What is the best guitar for the lowest price?

I want a good electric guitar that sounds really good. However, I want it to be as cheap as possible for a good guitar. It doesn’t have to be some amazing guitar, just something that will sound amazing for rock/alternative music. Any suggestions/links?

Chosen Answer:

Unanswerable.
There is no such thing as “cheap” and “sound amazing”. Sound acceptable.. yes. Amazing… very doubtful. Cheap today means made in China, probably by people working in deplorable conditions for less than a buck an hour. Is that what you want your money to support?

I’m going to give you the same advice I give all my students. Stop worrying about “brand” – that makes no difference when you’re in the buying situation you’re in. Also forget about “new” – you’re not going to get anything that’s worth anything in a mass-produced made-in-China piece of $h**. There are 100 different “brands” that are cranked out by the millions is various sweatshops around China and for the most part one is no better or worse than the others. They’re all lifeless, soul-less throw-aways.

What you should do instead is seek out the boutique guitar shop in your area where the PRO musicians get their work done. The owners will probably be working musicians themselves, and everyone hanging there will be eating-breathing guitars 24/7. Let them find you a good used instrument that meets your needs and your budget. Even if it’s a cheap Squier, at least it’ll be set up professionally , tweaked by a good player/tech , and will meet somebody’s high standards before they put it up for sale in their shop.

What happens in that kind of shop on a daily basis – working pros are trading up. So you’ll have an opportunity to get a pre-owned guitar that was played by one of the better players in the area, tweaked for him/her and broken in . You’ll get a MUCH better instrument in the long run taking this approach than heading down to Guitar Center with two 0 bills in hand and buying the first shiny new Chin-a-caster that they’ve un-boxed and put on display.

Note that the guitar shop instrument might be an oddball brand… or it might be a name brand but a less-popular model… or whatever. It’ll probably be a little road-worn (for real- not the “road worn on a drum sander” foolishness Fender and others try to pass off on us) But the point is you’re keeping your business local, you’re establishing some connections with the pro players in your area, and you’ll have some people watching your back. Then, when you have another hundred or two… you can trade it back in on something a little better… do it again…. again…. and pretty soon you’ll be rockin’ a Les Paul or USA Strat or PRS – whatever.
by: KrudKutter
on: 4th December 10

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3 Responses to What is the best guitar for the lowest price?

  1. baxterville says:

    There are a lot of great guitars that don’t cost a fortune, but the best thing you could do is go to a guitar store and test drive a bunch of different brands. Each brand tends to have its own feel, so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all guitar. Epiphones, for instance, have really chunky necks that make them challenging for most beginners, females and people with small hands to play. They’re also really heavy. An Epiphone might be perfect for a 5’10” man, but it’s not the guitar for everyone. Fender and Ibanez guitars, in contrast, have thinner necks and tend to work better for smaller players or people who’ll be playing for long periods of time, since they’re much lighter and easier on the back.

    Fender’s Squier line is very affordable and durable and I know many professionals who started out with Squiers and never saw any need to “upgrade” because their entry-level guitars met all their needs. The guitars are built to the same specs as Fenders, but made overseas or in Mexico to keep the prices low. But they feel and sound pretty much identical to their pricey cousins.

    I’m female and have small hands, so I’m partial to Ibanez guitars. Many Ibanez models are built specifically for metal players, but there are others that are great for alternative and other genres (I play mostly alternative). All of them tend to have really thin necks and low action (strings close to the fretboard) that make it much easier to form chords and move smoothly between them.

    I’ll post some links to guitars worth considering, all of which have pickup configurations that would give you plenty of sound options. If you read the reviews, you can see the styles of music they’re being used for and find out what others think of the overall quality.

    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-Bullet-Stratocaster-HSS-Electric-Guitar-with-Tremolo?sku=584391 (This has a pickup configuration that would enable you to play many styles of music. It’s a little smaller than a standard Stratocaster.)
    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-Affinity-Stratocaster-HSS-Electric-Guitar?sku=502564 (This is the full-size Strat with the same pickup configuration.)
    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Squier-Affinity-Series-Telecaster-Special-Electric-Guitar?sku=515115 (The Telecaster is hugely popular with alternative guitarists. Very user-friendly. It’s been my guitar of choice for more than 20 years.)
    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-GRX20Z-Electric-Guitar?sku=620739 (This one’s played by lots of metal guitarists, but has enough pickup switching options to be used for any style of rock or blues. Super-thin neck, easy to play.)
    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Rogue-Rocketeer-Electric-Guitar?sku=423474 (This is actually a remarkable guitar for the price! Has the same pickup configuration as the Strats I linked, so it’s versatile as well as cheap.)

    Ultimately, the way your guitar feels in your hands is more important than anyone else’s opinion or the name on the headstock. If you spend some time handling different guitars, chances are you’ll find one just feels more comfortable and natural in your hands than others. Trust your instincts. The sound can always be changed with the use of effects pedals, so don’t rule out a guitar the feels like it was custom made for you just because the tone isn’t exactly what you’d like.

  2. KrudKutter says:

    Unanswerable.
    There is no such thing as “cheap” and “sound amazing”. Sound acceptable.. yes. Amazing… very doubtful. Cheap today means made in China, probably by people working in deplorable conditions for less than a buck an hour. Is that what you want your money to support?

    I’m going to give you the same advice I give all my students. Stop worrying about “brand” – that makes no difference when you’re in the buying situation you’re in. Also forget about “new” – you’re not going to get anything that’s worth anything in a mass-produced made-in-China piece of $h**. There are 100 different “brands” that are cranked out by the millions is various sweatshops around China and for the most part one is no better or worse than the others. They’re all lifeless, soul-less throw-aways.

    What you should do instead is seek out the boutique guitar shop in your area where the PRO musicians get their work done. The owners will probably be working musicians themselves, and everyone hanging there will be eating-breathing guitars 24/7. Let them find you a good used instrument that meets your needs and your budget. Even if it’s a cheap Squier, at least it’ll be set up professionally , tweaked by a good player/tech , and will meet somebody’s high standards before they put it up for sale in their shop.

    What happens in that kind of shop on a daily basis – working pros are trading up. So you’ll have an opportunity to get a pre-owned guitar that was played by one of the better players in the area, tweaked for him/her and broken in . You’ll get a MUCH better instrument in the long run taking this approach than heading down to Guitar Center with two $100 bills in hand and buying the first shiny new Chin-a-caster that they’ve un-boxed and put on display.

    Note that the guitar shop instrument might be an oddball brand… or it might be a name brand but a less-popular model… or whatever. It’ll probably be a little road-worn (for real- not the “road worn on a drum sander” foolishness Fender and others try to pass off on us) But the point is you’re keeping your business local, you’re establishing some connections with the pro players in your area, and you’ll have some people watching your back. Then, when you have another hundred or two… you can trade it back in on something a little better… do it again…. again…. and pretty soon you’ll be rockin’ a Les Paul or USA Strat or PRS – whatever.

  3. Nicolae Paul says:

    Of course.

    I would recommend anyone a low end ESP LTD (50 series). They are not very expensive and when you decide to upgrade it. You simply buy some EMG’s ( 81 in bridge and 85 (or 60) in neck) and you have a killer guitar.

    It also depends on what style you want to play.

    I have a ESP LTD viper – 50 with emg’s (81 – 60) and i can play anything.

    The 60 is very warm good for jazzy stuff.

    the 81 is perfect for metal.

    http://www.guitarlearningtips.org This is my site, feel free to check it out. If you are a beginner maybe the information on this site will shorten your learning time. Good luck

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