/2022
Very friendly learning environment, was a bit nervous to play with a group having not played socially for many years, but it was super relaxed, and I learnt a lot in the first session. Looking forward to the next session!
Adam J
Adam J
01/02/2022
Had a great time tonight! I joined on to the beginners course a couple weeks late, but Fiona was great at running me up to speed before the class. Tom was a great instructor, and managed to get us to cover lots of ground in a short space of time. The group was super freindly and relaxed, and im looking forward to going back next week!
Jakub Špaček
Jakub Špaček
01/02/2022
Having played guitar in my past within academic environment I have to say The Guitar Social club opened my eyes with their amazing and vibrant atmosphere with company of great people. Lessons are really fun and easy to follow. Feel really motivate just after few classes and my connection to the instrument greatly improved!
Paula Smith
Paula Smith
31/01/2022
Unbelievably great, not kidding.
Marcella Puppini
Marcella Puppini
31/01/2022
This exactly what I was hoping it would be. A fun and engaging way of learning a new instrument at a lovely venue, with great people and great teaching. Thoroughly recommended.
hashtagobi
hashtagobi
31/01/2022
Only been going 2 weeks but it's a great environment with good pacing throughout the lessons. The community is quite helpful + open to learn so it's really a great space for anyone wanting to hone their guitar chops!
Kevin S.
Kevin S.
27/01/2022
Is it a guitar school? A social events group? A music workshop for all ages and abilities? An open, non-judgemental route to performing? A holiday club that includes jamming on guitars around the campfire? Well–it's all these and more. The Guitar Social is built around founder & lead tutor Thomas (plus TGS Business Director, Fiona, originally one of its earliest students). Patient and passionate, Thomas and his relaxed, friendly temperament get the best from beginners to improvers and beyond. Personally for me, one core strength of The Guitar Social is that Thomas realises what most tutors and courses never do – we can all learn fast and well when we play whole songs together and discover as a group how to make them work. Thomas and TGS guest tutors will always tend to teach music theory for guitar, and focus too on scales, chord voicings, correct rhythm, licks, riffs, parts, soloing etc, but with a tendency to make it about the fun and learning gains when students jam together on great songs instead of staring at a white board and not playing much music. Jamming songs in similar or mixed ability groups helps TGS students become functioning musicians who have built useful real world skills and experience across many sessions similar to how working musicians rehearse and workshop songs. And you will have the opportunity to build live experience too if you wish – solo or with your term group or with others of your choice, in a safe, positive environment, with friendly fellow students as your audience. Never any pressure and just one example of where TGS delivers extra value. They are really worth trying. I haven't even done full justice here to all the different activities they do.
stu smith
stu smith
25/01/2022
The coolest club in London!
Colin Taylor
Colin Taylor
25/01/2022
I'm back for my second series of the Joy of the Jam. After not playing with others for over 30 years, these sessions are reminding me just how inspiring and enjoyable jamming can be. Thomas leads the sessions with huge enthusiasm and a great deal of humour. The support of his impressive musical knowledge is ever present - but this never gets in the way of our desire just have fun and be playing.
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