Finding cheap prices can be an art form if done properly, and every industry has its own tricks and techniques. The following tips and examples for cheap electric guitar models will give you plenty of resources for finding a quality instrument without going over budget.
Tips for Finding Cheap Electric Guitars
The following tips will help you find the lowest prices on electric guitars.
Consider a Cheaper Version of Legendary Brands
Fender licenses an affordable version of its Statocasters and Telecasters under the brand Squier. Gibson Les Paul does a similar thing with Epiphone brand guitars. Squier and Epiphone are quality guitars made under the watchful eye of the industry's most legendary builders, yet they cost hundreds if not thousands less than an original Fender or Gibson. You can often get a Squier or Epiphone for under $200.
Buy a used electric guitar from the large used marketplace Reverb. You can often save as much as 30 to 40 percent off the original price.
Find Closeouts or Clearance
Check for closeouts and clearances at online and brick and mortar stores. Some of these will be mentioned in the section below, but if you use an online store's search box and enter "closeout" or "clearance" or enter those terms with "electric guitars" in general search engines, you are likely to find new deals. Change the date range for search engines to something more recent (i.e. "today" or "within the last week") to find the newest deals online.
Check online music stores as well as local music stores and do some comparison shopping. If you find a better bargain on the internet, talk to the owner of your local music store and see if he or she is willing to price match. Many business owners will give you the same price to keep your business, and you'll save on shipping costs.
Wait for Promotions
Wait for seasonal promotions that can save you significant money.
The following models provide excellent examples of cheap electric guitars.
Squier Affinity Stratocaster
Squier offers the same contoured solid body alder wood for its Affinity Stratocaster line that Fender used to makes its brand so legendary. It has a maple neck and rosewood fretboard and a '70s-style headstock that recalls vintage Fender. It costs about $200.
Epiphone Les Paul 100
Epiphone mimics Squier by offering a more affordable version of Gibson's epic Les Paul guitars that usually cost thousands of dollars. Epiphone's Les Paul 100 only costs about $280 retail. It has Gibson Les Paul's body design--the mahogany body and beautiful maple top--and it sounds like a Les Paul with its Gibson-style humbucker pickups.
ESP LTD EC-10
The EC-10 is ESP's answer to Squier and Epiphone's affordable models. ESP is known for making high-end guitars that cost thousands. The EC-10 has the same powerful crunch as ESP's higher end models but only costs about $200. It has a sculpted single-cutaway shape with basswood for the body and ESP's LH-100 pickups that give it the crunchy power that has made ESP so popular with metal and hard rock players.
Kramer Baretta Special
Kramer's thrifty but great sounding (and looking) guitar only costs about $180 new, which is an excellent purchase considering its features and sound. It has a vintage-style tremolo bridge, Alnico V Humbucker pickups, chrome hardware, mahogany body, a maple neck, and a rosewood fingerboard.
Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012
The PAC012 is Yamaha's lower priced guitar, and it is a quality buy at only about $180. It has a solid agathis body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and one humbucker, two single-coil pickup combination that delivers a clear, powerful sound with good definition in its lows, mids, and highs (as you can hear in the video below).
Squier Affinity Telecaster
Fender's economical Squier brand didn't stop at the Stratocaster. To the delight of all Tele fans, Squier also made an affordable version of the Fender Telecaster, Fender's first guitar to take the rock-and-roll world by storm in the early '50s. For about $200, you can get a gorgeous blonde Tele-styled Squier with an alder body, maple neck, two single-coil pickups to give you that beloved Tele-inspired sound, and die-cast chrome machine heads to top it off.
Places to Find Affordable Electric Guitar Prices
If you'd like to see what other guitar models are out there with cheap prices, try these handy locations online.
- Guitar Center's Clearance Page: Guitar Center's online clearance section often has a few dozen quality guitars on clearance between about $170 to $350. It offers free shipping and a 45-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy.
- Musician's Friend's Open Boxed Page: The popular music retailer has a special open boxed section where it gathers all the guitars that have been returned but are still in quality shape and sells them at discounted prices. Prices range from about $150 to a couple thousand on higher end models, but the savings are substantial in each case. Brands range from budget guitars like Epiphone Les Paul and Gretsch resonator guitars to true blue high-end custom models such as the Ibanez Steve Vai custom signature. It usually costs about $1,700 but you can get a nice quality open boxed version for about $1,500. It offers free shipping and a 45-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy.
- Sam Ash's Great Deal Bin: This page on the Sam Ash site often marks down guitars by about 30 percent to around 50 percent. You can find some seriously discounted prices, and it sometimes has stellar brands such as Gibson Les Paul. It offers free shipping and a 45-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy. It also has a 60-day price protection policy. If you find a lower price somewhere within 60 days after your purchase, they will refund you the difference.
- Sweetwater's Deal Zone: Sweetwater often has over 400 guitars in its Deal Zone, each with its own significant discount. The mark-downs average at about $200 though some of the higher end guitars have as much as $1,000 off their initial price (like this '60s Stratocaster made by Fender's legendary custom shop). It offers free shipping and a 30-day return policy.
- ESP Clearance Page: If you're a fan of ESP guitars and you're in the market for a higher end guitar, you will rejoice over ESP's clearance page. It often has about 40 to 50 percent off discounts-i.e. an $8,000 ultra-high end ESP guitar being marked down to about $4,000 or a great quality $1,500 ESP being marked down to about $900. ESP guitars are expensive, but they are very generous with their mark-downs on their clearance rack. ESP offers free shipping.
- 2Kool4School: This store offers many unique yet inexpensive electric guitars in the $200 range on average such as its own 2Kool4School instrument brand or better known budget brands such as Epiphone Gibson. A great feature of this retailer is their 45-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. The website also offers free music tutorials.
The Thrill of the Guitar Hunt
Any kind of successful hunt requires hard work, research and patience. But it's worth the effort, especially when you feel the thrill of finding an electric guitar that you're excited to play and saves you money at the same time.