We look at some of the most expensive guitars available and discuss why these high-end guitars are totally worth it
As guitarists, we often aspire to garnering a selection of expensive guitars, not purely because of the price but simply due to the fact that high-end guitars are loaded with superior tonewoods and electronics. We aspire to upgrading our beginner guitar as it signifies a type of ‘graduation’ into the upper echelons of the music world. But why do these upgrades or 'pro-level' guitars cost so much?
It all boils down to quality.
Often, high end electric guitars are relied upon by professional musicians all over the world thanks to their meticulous construction processes, upgraded pickups and focus on playability. Essentially, a more expensive guitar will almost always have higher quality tonewoods, better pickups and a far more strict focus on quality.
You're investing in quality.
So, we thought we’d round up some of our favourite expensive guitars and show you exactly whey they’re worth it.
Now, before we get into our list, I want to state that we’re not talking custom shop models or super-vintage guitars that cost hundreds of thousands! We’re looking at high-end guitars and guitar models us mere mortals can afford, or at the very least aspire to get our hands on after a little budgeting.
Show me the 11 best expensive guitars and high-end guitars
1. Gibson Les Paul Standard
The Gibson Les Paul Standard is one of the best electric guitars for the money relied upon by professional guitarists all over the world. A selection of brands have tried their best to emulate this design, but there’s only one Gibson Les Paul. There’s nothing quite like plugging one into a Marshall amp and letting rip.
So why is the Gibson Les Paul one of the best expensive guitars?
Well, at around £2000 for the latest Les Paul Standard model, you won’t have to remortgage your home to afford one. But if you’re just starting out in the world of guitar it might be a little stretch for your budget. The thing to remember here is, you’ll never ever have to upgrade – your collection may grow, but you won’t have to replace a made in USA Gibson Les Paul Standard – this thing will be passed down to your grandkids!
The higher price tag comes down to the use of superb tonewoods, the awesome humbucking pickups and the fact each guitar is meticulously made by hand in the Gibson Factory in the USA.
Take the all new Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s, Heritage Cherry Sunburst from the Gibson Originals line, for example. This guitar features a Solid Mahogany back, topped with a Figured Maple top and two PAF-like BurstBucker pickups.
The non-chambered solid mahogany back ensures your guitar resonates beautifully whilst the maple top ensures you have that snap and articulation for those solos and big riffs.
The inclusion of vintage-voiced BurstBucker pickups gives you the closest approximations of this classic tone, offering a vintage sound that is instantly recognisable and unmistakably a Les Paul.
This harks back to the way Gibson used to produce guitars and reaffirms the brand as one of the best guitar manufacturers around.
All guitarists need a Gibson Les Paul in their collection. Easily one of the best high-end electric guitars ever made.
Shop all Gibson Les Paul guitars.
2. Martin D-28 Re-Imagined
Next up we have one of the best high-end acoustic guitars ever produced. The Martin D-28 has been relied upon by almost every guitarist of note including Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Jimmy Page, Joni Mitchell – the list goes on. This is the ultimate aspirational acoustic guitar that almost every player aspires to get hold of. As soon as you ring out a chord on this guitar you can hear hundreds, if not thousands of famous songs instantly – the sound is that recognisable.
The reason the Martin D-28 Re-Imagined makes our best expensive guitars list is down to its unique and iconic Dreadnought shape and booming sound that no other guitar can replicate. This D-28 made the Dreadnought shape fashionable back when it was introduced in 1931, where smaller parlour size guitars had previously ruled. Guitarists loved the louder, more pronounced sound that this acoustic guitar offered and the simple yet classy look of the guitar allowed it to be adopted by players of all genres.
We love it as it features X Bracing which, when combined with the East Indian Rosewood back and sides ensures your chords ring out for days! The addition of a Sitka Spruce to also ensures your fingerpicked notes stand out in the mix and each string is heard correctly.
Try one of these acoustic guitars and see what all the fuss is about – you won’t be disappointed.
Shop all Martin Guitars HERE.
3. Fender Stratocaster
From Jimi Hendrix to David Gilmour, Eric Clapton to The Edge the Fender Stratocaster has helped sculpt the sounds of some of the most iconic guitar players in history. The single coil sound is instantly recognisable.
