Does a cheap guitar matter? Advice of Professional Guitarists

As we all know, pricing is a big problem especially when we’re trying to purchase a guitar for ourselves or somebody else.

A little change in pricing can dramatically change the look and the feel of the guitar you buy, it can look cool and sound great or look normal and not sound so good, it’s all based on the way you chose it when you are at the store.

So buying a guitar is a tough road to go through if you don’t have any experience.

How can you do this the easy way and is there any difference between a Cheap Guitar and an Expensive one? Let’s find out the topic does a cheap guitar matter?

Does a cheap guitar matter?
Does a cheap guitar matter?

Difference between cheap and expensive guitar

When you are on your way to purchasing a guitar for yourself, you’ll think about a beautiful and playful guitar that comes at a good price.

But reality hits hard sometimes, you walk into the guitar shop just to be overwhelmed by the pricing difference between some guitars.

Difference between cheap and expensive guitar
Difference between cheap and expensive guitar

Those expensive ones do not even look that expensive, and they still cost a fortune. Some of the cheap guitars even look much much better and cleaner.

So there is something we get wrong here. The pricing of a guitar isn’t based on how it looks or does it have pickups and auto tuners, it is based on a variety of categories such as branding, wood type, electronic, hardware, etc.

The combination of all of the categories listed above is the real reason why there’s a difference in pricing between a cheap guitar and an expensive one.

Quality of materials

The little things that make up a guitar may vary in many prices, by choosing and making them work together, then we could estimate the overall price of a guitar.

Sometimes the quality of the ingredients will make an enormous difference in prices.

All of the craftsmanship in the world right now is most likely to make a guitar that is made of Oriented Strand Board or Plywood sound better than the same model made out of choice Alder, Basswood, or Birdseye Maple.

Read more: Is guitar harder than violin?

Tuners

Also known as “tuning machines”, the tuners on a guitar are a very important piece of equipment in a guitar.

Tuners are not expensive items, but when you are talking about a guitar that is being mass-produced by the thousands, some of the low-end guitars will skimp here.

Tuners
Tuners

Cheaper tuners will be difficult to turn and sometimes get stuck or get gummed up, or just simply fail under string tension and not hold.

A mechanical tuner that needs the user to tune with their hand, may cost a bit more than 30$ a set.

And don’t think this cheap tuner can’t do its job you can buy even cheaper tuners on the market and they still gonna get the job done just fine.

So how could people raise prices when the cheap one can work flawlessly? Well, It’s all about branding and over-engineering to make it smarter and cooler.

A branded tuner can easily cost you from around 100$ up to 500$ plus, and an auto tuner on the market right now is about 200 – 300$. And yet people are still gonna buy it anyway because of all the convenience they give.

Bridge

Trust a piece of metal that has a locking hole to hold the strings of the guitar, what could make it so much more expensive?

First thing first, the materials that make up the bridge can be a bit expensive, stainless steel and titanium are used in expensive guitars to make them last longer and look better.

Guitar Bridge
Guitar Bridge

Some of the bridges are produced by famous brands, which pump up their price by a lot.

The design of the bridge might impact the price of the piece making it cheaper and also more expensive.

Based on your skill and how much time you spend on your guitar you can know the exact type of bridge you want. The best isn’t always the most expensive, so be wise.

Pickups

Another pivotal component is the bridge of the guitar.

Higher quality bridges will use more precision machined parts that allow the strings to remain secure firmly to the body of the guitar, and also allow for the natural movement of the strings due to use or changes in the atmosphere.

Guitar Pickups
Guitar Pickups

This might be the most important thing about a guitar and lucky for you, it can be replaced quite easily.

Because it determines how the sound will be output, on expensive guitars, the pickups that go with it will also be a bit expensive too.

But if you bought yourself a cheap guitar and are quite disappointed with how it sounds, you can buy a good pickup or an expensive one and then replace it with the one you are using. t

The sound of your guitar will be better but not gonna sound exactly like the expensive guitar with the same pickups.

Electronics

With a pickup, the guitar can already make great sounds.

But on some of the more expensive guitars, you also have knobs or buttons that will allow you to quickly and conveniently adjust the sound of the guitar.

Guitar Electronics

In addition, these knobs also help users to be more comfortable in the process of using the guitar, as they do not need to tune on the amplifier every time they need to calibrate the guitar.

But this convenience comes with a slight trade-off because, with guitars that are more complex in electronics, their prices increase dramatically.

Aesthetic

When you play or practice guitar, you are probably a fan of a famous guitarist or have in your mind an image of yourself in the future holding a cool guitar and playing as all guitarists do.

Therefore, a guitar made in the style of a famous artist, or copied in the style of an old guitarist will be very attractive to you.

