How Much Does an Electric Guitar Cost?

When looking to buy an electric guitar, the biggest factor is the price. How much does an electric guitar cost? That’s the first question you’re going to think about when searching for a guitar to buy. There are thousands of options to choose from as they can range ranging from cheap guitars under $200 to professional guitars over $10,000. Most people get overwhelmed by the sheer number of different types and choices available on the market.

So, how do you know what’s the difference and what price range is best for you?

You need to think about your skill level and capacity. Learn how much and where to spend. So, it’s better if you narrow down your options first and search according to it.

Here’s a detailed account of how electric guitar prices are determined and what factors contribute to them.

Electric Guitar Pricing by Usage/Level

Your guitar’s price mostly depends on your budget and skill. But what should be your budget? For that, you need to think about what you’re gonna use your guitar for.

If you’re just learning to play the guitar you won’t need a high-end model. Similarly, for a professional musician, his/her guitar is an investment. You can be sure there won’t be any expenses spared and quality compromised, it has to be the absolute best. Therefore, musicians from different playing levels need different price ranges for guitars as well.

So, how much does an electric guitar cost?

  • Low-end guitars: under $100
  • Beginner guitars: $150-$400
  • Intermediate guitars: $400-$900
  • High-end advanced guitars: $1000-$2500
  • Professional guitars: $2500 and above

On average, a decent-quality electric guitar would cost around $500. 

Beginner Electric Guitar

Most of the beginner guitar players aren’t ready to spend a huge amount of money for something they might not even continue. And they shouldn’t spend too much either!

But getting a cheaper and lower quality guitar may end up in frustration and you’ll likely quit playing forever. To avoid that scenario, you should look for a good quality beginner guitar at standard price.

How much does a beginner electric guitar cost?

Well, that depends. Anything under $100 has a chance of getting poor construction quality and tuning instability. Up to $150, you can find good options, but it won’t be much common. Around the $200 range, you’ll find tons of great options from reputable and top brands like Squier, Epiphone, Yamaha, Ibanez, etc.

Here are some of the best choices for beginner electric guitar:

Intermediate Electric Guitar

If you want to upgrade your beginner guitar but are still on a tight budget, intermediate-level guitars will be safe options for you. Their quality can be really close to pro-level guitar but the price wise they would be much more reasonable. You’ll find a great balance between performance versus price.

Typically, intermediate guitars cost between $400-$900.

They offer great value as they provide an excellent build quality at a relatively low price. You can even start learning with intermediate guitar instead of a starter model if you can spend the extra cash. It won’t be that big of an investment like pro guitars, but you’ll have a much better learning experience. Besides, you’ll have lots of other options available so you don’t have to worry about upgrading your guitar just yet.

Here are some of the best intermediate electric guitars:

High-End Advanced Electric Guitars

These guitars are designed for advanced players, although they’re suitable for all skill levels. Most professional players use these guitars for practice so they won’t have to worry about causing damage to their main guitars.

High-end guitars generally cost between $1000-$2500, depending on the brands and models.

They are every bit more superior to intermediate guitars in terms of quality, aesthetic and playability. Also, these guitars generally contain name-brand pickups instead of mass-produced generic pickups. They come in superb condition and quality so you’ll hardly need to upgrade your guitar anymore.

Here are some of the best high-end electric guitars:

Professional Electric Guitars

Professional electric guitars are the crème dela crème of guitar world. They are handcrafted in premium facilities in the USA, Europe, or Japan.

Pro guitars can cost anywhere from $2500 to more. The price depends on the brand, specifications, and finish. They use top-of-the-line wood, pickups, and hardware. Some of the models can cost tens of thousands because of their rarity or exclusivity.

Of course, not all of them are for average customers, but they are a great investment if you can afford one. If you take care and maintain it properly, your guitar can be in pristine playing condition even after half a century.

Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, PRS (Paul Reed Smith), Jackson, ESP, Ernie Ball Music Man, etc. are some of the most reputable brands with their own premium line of guitars. You can try playing any one from them before buying to find the right one for you.

