Why Are Guitar Pedals So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

If you’re in the market for a guitar pedal, you might be wondering: why are guitar pedals so expensive?

Well, I’ve been researching this topic and have found several interesting reasons, so continue reading to learn what I’ve discovered!

Why Are Guitar Pedals So Expensive?

Guitar pedals are expensive because of the demand, which has increased significantly within the past couple of years. In countries such as America, labor costs are higher than in countries like China, so you’re paying for higher labor wages. Collector’s items or discontinued pedals will cost more than a mass-produced pedal.

Are you looking to learn more about why guitar pedals are so expensive? If so, keep reading as I’ll get into all of the main contributing factors below!

1. The Demand Has Increased Lately

Guitar pedals have increased in price and are more expensive now because the demand has gone up significantly over the past couple of years.

For example, in 2020, just in the United States, about 1.2 million guitar pedals were sold, which means the demand for pedals was high, and prices went up because of that!

That said, the demand for guitar pedals shifts over time, so as the demand falls in the future, it will bring the prices down, although we don’t know when that’ll be.

2. Higher Labor Costs In America

If the guitar pedal is produced in America or Europe, the higher labor costs contribute to the guitar pedals becoming more expensive.

However, if you’re purchasing a guitar pedal made in China or another country, the labor costs are lower because it’s mass-produced by a factory, which means the pedal will be cheaper.

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Additionally, you will find that labor costs increase each year, so if you wait a few years to purchase a guitar pedal, it could cost you a few extra dollars than if you bought it today.

3. Costs Of Manufacturing The Guitar Pedal Increase

Many guitar pedals have specific components to them, including transistors, op-amps, and diodes, and these components have increased in price over the years.

4. Limited Availability Of Components

Similar to the costs of components increasing, the limited availability of some of these components has caused the price of guitar pedals to rise as supply becomes scarce.

For example, supply chain issues could be causing a limited supply of transistors, which means that you’re paying more for a guitar pedal now compared to five years ago.

5. The Skilled Labor Involved

For guitar pedals that are put together manually and that aren’t mass-produced, there is skilled labor required to put the pedals together, which will increase the price of the pedals.

Furthermore, as the demand for pedals continues to increase, more skilled laborers are needed to keep up with that demand, which means you’re paying more for these workers.

6. Custom Modifications Of Boutique Pedals

6. Custom Modifications Of Boutique Pedals

Boutique pedals are more expensive than traditional guitar pedals, but the custom modifications of boutique pedals increase the price of the pedal significantly.

Therefore, if you’re thinking about a boutique pedal purchase, keep in mind that there might be a waitlist for it, and it’s in limited quantity, which means it will be more expensive.

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7. Taxes Have Increased

As with most things, taxes play a role in the price of goods we purchase, and as taxes continue to get higher across the country, it has led to the guitar pedals increasing in price.

Also, if the pedal requires specific materials or components, there could be an import tax on getting those items into the country, and those taxes are passed onto the consumer.

Furthermore, small companies or individual manufacturers have to deal with self-employment tax and other taxes that big companies don’t deal with, making pedals expensive.

8. The Guitar Pedal Is A Collector’s Item

Collector’s items will cost you more since they could have a historical significance or other special meaning or could contain a unique feature not found in other pedals.

Therefore, these vintage or collector’s items will cost more money than a mass-produced pedal you can walk into any store and purchase off the shelf.

9. The Pedal Is Discontinued

You may find that guitar pedals are expensive because the pedals you’re looking at have been discontinued, which will increase the demand and cost for those pedals.

Also, pedals that have been discontinued are harder to find and require you to go to specialty shops or online marketplaces to find them, which means you’re paying more for them.

10. Retailers Increase The Costs To Make Money

Retailers often will increase the price of products to make money, especially if the cost for them to purchase the product has increased.

Therefore, if you’ve noticed that the price of guitar pedals has gotten more expensive, you can sometimes blame the retailers for marking up the price on consumers.

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11. Inflation

Guitar pedals are so expensive because of inflation, which has caused the price of almost everything to skyrocket, including guitar pedals.

Furthermore, inflation will mean that it costs more to make the product or get the materials, and as inflation rises, the cost of the guitar pedals will continue to climb.

However, inflation rises and falls regularly, so sometimes waiting until the inflation gets to a more manageable number can help you save money on your guitar pedal purchase.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why guitars are so expensive, why Suhr guitars are so expensive, and why you suck at the guitar.

Conclusion

Suppose you’ve been wondering: why guitar pedals are so expensive.

In that case, you might want to consider that the demand has skyrocketed lately, which will significantly increase the price you pay.

On top of that, if the guitar pedal contains specific components, they might be harder to find or in limited supply, and that will mean the price for that particular guitar pedal will go up too.

That said, the vintage or discontinued guitar pedals will be more expensive than the mass-produced guitar pedals, so keep that in mind when deciding on your pedal choice.

Author

  • Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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