Why Are Guitars 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.

Have you been looking to purchase a guitar but have noticed the price of guitars is insanely high, and you’re wondering, why are guitars so expensive?

If so, continue reading below because I’ve been researching why guitars are so expensive and have found several factors that can determine the price you might want to know about!

Why Are Guitars So Expensive?

Guitars are expensive because they undergo extensive quality control to ensure that the setup is correct and there is no fret buzz.  If you purchase a guitar made in America, you’re paying higher prices. Also, you’re paying for the name and legacy of the guitar brand, such as Fender or Gibson.

Do you want to know the complete list of reasons why guitars are so expensive? Well, keep reading because I’ll go into detail about the top 11 reasons below!

1. Extensive Quality Control

One of the main reasons guitars are so expensive is that they go through extensive quality control before they are ready to be sold to the consumer.

For example, setup is checked extensively, such as ensuring the intonation is correct and ensuring no fret buzz is occurring.

Also, the strings, bridge height, truss-rod, and other guitar parts are checked during quality control to ensure that the guitar will work as it’s supposed to and sound as it should.

2. Made In America Costs More

Guitars made in America are going to cost more than guitars made overseas due to factors such as higher labor costs and the quality of the guitar being different.

Furthermore, PRS, Fender, and Gibson are all made in America.

That said, when you purchase any of those, you know you’re getting excellent quality and attention to detail, but labor costs are higher.

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Therefore, when you buy a guitar that has been made in America, you’re paying for the higher labor costs, and these labor costs can significantly increase the price compared to China.

3. It’s Not Mass-Produced In A Factory

Guitars such as Gibson and Fender are made in America, which means they are not mass-produced in a factory, like those made overseas in China or Korea.

Also, since the guitars are not mass-produced, the cost increases since there aren’t as many of them to go around.

4. Brand Name & Legacy

Some guitars are more expensive than others because of the legacy of the brand and the name of the brand, including Gibson and Fender.

For example, Gibson has a rich history in music with people such as Chuck Berry, Freddy King, B.B. King, Angus Young, and Duane Allman because they all played a Gibson guitar.

Also, when you look at the fact that some of the biggest names in music history have played a Gibson guitar or similar high-profile brand, it’s no wonder that the price goes up because of it.

5. The Wood Used To Make The Guitar

5. The Wood Used To Make The Guitar

Guitars are expensive because of the wood used to make them, with bigger-name brands having stricter requirements on the wood used to produce the product.

To illustrate, wood such as maple, mahogany, ebony, and rosewood are expensive and rarer types of wood.

Naturally, companies have to pay more for this wood, which is passed to the consumer, and it costs money to obtain the wood after finding it in the first place.

On top of that, solid wood will cost you more than laminated wood, so if the guitar uses laminate, it’ll be cheaper than a guitar composed of solid wood.

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6. Regulations On Wood In America

If the guitar is made in America, there are tighter regulations on the wood, and certain types of wood will cost a company more money to produce in America.

Also, since the company is paying because of regulations, that cost is passed onto the consumer.

7. The Number Of People Involved In Creating The Guitar

The number of people involved in making the guitar could be one reason why guitars are so expensive, depending on the brand and type of guitar you’re looking at purchasing.

For example, mass-produced guitars are often made in a factory using machines. Still, the higher-quality guitars have one person or two people making the guitar from beginning to end.

Therefore, if the guitar has that higher level of detail involved, such as being made by one or two people instead of a machine, you’re going to be paying more for that product.

8. Aesthetic Designs

Guitars are so expensive because many higher-end guitars offer aesthetic designs that are handmade by skilled craftsmen and artists.

Also, if there are aesthetic designs on the guitar, it can take weeks to make the design perfect, and it takes a lot of attention to detail to make them look perfect for the customer.

9. It’s A Vintage Model

Guitars can be expensive if it’s a vintage model since they are often made with materials that are no longer used by the company or are no longer allowed to be used.

To illustrate, rosewood is restricted these days, which means if the guitar you’re looking to purchase is made from rosewood, you will be paying higher prices for it.

In addition, the wood or way that the guitar was made 40 years ago is likely very different from how it’s made today, so you’re paying for that vintage look, sound, and feel.

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10. Electronics & Pickups Used

Guitars can be more expensive if they have higher quality electronics and pickups used, and higher-quality pickups will detect the strings’ vibration much better.

For example, the lower-quality pickups will make a more muffled sound and be a lot duller, so if you want the crispest sound possible, higher-quality pickups matter.

11. The Finish Of The Guitar

Guitars are also expensive in many situations because of the finish of the guitar, which requires sanding and polishing to make it shine.

Additionally, the finish could be a limited-production or even one-of-a-kind, and you’re going to be paying for a higher-quality finish which may take hours or days to perfect.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Suhr guitars are so expensive, why guitar pedals are so expensive, and why Blonde vinyl is so expensive.

Conclusion

Guitars can be expensive for several reasons, such as the quality control testing the guitars undergo to ensure they work correctly and whether it’s a vintage model.

In addition, the name and legacy of the brand factor into the price, with names such as Gibson, with a rich history in music, costing more money than a lesser-known brand.

Furthermore, the type of wood used is a huge factor because certain woods are restricted in America, which means the consumer pays more to acquire that particular wood guitar.

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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