Buying a new instrument is not the priority of all guitar players and it is sometimes difficult to put money aside for such purchases.
Whether it’s an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, a folk guitar, an electro-acoustic guitar, a ukulele, a mandolin, a bass guitar, a gypsy jazz guitar, an acoustic bass, they're all going to cost a little. And add to this the necessary accessories - a gig bag, tuners, spare guitar strings, a guitar amplifier perhaps - and the prices can look overwhelming.
Daily expenses quickly take priority and it’s difficult to keep the objective of making music in mind.
However, has it been a while since you’ve been wanting to buy the latest Fender? Do you have your eye on a tasty dreadnought acoustic electric? Are you looking for guitar brands that are actually affordable?
The price of guitars varies according to several criteria. Depending on whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or experienced player, your expectations will differ. So sometimes you might find a way to buy a guitar that’s less expensive than you thought. They do exist, and you don't have to sacrifice playability, the quality of pickups or fretboard, to get a guitar that you like for a decent price.
Depending on what you want and the way you buy it, you can find the guitar of your dreams that also works with your budget. Fender, Ibanez, Gibson, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul, Yamaha… There’s tons of choice!
What Is an Inexpensive Guitar?
First of all, it’s important to ask yourself what a cheap guitar is. To do so, we need to take a look at the market prices.
Whether it’s on the Internet or in music stores, the market prices are roughly the same. But the service can vary because in a store you have the advantage of obtaining advice from the seller.
The average price of a classical guitar is around 120 to 180 dollars. These prices are often the ideal when you’re starting out. There's really no need to invest in an expensive guitar if you are a beginner guitar player. Perhaps you will only buy a guitar for professional guitarists a few years down the line!
The lowest average prices for electric and acoustic guitars are also around 180 dollars. This sort of guitar for beginners usually comes in a guitar package with other accessories.
You could also look for guitars in the price range of 350 to 600 dollars. These will usually come with a better quality of fingerboard - with the fret configuration and intonation set up better - whilst they also come with better guitar pickups, as well as a better composed guitar body and preamp. It is also more judicious to pay a higher price for a guitar that will last all your life, or nearly.
When you buy a guitar, whether it’s a folk, electric, or classical guitar, you will also need to buy the accessories. Amplifier, guitar case, pick, strap, tuner, and cap will all be useful for you as you learn the guitar.
As we mentioned above, you might want to check out a guitar pack. They group the essentials for a guitarist into one single purchase.
You can also invest in scorebooks or tablatures. In every music store, you can find lessons for each style: French variety, gypsy jazz, flamenco, hard rock, folk, traditional, pop, jazz…
Ask the seller or the guitar maker about the best books.
And don’t forget to buy a set of guitar strings - either nylon strings or steel strings - with it. You can then replace them at home. That way you can be sure of the quality and the acoustics of your instrument.
Finally, you should budget for guitar lessons... unless you are still in the experimental stage, reading articles about aspects of guitar learning.
How to Choose Your Type of Guitar?
Are you ready to buy your guitar? Is your bank account about to burst? But how to choose the right guitar?
Answering that latter question requires simply your own reflection. It’s important to really know yourself and to know what use you hope to get out of the guitar. What sort of music are you intending to play on your musical instrument? What aesthetic do you want? Are you serious about going all the way with the instrument, or is this first guitar just for you to see what it is like?
Be honest with yourself and don’t overestimate your level. The inverse is also true. Don’t choose a guitar because it’s less expensive than the one you really want. Choosing a guitar takes time so don’t rush.
Guitars for beginners are generally less expensive, because they have fewer finishing touches (varnished wood) and sometimes fewer options (for example, vibrato on electric guitars). However, guitars for experienced players are a bit less accessible but are slightly more sturdy. They are more of a long-term investment.
The price also depends on your usage.
Do you want to play on stage and become the next rock star?
That will require a bit more of an investment. To play on stage, your instrument will need an amp. For an electric guitar, the amp needs to be bought in addition to the guitar. The prices vary between 120 and 600 dollars, depending on the effects you want.
The amplifier is also useful if you choose to buy an electro-acoustic guitar, which has an internal microphone. You will need to connect your guitar to the amp with the help of a jack plug.
As for classical guitars, very few are equipped with an internal microphone. That can ruin the guitar and so very few musicians risk it.
It’s better to buy an external microphone and to install it near the sound box.
No matter what, ask the advice of professionals to steer you towards the right choice, the one that will be best adapted to you. For example, you can speak with your guitar teacher or with a specialized seller.
