I am looking for a good acoustic electric guitar for under $500, new or used. I've been doing a lot of looking and have kind of narrowed it down to the Breedlove Passport, Guild GAD series, Seagull Q1, or a used Larrivee in no particular order. I don't know a ton about guitars, I've been playing for 6 years but haven't ever really branched out to learn more about all of the details of what makes a guitar great. I was looking at the Ibanez Exotic Wood series because I think they're beautiful and I would really like something that looks good like that but I would prefer a solid wood top rather than laminates. Any suggestions or votes for anything I've already mentioned? Thanks!
Please review the archives and do searches on specific guitars. And play them.

Go to the store and play a bunch in your price range and pick from there. I played a Gretsch Rancher that I liked a whole lot for a while and it's right around that price.
buying guitar based on value can lead to owning a guitar you don't really like the sound or feel of - and that can lead to not enjoying (or playing) your guitar. that being said, i'd say the guild GAD series are an excellent value, and they're all solid, not just solid tops. i've been impressed with the quality and tone of all the ones i've played.

seagull Q1 guitars aren't an actual series, but seagulls are generally a good value. i love the sound and feel of the original s6, and of the mini jumbos. that being said, the only acoustic electric seagulls in your price range are the entourage models, and while they're not bad - really - i prefer the sound of the original s6.

there's no way to judge what kind of value you'll get used, as prices and guitar condition vary greatly. larrivees are very well made, but the tone of the many i've played tends not to be as nice as the GADs, but that's personal preference. at their new price, they cost more than the GAD guitars but a good used one might be a better value.

the breedlove passport series hasn't impressed me tonally, and while the prices are lowish, i don't consider them as much of a value compared to the others you list, as they are only solid top. that's not to diss breedlove - at higher prices, they make some really nice guitars. their redwood topped focus walnut was probably one of the best sounding guitars i played last year, but it was $3600.

other brands that i consider good sounding and good value - and all solid:

epiphone masterbilt guitars. excellent value, as they're all solid and acoustics come in at your price range. the acoustic electrics can be had on sale or used around your budget. i believe gibson has discontinued these, so check 'em out while you can. this one is only $50 over your target price even without a sale price http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-masterbilt-aj-500me-advanced-jumbo-acoustic-electric-guitar/519029000091377

don't know why yamaha hasn't made your list. they are great values, and at the entry level acoustic electric price, they should make everyone's list imo. at least some will be available in most guitar centers, which makes them easy to try.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fgx730sc-solid-top-acoustic-electric-guitar my favorite of the 3 tonally.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fg-series-fgx720sca-acoustic-electric-guitar this one is available in black, burst and natural.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fgx700sc-cutaway-acoustic-electric-guitar/h74858000001000 i don't like the tone of this one quite as much, but i prefer it to most of the passports, and it's an amazing value for a solid top acoustic electric.

the above listed are all solid top, but honestly even their all laminate model sounds better than a lot of solid top guitars from some brands - i've blind tested 'em. if you're on a serious budget, they're the best sounding in this price range that i've tried. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fx370c-f-series-cutaway-acoustic-electric
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Mar 13, 2012,
Thanks patticake, that's very helpful. I've also considered going with an acoustic and just putting my own pickup in. So the Taylor Big Baby also just made its way onto the list
if you're willing to add your own pickup, there are some good guitars to add to your list.

first, the blueridge br-140 - all solid sitka/mahogany, nice sounding, more bass than some of the competition. nice martin-y tone, but blueridge has its own voice, which i quite like. http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_140/52957/35952

an all solid recording king sitka/mahogany dread

and an all solid recording king 000 with a 1 3/4" nut.

these also have a traditional sound but also with their own voice that is distinctive. my husband has one of their 12 fret 000's that sounds amazing, but i hear some of that voice even in their laminate back and sides guitars.

then there's the seagull original s6 or s6 slim (if you prefer a slender neck). these are great sounding solid tops. i had one, i loved it. nice bass, a hint of sparkle on the top end, very versatile guitar. and the big baby isn't a bad guitar, but i found its tone less versatile than the competition. i actually prefer the sound of the taylor gs mini to the big baby.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
I vote for the used Larrivee, or the Yamaha, or the Recording King RD-10 Patticake mentioned. But if you're buying the Recording King RD-10, buy from amazon because it's cheaper.
Here is 10 of the best greatest acoustic electric guitars under $500 for everyone who are looking for a top acoustic electric guitar under $500.

Cordoba C5-CE Acoustic Electric Classical Guitar
Price: $399.99 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Epiphone PR-4E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Player Pack
Price: $199.00 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Fender T-BUCKET-300CE Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Price: $188.12 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Takamine G Series EG340SC Dreadnought Acoustic Electric Guitar, Natural
Price: $342.02 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Seagull Entourage Rustic CW QIT Acoustic-Electric Guitar Rustic
Price: $499.00 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Jasmine by Takamine ES33C Acoustic Guitar Pack
Price: $188.12 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Luna Oracle Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Crane
Price: $349.00 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Yamaha APX500 Acoustic Electric Guitar, Oriental Blue Burst
Price: $299.99 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Jasmine by Takamine ES31C Acoustic Electric Guitar
Price: $159.95 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 Acoustic-electric Guitar, Black
Price: $316.17 & ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping.

You can see and listen to the guitar sound examples at http://acousticelectricguitarz.com/10-best-acoustic-electric-guitars-under-500/

That's a bunch of good options for you. Hope it helps. Good luck!