In a previous article I talked about how much guitar lessons cost – specifically – how much you can expect to pay for guitar lessons themselves. But what about hidden (or not so hidden) costs of playing the guitar?
And how much does a beginner entry-level guitar cost?
Can I rent a guitar?
How expensive is it to play the guitar?
These are all good (and smart) questions, and (lucky for you) the answers are pretty straightforward…
How much does a basic entry-level guitar cost?
Probably about $100 – $200. Maybe cheaper if there is a sale.
These three have my stamp of approval:
Any normal retail price of less than $100 and you’re probably wasting money and sacrificing quality.
And yes – it makes a difference.
Don’t try to skimp and buy a cheap guitar – you’ll probably regret it, if only for this reason: Cheaper guitars are generally more difficult to play (which is a real bummer for beginners).
Note: Expect to pay more for a left-handed guitar. It’s a bummer, but true. It’s a cruel right-handed world.
I just wrote up this guide about how to find and buy a used guitar.
This can be an excellent cost-saving option and there are a number of places to find these:
However buying used guitars can be overwhelming… Especially when you get into the realm of vintage guitars which can go for tens of thousands of dollars.
I’m guessing you can probably find a good deal on all of the Fender and Yamaha recommendations above. Watch out for shipping costs (for eBay).
Note: When buying a used guitar you will need to make sure it’s in good shape. Since you may not know a whole lot at this point, check for fairly obvious things like: No major cracks in the wood (or any cracks in the wood), the frets (those little metal bars/wires on the neck of the guitar) shouldn’t be loose.
If you can, have the seller play it for you. It’s risky, but it could be worth it.
Can I Rent a Guitar?
Of course you can! But the real question is – should I rent a guitar. I’d say, probably not. If it’s an option for the first lesson or two – go for it. After that (and if you plan on sticking with the guitar) you should probably buy your own.
How much does it Cost to Rent a Guitar?
I rent out acoustic guitars for $30 per month to my students.
It’s easy money for me and low risk for my students.
Even so, for just another $60 they could buy a new or used guitar.
I’d suggest buying over renting… it’s just more cost effective.
Will My Guitar Teacher Provide a Guitar?
This is a good question too – and a potential good (money-saving) option. Some teachers may provide a guitar to use during lessons. It’s doubtful that a teacher will lend you a guitar outside of their studio (not without a security deposit or something).
Personally – if my new students don’t have their own guitar – I’ll provide a guitar to try out for their first lesson. But that’s usually the extent of it.
What about all of those Fancy Guitar Accessories?
I just wrote a detailed post about which guitar accessories you need (and which you should avoid). I suggest checking it out here.
If you just want the basic overview, here are the guitar accessories you may want to buy:
First off – get a a capo. This is basically a guitar-friendly clamp. It clamps down on the neck of your guitar and allows you to easily play in different keys. I like this for two reasons:
1. It allows me to switch the key I’m currently playing in – without having to learn new chords (which can be helpful when playing with others, or singing along).
2. This is an awesome tool for beginners as it can make fretting the notes (i.e. pushing down the strings) easier on your fingers.
I like this Kyser Capo.
If you’re a guitar nerd like me… here is everything you need to know about guitar capos.
You may want to get some picks, but those are so cheap I’m not even going to talk about them (ok – maybe a little – they’re like $.50 or less).
They come in different materials (plastic, wood, metal, etc). They come in different thicknesses. Pick up a few, mess around with them to see what you like. I think a medium thickness plastic pick is a good place to start.
The topic of guitar strings could take up an entire article. Since this article is focusing on cost – that’s what I’ll mention. Expect to pay between $6.00 – $15.00 for new guitar strings. Expect to change these whenever you feel like it… could be once a week, once a month, or once a year (seriously… it depends on the player).
So how Expensive is it to Play the Guitar?
So there you go. NOT INCLUDING LESSONS – expect to pay between $125 – $225 up front on a decent entry-level guitar and accessories. Maybe more, maybe less.
How does that sound? Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!
(Jake Posko does Online Guitar Lessons and Coaching as well as in-home lessons in the Annapolis, Maryland area including: Annapolis, Edgewater, Severna Park, Pasadena, Crownsville, Arnold and Kent Island, inquire about lessons by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org).