Acoustic guitar price points


#1

Hi all,

Recently, a student of mine was looking for a decent acoustic guitar. She has played some and is a decent beginner with a real interest in the guitar. I talked to her father and he stated that he would like to get her a nice instrument but that it did not need to be “anything pricy”. I am about as cheap as they come, however his description was a bit to vague, even for me. So I replied with this list of possibilities of instruments available so that he could be a little more defined in what he would like to spend. Does this look like what you all think of when you are pricing an acoustic guitar?

**Under $200 - These are considered “cheap” guitars. There is very little in the way of a decent usable instrument in this price range. Possibilities at about $200 are the Recording King “Dirty Thirty” series of acoustic guitars. A guitar case would cost extra.

$200 to $500 - These are considered inexpensive guitars. There are some good options here. Again, Recording King has some decent acoustic guitar models in this price range, as does Seagull and Yamaha guitars. Guitar cases are an extra cost.

$500 to $1000 - These are considered low-mid priced guitars. There are some very nice instruments to be had in this price range, some of which could be considered guitar that a person would own for life. Well known brands in this range include Blueridge, Yamaha, Seagull, Martin, Recording King, and Epiphone. Some of these instruments may come with a guitar case as part of the purchase.

$1000 to $1750 - These are considered midrange priced guitars. Many of these guitars would be considered the working musician’s instrument. These are instruments made of some better quality woods and workmanship. At this point you are looking at some of the less expensive standard series Martins and the 16 series Martin guitars. There are also some very nice foreign made instruments in this price range. Many of these guitars will come with a hard shell case.

$1750 to $2500 - These are considered mid-high priced guitars. Guitarists looking for a lifetime instrument that sounds “just right” will find a lot to look at in this price range. Many of the Martin standard series guitars can be purchased in this price range as can some of the Gibson acoustic guitars. Extraordinary used acoustic guitars can be found in this price range. Practically all guitars sold in this range will come with a nice hard shell case.

$2500 to well over $10,000 - These are the high priced acoustic guitars. These will be made of the finest woods available. Although many of these guitar will be made in factories, they will be made by very skilled luthiers in those factories. This range will include higher end Martin guitars along with Gibsons, Santa Cruz, Collings, Gallagher and all manner of highly prized luthier instruments like Ryan, Manzer and Olson.**

He chose the $200 to $500 range. :wink:

Does this look accurate to you?


#2

Looks reasonable to me.

I played something like a 000 12 fret recording king for that range (under $300 used if I remember correctly) that could have been a lifetime keeper for a fingerstyle type. There are plenty of decent Yamaha and Seagull types and they are certainly serviceable. Every once in a while I’ll find an old Yamaha that is a great one, but people tend to hang on to those. The problem (as I am sure you know) with the chosen price range is that there are many (many )more guitars to avoid in that range than there are guitars to pursue. If they had gone one price level up she could pretty easily have gotten a “no compromise” instrument (good size, tone, playability and materials), but you can’t spend other people’s money for them. Let us know what she ends up with.


#3

Sounds like a good list and it could be very useful for any one .I think I will copy and paste that on my hard drive .


#4

I think your list is accurate. It would be impossible to know every make and model and what price range it would be in, but that seems like a well categorized list.

I might add that buying used may be a good option. He may find something a little nicer for the same amount of money. At the $200.00 to $500.00 range, I think I’d make sure it was easily playable for a young girl (or anyone for that matter). It would be easy to give up if the guitar just isn’t playable. So in that price range I would think playability would more important than sound quality until something better could be afforded. I’m sure as a teacher you’ve seen this, but I thought I’d throw these thoughts out there anyway.

J.W.


#5

— Begin quote from “jwpropane”

…It would be easy to give up if the guitar just isn’t playable. So in that price range I would think playability would more important than sound quality until something better could be afforded…
J.W.

— End quote

I agree completely. It’s has been my experience that almost any guitar (as long as it is not broken or poorly constructed in some way) can be set up to be easy playing and with decent intonation. I will be going with her to find the instrument so I look for neck set, bridge set, saddle placement (intonation), fingerboard/fret level and other things she would not know to look for.

She will probably be looking at the Recording King RO-06 (000 size) and the RP-06 (0 size), both with solid spruce top and lam mahogany back and sides. These are decent instruments for just under $300 (at a local guitar store). This store tends to throw in a gig bag for free. She may also look at the Recording King RPH-05 and ROH-05 (also solid spruce top with “white wood” back and sides) for about $190 each. Amazingly, they scallop the braces and use a bone nut and saddle on these cheap guitars. Or maybe they scallop the potatoes and hit the nut and saddle with a cow bone… but whatever they do, she likes the look of it so we’ll check them out also.


