So you want to buy an acoustic guitar. Maybe you’re interested in learning to play the guitar, perhaps you’re someone who’s had experience with the instrument, or perhaps you’re looking to gift your nephew or niece one for their birthday.
The chances are that the guitar you’re thinking of is going to be an acoustic. But in the wide world of acoustic guitars, which one should you choose? We’re here to help you figure out just that. Read on to find out how much an acoustic guitar costs!
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Picking Up An Acoustic: What To Look For
Acoustics come in one distinctive shape, even though the shape varies a little from model to model. It shouldn’t bother you much if you’re a beginner or looking to gift a beginner. Still, if you’re an intermediate, advanced, or professional player, the difference between a classic, a dreadnought, and a jumbo could influence the tone you’re looking for.
When buying an acoustic, you should always look for a few main things: the body style, the electronics, the tuning machine, the fretboard, the bridge, the intonation, and the wood. These will massively influence the sound of your instrument.
If the guitar is for someone starting to learn, picking the right guitar is crucial since this is the sound you will develop an ear for throughout your learning.
Even though your budget is the most critical factor – the player’s age and skill level also matter when you’re making a decision. Children’s guitars are noticeably smaller than adults, allowing someone with small hands to easily navigate the fretboard.
You could start a young beginner with an adult guitar, but they would have considerable difficulty traversing the fretboard. That is always something that you should keep in mind.
Guitar Price Ranges for Beginners and Students
Beginners and students have several options when it comes to acoustic guitars.
Starter kits are always a good option for beginners. They usually contain everything you will need to begin your journey. Most starter kits include a set of strings, a case or a bag to keep your guitar in, a tuner, a strap, and an extra set of picks.
You can always opt to buy your starter kit with a DVD, book, or access to an online course to help you get started and speed up the learning curve. Of course, the reason so many beginners buy a starter kit is the price.
When you buy a starter kit, don’t expect to get the best instrument out there. But just because it’s not the best doesn’t mean it’s terrible. As you learn and continue with your guitar, you can always buy a new one. As an instrument to help get you started, the guitars starter kits provide you with do an excellent job at helping you learn the ins and outs of an acoustic.
Now we come to the price. Starter Kits may range from $45 for the Pink Master Play Starter Kit to $199 for the Fender FA-115 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Kit. We recommend checking out the Pyle Beginner 36-inch Classical Acoustic Guitar Kit. At a retail price of $84.58, the kit provides you with almost everything you will need to begin playing, along with an instrument that can hold its own with any new student of guitar.
Acoustic Guitar Ranges: Low to High
If you’re looking to buy just a guitar and don’t need a kit yet, you might want to look into brands that are well-known and trusted in their legacy. The starting range of a beginner acoustic would be $129.99 for the Ibanez PF2MH Acoustic, even though prices can go up to $399 for the Martin LX1.
If you simply do not have the budget for name brands, a guitar from a relatively more minor brand would work just as well for learning, quite like the starter kits. A reliable option is the Strong Wind Classical Acoustic.
Made of basswood and with nylon strings, the Strong Wind Classical Acoustic comes with an adjustable bridge and smooth tuning pegs to help you get started with the practice. At a price tag of $74.99, we advise you not to expect incredible craftsmanship but a guitar that should last you the learning stage of your journey.
We’ve already mentioned the range for name brands – expect to buy a guitar that costs about $150. The best part about buying a guitar from a well-known brand is that you’re buying not just the instrument but also the trust that comes with buying from the brand.
You can expect good craftsmanship and a solid tone that you should seek to emulate with every guitar you buy after your first. We recommend the Fender Squier Dreadnought.
For $179.99, the guitar comes with everything else you need to begin learning, including a tuner, strap, strings, string winder, and access to Fender Play – Fender’s learning platform for guitarists of all backgrounds. The bundle is for people interested in starting to learn and provides a solid base to build your guitar knowledge off of.
If you’re looking to invest in a premium guitar, your budget will be higher, but so will the payoff. A premium guitar should last you most of your life if taken good care of and sound the best. Even though this is not necessary for beginners or students, it is a good investment if you’re serious about learning.
A guitar like the Taylor BBT is a good choice for anyone looking to invest in higher-end guitars within a beginner range. Made of ebony, layered walnut, and maple wood, the guitar has a spruce top and is made in Mexico. The $499 price is well worth it for the sound and craftsmanship that you get.
As we said before, you do not need to buy a premium guitar unless you are an intermediate or advanced guitarist. You might want to spend your finances on learning instead and buying the essentials required for a guitar, such as a strap, picks, and multiple string packs.
Guitar Price Ranges for Intermediate and Advanced Guitarists
If you’ve spent time with your acoustic, you should understand the price range of a guitar that sounds and feels good. Most importantly, if you’re serious about playing, you know what you want, and therefore, this section won’t deal with too much of the specifics of what you should look for when you’re buying a guitar.
As an advanced-level guitarist, you’re used to a specific sound, and if you aren’t, we recommend starting to look into guitars that sound and feel better than non-name brand ones. We recommend starting with mid-range to high-range brands like Ibanez or Yamaha.
