Whenever I pass from my local guitar shop and I saw those budget option guitars hanging on the wall, this question always pops into my mind. Are cheap guitars any good and worth buying even today?
there are various factors that affects on the price as well as performance of the guitar. Only thing you need to do is to find the balance and I’m going to help you with that.
So, Are Cheap Acoustic guitars Worth Buying? Budget-Friendly Acoustic guitars are also great sounding and definitely worth buying. You can’t judge the acoustic guitar on the basis of its price only. For a beginner, there’s not any major difference between the sound of a cheaper and expensive guitar.
Let’s discuss the difference between cheap and expensive acoustic guitar from a beginner’s perspective and also I want to share my experience with the reasons where you should go with a budget-friendly acoustic guitar. Stay tuned!
Do all cheap Acoustic guitars really sound bad?
The first thing you need to understand here, what does the ‘cheap’ word indicating. There is a difference between something is cheap in terms of price vs something is cheap in terms of value it is providing.
Lets take an example of any $150 guitar: of course it not as great as high end acoustic guitars. This budget guitar is made from cheaper material. but does that means this is worthless?
There are so many reasons that impact the price of a guitar. One of them could be the mass production of guitars. Big guitar manufactures are able to provide you budget-friendly guitar options because they develop a system where almost everything is already set.
but, does that mean you should avoid mass-produced guitars? no! big brands like Fender, Gibson must have to maintain their product quality, and such inexpensive guitars are not an exception to this.
It is obvious that such guitars are not going to be examined manually by guitar experts like high ends guitars, but if you choose the guitar wisely, you will find great value in inexpensive guitars too.
Also, location plays a role up to some extent. generally, guitars made in countries like China and India are inexpensive as compared to the ones made in the USA.
So, how you’re going to know, The guitar you choose is inexpensive but not cheap in terms of quality? Let’s discuss the difference between goods and bad ones.
Key Differences between Cheap and Expensive Acoustic guitars?
When I start digging into this section, I go through many forums and whole lot of articles. Although there are so many differences between top-quality expensive guitars and cheaper guitars but I mention here the key differences that matters the most.
Quality of Material Used
Material used for the guitar is one of the main and kind of important factor that impact on the price of any guitar.
If low quality material is used for the guitar then there is no craftsman in the world who can make that guitar sound better, or even similar to the same model made out of quality material.
Even if you take a simple example of wood. It is obvious that, guitars made from woods like Maple. Alder, Basswood as compared to the ones which are made from plywood.
Not only wood, but the sound quality of the acoustic guitar also depends on the other parts like a bridge, tuners, strings, pickups, etc.
String Action on a Guitar
String action is the distance between the fretboard and strings of the guitar. This is one of the factors that impacts on the playability of the guitar.
As you go on the cheaper side for your guitar, you may need to face the issue of too-high or too-low action. If you buy one expensive guitar, they review each piece of guitar manually and adjust the action properly for more comfortable playing.
Not everyone’s hands are similar, everyone may have their own specific needs for the action. but expensive guitars perform really well in this part.
Does that means, cheaper guitars are not comfortable for playing? hell no! You will get to see many budget guitars that doing really great in this aspect too.
And also, if you think your guitar having issues with the action, you can easily adjust the action either by yourself or by your local guitar shop.
Checkout: How much does it cost to lower the action on a guitar?
Tone of the Guitar
This is also very crucial and most important factor for many guitar players. All things I mention above about string action and quality of material are all required for this point.
In case you don’t know, every acoustic guitar sound differently even if they have same brand and same model.
The tone of the guitar matters on so many things like the type of wood, its age, the temperature at which the guitar is made, where it is stored, etc… All these factors add up and decide how any acoustic guitar is going to sound like.
So, how to check if the guitar you choose has a nice tone or not? It’s simple! Even if you have a very poor understanding of music, you can judge this. Just play the open G or open E chord on the guitar and listen to the sound.
Ask yourself, do you like the sound you just heard? Expensive guitars have a fuller tone and they also sustain for a time. You will get more low ends and usually louder sound from high-end acoustic guitars.
On the other hand, If we talk about budget guitars, we usually get comparatively lower volume, the sustain is also decreased a bit and the overall tone of the guitar is more thinner and kind of twangy.
Of course, you can’t expect to get a great tone of high-end guitar from a cheaper one. But, if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate player, there not going to be that much big difference between the tone of the nice budget-friendly guitar and the expensive one.
