Are Guitars Expensive? (Guitar Cost vs. other Instruments)

The guitar is among the most widely used instruments worldwide for a reason. This instrument is quick to get started with it, is easily accessible, and there are plenty of ways to learn to play the instrument. However, many people who want to play the guitar find themselves asking the same question: are guitars expensive?

Guitars can be expensive, but they can be affordable as well. The most basic guitars can cost as little as $65, while the most high-end and valuable instruments can cost upwards of $20,000. The most value-for-money guitars cost between $500 and $2000 and are excellent instruments.

Learning to play the guitar requires owning a guitar, which means that most people who want to learn to play the instrument will have to buy one to get started. This leads many to wonder if guitars are expensive and what other costs come along with playing this instrument? Let’s take the time to explore the costs that are involved with buying and playing guitar.

Are Guitars Expensive?

If you are considering learning the guitar, it is important to understand how much the instrument costs to buy. It is impossible to learn to play the guitar without owning one, so let’s explore the cost of buying a guitar.

Guitars can be expensive, but not all guitars come with a high price tag. There is a shockingly wide range of guitars available out there, and the range covers everything from high-end and highly expensive instruments to beginner, entry-level guitars that are extremely affordable.

It is possible to spend many thousands of dollars on a guitar, but it is also possible to spend less than $100 on a guitar as well.

However, as is true with most instruments, you do get what you pay for. If you buy a guitar that is very expensive, you are likely to walk away with an instrument that is high quality, sounds very good, is easy to play, and will last for a very long time. If you spend very little on a guitar, you are likely to not get a very good instrument, and it may be difficult to play and not sound very good either.

The price of a guitar depends on how much you have to spend. If you have a small amount of cash to spend on your first instrument, or if you have plenty to spend, there is a guitar that will suit your budget.

This is excellent news for beginner guitar players who do not want to spend a lot of money on a guitar or those who are unable to spend a lot of money on a first instrument. It is possible to get a guitar within your budget, and you will be surprised how little is required to spend on something that sounds and feels good to play.

How Much do Guitars Cost?

We have now established that guitars can be expensive, but they do not have to be, which leads us to the topic of guitar price ranges. How expensive are guitars? How much should you pay for your guitar? Let’s find out!

Let’s begin with the lower end of the guitar spectrum. The least expensive guitars on the market right now cost around $65, but these instruments are nothing special and are usually relatively poorly made.

However, if you want to get something as cheaply as possible, these are the instruments to buy. A guitar that costs as little as $65 is usually an acoustic guitar, as it is very challenging to find an electric guitar for the same price.

A good price range to look at for a guitar that is very affordable but still decent to play is around $130 – $150. This will buy an acoustic or an electric guitar that is worth playing and will feel comfortable in the hands.

This is an ideal price range for someone who is starting out on the guitar, as it will prove an instrument that feels good to play, sounds good, has a good range of features, and will not make you hate playing the guitar.

The upper-end of the guitar price spectrum has guitars that cost upward of $20,000 in regular guitar shops and much more expensive guitars from custom guitar builders. It is possible to spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars on a guitar, and even millions of dollars if the guitar is played by someone famous.

However, the realistic high-end price range of guitars is between $10,000 and $20,000, which can be found in any regular guitar store.

These guitars are incredible to play; they sound very good, they are well-made, and they are generally very good instruments overall. These instruments are intended for experienced guitarists or professional guitarists who need a very high-end, very reliable, very good-sounding instrument.

The price of guitars is a world of diminishing returns, as a $10,000 guitar is unlikely to sound much better than a guitar worth half as much, and a $5000 guitar is unlikely to sound much better than something that costs $2000.

The truth is that the price of a guitar is determined by much more than the sound of the instrument, and it only makes sense why guitars can be so expensive when you have held an expensive guitar in your own hands.

Mid-range guitars cost anywhere from $500 to $2000, and the guitars in the price range are the best value for the money, particularly for those who are buying their very first guitar.

Why are Guitars Expensive?

If the high-end and mid-range guitars feel expensive to you, you may be wondering why guitars can be so expensive? What is it about these instruments that warrant these high prices?

The truth is that the guitar is a complicated instrument to build. Every tiny component on a guitar makes a significant impact on the way the instrument sounds.

Everything including the wood that the neck and body are made from, the quality of the copper in the pickups, the material the nut is made from, how the wood is glued together, how well the frets are made, and the overall assembly quality of the instrument drastically affect the way it sounds.

Expensive guitars cost so much because they are made with the very best materials, with the highest construction standards, and built by the most experienced and talented craftsmen.

Cheap guitars are made from low-quality components and materials, and they are not assembled o built with a high standard of quality or craftsmanship. These guitars are often made in mass-manufacturing plants where the standards are very low.

This means that these guitars end up being unreliable, not very nice to play, and they do not sound very good either.

