How Much Does An Electric Guitar Cost? Pricing Guide (2023)
As some of the most popular musical instruments, electric guitars have a wide range of models with an average price of around $500. Entry-level electric guitars cost between $100 and $400, while the mid-level range ranges from $400 to $1000. High-end and professional models cost above $1000.
Entry-Level Electric Guitars
Entry-level electric guitars are often preferred as the first electric guitars by beginner guitarists. They sit on the lower end of the spectrum and are commonly made in far eastern or southeast Asian countries such as China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Korea. They are mass-produced basic guitars with inexpensive materials.
Many different iconic electric guitar brands have side branches offering beginner guitar starter packs, such as Fender’s Squier and Gibson’s Epiphone. These brands offer iconic models made in different countries with more basic designs and less expensive materials.
That is great for many music enthusiasts to purchase a guitar for an affordable price, get used to the design, decide whether playing guitar is for them, and then upgrade to a better version later.
Some great entry-level guitar options are Squier Affinity Series, Ibanez GRG Series, and Epiphone Les Paul series. There are also new brands offering great beginner guitars made in China with great value-for-price ratios, such as Harley Benton, Donner, and many more.
Mid-Level Electric Guitars
Intermediate guitars are better-quality instruments that are mass-produced but with better hardware and materials than beginner guitars. They typically cost between $400 to $1000 and are great options for experienced beginner players to upgrade their instruments.
Intermediate guitars often have higher quality tonewoods, pickups, hardware, and electronics compared to entry-level guitars. So, mid-level guitars offer more comfortable playability with the upgraded designs and better sound quality, thanks to the upgraded pickup and electronics system.
They are mainly preferred as the second guitars most guitarists purchase in their guitar journey. They can be produced in many different countries. Still, in addition to China, Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam, intermediate-level electric guitars are mainly produced in countries such as Japan and Mexico. There are also rare ones that are produced directly in the U.S.A.
Some great options for mid-level electric guitar model series are Fender Player Series, Ibanez RG Series, and PRS SE Series. With these guitars, you can take your playing style to another level. They are great guitars for studio and home use. They can also handle live performances to a degree.
High-End Electric Guitars
High-end electric guitars typically cost above the $1000 mark. They are professional guitars for those who gig regularly or make professional-grade recordings. They are partly or completely hand-made guitars with exceptional attention to each detail.
Professional electric guitars are workhorses suitable for regular high-level use in the studio or on the stage. They feature top-quality tonewoods, pickups, hardware, and electronics for premium-quality playability and sound.
Of course, at this point, guitarists decide their tone, playing style, and what they expect from their instruments. So, most professional guitars have a stand on the spectrum of tones and playing styles.
Let’s say some guitars are more suited towards heavy metal tones and more aggressive playing styles like shredding, while others are better for more mellow tones of blues and jazz and smoother playing styles.
Most high-end guitars, especially the ones that are above the $2500 mark, are hand-made instruments that are commonly made in the U.S.A. The price significantly increases if a guitar has the label “made in the U.S.A.” like most professional Fenders, Gibsons, and others. But, these guitars hold their value better than other brands.
While most likely, most guitars in the mid-level section are more than enough for most guitarists, if you are earning your life by playing guitar, you will need one of the professional guitars for maximum performance.
Some great examples of professional guitar model series are Ibanez Prestige Range, Fender American Professional II Series, Gibson SG, and Les Paul Series.
How Much Do Used Electric Guitars Cost?
Today, the second-hand guitar market is thriving with the advancement of technology and the internet world. There are many great bargains on platforms such as Reverb, eBay, and many more, which is great for many musicians who do not want to spend so much on a new guitar.
A second-hand electric guitar would cost around 20% to 40% cheaper than the new one of the same model, depending on the condition. Another advantage is that most guitars with mid to high-level quality do not lose value over time, so you can sell the used guitar you bought for the same price or maybe even higher prices.
What Affects Electric Guitar Price?
As mentioned before, there is a relatively big gap between the high-end and low-end electric guitars. This is due to some different features significantly deciding the price of an electric guitar, such as the location of production, wood quality, hardware quality, and brand reliability. Check out all the different guitar parts to get a better sense of the construction of an electric guitar.
Location Of Production
The production country is highly important as it also indicates the attention put into detail and the techniques used in the manufacturing process. Entry-level guitars are mainly mass-produced in China or countries around, and the quality check process and attention to detail are nowhere near the ones produced in the U.S.A.
Also, as the wages are significantly higher in countries such as the U.S.A., Japan, and Europe, the price of production increases automatically.
Although the choice of tonewoods does not play a significant role in electric guitars as in acoustic guitars, it does play a role that increases the tonal quality. So, higher-end guitars tend to have rare or higher quality wood types, which is reflected in the price. Not just the wood type itself but how the wood is treated is also important in guitars.
When it comes to electric guitars, hardware quality is almost as important as tonewood quality. Hardware includes pickups which play the main role in terms of the tonal quality of the instrument. It also includes the tuners that are responsible for tuning stability, the bridge for tremolo action, and the electronics for tonal versatility.
As with any good in the market, brand reliability increases the price significantly. For example, iconic electric guitar brands such as Fender, Gibson, and Suhr are known for their amazing guitars that are produced with amazing attention to detail and unique designs. That is why the instruments of these brands are relatively higher than other brands with the same material quality and location of production.
How Much Should You Spend on an Electric Guitar?
If you want to play electric guitar, you should have at least $500 to spend on the electric guitar itself and the necessary gear to play it. There are great electric guitar bundles that come with all or some of the necessary gear to start playing.
An entry-level guitar will cost you anything between $100 to $400. You will also need an amplifier which ranges from $20 to $200. You will also require a protective case for your instrument.
The fabric bags cost around $15 to $90, while high-quality ones can go up to $300. If you need a hard case, they are slightly more expensive, with prices between $50-$100 for an average one and $300 to $400 for higher-end ones.
You will also need guitar picks, a guitar strap, a guitar tuner, and extra strings, which would cost you an extra $50. So the minimum price to complete the set is around $500. There are many bundles with entry-level guitars for the price range.
In short, electric guitar prices have a wide range starting from as low as $100 and going up to a few thousand dollars for professional instruments. On average, entry-level electric guitars are around $300, whale mid-level guitars are around $750, and higher-end ones are above the $1000 mark.
There is also the cost of the extra required gear to take into account, such as an amp, protective case, picks, cables, straps, tuner, and extra strings. For starters, I recommend checking out the bundles that get you started immediately, as everything you need, including the guitar itself, is offered in the pack.