Guitar Upgrade: Does a Better Guitar Make a Difference?

does a better guitar make a difference

A guitar is an important investment for any musician. While there are many factors that can influence the sound and playing experience of a guitar, one question that often arises is whether or not a better guitar can make a difference in your playing ability. 

A better guitar can positively impact one’s playing experience. As a general rule, higher-quality guitars feature superior components and are crafted with greater attention to detail. Owning a high-quality guitar can also increase motivation and enhance overall musical satisfaction.

The purpose of this article is to explore this relationship and help musicians make informed decisions when buying a guitar.

When Should You Upgrade Your Guitar?

When it comes to upgrading your guitar, it’s important to consider a few key factors. The first factor is your skill level. If you’re a beginner, it’s likely that your first guitar was a beginner-level instrument, and as you develop your skills, you may find that you need a guitar with better sound quality, playability, and overall performance. This is when you might consider upgrading to a mid-range or professional-level instrument.

Another important factor to consider is the physical fit of the guitar. Even though guitars may look similar, the small differences between them, such as neck width, length, body size, etc., deeply affect the playing experience. It’s important to make sure that these parameters fit your size, as some sizes could be unplayable for some players. 

The Most Important Factors That Impact Our Guitar Sound

Does a Better Guitar Make a Difference

Guitar quality is a crucial aspect that can greatly influence the sound and playing experience. In classical and acoustic guitars, the type of wood used can have a significant impact on the sound of the instrument.

With electric guitars, the sound production process is completely electronic, making the electronic components, such as pickups, strings, wires, and potentiometers, of utmost importance in determining the overall tone of the guitar. Out of all these components, pickups probably have the biggest influence over the guitar’s sound.

The Impact of Guitar Quality on Playing Ability

The relationship between guitar quality and playing ability is a topic of much debate. However, it is widely recognized that a better guitar can provide a more comfortable playing experience with improved sound quality. This, in turn, can lead to improved motivation and playing ability.

The superior materials and components used in high-end guitars result in a natural, rich, and authentic sound, which can enhance the overall quality of your playing. Furthermore, the better construction and design of these guitars provide optimal playability, allowing you to play more freely and effortlessly.

In addition, owning a high-end guitar can inspire you to play more, as the improved playing experience and sound quality can be incredibly motivating.

In conclusion, while a better guitar may not instantly make you a master player, it can certainly have a positive impact on your playing experience and overall sound quality.

Guitar Prices & Quality Ranges

Does a Better Guitar Make a Difference

The four ranges of guitars are often categorized based on their quality, construction, and price.

Grade I: Cheap, Low-Grade Guitars

The first tier is the beginner or entry-level guitar, which is often less expensive and made of less durable materials. These guitars typically cost between $100 to $300 and are designed for individuals who are just starting to learn the instrument. They are a good starting point for those who are looking to explore their musical interests.

Grade II: Affordable Guitars

The second tier of guitars is intermediate or mid-range guitars, which cost approximately $400 to $800. These guitars are designed for individuals who have developed a bit more skill and are looking for a better-quality instrument that can accommodate their growing needs. They are often made of higher-quality materials and feature better designs than entry-level guitars, making them more versatile and longer-lasting. They are also equipped with better hardware and electronics, resulting in improved sound quality and playability. Additionally, intermediate guitars can often be customized and upgraded to suit the player’s specific needs.

Grade III: Professional-Grade Guitars

The third tier of guitars is professional or high-end guitars, which cost anywhere from $1200 to $3000 and above. These guitars are designed for experienced and professional musicians who demand the very best in terms of sound, playability, and craftsmanship. They are constructed using the finest materials and are often hand-crafted by expert luthiers, ensuring exceptional sound quality, durability, and playability. They are also equipped with the best hardware and electronics, making them ideal for live performance and recording situations.

Grade IV: Boutique/Artisan Guitars

The fourth and final tier is the custom or bespoke guitar, which is essentially a guitar that is built to the specifications of the individual player. These guitars can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the materials used, the complexity of the design, and the level of craftsmanship involved. Custom guitars are often built for professional musicians who require a unique and personalized instrument that perfectly suits their playing style and musical needs. They are considered the ultimate expression of craftsmanship and musicality and are a true reflection of the player’s musical journey.

The Realities of Buying a Guitar

Does a Better Guitar Make a Difference

Affordable Hidden Gems

When it comes to buying a guitar, the cost is often a major consideration. While an expensive guitar can provide a better playing experience, not everyone can afford to invest in a high-end instrument. However, it is important to keep in mind that with guitars, especially mid-priced and cheaper models like Squiers or Mexican Fenders, you can sometimes find hidden gems.

These machine-made guitars are produced with less quality control, which can result in differences between guitars of the same model that came from the same factory line. One guitar may have a cheap feel, while another may fit in your hands like a glove.

How to Choose a Guitar

When shopping for a guitar, it’s important to try out several options before making a final decision. This will help you get a better sense of what works best for you. Remember, the most expensive guitar may not necessarily be the most comfortable or sound the best. To make the best comparison, play the same phrases and chords on each guitar and take the time to listen carefully.

Maximize Your Budget With a Modded Guitar

If you want to maximize your budget, consider buying a Squier (or any other cheap model) that feels comfortable in your hands and upgrade it with high-quality guitar pickups. This can give you a great playing experience without breaking the bank. Remember that the small differences between guitars, like neck width, length, and body size, can greatly affect your playing experience, so make sure that the parameters of the guitar you choose fit your size.


In conclusion, having a better guitar can certainly make a difference in a musician’s playing, offering improved sound quality, playability, and versatility compared to lower-quality instruments. However, it’s important to remember that a good guitar doesn’t have to be super expensive and that talented guitar players can make great music even with cheaper instruments.

Gon Zadok

Gon Zadok is a Tel Aviv-based session player, recording artist, and independent producer for Simply and local artists. He plays various instruments, including guitar, bass, synths, and ukulele. Gon studied music at Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Israel and music production at SAE Institute in Berlin, Germany.

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