Aesthetic Guitar
Aesthetic Guitar

But because of that, they will also become attractive in the eyes of others and lead to their prices rising.

In addition, special or eye-catching guitar designs are often produced in limited quantities, and limited quantities often come with a sky-high price tag.

So if you are looking to buy a guitar for yourself and don’t care too much about how it looks, you can skip this aesthetic thing completely to reduce its price.

Is An Expensive Guitar Easier To Play

This is a question often asked by newbies and even those who have been playing for a while.

So the truth is, does the more expensive piano make it easier to practice and play?

Some newbies will often think that guitars with a higher price tag are easier to play and easier to get used to.

But in reality, expensive guitars will often be prepared and tweaked to be able to play better.

Also, expensive guitars tend to be built with higher quality materials and have fewer manufacturing flaws or we could say their precision is higher, which makes them easier to play than their counterpart low-end guitars.

However, due to advances in manufacturing and other factors, differences between mid-level and high-level guitars are often unnoticeable to most guitar players.

Higher-end guitars are usually built better in the material. This means that you’re less likely to experience fret buzz, even with the lower action.

Hence, this can make it easier to hold a note and put less pressure on your fingers. More expensive guitars also generally sound nicer, so it can give you the impression that it’s easier to play.

Read more: Is Guitar Easier To Learn Than Bass?

Setup

One of the most time-consuming and expensive steps of making a guitar is the fretwork, which is a part of the setup process.

First up, a luthier or technician will press or hammer the fret into the fretboard, a luthier will go back over the frets to make sure they are all level to each other, properly crowned (rounded), get polished, and dressed with oil to prevent oxidation and for the better feeling when being pressed.

The fret dressing process also involves filing the fret ends after they are beveled to make them nice and smooth.

After that, they will make many adjustments to the neck, bridge, nut & saddle, and electronic components, all of that adjustment is to make the guitar play in tune, sound better, and for the string height or action to be at a comfortable playing position.

Although it is time-consuming and raises the cost of the guitar by a lot.

The setup process is needed to make sure that the guitar is in its perfect state and worth its price.

And only the expensive guitars would get treated with a process called plek, which makes the guitar sound even better when playing.

Plek Machine

A plek machine can be understood as a computer-controlled machine that can perform incredibly accurate scans of frets and fretboards and also fret dressing and recrowns, nut and bridge cutting.

Plek Machine can even cut fret slots and neck pockets. The scanning process allows the operator unprecedented control when working on any of these procedures, resulting in a level of precision not achievable by hand.

A standard working procedure of a plek machine can be shortened into three steps:

Scanning: At the beginning, the guitar is tuned up to the pitch required by the player, and the neck is straightened out and loaded into the PLEK cradle, and secured.

After that, the machine uses a sensor to measure the individual fret heights per string, string spacing, fretboard and fret radius, and also the edges of the fretboard.

All of the information it receives from the sensor gets sent to the computer for analysis and processing.

Virtual Fret Dress: After receiving all the information needed through the sensor, the machine will calculate the exact fret and depth that it needs to tweak to make the guitar more comfortable when playing.

It will keep calculating and map out a cutting plate on the guitar fret.

Fret dress: in this step, the guitar’s strings are removed to the side.

And no adjustment to the truss rod is required. The Plek machine then has to rescan the neck of the guitar in its new stringless state and builds a map of the neck with and without the strings in tension.

Once this is complete the Plek machine uses a special custom-built rotary cutter head and begins leveling out and recrowning each fret to match the data specified in the Virtual Fret Dress above.

Scan, Polish, and Restring: Once the fret dress has been completed, the machine once again rescans the full neck to ensure the work has been done correctly and to the spec specified above.

The guitar is then removed from the machine and finally goes through a series of manual polishing procedures to get to a highly polished and smooth playing surface.

The guitar can then be restrung, tune up, and brought back up to the customer.

How To Make A Cheap Guitar Sound Expensive

As with all things, you get what you have paid for, and for most of us, a nice guitar that would cost likely hundreds to thousands of dollars is completely impractical and we just simply can’t afford that.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get the absolute best guitar out of your low-budget acoustic or electric guitar.

Here are a few things you can try to make your cheap guitar sound like an expensive one without breaking the budget.

Get Some New Strings: Just do a little bit of research about the way you play. And try to look for guitarists who play similarly and try to find out what strings they use. Then Using those same strings that they use that suit your playing style. This might be the easiest and most obvious thing to do for your guitar to

make some noticeable difference to the sound of your guitar than simply buying a standard pack.

