The skyrocketing prices that electric stringed instruments have undergone throughout the decades has affected not only the passionate hobbyists, but also working musicians who are now scratching their heads, wondering how they can afford a guitar.
Aside from certain economic factors, the boosted popularity of the six stringed instrument, along with the massive growth of the music industry, pushed guitar prices to unprecedented levels.
The good news is that the market is more competitive than ever and guitar lovers are not limited to much bigger, more expensive brands. The guitar industry has expanded vastly and it is filled with promising builders and companies.
Great guitars are being produced everyday and budgetary restrictions shouldn’t prevent an aspiring player from enjoying good quality instruments.
How much does a good guitar usually cost?
The topic of guitar pricing is a tricky subject since instrument prices vary greatly depending on features and build. There are decent guitars that sell for a hundred bucks, and there are handcrafted boutique models in the $10,000 range.
It is important to know the different price brackets of guitars as well as other gears. This awareness will help you make wiser decisions when buying music equipment.
- Entry-level ($180 and below)
All-in-one bundles usually include guitars at this price range.
- Mid-range ($180 – $800)
Regarded by some as the sweet spot for guitar-hunting, this price bracket can yield a lot of pleasant surprises.
- High-end ($800 – $1,800)
Built with high-quality electronics, tonewoods and other parts, the high-end guitar market is dominated by the likes of Suhr, Gretsch and PRS, to name a few.
- Premium ($1,800 – $8,000)
The mind-boggling price of premium doesn’t necessarily equate to increased playability or improved sound. Guitar collectors would usually splurge on premium guitars to get those unique exotic woods and gold-plated knobs.
- Custom ($2,000 and above)
You can almost say that sky’s the limit for custom-made guitars.
How can I save money on guitar?
- Focus on lesser-known, high-quality guitar brands
In music, expensive gear does not instantly translate to great quality. There are reasons why some instruments are priced much higher than others and this includes having features that serve the needs of more demanding musicians.
For example, touring artists require louder electronics and more durable guitar parts to survive their nightly stage onslaught, while recording session musicians will require less noisier electronics and a wider palette of tonal options.
If you are a novice musician trying to perfect the basics, or a retired rocker who just wanted to relax and strum during weekends, rest assured that you won’t be needing some of the add-ons that make higher-end guitars expensive.
Nowadays, there is an abundance of smaller brands offering affordable alternatives for budding musicians and pros alike. Most of these guitar companies have launched impressive products while gaining throngs of loyal supporters throughout the years.
- Be on the lookout for huge discounts
To afford a guitar, save up for months and buy during clearance or holiday sales. You can get great deals on music instruments and discounts could go as low as 20%.
- Hunt for good second hand instruments
The second hand instruments market is a thriving community where preloved guitars of all sorts can be found. It is like a wonderland where one can acquire expensive instruments at much lower prices, a gold mine for those who have patience for gear hunting.
Finding your dream guitar in a second hand shop is not a distant possibility at all, just make sure that you are armed with knowledge before entering the seemingly boundless world of used gears.
- Improve your guitar
One of the best things you can do if you don’t have the budget, is to bring out the best in whatever you have. Some guitars can have a hidden potential that can be unlocked by professional luthiers. Tweaking the electronics, adjusting the bridge and neck setup, and buying better strings, can all contribute to the improvement of your instrument.
Maximize the capabilities of your guitar amplifier and other gadgets as well. Musical magic can happen on any kind of working equipment, even if yours is not the expensive kind.
- Take your time completing your setup
For us regular musicians who do not have rockstar money to afford expensive guitars, buying all of our needs in one trip to the music shop, just isn’t possible. Our setup takes time to complete and will still keep on evolving as we progress.
Prioritize the tools that can help in your development as a player, such as tuners and metronomes. These are inexpensive but essential to every musician so make sure that you have them in your arsenal before grabbing that synth effects pedal.
- Maintain your gear properly
Always take good care of your gears so you could sell them later for a good price and add more funds for your next upgrade.
Tips for buying second hand guitars
- Find reputable sources
There are an impressive number of amazing guitar brands that contribute to the market today, you just need to do your due diligence and keep your ears to the ground by joining online guitar forums and attending events to widen your scope.
Caution is needed when looking for used music instruments, be observant and meticulous when purchasing gear online. Most importantly, stay on the safe side when conducting meetups with strangers.
If you are not comfortable with peer-to-peer meetings with online sellers, then a visit to a traditional brick and mortar shop is best for you. Search for a used instruments store closest to your area and begin the hunt.
- Narrow down your needs
Make your search more convenient by honing on your necessities as a guitarist. The second hand market is full of instruments that you might not need, but you might still be tempted to swipe your credit card and obtain them.
- Check the authenticity of the guitar
Before scheduling a physical inspection on the instrument, you can verify online if it is not a fake. Request for documents such as certificates, warranties and receipts, and most importantly the serial number of the guitar, which you may check on the guitar brand’s website.
- Compare price with other shops
When hunting for used music gear, there is a possibility that another shop has a similar model but cheaper. Checking out other stores for a second opinion won’t hurt.
Additionally, know the guitar’s original price to gauge its correct present value.
- Test the instrument
Doing a thorough test run on a guitar is most important as this gives you a chance to get to know the feel, actual sound and condition of the instrument. It’s always better to inspect and test gears before purchasing them. But if that is not possible, then you will have to stick to the most trusted sellers – ones who have a good track record in conducting their business.
Make sure that the neck isn’t warped as this is a major issue for any stringed instrument. Check the electronics for hidden defects and investigate if there are parts that have already been repaired or replaced. Any problems, including worn out frets, scratches, dings and other damages, can help you in making a bargain and finally afford a decent guitar.