The Fender American Stratocaster guitars make our list of best high end and expensive electric guitars as they’re entirely worth the £1000+ price tag. These guitars are put together using meticulous design and construction processes that ensure your guitar feels and sounds amazing as soon as you take it out of its case.
We love the Fender American Professional Stratocaster in particular as it features a set of V-Mod Single coil pickups that provide all the original Fender flavour without any of the associated hum that sometimes creeps in with single coils.
An all new Modern Deep C Shape neck actually makes playing the Strat a LOT easier too, which really helps when you’re 2 hours into your set or rehearsal. You could go for vintage guitars, but where’s the fun in buying an already beat up guitar when you could do it yourself!
Pictured: The Fender American Professional Stratocaster MN, Black
Shop all Fender Stratocaster Guitars HERE.
4. Gibson ES-335
Since 1958 the Gibson ES-335 has been a mainstay in the guitar world and has been championed by the likes of Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton and B.B. King, among others.
Whereas other hollowbody guitars would start to feedback easily, the ES-335 handled higher volumes a lot easier thanks to the addition of a solid maple block that runs through the middle. This was a welcome innovation for hollow body players who wanted that warmer tone and better sustain without all the associated noise.
These guitars are still relied upon by players of all genres, from Blues to Metal – yep, Brent Hinds from Mastodon even uses them! The signature 335 sound is achieved thanks to the 3-Ply Maple/Poplar/Maple body and top construction and centre block. This combination of tone woods ensure your guitar is resonant yet snappy, whilst the centre block and semi-hollow construction allows your notes and chords to really ring out with warmth.
The new Gibson ES-335 Dot, Antique Faded Cherry features a set of 57 Classic pickups which offer all the vintage style Gibson sound you need with enough versatility to turn your hand to any genre you wish.
The history behind it, the fact it’s made in the USA and utilises superior tonewoods all contribute to it being one of the best high-end electric guitars on the market today. It is upwards of £2000 so it’s definitely one of the best expensive guitars around, but entirely worth it.
This is an entirely unique sounding guitar and we really recommend trying one out.
Shop all Gibson ES-335 Guitars HERE.
5. Gretsch White Falcon
The Gretsch White Falcon is probably the coolest looking expensive guitar on the market, and really stands out from the crowd. This thing is not for the shy guitarists out there!
The Cult’s Billy Duffy helped put this guitar on the map and since then it has become one of the go-to guitars for rockabilly players, blues guitarists and those who love a guitar with a bit of panache that can back up the looks with a quality sound.
We love it as it includes two high-sensitive Filter'Tron humbucking pickups which are capable of providing lush, glass like cleans and more than comfortable when you throw some distortion at them.
The laminated Maple body is snappy whilst the hollowbody construction ensures your chords ring out nice and clear.
Finally, we need to talk about how this thing looks. The inclusion of gold hardware, gold sparkle binding and a gold Bisgby all look amazing when partnered with the all-white body. This thing stands out from the crowd both tonally and visually.
Shop all Gretsch Guitars HERE.
6. Charvel Satchel Signature Pro-Mod DK Electric Guitar
Next up we have the Charvel Satchel Signature Pro-Mod DK Electric Guitar Green Bengal. Now, at just over £1000 it’s not an unobtainable guitar but it’s certainly not cheap – and for good reason.
Whether you love Steel Panther, or you’re just a fan of all things 80s hair metal and you need the right tool for the job, the Fishman Fluence Classic Humbucker Pickups in this guitar will take you there. These pickups are capable of providing all the huge sounds that have put this band on the map, and when coupled with the highly resonant Alder body, your solos will scream louder than the crowd.
You have Floyd Rose hardware allowing you to dive bomb as hard as you want, push pull switches to split the humbucker and a hand-rubbed Urethane neck for added comfort and smooth transition up the neck.
This is an incredible guitar for the shredders out there and easily one of the coolest expensive guitars around. Also available in Yellow Bengal.
Shop all Charvel Guitars HERE.
7. Ibanez RG5000
The Ibanez RG5000 guitars are there for those metal players who want to make the transition into the realms of pro-level sound. These guitars are worth every penny and make our best high-end guitars list with ease thanks to the incredible pickups and hefty focus on playability.
