Instrument Insight

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar? (For 3 Different Categories)

For months I had been thinking about getting myself an electric guitar, and finally, I did. Before that, I went on some various phrases like which guitar model to purchase? Where to purchase from: music department stores near me or use the internet? Which type of guitar should I go after? Which body style and neck profile (always liked the thinner neck) should I prefer?

Should I go for a second-hand guitar, cheap guitar, or a new one? If I get the new one, then should I go for a starter kit bundle offer that will include guitar accessories like a guitar amplifier, guitar strings, picks, pedal, etc., or an intermediate guitar?

Electric Guitar Buying Guides:

But, if you want to take an informed decision, one of the most crucial factors comes to mind is the right guitar price range to go after, and I kept wondering about this thing called “How much Should I spend on an electric guitar?”

Then I did some diggings and found out some important info which can surely help people like you who are wondering like I was.

The average price of an electric guitar can range from $200 to $2000. The price range depends on the material, shape, color, and overall quality of the electric guitar.

There are a few more things that the price depends on. And if you are here to find out the details, I suggest you go ahead and read this article to know about my price-hunting adventure.

In this section, I will discuss various aspects like expectations to keep and the guitar price ranges of the three categories that I divided into for your better understandings, as the headline suggests.

I will also give important facts as bullet points to consider before getting into the buying process for a particular category. And I call it all “The Proposition.” Let’s have a deeper look at the above facts from the budget, intermediate, and premium electric guitars.

1.1. What To Expect From A Budget Electric Guitar?

What To Expect From A Budget Electric Guitar

If you are buying a budget one, keeping your expectations low can save you from heartbreak. Do expect it to sound a little less satisfying than the expensive ones.

Also, the quality of the materials may not be the best. However, nowadays, you can find many good-quality guitars within a smaller budget.

1.2. How Much Does A Budget Electric Guitar Cost?

The price range of a budget one is between $200-$350. However, if you can go above this price, that would be even better. Here are two of ours complete buying guides on best electric guitars under $200 and under $300 that will definitely help you to make an informed decision.

1.3. Should I Go For A Budget One?

Budget electric guitars are highly recommended for beginners or acoustic guitar players who are about to start their journey with electric. Staying within a budget will get you a guitar to practice and learn until you get used to playing it.

Go for a budget one, if:

  • You are a beginner guitar player
  • Want something to practice first
  • Looking for something affordable
  • Looking for a lightweight guitar
  • Don’t have a higher expectation of the outcome

2.1. What To Expect From An Intermediate Level Electric Guitar?

What To Expect From An Intermediate Level Electric Guitar

Although expectations may vary from person to person, it will rise after using an entry-level guitar for sure. An intermediate guitar will give you a better experience with its upgraded features and quality.

2.2. How Much Does An Intermediate Electric Guitar Cost?

An intermediate electric guitar naturally costs a lot more than a budget electric guitar. The price range is usually between $500-$1000. Here’s another buying guide on the best electric guitars under 500.

2.3. Should I Go For An Intermediate One?

Yes, you should. If you have learned how to play well or can change tunes, the intermediate electric will help you explore your skill further.

Go for an intermediate one, if:

  • You know how to play an entry-level electric guitar
  • You are an intermediate player
  • Can handle a heavier guitar
  • Understand changing tone
  • Want to move to pro-level
  • Looking for quality over price

3.1. What To Expect From A Premium Electric Guitar?

A premium guitar is everything a professional electric guitarist can expect from the best guitar. It is best in quality, tone, material, color, and functions. But, you must know that the premium electric guitars are the most expensive.

3.2. How Much Does A Premium Electric Guitar Cost?

Based on brand and details, the price can be different. But no matter what, a premium one can cost $1000-$5000, or even more.

3.3. Should I Go For A Premium One?

Of course! Nothing beats having the best electric guitars when you want to be a professional guitarist. If you have a much higher budget and a thrill to try the best, I would say you must go for the premium electric guitar.

