PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- July 6, 2016
- Guitar Cost
How much does a guitar cost? Well, starting with a whopping $29.99, you can own yourself a playable toy guitar from Walmart or Toys R Us, or if money's no object, you can order yourself a $20,000 Custom Built guitar from renown guitar builders like Martin, McPherson, Olson, Elly, Avalon, etc. and there’s everything in between. There are dozens of guitar builders offering tons of options. The real question is, “How much do I need to pay for a good guitar?
There are a few things you need to ask yourself, and with a little research and common sense, we can get you into a great guitar that works for you. Nothing says you can’t start out learning on a professional level instrument, but it’s not necessary to spend money you don't have or need to spend to get a decent guitar that will serve your needs best. For a excellent guitar resource check out Luna Guitars
First, a few questions:
What is your purpose for the guitar?
Are you a beginner? If yes, then you do want something affordable that plays very easy and stays in tune. This could be as simple as picking up a $200-$500 acoustic that will play great, look great and sound great.
There are plenty of these hanging on the wall of most music stores. In fact, that’s the best place to start. Stop in your local music shop and ask the attendant to help you find a guitar first that fits you. There are different size guitars to fit almost every person. Fitting a child is sometimes the hardest, especially when trying to find a small guitar that is built well and plays in tune. Just a heads up, many of the toy guitars you find in a department store are not built to play in tune. Try to avoid those places if possible. If you have a teacher, he or she can really help too. Ask them to join you on the hunt.
What kind Acoustic or Electric?
No rule that says you can’t learn on an electric, and there are plenty of electric guitars in the same price range for first timers. Just remember that you’ll need an amp and cord which are additional cost, unless you get one of those package deals. Electrics do usually play easier, but there’s something about starting out on an acoustic. It’s just much easier to sit around and play. It’s easily heard and the sound is pretty wonderful. Just be mindful of the size of the acoustic you buy. It needs to fit you well. The strumming arm needs to hang comfortably over the body and the noting hand needs to reach the first fret without strain. Again, a teacher or music store attendant can help with that. Yes, the two guitars play and sound very differently. The strings on an acoustic are typically bigger and the electric guitar has a lot of knobs and features the acoustic doesn’t have. It’s all about your preference, or maybe your instructor prefers you start on an acoustic.
What if I’m ready to upgrade from my starter guitar to something better?
Awesome, you probably want to keep your first guitar in case you become the next Hendrix, and it deserves a museum someday. Sweet guitars have been bought for less than $500, so it’s really “beauty in the eye of the beholder.” The proof is in how much you love playing the guitar, and yes, looking at it. Great mid-range guitars are say from $500 - $1,500. Name brands like Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, PRS, and many others offer plenty of guitars in this range. For this next step, you’ll want to find a guitar you love to play at least as much as your old starter guitar. Every guitar is different and I know plenty of players who end up just putting a pickup in their old beginner guitar just because they are so comfortable with it. We think it’s always a better idea
to move up into something with more integrity. No two guitars are equal, so again, you’ll need to go to your local Guitar Center or shop and play some mid-range guitars. There’ll be one that’ll speak to you. It’ll sound a little better than the others. You won't be able to take your eyes off of it, and it’ll play like a dream. Just have your store “guitar set up guy” check it out first and make sure the neck is straight, the frets are seated well, and it all functions properly. You’ll also need a good case to help protect your investment. Most mid-range guitars come with a good case already. Just make sure you don’t leave without one.
How Much Does a Guitar Cost if I’m Ready For a Major Investment?
No problem, but you do need to know that just because a guitar has a $5000 price tag doesn’t mean it’s the perfect guitar, or even a better player than a $500 guitar. You’d think it would, but if a guitar isn’t set up right or has been on the wall in a shop for a long while, or has been stored in a warehouse, it might need some TLC. The price usually has to do with the builder and materials. For example, a solid wood top acoustic guitar with great bracing is much more expensive than a plywood top guitar. Exotic woods, inlays, and bindings all add up to a very nice, but more expensive guitar. On electric guitars, it’s the wood, the pickups, the tuners, the finish, etc. There are many variables. Just be sure to really do your homework before putting out thousands on a guitar just because it has a name everyone recognizes. Don’t over-invest. Many guitars increase in value, and if kept in pristine condition, are a good collectors investment. Vintage guitars are a great investment and they play and sound classic. It’s the real deal. Just beware of fabricators! Believe it or not, there are people out there making imposters. Truthfully, once you play a really good guitar, you’ll gladly let your old starter guitar go into the closet.
Finally, don’t be afraid to own a few different guitars. No one guitar does everything well. It needs to serve your needs. A 10,000 vintage Telecaster might be overkill for a 9 year old to drag to class every week. Also, a gigging guitarist shouldn’t be playing on an old cheap guitar that has no real integrity and doesn’t stay in tune. Your guitar should make you want to play and play well. The cost is relative to your pocket book. Don’t go into debt, work your way up.
Now that we have covered “How Much Does A Guitar Cost?” our hope at Pro Lessons is that you will entrust our seasoned professionals to help you develop your skill and further advance your guitar goals. Click the link below to see how we can help you achieve your dreams.