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do i need an expensive guitar to play live as a professional guitarist

Do I Need an Expensive Guitar to Play Live as a Professional Guitarist?

There is no definitive answer to the question of whether you need an expensive guitar in order to play live as a professional guitarist. A variety of different makes and models of electric guitars can be used for professional performances, many of which don’t cost the earth. In this article, we will take a look at some cheaper electric guitars that provide a quality sound, as well as discuss ways to improve the sound of a cheaper guitar without spending too much money.

Some images or links on this page are affiliate links, we hope you find the information we provide useful, thank you.

What is the difference between an expensive electric guitar and a budget guitar?

The sound of an electric guitar is largely down to personal preference. However, there are some factors that can affect the sound of a guitar, regardless of its price tag. One such factor is the quality of the materials used in the construction of the instrument. A high-end electric guitar will usually be made from better quality materials than a cheaper guitar, which can result in a richer and more resonant sound.

Another factor that can affect the sound of a guitar is the level of craftsmanship involved in its construction. A well-made electric guitar will be put together with greater care and precision than a budget model, resulting in a tighter and more consistent sound.

The type of pickups used on a guitar can also have an impact on its tone. Cheap electric guitars often use less expensive pickups than more expensive models, which can affect the overall sound quality.

Machine heads are another important part of a guitar that can often be inferior to cheaper guitars in the marketplace.

Budget price electric guitars for playing live is it worth it?

Depending on your financial situation there are many budget-price electric guitars that can easily be used for playing a live gig, the most important thing to consider is value for money.

The guitar you choose needs to have certain qualities such as staying in tune, no fret buzz, and a fretboard that produces the right notes you play on it.

There are many guitars in the market that come in at a fraction of the cost of an expensive guitar but still offer great value and sound.

Some examples of lower price electric guitars both currently under £200 that can easily be used for playing live gigs would include:

Ibanez GRX40 Electric Guitar

  • The GRX40 Electric Guitar from the world leading Ibanez guitar brand / Ibanez renowned quality, playability and craftsmanship whatever your level or style of guitar playing.
  • Easy on the hands: The GRX40 features a Poplar Tone wood contoured body and a GRX maple neck, with fantastic feel & comfortable playing. Allowing practice sessions or performances to go on all night, with ease.
  • Style & Substance: Ibanez classic styling w/ Chrome Hardware. Stable and reliable tuning, versatile H-S-S pickup configuration and synchronised tremolo. We want you to pick up your instrument and play it, over and over again.
  • Ideal for beginner & intermediate / Ibanez design every guitar, affordable or professional – with sound quality, comfort, style and ease of use in mind. Creating music at any level inspires passion.

Ibanez GRX70 Electric Guitar

  • The GRX70QA is a 6 String Electric Guitar from the world leading Ibanez guitar brand / Ibanez renowned quality, playability and craftsmanship whatever your level or style of guitar playing.
  • Easy on the hands: The GRX70QA features a Poplar Tone wood contoured body and a GRG7 maple neck, with fantastic feel & comfortable playing. Allowing practice sessions or performances to go on all night, with ease.
  • Style & Substance: Ibanez classic styling w/ Chrome Hardware. Stable and reliable tuning, versatile H-S-H pickup configuration and synchronised tremolo. We want you to pick up your instrument and play it, repeatedly.
  • Ideal for beginner & intermediate / Ibanez design every guitar, affordable or professional – with sound quality, comfort, style and ease of use in mind. Creating music at any level inspires passion.

How can I improve the sound of a cheaper electric guitar?

There are several things that you can do to improve the sound of a cheaper electric guitar, without spending too much money.

One way to improve the sound of a guitar is by leveling its frets. This can be done using a fret leveler. When the frets are leveled, they will be smoother and flatter ensuring there are no high spots to cause fret buzz or miss a note altogether.

It is important that you have some knowledge of guitar frets to carry out this work, but many guitar shops will provide a fret leveling service for you if necessary.

The second way to improve a budget end guitar is to change out the headstock machine heads if they are not up to standard. I once had a budget guitar that had old plastic topped machine heads, I fitted a set of reasonable quality metal machine heads onto it and the guitar was transformed, it stayed in tune and was much smoother to tune the guitar after the upgrade.

Lastly, it is important that the neck of the guitar is correct, some guitars allow for neck adjustment which can make a huge difference to the playability and sound of a guitar, don’t buy a guitar with a really poor action! if the strings are sitting half an inch above the fretboard leave it alone as it will be a miracle if it will ever play correctly.

How to setup your guitar like a pro book

If you want to learn more about setting up a guitar this great book has some amazing information with over 260 photos to show each step of the processes involved.

  • An 8-step method for electric, acoustic & bass guitar setups
  • How to adjust neck relief (bow) for optimum playability
  • How to adjust string height for your playing style and guitar type
  • How to file nut slots, adjust pickup height and set the intonation accurately
  • How to adjust Fender-style tremolo’s, Gibson hard-tails, Floyd Rose and other floating bridge types
  • How to adjust the saddle on your acoustic steel string or nylon string guitar
  • Manufacturer’s setup specs from Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Jackson, Gretsch and others
  • Exclusive setup specifications from the author’s best playing guitars & basses
  • Cut-out templates for radius gauges, under-string radius gauges & an action ruler
  • A handy measurement conversion chart & more!

Looking Professional on Stage

Many guitarists worry that the make of a guitar will make them look bad when playing professionally in front of an audience, to be honest, it is the sound that you produce that will determine if you look professional or not.

Most people in an audience would not know a Gibson from a Stagg when it comes to guitars, but there are plenty of purists out there that would also.

But can you imagine the look on their faces when you use a budget guitar and sound awesome! I don’t think they will say you look unprofessional, they are more likely to say that was amazing!

Many guitar manufacturers these days produce a more affordable range of guitars to allow guitarists to not only look good but also sound great too!

Some examples are Gibson, who makes the Gibson Les Paul guitar but also does a cheaper model under the name Epiphone, and Fender, who makes the Fender Stratocaster and also produces a cheaper version under the name Squire.

Some of the Epiphone models of guitar made by Gibson were that good that the prices of them on the secondhand market have increased dramatically, so who says cheaper is not better!

The most important thing is to find a guitar that you feel comfortable playing, you achieve the desired sound you want for your performance, and it is within your budget.

Buying secondhand guitars

Very often guitarists will choose to purchase a secondhand guitar to get a good make or model at a lower price. Be very careful when purchasing secondhand guitars, just because it has a good name on the headstock does not mean it is necessarily a good guitar.

Over the years I have played some guitars that were supposed to be quality but didn’t play very well at all, and in all honesty, it would have been better to choose a budget guitar than to waste my money on a bad egg!

Conclusion

In conclusion, you do not need an expensive guitar to play live gigs as a professional guitarist. There are many affordable guitars on the market that will provide you with a great sound for your performance.

It is important that you take care of your guitar by leveling its frets and changing out the machine heads if necessary, and also make sure the action is not too high on the guitar.

Don’t worry about how you look as a guitarist, it is all about getting your sound and making great music, regardless of what make or model of guitar you choose to play.

I hope that this article has been useful for you in your search for an affordable electric guitar.

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