Go for the premium one, if:

  • You want to play on a higher level
  • Want to play professionally
  • Have an expensive budget, and you’re on your way to investment
  • Looking for the best quality guitar with premium playability
  • Want a powerful outcome and tone while playing guitar
  • Maybe want to play an expensive vintage
  • You’re a pro musician and needs one that suits your specific playing style
  • Want premium electronics with the best possible sound quality

Budget Vs. Intermediate Vs. Premium: The Proper Mindset

Budget vs Intermediate vs Premium Electric Guitar (The Proper Mindset)

Your mindset plays a vital role when it comes to choose and play a musical instrument. Sometimes people seem unable to progress or move to the next level. They think they are not doing good or end up being over-confident.

Keep your mindset open to learn and practice a lot. And depending upon your practice level, which can be an entry-level, intermediate level, or pro, get yourself a proper mindset and start gathering knowledge about different electric guitar types.

Budget Vs. Intermediate Vs. Premium: The Final Decision

If you are an entry-level electric guitar player, the best decision is to start from scratch. That means you would need to buy a budget electric guitar.

On the other hand, if you have completed your entry-level guitar playing and ready to take it to the next step, you need an intermediate one. And, if all these levels are completed and you are looking for a high-end guitar experience, you will get the best result from a premium electric guitar.

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar? (For The Budget One)

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar (For The Budget One)

Now that we know which one to go after, let’s dig deep into how much you should actually spend on your electric guitar if you choose the budget one. I found out that plenty of manufacturers produce and sell electric guitars for under $200.

However, cheap electric guitars do not always ensure the best quality. So, my suggestion would be to spend $200-$300 on a budget electric guitar.

Budget Electric Guitars To Consider

Here are some of the budget electric guitars you can consider buying:

Ibanez GRX70QA

The renowned brand Ibanez pays special attention to rock and metal guitarists from the very beginning. The Ibanez GRX70QA is at the top of our best-seller lists and can be a perfect choice for a future pro-level rock/metal guitarist.

Best For Various Metal Genres
9.8/10Expert Score
  • GRX Maple Neck
  • Poplar Body/ Quilted Art Grain Top
  • Medium frets
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Pearl Dot Inlay

The Yamaha GigMaker Electric Guitar Pack

The Yamaha GigMaker EG Pack is one of the best picks and also our Editor’s Choice for the best electric guitars under 300 for a couple of reasons. The overall value that you’ll get with this is phenomenal as you’ll get everything you may need to get started including all possible accessories. The sound and built quality are also very decent making it an all-around package.

Best For All-Around
9.8/10Expert Score
  • PAC012 Pacifica Electric Guitar
  • Old Violin Sunburst Finish
  • 15-watt Yamaha guitar amp
  • Picks, straps, tuner, and cable
  • Protective gig bag

Jackson Dinky JS32

Best For Starters
9.7/10Expert Score
  • Double cutaway Solid arch-topped Basswood Body w/ Gloss Finish, Orientation: Right-handed, Bolt-on Maple speed neck
  • Neck shape: Dinky, Scale length: 25.5 in. Truss rod: Standard, Neck finish: Satin, Fretboard Material: Rosewood, Radius: Compound (12"-16"), Fret size: Jumbo (24)
  • Upgraded features such as arched tops, new high-output ceramic-magnet pickups, graphite-reinforced maple necks, bound fingerboards and headstocks, and black hardware deliver more for less
  • Other features include dual high-output Jackson humbucking pickups with ceramic magnets and three-way blade switching, Jackson-branded Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo bridge, die-cast tuners, Pearloid sharkfin inlays

Squier Affinity Telecaster

Fender is well-known among guitar lovers. If you are into rock or blue music, it can be an ideal guitar to provide you with the tone and comfort you need.

Best For Blues
9.5/10Expert Score
  • Two single-coil pickups offer a great range of tones.
  • With a 3-way pickup selector switch, choosing your favorite tones is a breeze.
  • A comfortable neck, quality hardware, and quality construction make this guitar a great buy.

Ibanez GRGA 120 QA

In case you want to start with something just in between $200 and $300 for the first time, the Ibanez GRGA 120QA Solid-Body Electric Guitar will be one of the budget-friendly electric guitars. And all the features definitely make it the premium choice around this range.

