Why cheap electric guitars can be great
One question we get asked a lot is "can I get a good cheap electric guitar?". So often people misinterpret the word cheap for rubbish or poor. At Andertons, a cheap guitar certainly doesn't mean rubbish. Far from it in fact. We only stock products that we know are suitable for musicians, and instruments we'd play ourselves.
Take our flagship EastCoast brand for example. Every one of these is taken through our robust quality control process to ensure they can be played straight out of the box. Often, non-specialist shops may not even check the guitar before delivering it.
The difference between cheap and expensive electric guitars
A cheap electric guitar is just that. Cheap. Pretty much every cheap guitar is made on a production line and contains only the most basic guitar features. But that shouldn't put you off. They'll do a good job! Many a guitarist's tale is about their first guitar and many still own theirs to date. It's a special guitar and one that'll help shape the player you become, and that's why it is so important.
Production has come along way over the years, and it's exactly that which has enabled the manufacturing of good quality guitars, en masse. Cheaper guitars often have to take compromises in order to keep the price down. For example, you might find the wood less exotic, the paint less impressive, the pickups not as clear.
On the opposite end of the scale are custom shop, hand-made guitars which can feature as many bells and whistles as the builder likes. Most cheap guitars don't include any of those high-end features, but they will play and feel like a real guitar.
How long do cheap guitars last?
If looked after, a cheap guitar will serve you well for a surprisingly long time. A lot of guitarists tend to keep a cheaper option in their arsenal if they ever feel like experimenting with parts. That could mean swapping out pickups, hardware and even the neck if it has a bolt-on construction. These upgrades will keep it going far into the future.
But if you're sticking with all the stock features, most cheap guitars tend to stick around for a couple of years. Many a player holds onto their first cheap guitar.
Can you upgrade a cheap guitar?
Absolutely! As mentioned earlier, it isn't uncommon for competent guitarists and pros to change parts of their cheaply-bought guitar to improve the sound or how it feels to play. Heck, you can paint it and slap loads of stickers on it if you want.
Sometimes, it's worth buying a cheap instrument to soup up to the required specs rather than buy a new, expensive guitar outright. We sell plenty of parts, accessories and pickups for you to be able to get everything you need right here.
Are cheap electric guitars difficult to play?
When we talk about buying a guitar from a reputable music store, we mean it. Whilst a £200 guitar certainly won't feel like a custom shop, it will still be playable. Perfect for learning or those just starting out.
Most, if not all guitarists will have started on a budget guitar, as it is a low-risk way to see if you like playing the instrument. It isn't uncommon to see our customers start with one of the guitars above and move up through the ranks as they improve. Then you can finetune your tastes with details such as preferred fretboards, upgraded hardware, better pickups and all of the peripherals like amps and pedals.
Where can you buy cheap electric guitars?
This may sound biased, and rightly so. But you'll find the best cheap guitars right here! We're a music shop, so whether a guitar is £100 or £1,000, we're confident we're selling an instrument built for musicians. We've even written this handy guide as to why you should buy your guitar from a music shop.
Of course many choose market places like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Shopping, which is fine, but you're taking a risk on quality. Buying from a music shop ensures you'll get excellent service and advice, a product warranty and a product that you can enjoy.
A number of huge guitar brands make cheap guitars. Ever wanted an iconic Fender Strat or Gibson Les Paul? Squier and Epiphone are owned by these legendary guitar builders, respectively, and make excellent affordable options of the original renowned instruments. If you see those names crop up when shopping for a new guitar, know you're getting quality every time.
A brilliant beginner alternative is Eastcoast. Without a doubt, they build some of the best cheap guitars around. Their instruments are also based on classic guitar designs, but feature a few unique twists to set them apart. There's also the choice of some more modern body shapes as well. There's always the option to buy an Eastcoast guitar in a brilliant Andertons bundle filled with essential accessories.
If you're more into hard rock and metal, we'd recommend you opt for Ibanez or Kramer. These two companies rule the roost in the realms of heavy tones and chunky riffing. Metal-oriented guitars are made to be played fast and produce aggressive, high-gain sounds. You'll find that the fretboards are flatter for soloing and the body shapes are far more contemporary in design.
Electric guitar bundles are the best option for players looking to get everything you need to start playing in one package. Bundles contain an electric guitar (of course) and a mix of accessories such as a strap, guitar picks, gig bag, tuner, 1/4-inch cable and a guitar stand. Some bundles even include a small practice amp. Add it all up and bundles are going to save you some cash in the long run.
What you see here are all the basics you'll need to pick up somewhere down the line whatever type of music you play – so you may as well save yourself some money and grab an Andertons bundle!
Want to learn more?
For more information about other relevant topics, check out our dedicated guides:
- Ultimate guide to electric guitars under £200
- Ultimate guide to acoustic guitars under £200
- Ultimate guide to bass guitars under £200
- Ultimate guide to Eastcoast guitars
- Ultimate beginner's guide to guitar pedals