The cost of a good guitar may seem subjective, but it really isn’t.
Over the years we have been asked this question a thousand times. The thinking behind this, I believe, is that there is a certain price point which moves you from junk to good.
The right question is more about the need of the player.
Of course the players age, skill level, and budget, are all factors that need to be considered. An eight year old child does not need a very expensive guitar, but they do deserve good enough quality that the instrument does not inhibit them from learning to play. And fortunately, in todays guitar world, the Chinese are making some very decent guitars for very little money. One example that we offer is the Hohner 1/2 size Classical guitar. For less than fifty bucks, this little guitar has nice action, decent tuners, and is very easy to play. While this is not a lifetime guitar, it probably is the right choice for a young beginner. An older child would require more of a full size guitar, and the price would be accordingly higher. And if carefully chosen, a decent entry-level full size guitar can be had for under $150.00. And quite honestly, if taken care of properly, it’s a guitar that they can play the rest of their life!
So, is $150.00 all that I need to spend to get a good guitar?
The answer is yes and no. If that’s all that your budget affords you, then don’t feel bad about buying something at that price point. But understand, like anything else, the more you spend the more you get. The caveat to this being that there is a point of diminishing returns. Some big name builders offer models that are well over $3000.00. But in a blind comparison, most of you would likely agree that something like an Eastman Guitar sounds every bit as good if not better. And at half the price! What many people do not realize is that companies like Eastman build exquisite handmade instruments. These are not mass-produced or cheaply made in any way. Built by the finest craftsmen in the country and with painstaking attention to detail. In our humble opinion, they are absolutely worth twice the price!
Does this mean that it’s not worth spending more on an American made guitar?
The answer depends on your finances and taste really. Companies like Larrivee not only hand make their guitars in California, but actually have their own lumber mill to cut the trees into billets. Often selling off wood to many of the other big name American builders. But rest assured that the primo woods are kept for the Larrivee guitars!
Sounds like a lot of choices.
Indeed there are a lot, and so many of them are excellent ones. We’re all so very fortunate to live in this Golden Age of guitar. Those of us that were born in the 50’s or 60’s can certainly relate to this.
But today there is absolutely no reason not to get out there and try some instruments. Hold them, play them, price them. Trust me, when the right one speaks to you, you will know it. There is nothing like seeing someone who picks up a guitar and almost instantly bonds. Just look for that one that you can afford, and that calls your name!