Used Electric Guitars

There’s also another option of buying a used or second-hand guitar. If you’re planning on saving money, a used guitar is a great choice. You can easily save a few hundreds of dollars with a used guitar model from previous years.

However, you need to make sure the guitar is in good condition. The better the condition, the better the sound will be. It’s always recommended to try your guitar before buying. Even if you don’t know how to play, you should hold the guitar and feel if you’re comfortable with it. A used guitar won’t be much of a change from a brand new one, as long as it suits you the best.

Electric Guitar Pricing by Brands

You should target looking at the guitar brands next, as these brands can provide you with viable price estimates. Here are some of the major brands with their estimated price ranges:

  • Gibson: $1000-$4000
  • Epiphone: $200-$1000
  • Fender: $600-$2500
  • Squier: $200-$500
  • Ibanez: $500-$6000
  • Yamaha: $200-$1000
  • PRS SE: $400-$1200
  • PRS Main: $2000-$4000

Again, keep in mind these are just estimates for different brands. To get a more detailed picture of pricing, you need to look for specific models with their prices listed. Let’s look at some of the most popular electric guitars currently available on the market.

Price for Popular Electric Guitar Models:

  1. Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’50s: $600
  2. Gibson Les Paul Standard: $2500
  3. PRS SE Custom 24: $1000
  4. Squier Classic Vibe ’70s Stratocaster: $450
  5. Ibanez Gio GRX20Z: $150
  6. Fender American Professional Stratocaster: $1450
  7. Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard: $800
  8. Fender Player Telecaster:$800
  9. Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster: $230
  10. PRS CE 24: $2000

*Note: All the listed prices are based on Sweetwater

Gibson

Gibson has been making electric guitars for a hundred years and has been a pioneer in this field. Their Les Paul is one of the best guitars in the world. Whether it’s Les Paul, SG, ES-335, or any of the other models, you can be sure you’re getting the top-of-the-shelf models. They may be a bit expensive but they are definitely worth the money.

Features:

  • Mahogany Body
  • Maple Neck
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • Two Gibson humbuckers pickups
  • Bigsby Tremolo or Fixed bridge system

Epiphone

Epiphone is a sub-company of Gibson and creates more affordable guitars. They produce similar models like Gibson: Les Paul, SG, ES-335, etc. but at a lot lower price than original Gibson models. These are particularly more suitable for beginner and/or intermediate guitar players. If you can’t afford a Gibson or don’t want to spend that much on a beginner guitar, you can always try Epiphone. You’ll get a top-notch guitar that looks amazing and feels amazing as well.

Features:

  • Solid-Body
  • Fixed bridge
  • Mahogany Body
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Humbucker pickups

Fender

Being one of the greatest guitar manufacturers, Fender is famous for its quality instruments. They have a variety of top models, but two of them are in a league of their own. Fender Telecaster and Fender Stratocaster are the most popular electric guitar. Because of the high-quality materials and craftsmanship, they are coveted by musicians all over the world.

Features:

  • Alder body
  • Bolt-on Maple neck
  • Either maple or rosewood fretboard
  • Tremolo bridge
  • SSS, HSS, HSH pickup combination

Squier

Similar to Epiphone, Squier is the sub-company of Fender and produces affordable guitars. They have several series of budget-friendly options. Despite having lower prices, Squier guitars have the same feel as Fender. Classic Vibe Series of Squier has the original Fender vibe even though it costs almost half the price. There are both HSS (humbucker pickup in the bridge position) and SSS (three single-coil pickups) options available.

Features:

  • Solid Alder body
  • Bolt-on maple or rosewood neck
  • HSS or SSS pickup configuration
  • Tremolo bridge

Ibanez

Ibanez is another famous brand for electric guitars. Guitarist Steve Vai designed the unique EVO series of Ibanez guitars. These are usually the choice for metal or hard rock players as they are created for shredding. The best thing about Ibanez guitars is the price. As there’s a large range of different prices, you can pick anything from $250 to $2500 and more.

