Is The Mid-Priced Electric Guitar An Extinct Species?

While guitar prices have increased dramatically since I first started at UG in 2019, there’s been the unfortunate phase-out of the “mid-priced” guitar. While definitions vary dramatically, I always grouped guitars in the $500-$1000 range in this bin. And to me, that made sense because you had most Squier or low-end Epiphones being listed under $500. Back then CV stuff was like $350ish (USD), and there was a plethora of Harley Benton, Donner, Glarry, and other ultra-affordable guitars on the market.

We went through what felt like a golden age of mid-priced, small-brand alternatives back then. I looked at guitars from Howl Guitars, Chapman, Yamaha, Eastwood, Supro, Guild, D’Angelico, and so many others that were less than $1000. They competed with the likes of Mexican Fenders, high-end Epiphones, as well as the similar quality ESP LTD, Ibanez, and PRS SE guitars. Simply put, there were so many options that seemed reasonably priced.

Much like in the real world, the middle class of the guitar catalog was squeezed during the pandemic, manufacturing lull, parts shortage, and subsequent problems. It isn’t a huge secret why; guitar companies realized that they make a lot more money on either A) cheap, beginner-level instruments that sell by the thousands, or B) collector’s grade instruments that sell for thousands or tens of thousands. So if manufacturing is going to be limited, might as well focus on those two extremes. After all, we as humanity tend to focus on extremes during times of trouble.



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