Searching for accurate information on guitar prices? Let us be your experts as we delve into the different price ranges, explaining the relationship between cost and quality and helping you make the best choice for your needs.
Guitars come at various prices, from as low as $50 to over $10,000 or more, depending on factors like quality, brand, and origin. Typically, a good-grade electric guitar costs around $800 to $1,200. Acoustic and classical guitars tend to be a little less expensive compared to electric guitars.
This article will examine the four levels of guitar craftsmanship, including cheap, low-grade guitars, affordable but good guitars, professional-grade guitars, and boutique/artisan guitars.
The structure of the article will cover each tier in detail, including descriptions, characteristics, benefits, and considerations to keep in mind when making a purchase.
Grading Guitar Quality
When it comes to electric, acoustic, and classical guitars, there are four levels to consider. The first is budget-friendly but low-quality, followed by affordable yet good quality. Then, we have professional-grade, and at the top, artisanal boutique guitars.
The approximate price ranges for each type of guitar are as follows:
|Type||Grade I||Grade II||Grade III||Grade IV|
|Classical||Approx.$50 – $100||Approx.$150 – $300||Approx.$1,500 – $4,000||Approx.$4,000 – $6,000|
|Acoustic||Approx.$100 – $300||Approx.$400 – $1,000||Approx.$2,000 – $,5000||Approx.$6,000 – $7,000|
|Electric||Approx.$100 – $300||Approx.$300 – $1,000||Approx.$1500 – $4,000||Approx.$4000 – $6000|
Grade I: Cheap, Low-Grade Guitars
Cheap guitars are notorious for their inferior materials and shoddy workmanship. These guitars tend to have poor sustain, weak tone, playability issues, and often struggle to stay in tune. Although they may seem like a budget-friendly option, the cost of necessary maintenance and repairs, such as a professional “setup” by a guitar technician, can end up being more expensive than the guitar itself, making them a less desirable choice for aspiring musicians.
However, they may be a suitable option for beginner players or those on a tight budget who are still exploring their passion for the instrument. To ensure a playable quality, it’s crucial to avoid purchasing guitars from toy stores, as these are usually of poor quality and lack playability.
Reliable, Recommended Budget-Friendly Guitars
The Squier Stratocaster and Telecaster are among the most dependable guitar models available in this price range. The Squire variants are cheap and can even be upgraded with the addition of high-end guitar pickups.
Grade II: Affordable Guitars
Guitars priced in the $400-$500 range (such as Squier and some Epiphone models) offer a good balance between affordability and quality. They are made with slightly better materials and craftsmanship compared to low-grade guitars, which offer a substantial upgrade in terms of performance and sound quality.
In this price range, classical guitars often provide a better bang for your buck due to their lower overall cost. Although some acoustic guitars in this price range may be passable, most acoustic guitars in this price range tend to lack optimal sound quality and a high-quality playing experience.
Electric guitar players will be pleasantly surprised to find that electric guitars in this price range can be a good option. They feature slightly improved components and craftsmanship, which results in a noticeable upgrade over cheap electric guitars. Although these guitars are not comparable to professional-grade guitars, they can still perform well and, with proper care and upgrades, can handle professional-level situations.
Reliable, Recommended Budget-Friendly Guitars:
The Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster are considered to be highly reliable and durable guitar models. In comparison to the American counterparts, the Mexican and Taiwanese Fender variants are more affordable. Additionally, the guitars can also be enhanced by installing high-end guitar pickups.
Grade III: Professional-Grade Guitars
Professional-grade guitars are made with high-quality materials and feature expert craftsmanship, making them suitable for professional players and those seeking the best playing experience.
These guitars offer great tone and sustain, smooth playability, as well as reliable performance, and beautiful aesthetics.
With proper maintenance and care, a professional-grade guitar can be a long-lasting investment that provides countless hours of musical enjoyment. These guitars are designed to withstand frequent use and maintain their quality over time. Additionally, common models such as Stratocasters, Telecasters, Gibson SGs, and Les Pauls are highly sought after and often easy to resell.
Grade IV: Boutique/Artisan Guitars
Boutique or artisan guitars are the crème de la crème of the guitar market. These exquisite instruments are handcrafted by small, independent makers and are considered to be true works of art. Boasting exceptional sound quality, playability, and craftsmanship, they are designed with the finest materials available and often feature unique, original designs and construction techniques. Not only are they beautiful, but they are also considered to be collectible items built to last for generations.
Boutique/Artisan guitars are a good option for serious musicians who want the absolute best possible playing experience and are willing to invest in a high-quality instrument. They are also a good option for collectors and those who appreciate the fine craftsmanship and the beauty of handmade instruments.
How to Upgrade an Electric Guitar and How Much Does it Cost
Upgrading the pickups and electronics of an electric guitar can be the best way to enhance its performance. The tone of an electric guitar is primarily generated electronically, making these components crucial in determining its overall sound. High-quality pickups, which typically cost between $200-$400, can provide a substantial improvement in tone for a relatively low investment.
Additionally, having an upgraded guitar can provide peace of mind for musicians who perform frequently and are concerned about the safety of their instrument while transporting it or during outdoor soundchecks.
How to Save Money When Purchasing a Guitar
When purchasing a guitar, it can be tempting to splurge on the most expensive model, but there are several strategies that can help you save money while still getting a quality instrument.
- For those looking to save on their guitar purchase, purchasing a used guitar can be a wise option. Often, used guitars are in great condition and can be found for much less than the price of a new one, particularly with mid-priced models. Keep an eye out for Mexican Stratocasters or Taiwanese Telecasters, as these factory-made guitars may surpass expectations in terms of quality and playability.
- Shop during sales or clearance events: Many music stores offer clearance sales or seasonal sales where you can get great deals on guitars. Keep an eye out for these events and be prepared to act fast, as popular models can sell out quickly.
- Shop online: Online retailers often offer lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores due to lower overhead costs. It is important to do your research and compare prices before making a purchase to ensure you are getting the best deal.
- Look for bundle deals: Some retailers offer bundle deals that include accessories such as a guitar case, tuner, and picks. These deals can save you money compared to buying the items separately.
- Investing in quality gear pays off in the long run. Spending a bit more upfront for high-quality equipment, including the guitar and amp, as well as parts and accessories like pickups and potentiometers or even strings, will save you money in the long run. This is because well-made gear lasts longer, performs better, and requires fewer repairs, reducing maintenance costs and saving valuable time.
Do Guitars Cost More After They Age?
The price of a guitar can vary greatly based on its age and condition. Some older guitars are considered to be vintage and can command a higher price, as they are often seen as being more collectible and rare. On the other hand, an older guitar that is in poor condition may sell for less than a new or gently used instrument. The price of an aged guitar can also be affected by its overall rarity and historical significance, as well as its condition, originality, and provenance.