Are cheap guitars for sale necessarily “bad”? This is an honest question you might be asking if you're looking for a really inexpensive instrument. After all, when you here that something is “cheap,” you’re likely tempted to think of inferior build quality first of all. While there’s definitely no shortage of poor quality guitars for sale today, a cheap guitar today is not exactly the same as it was, say, 20 years ago.
I’m fortunate to be old enough to have watched the increase in quality of inexpensive guitars over the years. Let’s be clear - it definitely used to be the case that inexpensive guitars were definitely cheap in every respect - low cost and low quality. And while people will deride instruments that are made overseas in South Korea or China as being inferior to US-made instruments, it’s simply a fact that Asian-built instruments have dramatically improved in quality over the years.
Sure, USA-made guitars are still the gold standard when it comes to build quality, but I’ve played and even own non-USA instruments that are surprisingly good guitars. Since most guitar parts are machine-built these days (even the ones that are made in the USA), it’s easy to have guitars with parts that are of very good quality and that pass quality standards that are far higher than in years past. One of my main practice guitars is a Squier Telecaster that was built in Indonesia. And while it’s not the same high quality as my American-made Telecaster, with a good set up this guitar plays incredibly well, and it cost less than $200 brand new.
There are many good reasons to look for cheap guitars for sale. For many people who are just starting out or who are looking for a guitar for their son or daughter, they assume that a cheap instrument is the best way to start. In the not-too-distant past, I would have cautioned against this strategy. Cheap guitars were poorly made with horrible action and terrible sounds. Not any more! While you might not see your favorite rock star on stage with a $150 Squier, the truth is that you can get a quality acoustic or electric guitar for $200 or less, one that plays well and sounds just fine.
Even though I own several quality (i.e. expensive!) guitars, I spend a lot of time practicing on a cheap Squier Telecaster and Yamaha acoustic. Why? It's simple. I have a little boy who's both curious and a bit rambunctuous. I've taught him to respect my instruments and (knock on wood) so far there have been no disasters! But I don't want to worry about him breaking an expensive guitar, so I do my practicing when he's around with a cheap Squier electric and Yamaha acoustic. And I have no problems letting him play with them either. So cheap guitars aren't just for beginners!
You can find good, cheap guitars on sale at most major music retailers, but if you want the best bargains, check out Craigslist, eBay, or even Amazon, all of which will allow you to find guitars that are probably around the $100 range and will sound and play just fine.