How does one acquire a guitar? Whether you want to play blues, rock, pop, flamenco, jazz, gypsy jazz or a French variety, you will first have to go through the process of purchasing a guitar.
However, it’s sometimes difficult to know how much to spend on this string instrument when you’re just beginning to take music lessons.
Many elements need to be taken into account when it comes to price. These instruments can be more or less expensive according to their manufacture time, their maker, and also their features. If they have a cutaway, they may be more expensive. If you want a musical instrument that is constructed well, with a solid fretboard, headstock, and back and sides, you're going to be looking at paying more. If you want an axe that combines good playability with an attractive body shape, you can't expect to pay nothing.
Guitarists can pay thousands of pounds for a new guitar. Yet, new guitar players shouldn't pay more than three hundred for their first instrument - and that applies to electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and classical guitars alike.
The advice of a professional, music teacher or others, will be a great help to you in making your choice.
In the meantime, here’s an idea of what you can find on the market.
How Much Does a Classical Guitar Cost?
Getting attention from people is good, but with a guitar it’s even better.
But if you want to seduce your crush with a beautiful Stratocaster worthy of the biggest rock bands, good luck!
Or even with another brand: Fender, Ibanez, Gibson, Dreadnought, Gibson Les Paul…
When we start music lessons, especially guitar lessons, teachers often recommend starting out with a classical guitar.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t prevent you from moving on to something else afterward, like an electric or folk guitar, but the classical guitar will give you the necessary knowledge to play this instrument.
Indeed, the classical guitar neck is easier to use. It will teach you where to ideally position your left hand. In addition, its nylon strings will be easier to strum for a beginner than the electric guitar’s steel strings. It will train you in important techniques such as fingerstyle and in your navigation of the fingerboard - essential skills you will need to move on to acoustics or electrics.
Honestly, people that start off playing the nylon string classical guitar make better guitarists in the long run.
But how much should you pay for a good classical guitar?
Classical guitars can cost from $50 to $1500 or more.
So how do we make the right choice?
Be aware that $50 guitars are more often children's toys than real guitars that will last over time!
To invest in your first guitar, you should consider prices around $120. In this price range, you will easily find a guitar that makes you happy without going broke.
Look at models by Cordoba, Yamaha, and even Fender, who all make a very good beginner nylon string guitar.
How Much Does an Electric Guitar Cost?
After a few months or years of playing the classical guitar, you want to switch to the electric guitar? But how much does an electric guitar cost?
Like the classical guitar, different price ranges are available for the electric guitar, whether you buy it online or at the store.
Good quality guitars cost around $130. Certainly, you won’t have the same guitar as Jimi Hendrix, but you’ll find one that will do the trick. As you progress, and if your budget allows, you will be able to upgrade and resell your first guitar.
But with the electric guitar, also comes the amplifier (or guitar amp).
Indeed, we must not forget the cost of accessories that come with an electric guitar. And buying an electric guitar without an amp is useless since the sound would barely be noticeable.
Several stores offer a package including the guitar and the amp together.
It’s entirely possible to find a package deal at a good price (around $150). This can very well do the trick for a beginner guitar player. In addition, the set often includes a guitar case or gig bag (although not a hardshell one), as well as a strap, tuners, and some spare electric guitar strings. The perfect tools to play the guitar.
But if your level is a bit higher and you want to perform onstage, look for a slightly higher priced amplifier, like from the brand Marshall for example.
For electric guitars, the reliable budget brands are Yamaha, Epiphone, and ESP Ltd.
How Much Does an Acoustic Guitar Cost?
The electric guitar is not for you?
You could find a good compromise between the classical guitar and the electric guitar by buying an acoustic-electric guitar!
This is an acoustic guitar equipped with microphones to amplify the sound. A sound that will be closer to the classical guitar than electric since it is part of the acoustic guitar family. Indeed, the sound can resonate alone in the body of the guitar, the sound box.
But what is the acoustic guitar used for?
This type of guitar is ideal for playing any kind of musical style, unlike the classical guitar which is more for jazz music, gypsy style, or, as the name suggests, classical music.
With an acoustic guitar, you can play rock, the French variety, and the blues.
It’s enough to delight more than one aficionado.
But how much does an acoustic guitar cost?