Coming at $699, the Taylor Academy 10E combines excellent tone with good electronics for when you graduate to playing for an audience or need to plug your guitar into an amp. The guitar comes with size ranges to choose from for every type of guitarist, from finger-pickers to classical guitarists.
The low action will be useful for almost everyone and create a great playing experience when combined with the instrument’s dynamic response.
Despite the Taylor Academy 10E being relatively mid-range, if you’re looking for something a little more expensive, your options are endless. For intermediate and advanced guitarists, guitars have prices ranging anywhere from $599 for the Art & Lutherie Americana Acoustic-Electric to $1,399 for the Martin GPC 13E Road Acoustic-Electric. The choices depend entirely upon your budget and what you’re looking for from your guitar.
Regardless of your choice, we recommend selecting an acoustic-electric guitar simply for ease of use and playability. Acoustic-electrics often come with inbuilt pre-amps, which make the guitar louder and have tuners attached, making the constant tuning process a little easier for you. As you may have noticed, all of our choices for this section are acoustic-electric guitars.
Custom Shop Guitars: For Pros
We recommend custom-building your guitar for professional guitarists. No matter what you are looking for in your guitar, the chances are that you won’t find it all in one model. This is where custom-building can come to your aid.
Think of custom-shop guitar builders as the all-star team of any guitar manufacturing company. For Fender, whose guitars are some of the most well-known and well-played in the industry, custom-building comes down to telling them your specifications, getting a quoted price, and waiting for them to build your guitar and deliver it to you.
Even though this process may differ from company to company, most companies will give you the choice of having your guitar made by one artisan or a team of builders. In addition to the specificity you desire for your guitar, the number of people working on it will determine how much the price fluctuates.
Most custom-built guitars range from $2,000 to $10,000. The high price comes with a unique instrument and continuous round-the-clock assistance for any problems that your guitar might run into. A custom-built guitar is not just the finest piece of craftsmanship you can own but also a piece of art in itself.
Despite most custom-built guitars being electrics, having an acoustic made to your needs is not unheard of. If this seems like the right option for you, make sure you contact your manufacturer of choice and ask them for a quote depending on what you want out of your acoustic.
Buying A Used Guitar: Should You?
We would advise against buying used guitars if you’re a beginner. If you know what to look for as an intermediate or advanced player, looking for the pre-owned guitar of your choice gets significantly more manageable.
Used guitars come in a range of prices based on how well they’ve been used and what damages they may have. Expect to pay anywhere from $90 upwards for a decent and playable used guitar.
We wouldn’t recommend buying a used guitar online. You can’t be sure of what you’ll actually get. Always ask for the age of the guitar and test it out for yourself if you need to. Check for rust, test the action, and make sure you factor in repairs into the overall buying price of your guitar.
Collector’s Pieces: Art Or A Good Investment?
A vintage guitar isn’t as much for playing as it is for savoring the make and quality. If you’re looking forward to playing the guitar, we suggest buying a make and model that you love and have wanted to play.
Again, we recommend not buying a collector’s piece online. If you come to find the listing on a website, make sure to meet the seller in person and ask them as many questions as you want about the model you’re looking to buy. Most vintage collectors who sell online are passionate about their instruments and will not mind having a conversation about them. Some may even let you play them before buying!
Questions to ask would include asking whether the truss rod, if included, is working and whether the frets are damaged in any way. You will have to expect a lot of polishing and repairs, no matter how good the piece’s condition is, if you intend to play it.
It's also important to consider what the brand that produced your model of choice was known for back then. Some of the older, more budget dreadnoughts and jumbos might have issues under the hood which need fixing.
However, if you intend to invest in a 1930s Gretsch, you should be good to go with a few repairs to aging damage.
The Difference Between A Beginner Guitar and A Professional Guitar – What Drives Up The Price?
To begin with, a beginner guitar is most likely to be mass-produced with materials that aren’t necessarily of the best quality. This drives the price down and makes the instrument accessible for people looking to learn.
A professional acoustic guitar would usually be made with custom woodworking done by hand by skilled luthiers. This ensures the absolute best quality and sound that money can buy and makes them much more expensive.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t about your playing experience at all. What makes a guitar “beginner” or “professional” is determined by the work put into its making. It’s assumed that a beginner wouldn’t be able to pick out the subtleties of sound that an advanced player should be able to tell, and this is mainly why the two types of guitars are made from such different materials and techniques.
How Much Does An Acoustic Guitar Cost? Final Words
How much an acoustic guitar costs depends entirely upon individual factors, and there isn’t one answer to that question. The range varies from person to person and player to player, with premium acoustic-electric guitars being the most expensive factory-made type at roughly $1,000.
A professional guitarist will likely gravitate towards a custom-built guitar ($2,000 to $10,000), while a beginner can pick a starter kit that costs about $65.
The beauty of the acoustic guitar lies in this range, and as long as you know what you want, you’re ready to pick up your guitar and start playing!