A specialized seller can also advise you on the making of his or her products and about guitar classes in your area.
Fabrication plays an essential role in the price depending on the wood used (spruce, mahogany, maple, cedar, rosewood, cypress, ebony) and the design of the guitar.
To avoid letting yourself be tempted by a guitar, decide your budget before entering a store. Otherwise, you might quickly be enticed by one of the high-end models that isn’t necessarily suited for your practice.
So take the time to educate yourself in order to better know what you need. Most importantly, don’t rush. Even if the temptation is great, reflection is just as important.
And don't be too eager to learn to play quickly; it is much better to learn thoroughly than fast!
Choosing Your Guitar Online
In order to obtain the best price for a guitar, many musicians go to the Internet. In fact, numerous sites are popping up with prices lower than the competition.
However, it’s important to be careful. Certain experiences testify to the existence of scams.
Buyers have been tricked into thinking they were buying a Gibson on a site like eBay or Amazon. When they brought the guitar in for repairs, it turned out that it was in fact nothing but an Epiphone disguised as a Gibson in order to be sold at a higher price.
And that anecdote is unfortunately not an isolated incident.
Not being able to hold the guitar you want to buy in your hands is a real handicap in the buying process. It is important to be able to know the acoustics of the guitar, but also to know how it feels in order to see whether you’re comfortable with it.
However, if you already know the model that you would like to buy, there are only a few verifications left to make.
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First of all, choose a good website. Do research on forums that you can find on the subject. It will then be easy to get an idea about such and such a website before you decide. Numerous unfortunate experiences will serve to alert you.
Have you finally found a site that seems trustworthy?
Take a look at the delivery method.
Where is the guitar coming from? Will the package be protected? Is it trackable?
Choose sites offering a guarantee on the guitar. It will be put you more at ease. In case of damages in transit or a manufacturing defect, it will be easier for you to be reimbursed. And above all don’t forget to read the terms and conditions. Yes, those tiny words written where no one sees them!
If you are not sure about the model you have chosen, look at the numerous YouTube videos of musicians showing each type of guitar. There are many equipment tests done via video.
You can also learn to tune your electric guitar online...
Buying a Guitar at Yard Sales.
When the end of summer comes and it’s time to start thinking about going back to school or work, yard sales often pop up on the weekends. An occasion to take advantage of the final rays of sun before the arrival of winter and its glacial cold.
Perhaps the opportunity to finally buy yourself a guitar?
Yard sales are like bargain hunts but better. Private individuals selling their goods, most often the things that they have not managed to sell on the Internet. So it’s a good time to take advantage of the low prices.
And what’s better than trying to haggle for the most beautiful guitar on the street?
However, be careful of the law of supply and demand. If a guitar seems like a really good deal, it’s possible that it will sell very quickly and that negotiations will be more difficult than expected.
So try to arrive very early at these little amateur shops to discover the good deals before everyone else.
Have you finally found the guitar you need?
Now it’s time to try it. Since you are there in person, ask the owner if you can hold it and maybe even strum a few chords. You will need to verify that the guitar does not have signs of any damage or cracks.
Make sure to look at the handle. It should absolutely not be warped. That can happen if a guitar has remained without cords for too long. Without pressure exerted on the handle, it gently starts to slacken.
Beyond its physical appearance, ask also about the history of the object. The owner should explain to you why he or she is selling it and whether the instrument has any defects.
If everything seems alright to you, all you have to do then is give him or her your best smile and negotiate the price!
You might even sing while you play, to show your appreciation at scoring this great deal!
Go to a Secondhand Store.
A final option is available if you would like to find a cheap guitar: stores selling secondhand guitars.
The idea behind these stores is that each person can bring the objects they’d like to get rid of. The store buys them in cash and then resells them for double the price. In fact, music stores are losing popularity with clients in favor of these kinds of places.
This system is more and more commonplace and many people utilize it in order to not have to bother with all the constraints of a site like Craigslist. Also, individuals can be sure of selling their instrument.
And in this kind of store, it is very common to find entire shelves dedicated to musical instruments and their accessories. Guitars and pianos generally occupy the most space.
But what are the advantages of buying your guitar in this kind of store?
- First, you will have the opportunity to speak with the vendors. They know the product because all the objects sold there are examined before being put on the shelf.
- The seller can give you advice. Even if you are not speaking with a seller in a music store, the staff are generally positioned by the shelves that they are knowledgeable about.
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