Imagine walking into a music store, and you can't help but be drawn to the beautiful guitars lined up, just waiting to be played. But then, as you check the price tags, you can't help but wonder why a simple piece of wood with strings can cost so much.
The cost of acoustic guitars varies a lot depending on what you're looking for. So let's talk about the average prices of acoustic guitars and how much you should consider spending to get a quality model.
How Are Guitars Priced?
The price of an acoustic guitar depends on various things. It includes the brand and model, the materials used, where it was made, and more.
- Brand and Model: The brand of the guitar matters a lot. Well-known brands like Gibson or Fender tend to be pricier because they have a good reputation for making quality instruments.
- Materials: Expensive guitars are usually made from top-notch wood like spruce, mahogany, or rosewood. Cheaper ones might use laminated wood or even plastic.
- Manufacturing: If a skilled person makes a guitar by hand, it will cost more than one made in a factory by a big company.
- Extra Stuff: Special features like cutaways, built-in electronics or fancy inlays can all make the price go up.
When you’re out on a shopping spree, it is wise to take note of the above before you check the pricing of acoustic guitars as it can help you quickly narrow down your choices
How Much Do Acoustic Guitars Cost?
When musicians are looking to buy an acoustic guitar, they usually find that these instruments can be grouped into 3 main categories:
- Entry level
Entry Level Or Beginner Guitars: $100 to $500
If you're new to playing the guitar, you can find beginner and student acoustic guitars in a price ranging from $100 to $200.
The cost depends on factors like the brand, the quality of materials and craftsmanship, and any included accessories.
Even at the lower end of this range, you can expect guitars with quality woods such as spruce and rosewood. They should be well-made for comfortable playing and have an appealing appearance. Additionally, you have the option to upgrade components like the nut, saddle, and tuning pegs.
As you move into the $300 to $500 range, you'll start to see guitars with finer woods, more intricate decorative details like multi-layer binding, and higher-level tuning gears. Some guitars in this range even come with onboard electronics.
If you're willing to invest a bit more, you can aim for a guitar with better responsiveness and build quality. The competition among well-known brands is fierce in the under $500 category, making it a sweet spot for quality instruments. Look for solid tops, as they vibrate more musically than laminated ones. You can also consider acoustic-electric guitars if you’re looking for versatility.
Mid-Level Guitars: $500 - $1,500
As you move into the $500 to $1,500 price range for acoustic guitars, the changes might be more subtle.
However, they become crucial as a player refines their technique. This tier involves careful wood selection. You will also get more hands-on craftsmanship involved in constructing the guitar.
Guitars in this range commonly feature better onboard electronics, additional components such as equalizers, blended pickup systems, and even built-in effects. A valuable feature for advancing players is the cutaway body shape, providing easier access to higher frets.
When considering a beginner acoustic guitar, it's important to note the distinction between "affordable" and "cheap." An affordable instrument, while budget-friendly, is well-built and holds its tuning. On the other hand, a cheap guitar may lack proper construction and struggle to maintain tuning.
Your first guitar should be a good one within your affordable price range. It should tune properly and stay in tune, helping you develop good habits and train your ear. Additionally, it should offer sufficient volume, as low volume can indicate poor construction quality.
Avoid guitars with thick polyester paint, as they may produce a shallow sound. Lastly, prioritize comfort, ensuring that your new guitar is ergonomic for your body and hands, especially considering the hours you'll spend playing it.
High-End and Vintage Guitars: $1600-2500+
Beyond the $1500 price, you enter the category of artisan-made guitars, where woods are meticulously chosen, aged, cured, and crafted by hand.
While the difference in sound may be subtle, seasoned players can easily tell the difference. The visual details become more sophisticated, limited only by the luthier's skill and creativity.
This is also where you'll find vintage guitars. Acoustic guitars are often believed to improve in sound as they age, making finely crafted and aged instruments highly prized by players. Some of the most expensive acoustic guitars are owned, played, or signed by renowned artists, fetching prices in the hundreds of thousands at auctions.
These guitars are the flagship instruments of world-renowned brands like Taylor, Martin, Guild, and Larriveé. These models don't cut any corners in delivering the world-class tone that made these brands famous. In this category, you're investing in a high-quality instrument that ages like fine wine, becoming better with time.
With proper care, the value of guitars in this category tends to appreciate over time. While a good acoustic guitar from this range may feature a solid spruce top, you'll also find exotic woods such as solid rosewood, ebony, koa, sapele, Engleman spruce, and more. Forget about gig bags; these works of art come in premium hardshell cases with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Questions and Answers
For beginners, the $100-$400 range is suitable, while intermediate and advanced players should explore the $400-$1000 range. Professionals and seasoned players should aim for guitars priced above $1000.
Generally, acoustic-electric guitars are pricier than acoustic guitars. Brands often offer the same model in both acoustic and acoustic-electric versions, with the latter consistently being more expensive.
It is always worthwhile to buy a musical instrument to just start playing. It is better to opt for a cheap guitar than having no guitar at all. If your budget allows. However, do keep in mind these guitars will not be that long lasting and should be considered a temporary option.
The cost of a guitar is not a one-size-fits-all answer. With the right knowledge, finding the perfect fit for your musical needs is easily possible. Choosing the best acoustic guitar involves matching the appropriate price and quality to the player's skill and motivation. Reputable guitar shops have well-made guitars across a wide price range, providing options for musicians at different levels.