As with other types of guitars, you can easily find starting prices around $130 for an acoustic guitar.
However, an acoustic guitar is often an important investment that we want to keep all our life. So it may be wiser to look at guitars between $200 and $600 if your budget allows. These are generally of very good quality and will last for a long time.
Some good brands include Seagull, Taylor Guitars, and Martin Guitars.
As for accessories, it's up to you to decide whether you want to get an amp or not. Know that if you don’t want to play on stage, the amp could be useless.
However, consider buying a guitar case, a tuning fork, a tuner, a metronome and a capo. The last one shortens the neck to change the tone. It’s a tool as useful as the pick to have fun playing guitar!
How to Buy an Inexpensive Guitar?
Your budget does not meet your guitar desire?
You will then have to find an inexpensive guitar without decreasing the quality. This balance will be found especially in the manufactured quality of the guitar.
Indeed, the more high-end the guitar finishes are, the more expensive the guitar will be.
For example, you shouldn’t go to a luthier (a guitar maker) if you’re on a budget. Guitars are usually worked with great precision and patience. The prices then correspond to the quality of manufacture.
Several other elements can change the price of a guitar - for example, the wood choice (spruce, oak, maple, rosewood, mahogany, ebony...). Some woods are rarer than others. Varnish and the mechanics can also change the price.
You can get a guitar that’s less expensive than others by foregoing the higher-end finishing details.
Also, take advantage of music stores’ discounts. Whether it's during a sale or not, some sellers sometimes give discounts for certain guitars. Go to the store and ask for advice.
Otherwise, you can opt for a second-hand guitar. Online or at the flea market, you can find a good guitar that costs half of the regular price.
What is the Price of Guitar Strings?
Once you get your guitar, you will have to take good care of it.
This includes maintaining the strings.
Indeed, you shouldn’t wait until a string breaks to replace it. Be aware that your strings get damaged over time and this can change the tone of your guitar.
That’s why it’s recommended to regularly change your string set, not just one of the six strings. Changing only one string could break the harmony of your guitar...
It's up to you to decide how often you should change your strings. Some musicians change them before each concert. Others, every six months. It really depends on your personal practice and the care you give to your guitar.
However, a few little things can delay the oxidation of the strings. For example, you can wash your hands before playing and wipe the strings after each use. This will extend the life of your strings.
But that does not exempt you from changing them.
A string set costs around $10 in a music store or online. Check out Strings and Beyond to find the right string set for you. The price of the guitar strings may vary according to the material (steel, nylon or others), but also the treatment of the strings. Some strings may be more resistant to oxidation than others.
If you’ve never changed your strings before, ask your guitar teacher for help or watch a tutorial online. You will quickly get the hang of it.
You can also ask a seller to do it for around $10.
How to Buy a Second-hand Guitar?
Although science has shown the benefit of music for our health, instruments are not yet reimbursed by our insurance. It is, therefore, necessary to look for other solutions to find the guitar of your dreams at a low price.
Buying a pre-owned guitar is a great way to lower the price. It’s usually half of the original price.
This option should not be overlooked by those with a small budget.
And for that, there are several solutions.
For example, you can go to flea markets. This is the ideal place to negotiate directly with the seller. Moreover, you can test the guitar then and there; a key point when it comes to buying a guitar.
You can also check out pawn shops. They have, for the most part, an area dedicated to musical instruments. And you can be sure that you will find an array of guitars. These places give the opportunity to seek advice from the salesperson who will guide you in your choice.
You can also use one of the most common means of purchasing an item: the Internet. Many people use sites like craigslist.org to make their purchases. And there you can find tons of guitars.
However, how not to get ripped off?
First off, check the original price of the guitar to make sure that the used guitar is actually cheaper. Then ask the seller to see the instrument. Make an appointment to go to their home or meet in a public place to test the instrument.
Some things must be checked such as the condition of the mechanics, the presence of cracks or shocks, the condition of the bridge and neck, and the condition of the soundbox.
And do not hesitate to take your time and ask a friend who is knowledgeable about guitars to accompany you.
Take time to think before you buy.
To get you started, why not consider taking private lessons. Searching for guitar lessons London produces the most results on Superprof but there is a lot more choice if you're willing to learn online.