So, you are ready to purchase your first electric guitar. Exciting times! Unfortunately, when you start browsing electric guitar prices, you may find that they are much more expensive than expected. But don’t let this dissuade you!
Luckily, there is a wide range of prices for electric guitars, which means that musicians of all budgets can easily find an instrument that meets their needs.
In this article, I will break down exactly how much electric guitars cost, from budget beginner guitars to ultra-high-end collector items! Let’s get started!
How much does an electric guitar cost on average?
On average, you can expect to pay around $550 for a new electric guitar. This is the mid-range median price point for electric guitars. But you can easily find them for much cheaper, and of course, MANY electric guitars are much more expensive than this.
Most electric guitars are in the price range of $100 at the absolute minimum and $5,000 at the high end of the spectrum.
Budget electric guitars
If you are just starting out, you may not be ready to splurge on an expensive instrument, which is why many beginner guitarists opt for budget electric guitars.
Even though they may not sound as good, are constructed from cheaper materials, and lack the bells and whistles of costlier models, budget guitars are enough for you to get started with the basics of playing the guitar.
You should be able to find budget electric guitars between $100 and $250, with major guitar brands having a lot of options available.
- Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster: $249 or $389 with the Beginner Bundle
- Yamaha Pacifica 012: $207
- Epiphone Les Paul SL: $199
Entry-level electric guitars
Entry-level electric guitars are a slight step up from budget guitars in terms of playability, build quality, hardware, and pickups, leading to a better-sounding guitar overall.
Intermediate players or even beginners who want to upgrade their guitars will find these models ideal.
Prices for entry-level electric guitars tend to hover around the $250 to $450 mark. These guitars are not quite gig-ready or good for recording sessions, but they are perfect for those who are still learning the instrument and want a better sound.
Mid-range electric guitars
Electric guitars in the mid-price range are ideal for serious musicians who need a guitar that plays well in live gig settings, switches between pickups smoothly, and can stay in tune for extended periods. Mid-level guitars is where the quality takes a major leap forward, and the sound quality difference is definitely noticeable.
The level of craftsmanship and detail found in mid-range guitars is necessary for someone who uses them for live performances and studio sessions.
These guitars often include higher-quality hardware, pickups, locking tuners, and better-quality wood. Mid-range electric guitars typically cost between $700 and $1,100, with some of the more common options being:
High-end electric guitars
High-end electric guitars are excellently made, with great attention to detail, and are perfect for professional musicians with an ear for the tone they are looking for. These guitars are crafted with gigging musicians in mind, and many of the best ones are made in the USA.
Since almost all parts in these guitars are of high quality, a lot of the high-end hardware and pickup brands collaborate with these models.
Premium tonewoods, custom pickups, high-quality finishes, attention to detail in the guitar’s action, and the finish on each fret wire are just a few of the high-end characteristics found on these well-crafted models.
Most popular high-end electric guitars cost between $1,500 and $2,500. Here are a few of the best high-end electric guitars:
Ultra high-end electric guitars
Rare and pricey, ultra-high-end electric guitars are highly sought after by guitar aficionados all over the globe. They are also used by many professionals and bought up by collectors.
These guitars may be custom-built, one-of-a-kind creations, or collectible classics that have long since been discontinued.
These luxury guitars can easily run in the $6,000+ price range and may even eclipse $10,000! Here are some ultra-high-end electric guitar models:
- Gibson Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Reissue: $6,699
- Paul Reed Smith Private Stock: $10,000+
- Fender Custom Shop 1960 Stratocaster Heavy Relic: $6,500
- Music Man John Petrucci Majesty: $3,500 – $6,500
Electric guitar cost by brand
Let’s take a look at some of the top guitar brands and how much you can expect a guitar from these brands to cost.
Gibson has been producing high-quality guitars since 1902. Their electric guitars are legendary for their impeccable long-lasting build quality, top-tier hardware and pickups, and iconic designs.