The sleek body curves on this RG5000 as well as the super-fast Wizard HP neck allow for a far more comfortable playing experience whether you’re stood up rocking out or sat down recording your next masterpiece.
The set of Fishman Fluence pickups deliver a seriously aggressive tone without any of the unwanted noise or hum. The inclusion of the Fishman Fluence Voicing Switch allows you to change the voice of your pickups for tonal variety. You can go from active to passive and enjoy crisp, clean sounds or engage the active with a bit of distortion and watch your windows start to shake!
One of the coolest expensive guitars on the scene today and an aspirational model that metal guitarists will love.
Shop all Ibanez Guitars HERE.
8. Fender Telecaster
Well, obviously we have to have the Fender Telecaster guitar in our best high-end guitars list. In particular, we’re including the Fender American Professional Telecaster MN Butterscotch Blonde as it’s the quintessential Tele finish.
This makes our best high-end guitars list as it’s one of the most iconic guitars in the music scene. The guitar itself has gone through fairly minimal changes in terms of design, as Leo Fender pretty much got it right the first time. However, the Fender American Professional Telecaster includes a set of reliable V-Mod pickups which reduce that single coil hum whilst maintain the key sound of the Telecaster.
A Treble Bleed circuit has been installed which retains the tone of your guitar even when you roll the volume down and the 'Modern Deep C-Shape' neck is far more comfortable to play than vintage models.
At around £1200, it’s reassuringly expensive yet totally attainable with a little budgeting. Every guitarist should have a Tele in their collection and this is a great option. Even Jimmy Page has a signature model Telecaster!
Shop all Fender Telecaster guitars HERE.
9. Music Man Cutlass
The Music Man Cutlass is one of the coolest guitars we’ve ever seen here at PMT.
With a price tag around £2,399 this guitar is one of the best high-end electric guitars on our list which features an array of premium appointments that make your playing experience far more enjoyable than you’d expect. One of the key noticeable benefits of this guitar is the Roasted Maple neck with hand rubbed oil and wax finish. When you pick this thing up it basically encourages you to play better as the neck feels amazing in your hands. It’s smooth and sleek without any of that drag that sometimes occurs with “sticky” necks.
The three, classic-voiced single coil pickups offer an array of tones and are suited to all genres of music whilst the 5-way pickup selector allows you to blend your pickups how you wish.
You also have the ingenious headstock design that ensures that G string problem is solved – no more tuning that string more than others.
Shop all Music Man guitars HERE.
10. PRS Custom 24
The PRS Custom 24 guitar is an icon in the music industry. This is the professional level 'Standard' PRS guitar and the only next step up is the PRS Private Stock or PRS custom shop which we've talked about here.
The reason why these are some of the best expensive guitars on the market is the fact they are extremely hard-working guitars packed with premium appointments that'll stand the test of time. Years of hard playing are what these guitars are all about.
PRS Custom 24 guitars are known for their patented Gen III Tremolo System, PRS 85/15 Pickups with tone controls and a 5 Way Blade Switch. Simple, yet effective and packed with power.
You also have 24 frets, handmade construction and premium wood choices. They're also extremely cool! Pictured - the limited PRS Custom 24 Emerald Flame Maple Electric Guitar, Ebony FB.
Shop the full range of PRS Custom 24 Guitars HERE.
11. Taylor Builder's Edition
The Taylor Builder's edition series is the pinnacle of craftmanship from Taylor. They key features that set these guitars apart is the focus on refined body shapes, sonic power and overall feel. These are performer's guitars for the discerning musician, put together by hand by experienced luthiers at Taylor.
You have the likes of V class bracing, contoured body shapes and interesting tonewood combinations like maple paired with torrefied spruce that really bring out the subtle nuances of your playing.
These guitars have been meticulously designed and constructed to provide a playing feel and sound quality like no other Taylor and we highly recommend these high-end guitars.
Shop all Taylor Builder's Edition guitars HERE.
Shop a full range of guitars over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to try out a full selection of high-end acoustic guitars, electric guitars and more. Whatever your budget, we’ll have the guitar for you!
Want more expensive guitars? Are you a Blues lover? Check out our video below