What is the Average Price of an Acoustic Guitar?

Published Categorized as Buying Guides, Guitar selection

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average price of an acoustic guitar

I was wondering to myself the other day about what the average price of an acoustic guitar is.

So, I set out to discover this.

Table of Contents

What Factors Influence the Guitar Price

The price of acoustic guitars can vary widely based on several factors that go beyond the basic construction and functionality of the instrument. Here are some key features and factors that can significantly influence the price of acoustic guitars:

  • Materials and Wood Quality: High-quality tonewoods like spruce, mahogany, rosewood, and maple are often used for the top, back, and sides of more expensive guitars. The type of wood, its origin, and its age can affect the sound quality and are critical in pricing.
  • Craftsmanship and Build Quality: Handcrafted guitars, especially those made by renowned luthiers, are usually more expensive due to the meticulous attention to detail, custom designs, and superior build quality compared to mass-produced models.
  • Brand and Heritage: The reputation and history of the manufacturer can significantly influence the price. Brands with a long history of producing high-quality instruments often command higher prices.
  • Sound Quality and Resonance: Guitars that produce superior sound quality, with rich tones, clear projection, and excellent resonance, are often priced higher. This is influenced by the construction techniques and materials used.
  • Aesthetic Details: Inlays, bindings, and other decorative details, especially those done by hand, can add to the cost. Custom or intricate inlay work on the fretboard, headstock, or body of the guitar can significantly increase its price.
  • Hardware and Components: High-quality tuners, bridges, nuts, and saddles made from premium materials like bone or high-grade synthetics can influence the price. These components can enhance the playability and tone of the guitar.
  • Finish and Protection: The type of finish (e.g., nitrocellulose, polyurethane) and its application method can affect the price. Hand-applied finishes that require more labor and skill are more costly.
  • Scarcity and Collectibility: Limited edition models, guitars with historical significance, or instruments previously owned by famous musicians can have higher prices due to their rarity and collectible value.
  • Customization and Personalization: Guitars built to a player’s specific requirements or with personalized features can be more expensive due to the additional labor and materials required.
  • Electronics and Amplification: For acoustic-electric guitars, the quality and brand of onboard electronics, preamps, and pickups can contribute to a higher price.

Understanding these factors can help you determine why some acoustic guitars are priced higher than others and what features or qualities you might be paying for when you choose a more expensive model.

The Range of Guitar Prices

Of course, there is a wide range of different prices for acoustic guitars. In fact, it’s one of those things that has one of the largest ranges you can find of anything.

You can pick up a very cheap guitar for around $100 (or even less sometimes, but those aren’t usually worth buying) and anywhere up to $15,000.

So a guitar that costs say $10,000 is 9900% more expensive than a $100 guitar!

The most Common Range

$100 guitars and $15,000 dollar guitars aren’t the most common range of prices.

People buying $100 guitars usually do so when they buy for someone else, and they aren’t sure if that person is going to stick to playing guitar.

And the $15,000 guitar is only for someone with a lot of extra income and is very serious about guitar.

At a guess, I would say that most guitarists (based on people I know, conversations on forums, etc) buy somewhere in the $300 to $3,000 range.


The Average Price of Acoustic Guitars


O.k. so let’s get to the average price of an acoustic guitar. Keep in mind that this isn’t necessary the average amount that someone spends on an acoustic guitar. This is the average cost of a range of acoustic guitars that I looked at.

Some things to note:

  1. I only looked at 6 string guitars (no 12 string guitars were included)
  2. I only looked steel string acoustics. No classical guitars were included
  3. I only looked at flat top acoustics. No arch top guitars were included
  4. The average here is based on the “list” prices or the “recommended retail prices”. Usually you can get guitars cheaper than their list price.

I took a sample of 312 guitars from a major online music store.

The highest priced guitar of those 312 was $8,000 (USD) and the lowest price was $135 (USD).

The average price of those 312 guitars was $1,809 (US Dollars).

This represents the average price of the 312 guitars that I looked at – not the average amount that someone spends on a guitar. Naturally there will be more lower priced instruments sold.

Now as I said most guitarists buy somewhere in the $300 to $3,000 range – my guess is that the average amount spent on an acoustic guitar is probably somewhere between $500 and $1,500. You can notice this “budget” pattern in our article The Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Brands as well.

Average Actual Price Based on List Price

So the average above is based on the list price. Now, it’s very unlikely that you’ll actually pay list price.

At a very rough estimate based on the actual price being around 75% to 80% of the list price, I would say that the average actual price of the guitars I looked at is closer to $1,400 or $1,500 (rather than the $1,809 above).

Acoustic-Electric

Of course the average price of an acoustic-electric is slightly higher. You are also paying for the electronics on an acoustic-electric.

  • Of the 312 guitars that I analyzed there were 172 acoustic-electrics and 140 non-electric acoustics.
  • The 172 acoustic-electrics averaged out at $2,112 (based on list prices). Roughly $1,500 actual price.
  • The 140 non-electric acoustics averaged out at $1,435 (based on list prices). Roughly $1,100 actual price.

Should You Buy a Used Guitar?

There are many reasons to buy a used guitar instead of a new one.

