Guitars can start in ~ 150$ because that the budget lines and also end in the thousands for practice shop guitars and even much more for boutique Luthiers. Building your own guitar is becoming much more and more popular with available guitar kits and also weekend process for structure guitars native scratch. Therefore we recognize that there are several paths to building your own guitar yet a few questions remain.

You are watching: How much does it cost to build an electric guitar

Is structure a guitar yourself cheaper?

Looking strictly at the cost of the parts and materials the answer would be a soft yes. Barely, though over there is potential there. But (there is constantly a but), if friend take right into account the expense of devices there is a an excellent chance friend have currently surpassed the cost of a cheap guitar.

There are numerous variables and choices here, so, lets try and rest it under to see exactly where and also when the numbers room in our favor, and when structure your own guitar, while might seem choose a nice, romantic, notion, is not really the most financial decision.

How lot does it expense to develop your own guitar?

I freshly did a full rundown on every the parts and their prices – ‘What would certainly it expense me to construct an electric guitar’, and if we space looking in ~ the cheapest alternative, the parts come to around 120$. These will be generic, turn off brand parts, uncovered on Amazon or ordered directly from Aliexpress or similar sites. Additionally made a video on the subject:

This price walk not encompass the price of the wood provided for both the body and also the neck. You might be able to resource those locally and also maybe also use ‘reclaimed’ hardwood or a slab you have actually laying around. Purchase a body blank might will bump your budget by at the very least 60$ for a straightforward Alder 2 piece at Solo Music Gear, (much much more at Stew-Mac), and also a empty Maple neck will certainly start approximately 29$. The basic math, will put you in ~ 259$ together the bare minimum starting point, or 120$ if you can find appropriate timber because that less.

When is building your very own guitar worth it?

Worth deserve to measured as emotional or financial value. One will judge the etc by it cost vs. A similar guitar in the store. The other will look at what it means to you, together the human who constructed it.

Understanding cost and quality

At the an extremely low finish of the etc price spectrum, it is really hard to contend with mass-produced guitars. They have actually much far better access come parts and also materials and also maximize the price of labor. However, in the mid-range prices of guitars, you may be able to build a guitar that is identical to or much better than a similarly priced guitar. Over there are reasons (other than marketing) that you can obtain a Squire Strat for under 200$ and a Fender Strat will expense closer come 1500$. The same is true because that Epiphone vs Gibson. Putting labor expenses aside, the distinction is in the parts and the fist to details and that offers you a many room to make a difference. Now, the differences will incorporate the high quality of the products themselves, from the wood, the kind of steel, the chrome plating come the copper wire in the pickups. It will likewise have to execute with the lot of time and attention put right into the fretting job, the finishing, and also the repaint job. That is no saying Epiphones or Squires space badly made, but not as well made together their an ext expensive counterparts. In Fact, I find it exceptional that friend can obtain a guitar prefer a Squire Strat because that 200$ or less on revenue when also the cheapest parts and materials will expense me more. And also this is a good guitar.

Building a guitar that is cost effective

Your edge when building your own guitar is the option to placed in that extra time and effort that cheaper guitar machines will skip because that the services of cutting under on cost. You can additionally choose to install better hardware on her guitar, while still keeping a much lower overall cost. The 3 most critical parts you would desire to improve on, are pickups once it concerns sound, the tuners, when it pertains to playability, and also the bridge. In fact, when you look in ~ the comparison ns did (‘What would certainly it expense me to construct an electrical guitar’,) between buying the cheapest hardware on the market and also premium equivalent, friend will check out the distinction is around 500$ on average. This means that in theory, you can develop a etc that will have the same top quality hardware, or even better than a 1500$ guitar, for fifty percent the price.

The difference between theory and practice

As much as it sounds great there is a lot an ext that goes right into the top quality of a etc than an elaborate hardware. To develop a etc from scratch, that will certainly rival also a 300$ guitar, there room two things you will require aside from good hardware. The appropriate tools and the know-how.

Tools for guitar building are also a price to consider

Building a guitar from scratch needs a multitude that tools also the average DIY hobbyist will certainly not have actually in their garage or workshop. Beside from standard woodworking tools which will easily amount to 4-digit cost, you will likewise need so more Lutherie-specific tools for shaping and also fretting her neck. On optimal of that, a soldering kit will certainly be required, and we haven’t even got to all the painting and polishing, i m sorry is a totality subject by itself. A first-time builder has to take at least some of these expenses if building a guitar for saving money is the score here.

Building a etc is facility – there is a learning curve

Lutherie is partially technical and partly an arts form. While building a guitar is absolutely something you have the right to learn native a book, off youtube, or also in a brief course, that is a multidisciplinary project and also there are a lot of areas of expertise to learn and also perfect. If this have the right to be a many fun, the will also require time and also practice. In various other words, there is a good chance you will certainly make mistakes, mess points up, and may not obtain a perfect etc on your very first attempt. That also way that also with the finest hardware money can buy the guitar you build will no compare to the 1500$ you were shooting for. It may be the look and finish; it might be the comfort and playability or a variety of other details.