Best For Value
9.6/10Expert Score
  • GRGA Maple neck
  • Poplar body, back, and sides
  • Quilted Maple Top
  • 24 frets
  • High output Infinity R pickups
  • 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
  • Right-Handed

Bonus Tip: Checklist For A Budget Electric Guitar

Construction

The body of a budget one is normally made of cheap wood. Often, the neck construction for these guitars is a bolt-on neck. For beginners, it is comfortable to play a bolt-on neck guitar.

Hardware

Budget electric guitars don’t always come with durable hardware. So, look for a good fixed bridge in your electric guitar. It will keep the tune in good tact.

Pickup

You will find two types of pickups at this price: single-coil and humbucker. A mix of these two will give you the best sound.

Setup

Make sure to check if you’ve got the necessary accessories to play with. Set them up according to your playing comfort. And take help if necessary.

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar? (For The Intermediate One)

If this is your first step to move to the intermediate level, you should be ready to spend $500-$800. The extra price comes with better features and quality.

Intermediate Electric Guitars To Consider

Here are some of the intermediate electric guitars you can consider buying:

ESP LTD EC-256FM

This 6-string dark brown sunburst guitar plays as sophisticatedly as it looks. It is one of the best choices if you are an intermediate or advanced electric guitar player.

Best For Progressive Rock
9.9/10Expert Score
  • An affordable and popular guitar with many similarites to some of the most highly-regarded guitars in history
  • Features a comfortable Mahogany body and 3 pc. neck, as well as roasted jatoba fingerboard and flamed maple top
  • Also features covered passive pickups, set-neck construction, and 22XJ frets
  • At home on blues, classic rock, hard rock, progressive rock, fusion, and much more

Ibanez JEM JR Steve Vai Signature

Best For Country
9.8/10Expert Score
  • Mahogany Body
  • Wizard III Maple Neck
  • Rosewood Fretboard
  • Tree of Life Fretboard Inlay
  • Jumbo Frets

Squier By Fender Jim Root Telecaster

Best For Metal Rhythm And Lead
9.7/10Expert Score
  • Mahogany body
  • Maple neck with “C”-shaped profile and 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with 12” radius
  • Dual passive humbucking pickups with black covers
  • Strings-thru-body Telecaster bridge
  • Warranty Included

PRS SE Standard 24

Best For Rock and Metal
9.7/10Expert Score
  • Body wood: mahogany
  • Neck wood: Maple
  • Fretboard wood: rosewood
  • Bridge: PRS Patented Tremolo, molded
  • Pickups: 85/15 "S"

Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack

Best For Classic Rock
9.6/10Expert Score
  • Epiphone's Les Paul Player Pack has everything you need to start playing guitar right away
  • It includes a genuine Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar featuring two classic hum bucker pickups and a 10-watt Electra guitar amp with a 10ft guitar cable
  • Epiphone also includes a clip-on headstock chromatic tuner, a guitar strap, medium picks, and an easy-to-carry gig bag
  • And best of all for new players, the Les Paul Player Pack comes with free downloadable guitar lessons from media

Bonus Tip: Checklist For An Intermediate Level Electric Guitar

Construction

Look for a solid-bodied guitar than a hollowed one. A set-neck electric guitar will be recommended in this case.

Hardware

A tremolo bridge availability will be more suitable for you. It will give you better control when you play.

Pickup

You can use both single-coil and humbucker. But, to get a better tune, you can change pickups according to your need.

Setup

The setup should be based on your comfort. Whether the setup should be high or low is up to you.

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar? (For The Premium One)

How Much Should I Spend On An Electric Guitar (For The Premium One)

As you already know, a premium electric guitar means spending a big chunk of money to buy it. If you don’t want to buy the very expensive ones, you can spend $1000 or so to get the cheap ones among the bests.

Premium Electric Guitars To Consider

Brands like Fender or Gibson are always a better choice. Here are some of the premium choices you can consider buying:

Fender American Professional Stratocaster

We can’t seem to get enough of Fender’s electric guitars. You can find Fender guitars and instruments everywhere. That says more about why you should get this electric guitar.

