How Much Does a Guitar Cost?

We all like to complain about the price of things, but you might be surprised to learn that when you adjust for inflation, a good quality electric guitar costs about the same now as a comparable guitar did in the 1950s or 60s.

You could argue that a direct comparison isn’t possible since the materials and methods used to build guitars in the 50s and 60s were not the same as those used now, and that may be true. But it’s the hit on your wallet that we’re comparing here.

Click on any of the vintage prices to see today’s price. The numbers in parentheses are the cost of cases. (Sales tax can’t be included because it was different everywhere, but it added to the cost in most states.)

The numbers come from price lists that I’ve seen and verified. This is mainly a Gibson list because that’s where my interest lies. A few Fender numbers have been thrown in for comparison.

If you have a price list for a year that isn’t listed here (pre-1980) and would like to add it, let me know in the comment section.

1949 – Fender
Broadcaster – 165

1951 – Fender
Telecaster – 189.50 (39.95)

1952 – Gibson
Les Paul Model (Goldtop) – 210 (39.50)

1954 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 325 (47.50)
Les Paul Goldtop – 225 (21.50/39.50)
Les Paul Junior – 99.50 (12.50)

1957 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 375 (47.50)
Les Paul Goldtop – 247.50 (42)
Les Paul Special – 179.50 (13.50/42)
Les Paul Junior TV – 132.50 (13.50)
Les Paul Junior – 120 (13.50)

1958 – Gibson
Double 12 (doubleneck) – 475 (75)
Les Paul Custom – 375 (47.50/zipper case cover, 21.50)
Les Paul Goldtop – 247.50 (42/zipper case cover, 21.50)
Flying V – 247.50 (75)
Les Paul Special – 179.50 (13.50/42)
Les Paul Junior TV – 132.50 (13.50/42)
Les Paul Junior – 120 (13.50)

1959 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 395 (47.50)
Les Paul Standard – 265 (42.50)
Les Paul Special – 195 (14.25/42.50)
Les Paul Junior – 132.50 (14.25/42.50)

1961 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 440 (50)
Les Paul Standard – 295 (50)
SG Special – 225.50 (16/25/50)
SG TV – 157.50 (16/25/50)
Les Paul Junior – 157.50 (16/25/50)

1962 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 440 (50) [same as 1961]
Les Paul Standard – 295 (50) [same as 1961]
SG Special – 225.50 (16/25/50) [same as 1961]
SG TV – 157.50 (16/25/50) [same as 1961]
Les Paul Junior – 157.50 (16/25/50) [same as 1961]
Melody Maker D – 157.50 (12.50)
Melody Maker – 119.50 (12.50)

1964 – Fender
Jaguar (sunburst) – 379.50
Jaguar (blonde/custom) – 398.49
Jazzmaster (sunburst) – 349.50
Jazzmaster (blonde/custom) – 366.97
Stratocaster (sunburst, no trem) – 259.50
Stratocaster (sunburst) – 289.50
Stratocaster (blonde/custom) – 303.97
Telecaster – 209.50
Telecaster Custom – 239.50
Esquire – 169.50
Esquire Custom – 199.50
Precision Bass (sunburst) – 229.50
Precision Bass (blonde/custom) – 240.97
Jazz Bass (sunburst) – 279.50
Jazz Bass (blonde/custom) – 293.47
Twin Reverb – 469.50
Champ – 62.50
Reverb Unit – 129.50

1965 – Gibson
SG Custom – 480 (57)
SG Standard – 330 (57)
SG Special – 240 (42/70)
SG TV – 165 (15/24/57)
SG Junior – 165 (15/24/57)
Melody Maker D – 165 (12)
Melody Maker – 127 (12)
Firebird VII – 500 (46)
Firebird V – 360 (46)
Firebird III – 280 (46)
Firebird I – 215 (46)

1966 – Gibson
SG Custom – 455 (42/57) [price drop]
SG Standard – 305 (42/57) [price drop]
SG Special – 225 (15/24/42/57) [price drop]
SG TV – 165 (15/24/42/57) [same as 1965]
SG Junior – 165 (15/24/42/57) [same as 1965]
Melody Maker D – 174 (12)
Melody Maker – 136 (12)
Firebird VII – 379.50 (30/46) [price drop]
Firebird V – 289.50 (30/46) [price drop]
Firebird III – 239.50 (30/46) [price drop]
Firebird I – 189.50 (30/46) [price drop]

1967 – Gibson
SG Custom – 455 (42/70)
SG Standard – 305 (42/70)
SG Special – 225 (15/24/42/70)
SG TV – 179.50 (15/24/42/70)
SG Junior – 179.50 (15/24/42/70)
Melody Maker III – 199.50 (24/42/70)
Melody Maker D – 179.50 (24/42/70)
Melody Maker – 154.50 (24/42/70)
Flying V – 345 (68)

1968 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 545 (52/73)
Les Paul Standard – 395 (52/73)
Melody Maker III – 214.50 (17.50/28/53/73)
Melody Maker D – 199.50 (17.50/28/53/73)
Melody Maker – 169.50 (17.50/28/53/73)
Flying V – 375 (68)
Firebird VII – 445 (37.50/52)
Firebird V – 325 (37.50/52)
Firebird III – 259.50 (37.50/52)
Firebird I – 219.50 (37.50/52)

