If you are looking to buy a new guitar, you might be overwhelmed by the wide price ranges. What do they mean, and how do they differ?
You can buy a new guitar for as little as $50 and as much as $2000 plus. So, it’s pretty easy to become confused by these drastic price ranges, especially if you’re new to playing guitar.
A lot of beginners worry if they’re spending too much or too little on an acoustic guitar. However, one solid piece of advice for beginners is that there is no need to purchase an expensive guitar.
You will not be able to fully enjoy what these guitars have to offer due to lack of experience. Similarly, you don’t want to get a guitar that is extremely cheap, as it means that you’ll be sacrificing sound and build quality.
In this article we’re going to talk through each level of guitar playing, and the average cost of a good guitar for that level. By the end you will have everything you need to make your guitar purchase.
Beginner Level Acoustic Guitars
Average Price: $150-$500
If you’re just starting out with the guitar, it’s important that you don’t go overboard by buying the most expensive guitar you can find.
There are a few different reasons as to why you shouldn’t do that, but the most important is that there is no guarantee that you will like your new interest, and you may get over it quickly.
It’s actually quite common for beginners to abandon learning guitar after a few weeks. As the guitar is a complex instrument, you need to have a lot of patience when learning as you won’t develop the skills overnight.
When it comes to learning the guitar, dedication is arguably more important than passion. Unless you are certain that you will remain dedicated, it’s worth choosing a cheaper option.
Most cheap guitars will work well when learning the basics. They also afford you the opportunity of figuring out if the guitar is right for you, without having spent a lot of money on it.
Besides price, another reason why beginner or amateur guitar players should opt for a cheaper guitar is that the quality of a more expensive guitar won’t really make a difference to you.
Although more expensive guitars tend to have a better sound quality, you won’t really notice the difference that much when you’re inexperienced.
Cheaper guitars might not have the best build quality, but you can always upgrade when your skills improve.
You can pick up guitars for as little as $50, but we don’t recommend them, even if this is your first guitar. It can be hard to tune these guitars, and they rarely ever sound good, so they won’t be much help if you’re starting to learn.
As a beginner, we recommend purchasing a guitar that costs between $150-$500.
Experienced Level Acoustic Guitars
Average Price: $600-$1500
If you’re already a pretty experienced guitar player, then opting for a guitar in this price range is the best option for you.
Guitars made for experienced players will have a better sound and build quality, which makes for a better sounding instrument. As well as sound quality, they tend to look better than beginner built guitars.
Most experienced level acoustic guitars are electro-acoustic designs. This means that they can be played like a traditional acoustic guitar, or can be hooked up to an amplifier.
This makes them a lot more versatile, and a good option if you’re into gigging. Electro-acoustic guitars also come with a lot of useful features, such as built-in tuners, equalizers, and amplifiers.
This can often make them easier to play, and their designs are built with comfort and practicality in mind. If you are an experienced guitar enthusiast, then it’s worth checking out guitars in this price range.
Professional/Skilled Level Acoustic Guitars
Price Range: $1500+
These guitars aren’t built for ordinary players. They’re not really worth considering unless music is a full-time career for you, as they’re made for professionals who make a living from playing guitar.
The price can be affected by several different factors. Not only is build quality a big one, but the brand of guitar can play a lot into the price. It’s also worth noting the age of a guitar.
Guitars are generally likened to wine – the older it is the finer it gets. Aged guitars can produce a much richer sound, so, a lot of professional guitarists prefer to play pre-aged guitars. This can drastically drive up the value of aged guitars.
These guitars are great if you can afford one, but as we previously mentioned, they are not suited for beginners in any way, shape, or form.
How To Choose The Right Guitar
Now you know the price range for different playing levels, let’s look at some of the best options for your skill level.
One of the best options for beginner players is getting a starter kit. These are bundles that tend to provide you with everything you need to get started, including extra strings, a gig bag, a tuner, a strap, picks, and tutorials (either via a CD or online subscription).
One of the most appealing things about this is the price. Beginner kits are relatively inexpensive, and are often worth it thanks to the additional accessories that you are given.
However, it’s worth mentioning that you won’t be getting the best guitar in the world, but they’re not the worst. When looking at bundles, it’s best to avoid the cheap ones that cost around $50.
They are pretty low quality instruments that are a waste of money. Cheap guitars are hard to tune, uncomfortable, and difficult to play.
Here are some of favourite bundle picks:
Fender FA-115 Bundle
Even if you’re new to guitar, you would’ve definitely heard of Fender, as they’re one of the leading guitar manufacturers in the world.
This bundle comes with everything you need to start learning the guitar, and it’s even a good option for more experienced players.
This is a dreadnought size guitar, so it’s worth keeping that in mind if you are buying a guitar for a child, as it may be too big.
Fender CD-60 Bundle
This is another great Fender bundle, with a slightly better quality guitar. Like the previous bundle, it comes with all of the same accessories.
It’s also available in an electro-acoustic cutaway version, which is great for beginner and experienced players alike.
If you already have solid experience playing guitar, you’re probably looking to get more out of your instrument. Guitars in this price range have a better build quality, which means that you won’t have any problems with staying in tune, or poor sound quality.
For intermediate players, we recommend cutaway or piezo pickup models, and most guitar manufacturers make these types of guitars.
Yamaha tends to dominate this category, and it’s not hard to see why. The FGX830C model is an electro-acoustic cutaway dreadnought size guitar, but it is also available in a concert size.
This model size may be over $500, but it’s definitely worth it for the quality.
Guitars in this price category are all high-end instruments, and it’s very unlikely that you’ll come across a bad one. For this price you will get the best quality and design you can imagine.
Some of the brands that cater to professional players include Fender, Yamaha, Gibson, Takamine, and more.
Yamaha L-Series Transacoustic
Although Yamaha makes guitars for all price ranges, this one is a bit more serious. The Transacoustic series comes in dreadnought, concert, classical, and parlor size. This is an amazing guitar, and it’s shown with the craftsmanship alone.
As there are a vast number of options, it can be a difficult and daunting process to buy your first guitar. Just remember to be wary of what you are buying.
If you’re not sure if you’ll even stick with playing, do not get tempted by the glamorous features of more expensive guitars. Similarly, you don’t want to buy one that’s too cheap, as it’ll be hard to play, and will probably be out of tune most of the time.
With that being said, it’s always better to start cheap, and upgrade as you become more experienced. Look into different brands and see which models they have that are great for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Is A Decent Acoustic Guitar?
As a beginner, you’ll want to look for a guitar that costs somewhere between $200-$500. These guitars aren’t too expensive, but still have a great sound quality, and can be easy to play.
Avoid guitars that are $100 or less. Not only are they difficult to keep in tune, they often have a bad build quality which will cause you to replace it as fast as you bought it.
Can A Cheap Guitar Sound Good?
Nowadays, a lot of brands make good quality guitars at sensible costs. Acoustic guitars that cost somewhere between $200-$300 can have a great sound quality.
They may not be the most impressive instruments, but they’re great for learning. Once you become more experienced, or you’re into gigging or performing live, it’s worth upgrading to a better sounding guitar.
How Do You Know If A Guitar Is Good Quality?
One of the first and most obvious things you can check is the price. A $50 guitar isn’t going to compare to a $800 one. However, you can really tell when examining the guitar yourself, so it’s worth checking one out in person before purchasing.
Check to is see if:
- The tuning pegs are easy to turn
- There are no chips, marks, excess glue, or other signs of shoddy craftsmanship
- All pieces are securely fastened (nothing wiggles or moves)
- The neck is rough even with the top of the guitar
- The string height is low – especially at the first fret
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