Install New Tuners: If you find that it is difficult to tune, or your guitar goes out of tune often. There’s a good chance that your guitar is fitted with sub-par machine heads. A good but inexpensive set of tuners normally come in at under $20, but with a high-end alternative will still be under the $70 mark.

Upgrade Your Pickups: You can pick a piezo guitar pickup or an electronic one based on the type of your guitar, complete with tone controls and a built-in tuner for less than the price of a new video game. They can be a little fiddly to fit, but for the price just take it slow and use the multitude of resources available to you on the internet.

Ensure It’s Properly Set Up: Perhaps one of the most effective things you can do to your current guitar even if it is an old or new guitar, cheap or expensive, is to be sure it is set up properly.

This applies to any guitar out there on the market, from brand new production guitars or even more so than it does to second-hand guitars because there is a good chance that second-hand guitars have been set up at some stage in their life.

Make It Your Own: The easiest way to go about this is with stickers or decals.

The market can turn up a wealth of options in this department, and the good thing about decals is that they can always come off if sometimes you decide to change your mind.

Of course, you can paint or refinish your guitar too, but that’s more dangerous to your guitar and sometimes can turn into a mistake.

Moreover, you can also look at changing the inlays on your fretboard. Swapping plastic inlay dots for abalone inlay dots, however, is easiest when you just go for the vibe and follow your heart.

Should You Buy A More Expensive Guitar?

It’s good for you to buy yourself an expensive guitar but there is a catch.

To use its full potential, you’ll need to sharpen up your playing skills and be familiar with all kinds of things about guitar. It’s only then that you’ll notice any difference between a cheap and an expensive guitar.

This means that there’s hardly any chance beginners will have a much better experience and easier path when playing a more expensive instrument that’s originally aimed at advanced and experienced players.

Also, expensive guitars might have different features that we as a newbie will not know how to use, and that will even make our playing experience more complicated.

Anyway, buying yourself an expensive guitar will save you from having to worry about changing it in the future and also open you up to many new ways of playing as you gradually get used to using it.

And if you want a lifelong guitar that will be played by you for about 2-5 years, a big budget will ensure your experience with guitar at the best.

Purchasing Tips

Buying a guitar can sometimes be stressful because you don’t want to go over budget but at the same time, you don’t wanna buy a piece of trunk and not be able to use it at all.

So here are some of the tips that you should follow to buy the perfect guitar for yourself.

Follow your feeling: How you feel when you hold a guitar is very important, as it will determine if this guitar is right for you.

Things like its sitting position and grip to its layout, color, and sound will also affect how you use your guitar.

In addition to seeing if the shape of the guitar is right for you, you should also see if the guitar fits your style, as well as if it looks good to you.

Having a guitar that is comfortable for you to use and suits your style will help you practice and use it more diligently.

At the same time, having the right guitar for you also gives you one more reason to keep it in your home even if you don’t know how to use it.

Skill goes with tech: With your amount of experience with playing guitar, you can choose for yourself a guitar with the right amount of tech that fits your playing style.

It’s a waste of money to buy an overpriced guitar and then get back a bunch of stuff you don’t even know how to use and don’t know what they’re there for.

Therefore, you should only buy a guitar with enough tech so that you can use it competently and at the same time easily develop your guitar playing level in the future.

This way you can save yourself a huge amount of money that can be used for other things like upgrading your guitar and signing up for more advanced guitar courses.

Replaceable is the way to go: One thing you should know about guitars is that they can replace parts like tuners and pickups or even strings.

With this replacement, you can be confident that your guitar won’t go out of style no matter how long it takes.

You can choose a guitar with a fret and body that suits you, and other parts, you can choose low-cost parts to reduce the overall price of the guitar.

In the future, when you need to play more skilled and advanced, you can easily change your qualifications and buy more separate upgrade parts for your guitar.

Conclusion

Buying a guitar is hard, but it can be even harder if you don’t know which guitar to choose that fits your budget.

With the knowledge and useful information above, I hope that you have enough confidence and knowledge to be able to buy for yourself a guitar that is suitable for you and does not exceed your overall budget.

If you still haven’t bought a decent guitar for yourself, just stay calm and choose carefully.

Finding out the right thing for you is never an easy thing and it takes people with a calm mind. With enough patience and careful selection, the results you will get will be amazing. After all, be wise with your choices.

The above article has already been read by you. We hope the information provided can give you an answer to the question.

Keep checking our website jamestbyrnes.com for updates on exciting details regarding related topics! I hope you have a good day.

Does a cheap guitar matter?

Jim Byrnes

My name is Jim Byrnes and I am a guitar musician who loves playing guitar when having free time. This Blog is sharing all my skills and experience with everyone who starting to play guitar. I hope this website will help you and provide anything you find.

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