Like anything getting the best guitar for your budget often means a bit of research is required. There are hundreds of guitar brands out there and prices start from $40 and peak over $12000. Of course, there is every price in between, so why such a huge variety and how much do you really need spend.
The most expensive guitars
Many factors come in to play when choosing a guitar and for most us, $12,000 for a 1959 Les Paul Standard Reissue is a wonderful thought, but totally unrealistic.
But yes, for such a high price tag, you can expect a very special instrument indeed. Built from the very best Tonewood blends, the Les Paul Standard Issue boasts a lightweight Mahogany Body and a pair of Custombucker Alnico 3 Humbucker Pick ups. The incredible build quality and warm tones are one thing, but the history of this guitar also makes it highly desirable, representing the pinnacle of guitar evolution. It has the flexibility to be used in any genera and though vintage in both look and feel, the guitars tone lends itself to any style of playing, from soft plucking to screaming solos. Furthermore, the choice of materials and ’59 “C” Profile neck, make it a guitar that won’t tire you out. This guitar doesn’t want you to put it down. It is comfortable to hold and gentle to play, making it an absolutely pleasure to use.
So who buys these guitars?
Naturally, when you see a price tag like $10,000 or $12,000 on a guitar, you assume they are exclusive to professional musicians or rock-stars. I mean, who else needs a guitar like this. So it may come as some surprise, that most expensive guitars find their home with collectors and non music professionals. Believe it or not, even Lawyers, Surgeons and Business Entrepreneurs, dream of rocking out to friends and audiences. So will insist upon the very finest guitars to get them there and can afford it.
While some rock stars may indulge themselves in spending big on a guitar, most do not. So it will shock you, just how cheap the Pros will go, to get the right sound.
What do Rockstars spend on a guitar?
Strange as it might seem, most of the very best guitarists in the world, prefer the lower end of the range. For example, arguably one of the greatest guitarists in the history of music, Prince, is said to have spent $30 USD on a second-hand Hohner Madcat Telecaster. (Rumoured to have been purchased out of the back of a car). The Hohner was itself a copy of a Japanese H.S. Anderson guitar, but the Purple Prince saw something very special in this cheap and cheerful copycat musical instrument, which appeared in most of his live performances and indeed, many of his recordings.
Probably the most popular of the budget guitars we see in the clutches of our guitar hero’s though, are Squier Guitars. Mike Rutherford from Genesis, Flea from the Chilli Peppers, Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman of ‘Fallout Boy’, even Keith Urban are among a long list of guitarists who just love their Squier guitar. Some are slightly customised to meet the rockstars specific needs, but overall, it’s just the same affordable Squier guitar you’ll find somewhere like Pats Music Store.
Of course, most of these guys have one or two other guitars in their armoury. But their go to guitar, really isn’t that crazy $10,000 guitar you might assume it is.
How much should you spend on a guitar?
The short answer is what you can afford. As can be seen, a Squier Stratocaster, Telecaster or Percussion Bass is plenty good enough for even the best musicians. But this may not be the sound you are looking for. Or you may not like the look and feel of these Fender copies. Make no mistake though, a Squier is no match for the real thing. A genuine Fender guitar is a thing of beauty and precision engineering. In store, Pats Music offer a range of Fender Guitars, from the $4099 USA built 75th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster. To the more affordable Mexican built Fender Player Lead II at $849. Fender build all these Guitars to an extremely high standard and they sound incredible.
Ibanez offer a huge range of quality Guitars, starting at $299 for the PF17ECE LG Acoustic Guitar with Pickup. To the incredible MSM100 FGB Marco SFOGLI Signature Electric Guitar at $4199 (now on special for $2700 while stock lasts). Ibanez Guitars are extremely popular with professional and Amateur musicians alike. As a Japanese guitar manufacturer, all models are built to a very high standard, crossing all genres and styles easily.
When buying a guitar you should consider what accessories you also need. Within your budget, do you need an Amplifier or a Case. Pats music offer many Guitar Pack options, but you may wish to create your own package, within a set budget. We encourage testing out Guitar and Amplifier combos and the guys in store love to experiment, based upon your needs.
As a beginner, Squier, Fender and Yamaha Guitars all offer some great starter packs sub $500. For the more experienced guitarists, custom packs or more specialised guitars will start at around $600 and go upwards from there.
A final thought
Thanks to manufacturing advances and product development, the quality of affordable guitars has improved immeasurably over the years. You really do not need to break the bank to buy a great guitar, unless you are after something very specific or extremely versatile.
Any guitar is a truly amazing instrument and will bring a magic into your life, not many other everyday items can. If unsure where to start, advice is at hand and the team at Pats Music Store are among the best guitar specialists in Melbourne. In our Guitar Shop you will find many brands, all with something unique to offer. Whatever you are after and whatever your budget, we are here to help.