As a guitar enthusiast, I know the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming, and it’s challenging to know what to look for.
Because of this, finding a good guitar at the right price can be tricky, but in this guide, I will break down the factors that affect guitar prices, the average prices for acoustic and electric guitars, and offer some tips that can help you find a nice guitar while on a budget.
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Factors That Affect Guitar Prices
A handful of factors can affect the price of a guitar, including the brand, the materials used, the level of craftsmanship, and the features that come with the guitar.
Let’s start with materials and craftsmanship first, as the build quality of the guitar’s construction is significantly more impactful on the instrument’s price than other factors.
For instance, a guitar made from better-quality wood will be more expensive than one made from cheaper materials. Even specific kinds of wood that are used on certain parts, like ebony fretboards, are typically found on pricier instruments.
Similarly, guitars that are mass-produced in a factory will be much more affordable than ones hand-made by a craftsman with great attention to detail. This is why guitars with neck-through-body construction usually fetch a premium.
As you can see, the individual features that come with the guitar can affect the price quite a bit. Another example is a guitar with built-in electronics such as pickups and preamps will be more expensive than one without them. This aspect is often the case with acoustic-electric guitars.
However, even guitars with these kinds of features can vary greatly in price due to the quality of each component.
Electric guitar pickups are a great example of this – many entry-level electric guitars use cheaper electronics, but you’ll find better pickups and wiring on ones that cost more.
Also, generally, the more well-known the brand, the higher the price tag, as you’re paying for the brand’s reputation and quality, but this isn’t always the case since you can find budget guitars from some of the biggest brands around, too.
As you continue to read, I’ll break down some of the numbers to give you a better idea of how much you can expect to pay for a good guitar.
Prices For Decent Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars are a popular choice for beginners and professionals alike, and consequently, prices can vary wildly between them.
Entry-level guitars can be found for as low as $100, but these guitars are often made from lower-quality materials and may not sound as good and be as reliable as more expensive models.
In the $300-$500 range, you can find some great options for beginner and intermediate players. These guitars are typically made from higher-quality materials and have better sound quality than entry-level models.
At that price point, you can also find awesome acoustic-electric guitars here, too, so those don’t need to be overly expensive, either.
Therefore, I recommend looking in this price range if your budget is more limited.
However, for those willing to spend a bit more than $500, you can find some truly exceptional guitars that can last you forever without feeling like they need to replace them.
- Single-cutaway dreadnought body style
- Fishman Classic Design pickup/preamp
- Solid spruce top with scalloped “X”-bracing
- Mahogany back and sides
- Easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges
Prices For Decent Electric Guitars
Electric guitars are somewhat more complex than acoustic guitars, as can be more factors that can affect the price. However, many of the same guidelines still apply to electric guitars as to acoustics.
For instance, entry-level electric guitars typically run for about $200 and under. They are definitely geared towards beginners who want to get their hands on their first guitar, but due to their quality, they will most likely need to be replaced as the individual improves and outgrows the guitar.
Because of this, the $300 to $500 price range is an excellent place to look for a reliable first electric guitar because these can last you for years. $500 to $1000 will also have some of the best bang for your buck for new and experienced players alike.
Nonetheless, when it comes to electric guitars, the types of features can influence whether one is more expensive than another.
Take bridges as an example – a guitar with a fixed bridge will typically be cheaper than one with a tremolo bridge system. The model of the bridges can also affect pricing too; having a Floyd Rose bridge will make a guitar more expensive than, say, a Jackson locking tremolo found on budget Jackson guitars.
One advantage that electric guitars have, though, is that they can be upgraded relatively easily. For example, if you don’t like the pickups in your guitar, you can always change them out for something better, and therefore, it’s possible to turn a cheap entry-level guitar into something that sounds decent!
Mind you, upgrading a guitar will cost more money, and for many people, it is worthwhile to spend the extra cash or so to get an electric guitar that feels and sounds nice right out of the box. Nonetheless, it’s something you can always consider as an option.
- The Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Stratocaster Fender electric guitar celebrates the birth of the Strat in the 1950s.
- Built with comfort in mind, this Strat features a contoured body, “C”-shaped neck profile, and narrow-tall frets for easy playability.
- The Squier Classic Vibe ‘50s Strat features three Fender-designed single-coil pickups that create a variety of incredible tones.
- Fans of vintage-inspired electric guitar design will appreciate the tinted gloss neck finish, nickel-plated hardware, and 1950s-style headstock markings.
- This Stratocaster embodies iconic Fender style and tone for any player at any stage.
Finding The Best Deals On Good Guitars
When looking to buy a decent guitar, there are several ways to find great deals on them!
One option is to shop around online and compare prices from different retailers. You can also check out local music stores and see if they have any sales or promotions going on.
They may even have clearance sales or closeout deals, especially for discontinuing guitars that want to clear out their inventory by offering hefty discounts.
Another option is to look for used guitars. You can often find great deals by going this route, and they can be just as good as new guitars if they have been well-maintained.
Websites like Craigslist and eBay are great places to look for used treasures, and I’ve actually owned many high-end guitars that were super-discounted this way.
You’ll have to look around and do a little bit of research on what you’re interested in buying, but this method can easily save you hundreds of dollars!
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea of how much a decent guitar should cost you if you’re in the market for one. If this is your first guitar or will be a gift for someone, it’s always good to make an informed decision when making the leap to purchase it.
While different factors can definitely affect the pricing of each guitar, the brands and manufacturers tend to price them pretty competitively with each other, so you can often know what to expect when gaining more knowledge and experience with guitars.
So, if you’re looking for a good first guitar, I think the $300-500 range is the sweet spot for finding something that works well and will hold up for years.
Still, if your budget is tight, I think that buying the cheaper entry-level guitars for $100 to $200 is perfectly fine for getting a guitar in your hands and start learning how to play it, but you should probably expect to replace it someday once your skills improve to the point where you want something better.
Conversely, if you can spend a bit more, the $500 to $1000 price range has many fantastic options for you to choose from. These will be guitars that people of all skill levels can count on daily and are still quite reasonably priced for many individuals.
Throughout my blog, I’ve covered many of the best ones for a variety of different guitars, and below, you can find some of my resources for them to help you find the style you’re looking for:
- Acoustic guitars under $300
- Acoustic guitars under $500
- Classical guitars under $500
- Electric guitars under $500
- Budget Stratocasters
- Budget Les Pauls
- Superstrats under $1000
Take your time to look around and find something that resonates with you and fits within your financial means, but also consider the future. For example, cheap guitars can seem attractive, but you might be better off investing in a better instrument that costs more that you can use for the long haul.