One of the primary reasons to buy a used guitar is cost, you will often get a higher quality of products for a lower cost.

It is also a great decision for beginners and amateur players, as you will not blow the bank on an instrument as you learn to play it. You can also note that good brands produce high-quality products and so your used guitar will age well and give you reliable performance for a long time before you choose to buy something newer as you progress.

Some other reasons to buy a used guitar over a new one;

  • You can find rare, unique, or discontinued models.
  • You have a very wide variety to choose from compared to new guitars.
  • Some used guitars retain or increase their value.

Guitar Price Difference for Beginners and Professional Guitar Players

This was just a rough estimate as to the average price of an acoustic guitar, but it should give you some idea.

Most guitarists, in my experience, will buy somewhere in the $500 to $1,500 range.

Beginners usually spend between $100 and $500.

More serious guitarists who have a high budget can spend anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000.

There’s certainly a difference in quality as you spend more – but what you need for your purposes will differ depending on your budget and how serious a guitarist you are.

Check out the links below for reviews of different guitars in different price categories.

>>Acoustic Guitars Under $300 Reviews

>>Acoustic Guitars Under $500 Reviews

>>Acoustic Guitars Under $1,000 Reviews

>>Acoustic Guitars Under $1,500 Reviews

What Other Costs Should You Consider When Buying a Guitar

When purchasing an acoustic guitar, buyers should be aware of additional costs beyond the initial price of the instrument itself. These additional costs can significantly impact the total investment in your guitar playing journey. Here are some key expenses to consider:

Guitar Accessories

Cases and Gig Bags. Protecting your guitar is crucial, especially if you plan to travel with it. A good quality case or gig bag can range from moderately priced to quite expensive for high-end models.

Strings. Guitar strings need to be replaced regularly to maintain sound quality and playability. The cost can vary based on the type and quality of strings you choose.

Straps. For playing standing up, a comfortable and durable strap is necessary.

Capos. Useful for changing the key of the guitar without having to adjust your fingering.

Cost of Maintenance and Repairs

Regular maintenance, such as setups (adjusting action, intonation, etc.), can incur costs. Additionally, repairs for any damages or wear over time might be needed.

Humidifiers. It is especially important for acoustic guitars to prevent wood from cracking due to dry conditions.

Amplification (for Acoustic-Electric Guitars)

If you purchase an acoustic-electric guitar, you might also need an amplifier specifically designed for acoustic instruments to perform or practice with amplified sound.

Learning Resources

Guitar Lessons. Whether you opt for in-person lessons or online subscriptions, education costs can add up over time.

Books and Online Materials. Instruction books, sheet music, and access to online tutorials or courses can also contribute to the cost.

Cost for Upgrades

Over time, you might find the need to upgrade certain components of your guitar, such as the saddle, nut, or tuners, to improve sound quality or playability.

Guitar Insurance

For more expensive instruments, considering insurance can be wise to protect against theft, loss, or damage.

By considering these additional costs upfront, guitar buyers can better prepare for the total investment required for their musical journey and avoid any unexpected expenses.

FAQs Average Guitar Price

How much is an average guitar?

This will entirely depend upon your budget – i.e. how much you would have been willing to spend on a guitar in the first place (which would be determined by how much you earn or have lying around, etc). Most guitarists, though, will spend somewhere between $500 to $1500 on a guitar. A guitar at this price, while not entirely equipped, is built to last and will do for a touring musician’s axe. For beginners, this price range will decrease to somewhere between $100 and $500. Those with a higher budget can spend anywhere from $1500 upwards on a guitar. If not a vintage instrument, then these guitars are at least worth as much as some of them and are clearly built to last and feel good while doing it.

How much should my guitar cost?

You can find guitars at just about any price imaginable (some people are even giving them away). The average price of electric guitars ranges from $100 to $2000. Anything higher than this is usually either a vintage guitar from a particularly notable era or one that is in a considerably higher range of production (e.g. Fender Custom Shop and/or Road Worn). Most electric guitars, however, will usually be sold for a price in the range of $600 to $900. A Fender Player Stratocaster costs, for example, $650 straight out of the factory without any kind of modifications or upgrades.

What is considered a cheap guitar?

A cheap guitar is usually either an entry-level guitar or one that someone wants to be rid of reasonably quickly (or otherwise does not realize the value of). Such guitars will tend to have a price tag between $100 and $200, often found bundled together with a bunch of other beginner items like a gig bag, strap, amp, tuner, and other such accessories indicative of the novice experience. These guitars can be modified to sound fairly decent but otherwise are not going to sound all that great out of the box. Still, for such a price and as a gift for a beginner guitarist, you can hardly go wrong.

How much do guitars sell for?

This matter can vary wildly from guitar to guitar. Sure, most guitars are sold and bought within the range of $500 to $1000 – this is what is known as the mid-range of the guitar market – but there are plenty that exist outside of this bracket. A vintage guitar, for example, is no doubt going to cost far more, especially if it is a highly sought-after edition. The 1959 Fender Jazzmaster was already a highly-revered year of that guitar, but since independent and alternative music styles have popularized the instrument, this edition of the guitar has grown more and more expensive.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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