It is not necessary to spend $10,000 on a guitar, but spending $65 will not buy an instrument worth playing. Spending enough to get some good quality components and manufacturing is well worth the money, as this will provide you with an instrument that you will actually want to play.

Is it Worthwhile Buying an Expensive Guitar?

We have now learned that buying a cheap guitar is not worthwhile and that buying something that costs more is beneficial, but is it worthwhile to spend the money on an expensive guitar?

The truth is that expensive guitars are worthwhile if you intend to use the instrument to its fullest. If you do not intend to use the instrument for a very long time, or if you are unsure that you will continue playing the guitar, it is not worthwhile buying something expensive, but for the guitarist who is serious about playing, a good guitar is well worth the money it costs.

A good guitar will inspire you to play and practice. If your guitar feels nasty to play, you will not want to practice, and without practice, you will not improve.

However, if your guitar feels good and sounds great, it will inspire you to play more and motivate you to practice more. This will ultimately make you a better guitar player, and you will get more for your money than if you buy the cheapest guitar that you can find.

It is not worthwhile buying a $20,000 guitar to play in your bedroom, but if you want to make playing music your career, then a guitar like this is worth it.

A good bedroom guitar or a guitar for jamming with friends does not need to break the bank, but it is worthwhile finding something that costs a little more than entry-level and taking the time to learn to play it well.

Are Guitars Expensive compared to other Instruments?

If you are considering which instrument may be the best option for you, and if the price of the instrument is a factor, you may be wondering how expensive guitars are to other instruments?

Guitars are not more expensive than other instruments in the same category. In fact, they are significantly less expensive than most other instruments, depending on the guitar that you buy.

An entry-level guitar is less expensive than an entry-level drum kit, cello, bass, or violin. An entry-level keyboard is less expensive than an entry-level guitar, but an entry-level digital piano is significantly more expensive than a guitar in the same category.

The truth is that buying a useable guitar is far less expensive than buying another instrument of the same quality, except for smaller instruments such as ukuleles or very simple instruments such as harmonicas or recorders.

Compared to other instruments in the same league, the guitar is significantly less expensive than other instruments, but when you look at the high-end instruments, all instruments tend to cost around the same. A high-end guitar will cost as much as a high-end violin, for example.

Is Playing Guitar more Expensive than other Hobbies?

Considering the price of the guitar itself is one thing, but considering the price of playing the guitar long-term is another. How realistically expensive is it to play the guitar long-term compared to other hobbies?

Buying a guitar is not the only thing that a guitarist needs to buy. Regardless of the exact type of guitar that you use, you will need some form of bag or case to store and transport the guitar in, a guitar stand, and a guitar tuner.

Other peripherals are necessary for certain guitars. For example, electric guitars require an amplifier and an instrument cable to function. Electric guitars can also be used in conjunction with effects pedals, and every guitar player can use a few plectrums as well.

Guitar cleaning products are required for maintenance, as well as guitar oils and a few tools and cloths to perform maintenance.

Guitars also require fresh strings from time to time, which is another factor that every guitar player must remember.

However, most of the tools, peripherals and cleaning products are a one-time purchase, or they will last for many years at a time, which means that the only disposable aspect of guitars is the strings that must be replaced regularly.

All of this means that after the initial financial outlay of purchasing the guitar and peripherals, maintaining a guitar and keeping it long-term is very inexpensive.

It is possible to learn to play the guitar from free online resources, such as YouTube, and there are no other expenses other than upgrading the equipment and gear that you already have, which is entirely optional.

With all of this in mind, the guitar is a less expensive hobby in the long term than others, as there are no fees to pay, no unexpected expenses, and no additional gear required. The guitar and peripherals that you buy in the beginning are all that you will ever need unless you want to upgrade.

How to Make Buying a Guitar Less Expensive

If you have your heart set on getting a guitar, but the prices are too high for your budget, is there a way to make buying a guitar less expensive?

If guitars and peripherals are too expensive for you, consider buying a guitar that requires no peripherals. An acoustic guitar will work unplugged; they often come with built-in tuners, and they are generally less expensive than electric guitars of the same class.

These guitars require no amplification, and they can do without a bag or a case until you can afford to buy one. Buying an acoustic guitar is the least expensive option, provided you do not buy any peripherals for it.

A cheaper option still is to buy a guitar on the second-hand market. Second-hand guitars are always significantly less expensive than new guitars, and the same is true for guitar peripherals and gear.

If new guitars are out of your budget, look around for a good second-hand guitar, and you will find something excellent that you can afford!


Some guitars are expensive, but you do not need to buy the best guitar available to get a good instrument. Buying a guitar that is above entry-level but affordable is the best way to get the most value for your money.

Every guitar is different, so take the time to find an instrument that suits your budget and one that excites you, and you will find that the cost involved is more than justified. Guitars are expensive, but they are worthwhile, and you do not need to spend as much as you may think!