1969 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 545 (52/73)
Les Paul Standard – 395 (52/73)
SG Custom – 495 (52/73)
SG Standard – 335 (52/73)

1970 – Gibson
Les Paul Personal – 675 (90)
Les Paul Custom – 595 (55/80)
Les Paul Pro – 510 (42.50)
Les Paul Deluxe – 450 (55/80)
SG Custom – 565 (19/29/59/80)
SG Standard – 375 (19/29/59/80)
SG Special – 325 (19/29/59/80)
SG Junior – 250 (19/29/59/80)
Melody Maker D – 250 (19/29/59/80)
Melody Maker – 225 (19/29/59/80)

1972 – Gibson
Les Paul Recording – 675 (90)
Les Paul Custom – 615 (60/80)
Les Paul Deluxe – 495 (60/80)
L-5S – 895 (85)
SG Custom – 595 (20/30/65/80)
SG Standard – 415 (20/30/65/80)
SG Special – 365 (20/30/65/80)
SG Deluxe – 415 (19/29/60/80)
SG Pro – 365 (19/29/60/80)
SG III – 299.50 (19/29/60/80)
SG II – 279.50 (19/29/60/80)
SG I – 249.50 (19/29/60/80)

1973 – Gibson
Les Paul Recording – 695 (99)
Les Paul Deluxe – 525 (60/65/80)
L-5S – 895 (100)
L-6S – 495 (80)
SG Custom – 620 (23/35/63/69/80)
SG Standard – 440 (23/35/63/69/80)
SG Special – 385 (23/35/63/69/80)
SG III – 310 (21/33/60/65/80)
SG II – 290 (21/33/60/65/80)
SG I – 259 (21/33/60/65/80)

1975 – Gibson
Les Paul Recording – 699 (109)
Les Paul Custom – 710 (89)
Les Paul Deluxe – 580 (89)
L-5S – 899 (109)
Marauder NS – 349 (89)
Marauder – 399 (89)
L-6S – 499 (89)
L-6 Deluxe NS – 359 (89)
L-6 Deluxe – 409 (89)
SG Custom – 685 (89)
SG Standard – 479 (79)
SG Special – 425 (75)

1978 – Gibson
The Les Paul – 3000 (case incl)
Les Paul Artisan – 1039 (99.50)
Les Paul Custom 3 PU – 949 (99.50)
Les Paul Custom Maple FB – 879 (99.50)
Les Paul Custom – 849 (99.50)
Les Paul Recording – 799 (99.50)
Les Paul Pro Deluxe – 789 (99.50)
Les Paul Standard – 749 (99.50)
Les Paul Deluxe – 699 (99.50)
Les Paul 55 – 619 (99.50)
Les Paul Special DC – 619 (99.50)
SG Custom – 799 (99.50)
SG Standard – 589 (99.50)
L-6S Deluxe NS – 459 (99.50)
L-6S Deluxe – 499 (99.50)
Melody Maker – 539 (99.50)
S-1 NS – 519 (99.50)
S-1 – 559 (99.50)
Marauder NS – 419 (99.50)
Marauder – 469 (99.50)

1979 – Gibson
The Les Paul – 3199 (case incl)
L-5S – 1149 (99.50)
Les Paul Artisan – 1019 (99.50)
Les Paul Artisan 3 PU – 1119 (99.50)
Explorer II – 949 (119)
Les Paul Custom – 899 (99.50)
Les Paul Custom Maple FB – 939 (99.50)
Les Paul Custom 3 PU – 999 (99.50)
Les Paul Pro Deluxe – 839 (99.50)
Les Paul Standard – 799 (99.50)
Les Paul Deluxe – 749 (99.50)
Les Paul Special DC – 659 (99.50)
Les Paul Recording – 675 (99.50)
Les Paul 55 – 659 (99.50)
Les Paul DC – 659 (99.50)
The Paul – 529 (99.50)
RD Artist – 919 (99.50)
RD Custom – 819 (99.50)
RD Standard – 699 (99.50)
SG Custom – 849 (99.50)
SG Standard – 629 (99.50)
L-6S Custom – 629 (99.50)
L-6S Deluxe – 529 (99.50)
Melody Maker – 569 (99.50)
S-1 NS – 549 (99.50)
S-1 – 599 (99.50)
The “SG” – 499.50 (99.50)
Marauder – 499 (99.50)

1980 – Gibson (partial)
Les Paul Artisan – 1099 (99.50/119.50)
Les Paul Custom – 949 (99.50/119.50)
Les Paul Pro Deluxe – 889 (99.50/119.50)
Les Paul Standard – 849 (99.50/119.50)
Sonex 180 Deluxe – 299 (65/119.50)

1981 – Gibson
Les Paul Custom – 1049 (99.50)
Les Paul Pro Deluxe – 999 (99.50)
Les Paul Standard – 949 (99.50)
Les Paul Deluxe – 899 (99.50)
LPXR-1 – 785 (99.50)
The Paul Deluxe – 599 (99.50)
Sonex 180 Custom – 449
Sonex 180 Custom High Gloss – 475
Sonex 180 Deluxe – 349

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