Ask the Experts: Solo Guitarist

Marta BlockContributor

Question: How much does a solo guitarist typically charge?

A: This is a very difficult question to answer. As you might imagine, prices vary a lot depending on the region, the type of event, the type of guitarist and the experience level of the guitarist. We asked two GigMasters solo guitarists for their thoughts on the subject. Jim Perona is a very experienced classical guitarist, but fairly new at doing certain kinds of events. He's based in the Chicago area and here's his answer:

  1. One "“ time gigsFor most one time gigs, be it a wedding ceremony or private dinner party, I have a base rate of $150 for the first hour. Everything after that is $100/hour with at least a 5 minute break at the top of each hour. I'll usually tack on a travel charge as well if the drive is over 25 miles.

  2. Recurring gigsMy rates can differ if the gig is recurring. For example, I was offered to play a Sunday afternoon at Oakbrook Mall here in the Chicago suburbs, and they asked what I charge for 2 hours. I requested $250 (base rate + additional hour) and they asked if I could bring that number down a bit. So, I offered to bring it down to $200 if we could do 5 Sundays in a row instead, thus making it a recurring gig instead of a one "“ time gig. That way, after the contract is drawn up, I have multitude of $200 guaranteed paydays instead of just one $250 payday. Win "“ win!

Matthew Cutillo is one of our highest ranking solo guitarists. He's in the New York area and here's how he answers the question: This is a very tough question because a wedding ceremony carries with it so much more work than meets the eye. Prices will vary greatly from entertainer to entertainer.

For a celebration other than a wedding the cost is typically $100 - $150 per hour for a good professional. Weddings vary greatly in detail, length and intricacy so they also vary in pricing. A wedding ceremony typically costs $175 - $400 depending on who you hire and what they are asked to do (i.e. arrange and practice your favorite songs over a 6 month period) and how far they must travel to play.

As always, one should carefully interview an entertainer and expect to pay a bit more for quality. At GigMasters we recommend that you find a guitarist you're interested in and request a quote. It's free, and you might even win free wedding entertainment!