How much does a good acoustic guitar actually cost?
We need to consider that part of answering this question is determining what we mean by "good." A good acoustic guitar could be defined differently person to person.
In this article - to answer our question - we'll assume that a good acoustic guitar fits the following criteria:
- A reliable intermediate-grade acoustic guitar
- High-value (gives you good quality for what you pay)
In other words: Good acoustic guitars give you the most value possible for what you pay and they're better than just a cheap beginner guitar. They're the answer to the question, "How much do I have to pay before I get something decent?"
We'll answer that question by looking at some real-world examples.
The Quick Answer
However, we'll also give you the results of our research. Here's the quick answer on what you can expect a good acoustic guitar to cost.
A good acoustic guitar will typically cost between $500 and $700.
How We Got Our Number
This is a synopsis of the research we did to get our acoustic guitar pricing conventions and the aforementioned estimate. We'll start with a couple of examples.
The Seagull S6
The Seagull S6 - build by Robert Godin in Canada - is a great example of an optimally priced acoustic guitar because it has a solid top, cedar construction (I just like the way cedar sounds and plays) and comes in both an "Original" version - with no electronics - and the QIT version with preamp and pickup built in.
Manufacturers can always provide a suggested price, which is usually between $600 and $650 for the Seagull S6.
Third party retailers often drop the price lower to attract more buyers and out-dual competitor pricing.
As you can see in this Sweetwater entry, the Seagull Original QIT is only $590.
This gives us an example of a high-value, mid-range acoustic guitar in the $500 to $600 price range.
Let's look at another example.
Taylor GS Mini-e KOA
The Mini-e KOA by Taylor is another mid-range acoustic we like to recommend with a solid top and onboard preamp. On Sweetwater, it costs about $800.
This is on the high-end of what we'd recommend, but keep in mind we're trying to stay within the realm of solid, high-value acoustics. We're not going for cheap - we're just going for good so we can see what needs to be payed to get a decent acoustic guitar.
Let's look at the GS Mini-e on Reverb to get a feel for used pricing.
Pricing comes down here significantly - $600 in some cases - making our price point similar to our first example with the Seagull S6. Here's a history of used pricing trends for this particular guitar.
We can see that the price has fluctuated, but still stays in the $550 to $650 range.
Since we've used a couple salient examples to get an idea of a price range, let's start filtering by that range and see what kind of guitars we come up with. I'll say we're firmly around $500 on the low end and $700 on the high end.
Searching by Price Range: $500 to $700
First we'll go to Sweetwater, sort using the acoustic guitar category, then filter those results using the price limiter between $500 and $750. Here are some the acoustics near the top, sorted by best sellers.
You have diversity of brand and body type. Let's go down one more line.
We see reliable brands, lots of desirable features and plenty of body sizes/types to choose from. There are even a handful of classical guitar options if that's the type of acoustic you're looking for.
Here are three of the acoustic brands I saw crop up most often:
These are good brands to target if you want to be in an optimal price range. All three can go much higher, but they make good mid-range acoustics that keep you firmly out of the beginner acoustic category.
How low can I go beneath $500?
Remember, we're not going for cheap as much as we're going for quality. We're trying to figure out how much it costs to get a legitimately good acoustic guitar, which means we want to stay above a certain price point.
But since we've established a floor of $500, how far below that floor could you potentially go?
In short, I wouldn't recommend dropping too low from that price point.
With $300 and $400 acoustic guitars, you start to lose solid tonewood, electronics, and some of the other features we like to see in the nicer acoustic models. And while there are exceptions to those rules, they're significantly harder to find.
As we said to begin, the idea of something "good" can be subjective and hard to define, especially when it comes to guitars. But acoustic guitars see a significant jump in quality once you cross the $500 threshold. At the same time, we see a significant decrease in value once you cross firmly into $800 territory.
That's not to say you get less quality - you actually get a lot more in those higher price ranges - but you start to pay more for more nuanced quality indicators, and it might be a lot more than you need.
A good acoustic guitar costs about $500 on the low end and $750 on the high end, whether you're buying new or used.
Take it to the bank.
Leave questions in the comments section, if you have 'em.
See ya there.