Buying a handmade guitar

The first question a lot of people ask me is: What does a handmade guitar cost?

The answer? it depends!

Typically, a handmade guitar costs more than a guitar with similar specs that came out of a factory, which is why more people buy guitars that come out of factories. This is mostly because of one thing: Labour. It takes longer and requires more effort to build a handmade guitar, and it shows. There’s more time put into the wood selection of your unique instrument. More time and care goes into the planning, shaping, fine details, finishing, and quality control. And you get to decide what goes into your prized instrument.

Plus, you’ve got a guitar that nobody else does. It’s a one-of-a-kind.

But the price. That could be why you’ve never looked at buying a handmade guitar before.

Depending on the guitar, the work might might take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours of build time (unless the guitar is especially complex). Suppose a luthier charges $40 per hour (a lot cheaper than a plumber at $100 per hour!).* That would amount to $1,600-$3,200 for labour (plus sales tax). Hardware prices vary a lot, and the cost to kit out a guitar with a bridge, tuners, pickups, rings or a pickguard, and controls could range from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.

Sound like a lot? Let me surprise you. Use the contact form and drop me a line. A Monster Guitars instrument will cost you less than you might think. Where possible I use recycled wood, which is both cost-effective and sustainable. Making guitars isn’t my full-time job, and I don’t charge as much as many might for labour. I do my best to source excellent quality pickups and hardware that will perform as well as the best out there, but which don’t carry the hefty price tag of some. When you approach me with your idea, let me know your budget, and I’ll work with you to come up with the guitar that’s perfect for you. Let’s talk.

* For full disclosure: My current hourly labour rate for commissioned builds is $35 plus GST. This is the basis of the quote I provide, and unless there are agreed changes to the parts or materials, the final price will not exceed this quote even if it takes me longer than I expected. Before I start work on your guitar, I require a deposit of 30%. This includes GST and is not refundable. For most new builds, you’ll need to allow 14 weeks from the time the deposit is paid, but I will confirm this with you when I supply a quote. It may be quicker. If you want your guitar to be sent to you, you’ll need to buy a case, which will be included in the quote.