Features:

  • Solid-body
  • Maple bolt-on neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • HSH, HH or HSS pickup combination
  • Tremolo bridge or Floyd Rose
  • Unique “tree of life” inlay

Yamaha

Yamaha guitars are well known for creating one of the best acoustic guitars. However, they are a dependable brand for electric guitar as well. Their guitars are most suitable for beginner and intermediate-level players. The famous Yamaha Pacifica is the first guitar for many guitar players who just started learning.

Features:

  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Solid-body
  • Glued Maple top
  • HSS pickup combination
  • Tremolo bridge

PRS

PRS guitars have become one of the famous and more expensive guitars for professional musicians. They have unique design and sound with a beautiful flame maple top. There are generally two types of PRS guitars: PRS SE models and PRS models. The PRS SE models are the PRS economy line and the PRS models are the expensive mainline. The SE models are best for advanced players as they have a similar level of tone and quality as the real-deal PRS. The main PRS models have a thicker tone like Les Paul but with some of the speed and playability of the Stratocaster.

Features:

  • Solid Mahogany body
  • Bolt-on mahogany neck
  • PRS Bridge
  • Flame maple top
  • PRS humbucker pickups
  • Rosewood fingerboard with bird inlay

What Determines the Differences in Price?

As you can see, there are a variety of different prices even if the guitars have similar models. For instance, consider the prices for the Epiphone Les Paul Standard and the Gibson Les Paul Standard. There’s a stark price difference between the two, despite coming from the same model of electric guitar.

Now you may ask, why this difference in price and what determines it?

In fact, there is a multitude of reasons behind this and one of the most prominent causes has to do with the construction of the guitar. Here are some of the reasons with a detailed explanation:

Quality Of Tonewood

Tonewood impacts the sound and tone of the guitar. Different types of wood determine the price of an electric guitar. The rarer and better quality wood, the more expensive it’ll be to manufacture the guitar. Beginner guitars are typically made of mahogany, plywood, or basswood; intermediate levels are often made of alder, ash, maple, or mahogany; and professional guitars use high-quality woods like walnut or rosewood.

Also, there’s a method called hardwood grading which determines the quality of the wood. This method is an important factor in determining the cost and quality of an electric guitar.

Pickups

Pickups are the next major factor for determining price. Beginner guitars tend to have stock pickups or are made in-house by the factories. Cheaper pickups work fine but they lack the punchiness, clarity, and character of expensive ones.

Expensive or professional level guitars use pickups from reputable third-party brands like Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio. A good set of pickups can cost almost as much as the guitar itself.

Hardware

Bridge, tremolo system, tuning machines, etc. are components of the hardware. Similar to pickups, cheaper models use lower-quality hardware and expensive ones use higher-quality branded pieces, like Grover or Stewmac. For example, high-end guitars use brass and steel bridges and tuners instead of cheap nickel. Also, the nut is made out of bone rather than plastic. Based on the hardware used in the guitar, the price considerably varies.

Electronics

Other electronics like volume knobs, tone knobs, and interior wiring are greatly dependent on the pickup type and configuration. These additional parts also contribute to the cost. In custom electric guitars, additional features like push-pull knob functionality, pickup switches, extra tone knobs, and kill switches can all increase cost.

Build Year and Availability

Most popular electric guitar models have a year attached to them, which is the year they were built. And they get overhauled every year. Like the 2020 Stratocaster, 2019, 2018, 2017 and so on. When you’re buying an older model, you can get it a lot cheaper than when it was new. For used guitar, this is even more apparent. You can save a whole lot of money if you pay attention to the year.

Some custom or specialized models of electric guitars are only produced for a limited time. Or in some cases, in a limited amount. Limited editions definitely gonna cost you a lot more than normal everyday models. So, availability is another factor to drive up the price.

Buying an electric guitar is a big decision so it’s ok if you start to feel overwhelmed. Plus, there are so many options to choose from! If you’re a beginner, it gets especially hard to get your dream guitar while trying to stay within a budget.

However, you don’t need to compromise! You can find quality guitars from every price range and from top-tier brands. And pay attention to the manufacture, model, year, pickups, and other features we have discussed here as these are the driving factors behind the price. This way, you can have a good idea about how much does an electric guitar costs.

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