- Cheapest: Gibson Les Paul Junior ($799-$999)
- Mid-range: Gibson Les Paul Standard ($2,499-$3,699)
- Most expensive: Gibson Custom Shop 60th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul Standard ($8,999-$11,999)
Another legendary guitar manufacturer, Fender has been around since 1946. Their electric guitars are known for their amazing designs, trademark single-coil sound, and classic necks, which have inspired generations of guitar players.
- Cheapest: Fender Player Mustang ($700-$850)
- Mid-range: Fender American Professional II Stratocaster ($1,499-$1,699)
- Most expensive: Fender Custom Shop ’55 Dual-Mag Stratocaster ($3,799-$3,999)
Epiphone is Gibson’s offshoot that focuses on making high-quality instruments at more reasonable price points. Their electric guitars are known for their classic Gibson-like neck and body designs and are characterized by the warm sound of humbucker pickups. However, these guitars are made with slightly cheaper materials, so they are much more affordable than Gibson guitars.
- Cheapest: Epiphone Les Paul Special VE ($129-$149)
- Mid-range: Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s ($599-$749)
- Most expensive: Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro KOA ($799-$999)
While Epiphone is Gibson’s value line, Squier is Fender’s, with models that are lower in price but still feature the classic Fender body and neck profiles. These guitars are marketed to beginners and are commonly sold in bundles with a small combo amp, strings, a gig bag, a guitar strap, and more!
- Cheapest: Squier Bullet Stratocaster ($129-$149)
- Mid-range: Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Stratocaster ($399-$499)
- Most expensive: Squier Contemporary Active Stratocaster HH ($449-$549)
The Ibanez name has become synonymous with well-engineered electric guitars, especially among metal and hard rock musicians. This brand originated in Japan and produces a wide range of guitar equipment, from beginner packages to top-quality guitars.
- Cheapest: Ibanez GRX20Z ($149-$199)
- Mid-range: Ibanez RG6003FM Electric Guitar ($499-$749)
- Most expensive: Ibanez JEM77 Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar ($2,799-$2,999)
Paul Reed Smith (PRS) is a premium guitar line revered for its impeccable construction, meticulous attention to detail, and amazing looks. All PRS guitars are made in the USA, so you know you are getting a good quality guitar no matter what you go for.
- Cheapest: PRS SE Standard 24 ($499-$599)
- Mid-range: PRS S2 Custom 24 ($1,649-$1,799)
- Most expensive: PRS Private Stock Custom 24 ($10,000+)
Schecter is a brand that’s grown in popularity in modern metal music. Schecter guitars are famous for their sleek appearance, super-fast shredder necks, and modern sound. Many Schecter guitars also include a Floyd Rose Tremolo System, allowing you to play Van Halen-esque guitar solos.
- Cheapest: Schecter Omen Extreme-6 ($399-$449)
- Mid-range: Schecter Hellraiser C-1 ($999-$1,099)
- Most expensive: Schecter USA Custom Shop PT Apocalypse ($3,799-$3,999)
Jackson is a name that is synonymous with heavy metal music. Jackson makes a wide range of instruments from inexpensive models to more luxurious guitars. The brand is recognized for its unusual headstock shape and quick, slender necks, making it excellent for shredding and other fast-paced virtuosic playing techniques.
- Cheapest: Jackson JS11 Dinky ($149-$199)
- Mid-range: Jackson Pro Series Soloist SL2 ($1,299-$1,399)
- Most expensive: Jackson USA Select B8MG Deluxe 8-String ($3,299-$3,499)
What affects the cost of an electric guitar?
All sorts of factors can affect the price of a guitar, from the types of wood used to construct it to the location it was produced. Let’s go over the different factors that affect the final price.
The choice of woods used has a significant impact on the sound and playability of a guitar. Some brands use more exotic and rare woods, which can significantly drive up the price of a guitar.
For example, Suhr guitars use specialty woods like roasted maple, koa, and swamp ash, which can add several hundred dollars to the price of the guitar.
To get an idea of how this impacts the price, the cost per board foot of mahogany, the wood most commonly used for a guitar’s body and neck, ranges from $15 to $25. Guitar tops are typically made of maple, which can cost anywhere from $8 to $15 per board foot. Rosewood fingerboards can cost anywhere from $30 to $50 per board foot.
