I think the Yamaha FG series guitars are the best bang for the buck. A while ago, I helped my friend Jim pick out his first acoustic, and we got him a $300 FG-411 I think. To this day, he still prefers it to some of the high-end acoustics running $800-$1000. If you want quality and a great sound, this is a great guitar.
Where Obtained: Classifieds
This is a standard acoustic guitar with 20 frets, wood grain finish, probably a spruce top, but hell if I know. Standard black pickguard and nice reliable tuners.
I am continually impressed with how well the Yamaha FG series acoustic guitars play. The action is pretty low, very little bevel to the neck and is a good match for my hands, which are a bit on the small side (no comments, please...)
Big, deep sound with a great resonance. It's great for slammin' acoustic strumming, and just as good when I pretend I'm Django Reinhardt and play these flat-picked jazz lines (with plenty of fret noise).
I bought it used in 1988, and it's only gotten better with age. The action and the neck is still great, and nothing's cracked or worn - maybe I'm just not playing it enough, but it's been cool.