Why Are Guitars So Expensive? Explained For Beginners

Why Are Guitars So Expensive?

Guitars can be very expensive and the price tag will depend on the construction, materials, workmanship, and brand. There are other factors too such as labor costs, aesthetics, and the laws of supply-and-demand. To be able to construct such a device takes skill, time, money, and planning.  

It requires an intimate understanding of mathematics, engineering, design, and music. Each guitar is a glowing example of precise engineering combined with beauty to produce sound. Therefore, the best-made and highest-quality guitars can cost thousands of dollars.

Why Are Guitars So Expensive? Explained For Beginners

What’s the Difference between Cheap and Expensive Acoustic Guitars?

The main differences between cheap and expensive acoustic guitars will mostly rely on brand, construction, and quality of craftsmanship. But, there’s also the matter of materials and hardware that go into making the acoustic guitar.


Construction is a major factor in how much a guitar costs. For instance, if you buy a handcrafted one from the USA, the price will be much higher than if you purchase a guitar mass-produced in China. In this way, the difference comes down to if a person actually creates it or if the guitar is the product of a machine.

Hardware & Materials

Items like knobs, tuning pegs, bridges, and nuts will also weigh in on how expensive a guitar is versus a cheaper one. For instance, things comprising ivory, graphite, or durable metal will outperform materials like plastic.


When guitars come handcrafted from a skilled luthier, there’s an attention to detail to achieve the best sound and sleek design. This means they’ll use quality materials that have very few defects and are able to handle issues as they arise during construction. No such care goes into guitars mass-produced at a factory and these are, therefore, cheaper.

Labor Costs

As a general rule, expect guitars made in the USA, Canada, and Japan to cost more than ones that come from places like South Korea, China, and Indonesia. This is because of how much money skilled laborers demand for their efforts in these varying countries.

For instance, in the US and Canada, a guitar will probably come from the hands of a single luthier. While in China and Indonesia, it’s likely to have come from a factory. Factory-made guitars have many more defects and far fewer controls over quality.


The brand is another outstanding factor affecting price. Popular, long-standing and worldwide famous brands will cost much more than nameless ones. For instance, Taylor, Gibson or Fender guitars are highly desirable. Due to the laws of economics in supply and demand, they will cost more.

What Makes an Acoustic Guitar Expensive?

Aside from craftsmanship and brand, the wood used to make the acoustic will determine how expensive it is along with its aesthetics. Otherwise called “tonewoods,” these are carefully sourced and matched together to produce the best sound. This means different areas of the acoustic will comprise different woods.


On average, guitars made of one whole piece of wood tend to be pricier than ones pieced together with various readily-available tonewoods. The rarity of the wood will be a key factor as this will drive up the price.

Spruce is one such example of an available tree that provides durability with play and pressure along with giving off a nice sound. Mahogany is an excellent wood for guitars, but it is also far more expensive and rare.


Another thing that could up the price of an acoustic guitar is the inclusion of pickups. This essentially turns the acoustic into an electric guitar, allowing a player to project the sound through an amplifier.

Vintage Appeal

Older guitars tend to have a better, fuller, and richer sound. If it’s a guitar from the heyday of rock-n-roll in the 50s and 60s, then these will be hugely expensive. The wood, materials, design, build, and sound will all have a construction that is either no longer done in the industry or simply because it’s rare.

Why Are Electric Guitars More Expensive?

There are several aspects to electric guitars that make them more expensive. First, it’s the electronics and engineering inherent in an electric guitar. The design of an electric guitar doesn’t project from a soundhole. This means there will have to be a power cord and an amplifier to project the sound.

That said, they aren’t more expensive than acoustic guitars in general. It all depends on the factors already discussed: craftsmanship, construction, materials, and brand. But many electric guitars tend to have better pickups because of the nature of an electric guitar’s build, design, and construction.


When sound comes out of an electric guitar, it comes through the pickups and then emits through the amplifier. This happens by way of a magnetic force that projects resonance. It’s this tidbit of difference from acoustics that tends to make them more expensive in the interim.

Budget electric guitars have generic pickups that are knockoffs of genuine, authentic ones. The lowered quality control of this will lower the price of an electric guitar. This is why many people opt for a more trustworthy brand, they believe they’ll get better pickups without having to worry about them.


The crazier and more outlandish designs of some electric guitars will also heavily influence how expensive it can be. There will be some sort of immaculate detail with a blemish-free finish. Others will have a design embedded within the material using rare techniques that cost a pretty penny.

Very pretty guitars often have thick maple caps on the body that make the guitar breathtaking in sight and sound. Cheaper electric guitars will look fairly decent, but they will have obvious imperfections and blemishes. They will also often comprise a thin maple veneer.

Conclusion – Why Are Guitars So Expensive

As you can see, electric and acoustic guitars can be expensive or cheap. It will really depend on the materials used in every component of the guitar. Other things include if it comes from a skilled luthier or a factory as well as the brand, overall design, and labor costs.

Thank you for reading our article on why are guitars so expensive!

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