But niche woods like koa can cost over $100 per board foot, while roasted maple can be purchased for around $60.
While both are essentially Telecaster-style designs, a roasted maple Suhr Custom Classic T can cost over $4,000, while an alder wood Fender Player Telecaster can be purchased for under $700.
Stock pickups in less expensive guitars are typically mass-produced and not as high quality as custom pickups. High-end pickups, on the other hand, are designed with specific sound qualities in mind and are even handmade in some cases. This results in a much higher price tag.
For example, for less than $200, you can get a guitar with three single-coil pickups that sound like classic Strat pickups, like in the Squier’s Affinity series Stratocaster guitar.
Higher-end pickups, such as the Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB Model Humbucker or the DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion, may cost between $80 and $120. In comparison, handcrafted pickups like the Bare Knuckle Nailbomb Humbucker may cost you up to $200.
The quality and type of bridge, tuners, and knobs of an electric guitar will also affect its final price. Although higher-end hardware tends to increase the guitar’s price, it massively enhances the instrument’s resonance, thus affecting playability and sound quality.
For instance, you may spend $70 to $100 on a set of high-quality locking tuners, and an authentic Floyd Rose bridge will easily set you back $200 – $400.
As you can see, these additions alone are way more expensive than most entry-level guitars.
Country of origin
The price of an electric guitar may vary hugely depending on where it was made. American-made and Japanese-made guitars are highly sought after and companies like Fender and Gibson typically only make their top-quality guitars in the USA. On the other hand, many guitars are made in factories in countries with lower labor costs, such as Mexico, China, and Indonesia. These guitars tend to be much more affordable than those made in the US or Japan.
Hence, a Fender Stratocaster built in Mexico can be bought for around $600-$700, whereas the same model built in the US, might cost around $1,500.
How much should you spend on your first electric guitar?
A decent electric guitar, suitable for beginners, can be bought for around $250 to $500.
Beginner-friendly guitars often come with lower-quality pickups and hardware and lack the craftsmanship to provide you with enhanced playability, but they’re still worth giving a shot if you’re just starting off.
Some of the most well-known brands which aim at this price range for beginners include Fender Squier, Epiphone, Harley Benton, Yamaha, Schecter, Jackson, and Ibanez.
How much should a professional guitarist spend on a guitar?
It’s not uncommon for skilled guitarists to shell out thousands of dollars for a custom-made instrument by a guitar luthier or probably a vintage guitar. On average, professional guitarists may spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on a guitar.
The guitar’s build quality, playability, neck profile, brand reputation, and quality of pickups and hardware should all be taken into account when deciding how much to spend on a professional guitar.
Any serious guitarist worth their salt knows the importance of having a guitar that is specifically made for them and their playing style.
Cost of electric guitar gear
You can’t really play an electric guitar without an amp, cables, and other necessary gear. The following add-ons need to be considered while looking at the overall cost of buying an electric guitar:
An amplifier is a necessary part of an electric guitar setup and forms the backbone of your sound since it enhances the sound generated by the pickups.
An amplifier may cost as little as $80 for a decent battery-powered practice amp like the Blackstar Fly3 and as much as $2,000 for high-end tube amps like the Mesa Boogie Mark V or the Friedman BE-100. A good amplifier will typically cost between $200 and $500. Most decent beginner amps are around $200 on average.
Check out my article on the best guitar amp brands for insight on which amp brands to look out for.
Cables connect your guitar to your amplifier. High-quality cables help to avoid signal loss and preserve your original tone. They’ll also last longer, giving you more bang for your buck at the end of the day.
Cables vary in price depending on factors including their length and brand. While it may be tempting to choose a 300 foot cable, I recommend to go for shorter cables, preferably 10 feet or less, to avoid losing your treble frequencies.
Picks are tiny, but they are no less essential than a guitar amp! Guitar picks range from thin to thick and are made from many different materials, such as nylon, celluloid, tortex, metal, and wood.