Best For All-Around
9.9/10Expert Score
  • Solidbody Electric Guitar with Alder Body
  • 3 Single-coil Pickups - Dark Night
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Maple Neck

Ibanez Prestige RG652AHM

This prestige series guitar is made of ash and maple wood. The five-way pickup switch allows you to play without sounding noisy and offers a great playability.

Best For Prestige Playability And Great Sound
9.8/10Expert Score
  • 5-piece maple/walnut "Super Wizard High Performance" neck
  • Ash body, bound birdseye maple fingerboard
  • Black dot inlay
  • Jumbo frets with Prestige fret edge treatment
  • DiMarzio Air Norton neck pickup

ESP LTD KH-602

Best For Professional Recording And Performance
9.8/10Expert Score
  • Offers nearly everything of its higher-end cousin, the ESP KH-2, at a price that more musicians can afford
  • Features neck-thru-body construction, a comfortable alder body, and a 3 pc. extra-thin U-shaped maple neck
  • The pau Ferro fingerboard features 24 extra-jumbo frets and Kirk Hammett's skull-and-bones inlays
  • Components include a Floyd Rose bridge and a set of EMG Kirk Hammett Bone Breaker Signature pickups
  • A powerful guitar designed for professional recording and performance, perfect for any serious player of intense music

EVH Striped Series Electric Guitar

Best For Extreme Playability
9.7/10Expert Score
  • Basswood Stratocaster-style bodiy
  • 3 color patterns inspired by Van Halen's own design from his career (while supplies last)
  • Quartersawn maple neck
  • Floyd Rose locking nut
  • EVH-branded locking tremolo

Schecter Hellraiser C-1 FR

Best For Punch And Clarity
9.7/10Expert Score
  • Original Floyd Rose Tremolo System
  • Mahogany body with quilted maple top
  • EMG Active 81tw/89 pickups
  • Tone Pros Tune-O-Matic Bridge
  • Abalone binding

Yamaha Revstar RS820CR

For robust performance, Yamaha is an ideal choice and also popular for playing rock or jazz music.

Best For Vintage Looks And Modern Tone
9.6/10Expert Score
  • New RS820CR finish
  • Mahogany Body with Maple top
  • VH5+ Vintage output humbucker with satin nickel cover
  • Die cast Tuners, Tone Pros AVT-II Bridge
  • 3-Way Lever, Dry Switch (Tone Push-pull)

Gibson Les Paul Standard

One of the best-recognized guitars in the business.

Bonus Tip: Checklist For A Premium Electric Guitar

Construction

Premium ones are meant to last for decades. So, look for the guitars made from ebony or Ashwood with a fixed or set-neck design.

Hardware

These electric guitars will have a lockdown system in both knot and bridge. If the tuner can be locked in place, you will get better access when changing strings.

Pickup

Experienced premium electric guitarists think that a humbucker pickup works better on a premium electric guitar. It keeps the tone in balance, and the outcome is powerful.

Setup

The bridge and the saddle should allow you to play with comfort. If the bridge is higher, the guitar will sound better without getting interfered with by unnecessary noise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cheap electric guitars are cheap for a reason. First of all, the materials in those guitars are not long-lasting. Besides, they don't sound good, and the necks can be wide and uncomfortable, and sometimes they come with frets buzzing. As a result, it may end up letting you down.

Of course, it can. A used guitar is the best option for a starter. It will allow you to save some money and help you learn until you feel ready to buy a new guitar. That's why I would say it is a much better option to start with a used electric guitar.

Final Words

Okay, I had started with “how much should I spend on an electric guitar?” And I’ve taken so many turns as I wanted to share everything I found out while buying my electric guitar. And hopefully, you will find the right electric guitar for you too.

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Author | Electric Guitar and Gear Expert at Instrument Insight | Website

Cornell K. Benson is from Mansfield, OH. He is 30 years old and has expertise in electric guitars and gears. Cornell has a great understanding of electric guitars and their materials, build quality, playability, and versatility. He also has an in-depth knowledge of the history and origins of various electric guitar brands.

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