Intonation of the Guitar
This is also one of the things that I checked before buying any acoustic guitar even today. Intonation basically means to what extent notes formed are in the tune. you can also refer to it as pitch accuracy.
This factor is even more important in the case of acoustic guitar because it mostly depends on how the guitar is manufactured in the first place.
So, this is obvious that, If a person reviews each piece of guitar before launching it in the market (basically, handcrafted guitars), it’s going to be better than mass-produced budget guitars.
Are Cheap Acoustic Guitars Harder to Play?
Whenever I think about playability of the guitar, one thing that came into my mind first is the guitar action.
If the guitar action high, more you need to press on them to play the note and on the flip side, if it’s too low, you might need to deal with fret buzz.
that’s where expensive guitar can easily go ahead of the budget option. As I already told you, high-end guitars are either handcrafted or at least reviewed by an expert. They already take care of such issues of action.
I am not saying all the cheap guitars are going to have issues with action and they are harder to play. But if your guitar has such issues, you can easily fix them.
Along with the action, if you put a nice set of strings on your guitar, the playability of the guitar can increase even more and it will become smoother.
Again, If you’re a beginner, you’re not going to notice any major difference. There are various things that impact the sweet sound of the acoustic guitar. Even if you take care of those things while choosing the guitar, you’re good to go.
Why cheap acoustic guitar might be the best option for you?
If you’re a beginner or an intermidiate guitar player and if this is your first or second guitar, You should not spend lot of money to get one expensive model.
Here’re couple of reasons why cheaper guitar is good for a beginner player?
- You can save money
- Not much difference in Sound quality (Especially to beginners ears)
- Don’t have to worry about special care of the guitar
In the beginning, everyone is so motivated and excited to learn a guitar. We’re concuring different hurdels like sore fingers, learning different strumming patterns…
But after some days, many people lose their interest in the process of learning the guitar and eventually stop playing. and also buying one expensive acoustic guitar is not going to help you to master the guitar skills faster.
thus, even if you’re completely passionate about guitar and you know you’re not going to stop, still I recommend you to start with a budget guitar and upgrade it as you learn more and more.
What to look for in a Budget-Friendly Acoustic Guitar?
If you ask me one reason why I like high-end acoustic guitars, that’s due to the ease in playability. As a beginner, you’re already going to struggle with lots of things like chord shapes, finger pain, timing, etc.
And, if you get one poor build guitar, everything will be more difficult for you. Here’re the points you should consider before you choose the best acoustic guitar in your budget.
Price Range for your guitar
As a beginner, you should spend around $100 to $500 on your first acoustic guitar. There are many reasons why this range is so perfect for a beginner guitar player.
If you know, you’re going to stick with this guitar for a longer or you can invest some money, sure you can increase this limit. but I personally recommend you to stick within this limit for your first and even second guitar.
Types of Woods
Different types of woods are used to build guitars and each of them have their own properties. Type of wood, it’s quality and combination with other wood gives the unique tone to the acoustic guitar.
Usually, Budget guitars are made from laminated wood. On the other side, expensive guitars are made from solid wood which gives richer and more resonating sound. But, As a beginner, it is always recommend to get started with a guitar you can afford.
Some of the popular types of woods are Mahogany, Maple, Rosewood, Spruce, Cedar, etc. Even if you choose any one of these, you’ll be fine. But if you interested to know about each of these woods, check out this guide.
Guitar Body Type & Size
Once you choose the wood, you need to make two more decision here, type of body and appropriate size for your guitar.
Talking about different body types, you’ll get to see dreadnoughts, parlor, and jumbo guitars majorly.
Acoustic guitars are available in different sizes. If you went for small-bodied guitars, they sound really well but kind of lack in projection and bass.
On the flip side, Big-body guitars have great bass and projection but may feel kind of boomy sometimes. Basically, both have their unique qualities and drawbacks.
That’s the reason why, dreadnought style acoustic guitars are very popular among the guitar players. They usually have mid-size body and gives you flavors of both small and big body guitars.
If you think, these all things are overwhelming for you, and you just need a nice acoustic guitar that fits in your budget, read our detailed reviews on What are the best budget-friendly acoustic guitars?
Final Thoughts on Cheap Acoustic Guitars
I hope you understand till now, cheap acoustic guitars are the best option to go for a beginner player. If you choose your guitar wisely, you can get a lot even from a budget guitar.
That’s it from my side guys. I surely want to know your opinion, what do you think about cheaper acoustic guitars?
What things one should look while buying the acoustic guitar? Put your valuable thoughts in the comment section.