Depending on the style and brand, the price of a guitar pick may range from a few cents to several dollars.
Most low cost picks cost around 50 cents to $2 per pick or $5–$10 per pack of 12. High-end picks can cost more than $5 each.
When playing the guitar while standing, a guitar strap is used to stabilize the instrument around your torso. Without a strap, you will definitely struggle to play guitar while standing! Cheap guitar straps can cost around $10 dollars, but if you want a leather strap that will last for years, you should expect to pay around $50-$100.
A decent mid-range strap should cost you between $10 and $50. The Ibanex GSB50 braided strap, is a good entry-level strap for $15.
Most electric guitars come with a soft padded gig bag. However, if you travel with your guitar often or purchase a guitar that costs over $1,000, it’s better to invest in a hard case made of molded plastic or wood.
They help protect your guitar neck’s action, which is susceptible to climatic changes and physical knocks that occur when you move around with them.
Different types and materials of cases can result in varying prices depending on the level of padding and protection involved inside the wooden or molded plastic case. A decent hard case will set you back anything from $50 to $150.
The price of a set of electric guitar strings typically ranges from $5 to $20. However, this may vary widely based on the material and whether they’re flatwound, roundwound, or half wound.
Customization costs for electric guitar
While customizing, your electric guitar can give it a unique look, sound, and feel, it also increases the price considerably. Here are some popular customization options, along with their typical costs.
Installing a Floyd Rose tremolo
A Floyd Rose tremolo is a popular option among hard rock and heavy metal guitarists because it allows for dive bombs and fluent two-way pitch shifting with your whammy bar. However, these customizations do come at a high cost.
For instance, Floyd Rose Original tremolo systems may cost anywhere from $200 to $300, while Floyd Rose Pro and Special systems can be purchased for $150 to $250.
The pickups on your guitar greatly impact your tone, sensitivity, and receptivity. Depending on the make and model of pickups and whether they are active or passive, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to more than $200.
Popular active pickup upgrades include the EMG 81 and EMG 85 humbuckers and the EMG SA single-coil, which cost more than $150 for a pair.
Passive pickups, like the DiMarzio DP100 Super Distortion, range between $70 and $90 per pickup, while ceramic bar magnet single-coil pickups can range from around $80 to $200 per pickup.
Fitting a new neck
Fitting a new neck might be especially beneficial for people with cheaper guitars with necks that are not up to their playing standards.
Depending on your needs, the price of a new replacement neck ranges from $200 to $900.
For example, a Strat-style neck made of roasted maple and 22 stainless steel frets from Warmoth may set you back around $450, while regular maple costs around $300.
When the frets on a guitar become worn, uneven, or damaged, it can affect the instrument’s playability and intonation. When this happens, consider re-fretting your guitar.
Re-fretting is a complicated and time-consuming procedure that usually necessitates the skills of a skilled luthier, which might cost anywhere between $150 and $400.
Can you buy an electric guitar for less than $100?
You can find guitars for $100, but the quality of the hardware and playability of the neck, along with the overall tone, may be vastly inferior to that of a more expensive guitar.
Is it ok to buy a cheap electric guitar?
If you’re just starting off, it’s okay to get yourself a relatively inexpensive electric guitar. It’s not a bad idea if you find a less expensive guitar with a resonant body and a comfortable neck, as upgrading the pickups and hardware later is always an option.
What is the most expensive guitar in the world?
The most expensive guitar ever sold was Kurt Cobain’s 1959 Martin D18E which was used on the Unplugged tour. The guitar sold for a whopping $6 million in 2020 and is the most expensive guitar in the world by quite some margin.
How long do electric guitars last?
A well-maintained electric guitar may easily last an entire lifetime and beyond. The longevity of an electric guitar depends on the guitarist’s playing style and the way they maintain it. Since most of the components can be replaced and upgraded, it isn’t uncommon for them to last decades.
A lot of original Fender and Gibson models from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, though pricey, are still in circulation. And many working musicians still use original working models from the ‘70 and the ‘80s.