#6

Hey Doc:
I think this was the model I played that wowed me as a fingerstyle axe (ROS-06):
elderly.com/new_instruments/items/ROS06.htm

I think the used price was like $225. It was resonant and had a nice warm and chimey sound to it. The setup was easy and the intonation was great. It was a great couch guitar too. Very comfy. If the RO-06 is like the punchier sister, I suspect that would be a great all around player.


#7

I’m becoming more and more pleased with the Yamaha FG720SL I picked up.
Sounds stupid, but sometimes I’ll just strum a chord, and sit there listening to the length of the sustain, and its tone. :unamused:

When I do find my left-handed “dream guitar”, I’m thinking this one will stay to keep it company.


#8

— Begin quote from “revlthornton”

I’m becoming more and more pleased with the Yamaha FG720SL I picked up.
Sounds stupid, but sometimes I’ll just strum a chord, and sit there listening to the length of the sustain, and its tone. :unamused:

When I do find my left-handed “dream guitar”, I’m thinking this one will stay to keep it company.

— End quote

I do that all the time it is amazing how great some guitars can sound strumming the chord . the G is the most harmonious to me but the E chord holds a very special place in my ear , just love the sound of both of them . they all have a special place but these two stand out to me . I was playing along with a Fogerty recording one time and thinking when is the next chord change, there were no chord changes at all, stayed in G the whole song . G and that was it .“Keep on choogolin” (spelling ?)


#9

I love it when I hear that another person finds the sound of a specific chord to be a spiritual boost. Open G chord is good and open E is also good. My latest favorites are an E minor 9 played 0 2 4 0 0 0 followed by a C major 7 played X 3 2 0 0 0 . Those two chords played back to back feed my inner calm…

G Lick!

:smiley:


#10

— Begin quote from “drguitar”

My latest favorites are an E minor 9 played 0 2 4 0 0 0 followed by a C major 7 played X 3 2 0 0 0 . Those two chords played back to back feed my inner calm…
:smiley:

— End quote

That is soothing. Thanks for sharing. I can go play for the local yoga class now :slight_smile: After vamping back and forth a few times on those, I did an
Am add9 X 0 10 9 0 0 , (you can also pick out the 12th fret harmonics on the B and high E to add a couple more flavors to it), then to a
D add4 add2 (naming is a guess, I suspect there is a better way to say it) X 5 4 O 3 O then back to your Em9


#11

I purchased a Blueridge BR-70 this week and for the money ($505), it’s pretty sweet. Even though it’s made with laminated rosewood back and sides, it is one of the loudest dreds I have ever played. I’ve had a chance to A/B it with a BR-160 (the solid rosewood model), a D-28, a D-35, and my D-18 and it’s louder than all of them. I’m not sure what it is about that Santos Rosewood, but it’s really lightweight, really loud, and really inexpensive.

There are a few things I wish I could change. It has a lot of MOP which seems like costume jewelry on such an inexpensive guitar. And I don’t care for the open gear butterbean tuners, so I think I may change them out. Those are minor complaints, though, given how the guitar sounds. And it’s still strung with the light gauge strings that came from the factory. Can’t wait to hear it with mediums.


#12

That sounds like a winner. My little travel guitar is laminated back and sides, and it projects really well. I wonder if the additional stiffness from the laminate would typically make for more solid projection.


#13

— Begin quote from ____

I wonder if the additional stiffness from the laminate would typically make for more solid projection.

— End quote

That was my thinking, too, even though it seems counter-intuitive to me.


#14

There are some things about the back and I side that I observe, but I don’t understand. For instance, a guy from McPhersen was talking about body depth. More depth equals more bass (makes sense), but a shallower body equals more projection (whaaa?). After thinking about it, it kind of made sense for a moment. Alas, that moment has passed. With that said, I have observed that dreads have more whoomph from my perspective as a player, but many smaller guitars cut better (a property related to projection).


#15

Back to the price points , I might add to that what could you get out of the guitar if it came to selling it . I know the one I bought last has went up in price from list of 1.649.00 to 1,799.00 way more guitar than I am player but am so glad to have it . of course nothing sells for list . a 40 to 60 percent mark up gives the store some leeway to be able to move them faster . it is a jungle out there in guitar buying land .