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Guitar Prices

Learn what guitars cost, on average.

When purchasing a new guitar, beginners should first check for feel and comfort. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
When purchasing a new guitar, beginners should first check for feel and comfort.

Guitar prices reflect the cost of the materials used to build guitars and are usually a good indication of a guitar's overall quality. When shopping for your first guitar, it can be helpful to learn about the different materials and features available. Some of the information may be unnecessary for children or true novices to learn, but players looking to find a guitar that grows with them as their musical skills improve will benefit by paying close attention to the details.

Deciding Where to Shop

While musicians may be able to obtain better guitar prices online, an in-store purchase will help them find the guitar that best fits their body and skill level. When purchasing a new guitar, beginners should first check for feel and comfort -- looks and style are important, but only after the guitar fits the player well and is comfortable to play. Players choosing an acoustic guitar should take special care to examine the shape and size of its neck, which Guitarists.net mentions has a large impact on its comfort and playability.

Players should also determine if the weight and size of the guitar are manageable. Miniature acoustic guitars tend to be better for beginners because they are lightweight, easy to travel with and relatively quiet. However, heavier guitars may produce a wider range of dynamic levels, and have a richer, more luxurious tone.

Elements of Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitars come in three different sizes. The smallest models are called "parlor" guitars. Dreadnoughts are the more standard, medium-sized guitars, and the "jumbo" acoustic is the largest. In general, the bigger the guitar's body, the deeper its tone will be.

Different grades of wood are used for the body, neck and fretboard of acoustic guitars. These often include hardwoods like ash, mahogany, maple, rosewood and koa. Each wood produces a different sound and tone quality for the guitar. Additionally, some of the woods have noticeably different weights. Beginning guitar players should purchase an acoustic guitar that has an appropriate weight for their comfort and a strong sound quality.

Beginners' acoustic guitars start around $200 and go up to about $400. As long as its sound quality and comfort are good, any guitar in this price range would be a good choice for a new player. Intermediate and advanced players have a much wider selection of guitars, ranging in price from $600 to over $5,000.

Elements of Electric Guitars

Electric guitars have three body types: hollow, semi-hollow and solid. Hollow and semi-hollow electric guitars have a cavity that produces a resonating sound, much like acoustic guitars. Solid body electric guitars are the most popular. According to Sweetwater Sound, each of these body types feature some wooden components that affect their sound.

Another important element that guitar buyers should keep in mind when choosing an electric guitar is the pickup, which transforms the mechanical vibration of the strings into an electrical signal. Single-coil pickups, which have only one coil of wire, produce a clean, thin sound. Humbucker, or double-coil pickups, have two wires and produce a warm, smooth sound. The choice of pickup depends on the sound the musician is seeking.

Depending on the quality of these features, electric guitars range in price from $99 to over $10,000. Beginner guitars start at the low end of this range and move up to around $400. Intermediate electric guitars sell for between $400 and $1,000, while most high-quality models sell between $1,500 and $3,000.

Making the Purchase

Guitars priced over $1,000 are built using high-quality materials and are made to produce clean, full and accurate sound. Though they are made from the finest woods and electrical components, they may not be the best match for beginners. If they are uncomfortable or difficult to play, their sound quality will suffer. Of course, novice players should not necessarily settle for the cheapest guitar they can find, especially if they plan to seriously pursue music. The best advice to budding guitar players: do your research.

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