Home » General » The Economics of Beginning on Guitar

My favourite sorts of hobbies are those where there are initial start-up costs, after which point the ongoing maintenance falls off considerably. Chess, for instance, costs ~$20 for a decent chess board that comes with a travel canister to roll the board into along with the pieces. Aside from that, a chess clock for less than $100 is the only other necessity once a player reaches that stage. So, for $120 it is possible to be fully equipped as a chess maestro.

As you know, I’ve recently taken up the guitar and I have to say the upfront costs have been relatively substantial. My acoustic guitar ran me for ~$330; I picked this up in late March and have been playing virtually every morning and night. This purchase came with a two-year warranty and the shop at which I made my purchase has also offered to check the guitar over twice per year to ensure it is in good working order. Not a bad deal, I feel, and certainly not an over-the-top purchase.

However, I’ve enjoyed the acoustic so much that I decided to add an electric guitar to the mix. This past Sunday I took the trip to Ottawa to see what I could find. In today’s article I’d like to detail some of the costs of guitar ownership given my experience yesterday.

Electric Guitar Costs

The first thing anybody needs if they’re going to play guitar is, obviously, a guitar. Setting out yesterday, I knew that I ultimately wanted a relatively plain-looking guitar in black. I’m not much for frills or excessive flash. I’d already looked online and knew the Les Paul Special II by Epiphone was right up my alley.

I was aware that the Long & McQuade shop in Kanata had one in stock, but I figured I’d see what Best Buy had to offer as well since it was on the way. It seems they’re trying to break into the guitar scene, but their problem is their staff are not knowledgeable about the products and aside from the guitars themselves, they don’t seem to offer a lot of the other requisite paraphernalia. The salesman wasn’t even able to tell me exactly how much one of the guitars on the wall cost since it didn’t have a tag on it. He estimated “between $1,000 and $3,000 based on the other guitars on the wall”. Needless to say, he didn’t close a guitar sale with me.

With that said, the Best Buy visit wasn’t entirely fruitless. I did purchase a Music Stand for $16.99 and an extra set of Gibson Electric Guitar Strings for $5.99 since it never hurts to have a backup.

Finally arriving at Long & McQuade after some oddball shopping in between, the guitar I was after was there hanging on the wall. While I do tend to research products online in advance of purchases, I knew once I got my hands on this piece that it was exactly what I was looking for. The guitar itself cost $259.

I’m a novice when it comes to amps, but I knew I wanted one that wasn’t simply for a beginner; I was looking for something I could also grow into without needing to shell out additional cash in the future. I finally settled on the Roland Cube-20GX which came up to $289. I was between this and a Fender offering 40 Watts. However, the Cube ultimately has extra durability and better controls for settings. In the end, it wasn’t a difficult choice for me and I’ve been happy with the purchase thus far.

A hard case for the guitar came up to $83.50 and the Patch Cable another $19.99. I purchased and installed Strap Locks so my guitar strap won’t come loose and send the guitar crashing to the floor; the locks cost $27.75 and the leather guitar strap I went with notched an additional $56.50. A Kyser brand Capo tallied $24.50.

All-in with taxes I came up to ~$900 for this guitar purchase. It will still run a tad higher when I add a Guitar Stand with room for five to seven guitars. That may happen sometime next week as I do have a marathon to run on Sunday.

Conclusion

While there are no doubt ways I could have saved money either by shopping for bargains online or second-hand, I wanted to save myself some time and get started with guitars on the right footing. Given that I keep the things I own in exceptionally good condition, I have no doubt I’ll be using everything I bought on Sunday for years to come.

Going forward I don’t plan to make any expensive purchases musically. What I have now will last me for quite some time as I gain proficiency and learn my instruments.

Thank you for reading.

Ryan

What instruments do you play?

16 thoughts on “The Economics of Beginning on Guitar

  1. informative article for the beginners.
    oldschoolguitarist recently posted…Additional ResourcesMy Profile

  2. Informative article fr the beginners, can plan journey to music more organized way.

  3. Kyle Alm says:

    The best money a beginner can spend is on a professional setup. For $40, or probably $50 on a Stratocaster or more for Floyd Rose, your guitar will be much easier to play and you will have more fun.

    I bought my first guitar in 2001, at a garage sale I was just walking by, for $150 with a small HiWatt practice amp. Ibanez Road Star II, barely played, and I still have it. Music is something that everyone loves and guitar is pretty easy to learn a few simple chords and strum some songs. Singing on the other hand…..
    Kyle Alm recently posted…The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Distracting and Time is a Flat CircleMy Profile

    1. Hi Kyle,

      Guitars are pretty amazing. As you said, after just playing for a month or two, I’m able to play a huge variety of songs based off of just ten or twenty chords along with some strumming work. Great instrument!

      Take care,
      – Ryan

  4. RBoone says:

    Nice post for guitar beginners. Although, I bought Squier by Fender Standard Stratocaster wich is practically in the same price range as your Les Paul.

    Keep on the good work!

    1. Hi RBoone,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Music is a great way to spend time and broaden the mind. Hope you’re enjoying your pieces as much as I’m enjoying mine!

      Take care,
      – Ryan

  5. John says:

    I really enjoyed the tips will help me very much and congratulations on site !!

    1. Hi John,

      Thank you for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Take care,
      Ryan

  6. Wow that’s a lot of money for my budgets.
    I only have a takamine guitar which cost around $450. That emptied my pockets and since that purchase, I have never bought another one 😀
    Millo Lailang recently posted…Barre chords tips – beginner guitarMy Profile

    1. Hi Millo,

      There’s no doubt that guitars can get costly. The range on them from low-end to high-end is astronomical. The great thing is the accessibility for someone who just wants a used acoustic… it certainly does not need to cost the figures I’ve quoted.

      Take care,
      Ryan

  7. Even the best paid bands in my area – the ones who’ve been at it for years, slogging away building a reputation are lucky to earn half of this figure. Drunk people like music, and 99% of the time that is a good thing, but 1% of the time they like it a bit too much.We’ve had folks with out-of-tune guitars and screaming voices come up and join us on our original songs.

    1. Hi Jared,

      I agree that it’s no easy feat to make a living with instruments. For me it’s a great hobby and that’s how I plan to keep it.

      Take care,
      Ryan

  8. Lora says:

    Thanks for great share

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Lora.

      Take care!
      – Ryan

  9. Great post I like your title that you have posted the economics of beginning on guitar.
    Thanks for post.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read, Samuel.

      Take care,
      – Ryan

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