So, budget-wise, is it worth it?

On a strict dollar amount-based analysis, ns would need to say, the in most situations the prize would have to be no. However, if you room either extremely gifted, lucky, or took the moment to learn it properly (maybe made a pair of crappy guitars along the way), and also you currently have the bulk of the necessary tools, you can make wonderful custom guitars because that a significantly lower expense than comparable ones in the store.

Is building your very own guitar precious it though?

On a personal level, and really subjectively speaking, structure your own guitar is really much precious it. It enables me to job-related with wood, it is in creative, learn some new skills and improve others i have. It also gives me one excuse to dive into elements of the guitar people I previously was not familiar with and at the end of the process, I even get to have one more guitar come play with or even just cave on the wall. The entirety thing costs just a couple of hundred dollars. Compared to various other hobbies, it’s a steal.

What room the other cheap alternatives?

There are plenty of options to structure a etc from scratch. The an initial thing you need to ask you yourself is what you desire the etc for and why you want to build it in the an initial place. If all you are trying to find is the cheapest etc you deserve to get, friend can find deals for 150$ including bag and shipping (in the US) or even just pop into Walmart and find a collection of Squire or Epiphone through a equivalent Amp because that 250$ (That’s tough to beat).

If you execute want to be involved in the do of the guitar, to do it ‘your own’, and also to do it significantly much better there space two an excellent options.

Build a kit guitar

For many civilization who want to develop their own guitar, a kit build may just be the perfect solution. Some might say, that it’s not ‘actual’ guitar building, blah, blah blah. Who cares, you’re not starting a career as a Luthier, you just want to build a guitar. Now, if YOU want to construct from scratch, it is a various story. Kit will include all the parts you require for a guitar and will include a body and a neck, i m sorry in most cases will be unfinished. However, the neck will have actually a truss-rod already built-in, and the frets will certainly be installed. This method that a most the carpentry and heavy lifting will have currently been done for you, add to the fretting which is one of the more complicated (and critical) parts of guitar building. To make points even much easier (if you are in search of that) there are more and more kits now that perform come finished so no sanding and painting room required. Because that the Soldering timid there are likewise ‘Solderless guitar Kits’. The advantage of that is that you will not need too plenty of tools, and also if you are a bit of a handy-man yourself, you may already have every the devices you need.

Kits are a an excellent base to start from

Most of the work on a etc kit, is assembly, although, for many unfinished kits, girlfriend will likewise need to oil, color, and/ or varnish it. This is where you can really go ‘all-out’ and also make a distinct guitar. Suspect time is not the issue, you have the right to spend as much time as you wish on the complete as the remainder of it must take just a couple of hours. What you will usually acquire by the end, is a decent guitar with relatively generic hardware starting with 120$-210$ for many standard models, and also going as much as 330$ for double necks. Stew- mac will have actually Wilkinson kits for up to 500$. This can be a great option because that a starting person or as a base because that upgrades i beg your pardon can likewise be done on the simple level guitar you buy.

Buy a cheap guitar and also upgrade it

You can discover a cheap brand-new guitar or also a kind second-hand guitar and also find which upgrades will give the finest ‘bang for the buck’. These will commonly the pickups, the tuners, and maybe the bridge. Another upgrade which has less to do with money and much more with work is a great fret job.

See more: Difference Between White And Black Poppy Seeds, What Is The Use Of White Poppy Seeds For Cooking

Improving the Neck

Most cheaper guitars will come with a fretboard that is correct and also properly built but did not obtain the extra attention you would suppose from premium guitars. If the neck is badly bent or twisted it might be beyond repair and surely past this post, but with most necks the is not the case. What we are talking around is a thorough worry job, including leveling, recrowning, and also polishing. This will incorporate smoothing the tips and bringing the frets come a shiny state whereby they will be smooth come the touch and extreme string bending. I go into greater details in ‘Buy a cheap etc neck and also make it Amazing’. Girlfriend will require some basic tools because that that yet if girlfriend play guitar and also are a manual kind of male or gal, friend may currently have a simple Guitar Set-Up Kit. If you are thinking that any kind of guitar building you will most likely want to invest in a full Fret Leveling Kit

Basic Hardware Upgrade

Switching cheap generic pickups to good ones have the right to substantially enhance the sound that the guitar. The bridge on one end and the tuners top top the other deserve to improve the tunning and playability. V a wide variety of guitars and options of hardware the range. An excellent mid-range pickups will certainly cost in between 40$ come 120$ and above that, you obtain into some very serious pickups. Girlfriend can gain very good bridges and machine heads for 40$-80$ (each) and top-shelf aftermarket as soon as spending more than 100$.