Cheap Vs. Expensive Guitar Brands

There is an age long misconception among various people and even beginner guitarists that ‘more expensive’ guitars play better and tend to sound better too. Teenagers save huge chunks of money to just buy a better guitar but is it all worth the money in the end? Everyone loves to impress their friends with a shiny new expensive guitar hung over their shoulder.

For many, the instrument itself is the first object of music desire. And to a less-experienced player? A guitar is the evidence of them being a ‘true’ guitarist. Although, getting a custom-made guitar, out of the hands of a master craftsman surely is a thrill, more expensive guitars are not necessarily always better.

According to With a tough competition in the market, cheap guitars are getting better by the day. Manufacturing techniques and automated cutting have allowed the manufacturers to make better guitars, especially electric guitars for a more affordable rate. Steep competition among the manufacturers as well as retailers has allowed the prices to stay just above the cost.

If a person is willing to search, there are several good guitars available at lower prices. However, a number of people still adhere to the mentality that lower-priced guitars are either imitations, beginner, or “lesser wonderful” than their expensive counterparts. It is high time we understand about choosing the right guitar, which is not necessarily always on the higher end of the budget.

Misconception regarding the word “Cheap”

  • In modern times, the meaning of the word “cheap” has differentiated from having a lower price to signify a product that is of lower-quality. Due to this miscalculated perception of this word, low-priced guitars have found an even sadder reputation.
  • When a guitar is being sold for a lower price, it does not mean it will melt away as soon as it touches your hands. Cheap means a lower price segment. On the other hand, throughout the various brands of guitars, the word “expensive” does not ensure quality; rather it means that the product is costly.

Misconception that the Guitar makes Music

  • A lot of people, especially teenagers, tend to believe that the better or costly the guitar is, the better sound it will make. The rail of thought usually encourages people to purchase only the top-of-line guitar models. While it is true to an extent that better equipment will produce better music, but it is only to an extent, the guitar is a single part of your equation out of many.
  • All electric guitars are played with the help of effect pedals, which means that even if you own a low-priced guitar, but know how to blend your music and mix effects, it will still sound good. The player makes the music. It does not matter whether your guitar is a cheap one, or straight out of some big-shot guitar player collection, if you do not have enough skill, both will sound crappy. A well-built guitar will have the capability to hold its tuning, with a straight neck and good sustain.

Misconception that Cheap Guitars are made Cheaply

  • This misconception is true to a certain extent. Yes, cheap guitars are made up of cheaper materials as opposed to the more expensive ones. Low-priced guitars are made of up plywood bodies, while the expensive counterparts are made with more solid and expensive wood like mahogany and rosewood. Cheaper guitars have cheaper lacquers, paints and finishes. Electronics and hardware may also differ greatly. Moreover, there are different quality grades for bridges, pick guards, tuners, pickups, tremolo mechanisms etc.
  • During the past few years, the guitar making industry has adopted a more mechanized-approach. This approach allows for higher consistency, lower pricing and greater speed. Cheaper guitars are mass-produced with advanced manufacturing techniques which allow the manufacturers to produce uniform products with almost no oversight.

With lesser time being spent on quality control, the cost of the final product is lowered. However, various purists resist the advanced mechanization, a fine craftsman can craft a better and higher-quality instrument with machine tools over a craftsmen working alone.

Various brands of guitars have testing procedures that are extremely strict, and only a few instruments are finalized and made commercial. More than one individual determines whether the instruments are capable to be shipped out or not.

Every bit of the making procedure, workmanship and quality of materials determines how a particular guitar will feel in your hand and sound to your ear.

A poorly made guitar is never fun to play. If a guitar is not fun in your hands, chances are that it will end up collecting dust somewhere. It’s not always about the best and the newest guitar, it is about which guitars make you feel your musical passion the most. This is why some old used guitars, with years of experience infused into them, make the playing experience priceless.

Misconception that Expensive Guitars stay tuned for longer period of time

  • A cheap guitar typically does not stay in tune for as much time as a higher-end guitar. However, while this is true to a certain extent, not all the expensive guitars stay in tune. The problem of having a stringed instrument is that tuning is a continuing and recurring issue, which has followed the instrument ever since it was invented.
  • A number of guitars, including the expensive ones, come with high frets, which can complicate the tuning process.

Another big misconception people have is that a newly purchased guitar has new string on it. While it may be a new guitar for you, it may be lying in the showroom for a while, and may have already been played by various people. This can dull the strings considerably. Once you have bought your new guitar, you should almost always replace the strings with your own preferred brand. Ruling out strings and tuning issues are issues common with all guitars and are assumed mechanical.

Purchasing a fine guitar is a long-term investment in your musical career. When you go in a showroom for your next guitar purchase, do so with an open mind. It is important to do your homework. Just because a guitar is expensive won’t guarantee that it will make better music, or suit your hand better.

Evaluating the quality of the guitar means looking at the individual parts, which make up the overall instrument i.e. body and neck, frets, electronics, pickups, hardware and tuners.

Remember, Gibson, one of the most popular guitar brands were once cheap and considered to be a piece of trash.

1 thought on “Cheap Vs. Expensive Guitar Brands”

  1. Nice article. I completely agree. It depends on how well the guitar is made and how well it is played. More expensive material does not always sound better. Labor cost generally are cheaper in the Far East and they can manufacture high quality guitars at a very reasonable price. You tend to get more value for money. The quality of sound is subjective and every guitar can sound different. One thing is, in a blind test most people cannot tell the difference between an expensive guitar and a less expensive one because the difference may not be perceivable and there are also other factors that you have mentioned. Youtube is replete with many skillful guitarists chalking millions of view with their inexpensive guitars. People should learn how to play properly first instead of having the delusion that a more pricey guitar can transform them into instant rockstars.


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