Hello everyone,

I'm keen on building my first DIY guitar, but at the moment I'm a bit confused with the prices I'm seeing on several stores. Most stores offer complete kits which have a price tag around $150, but the very same stores also offer bodies and necks sold separately and the combined price of a separate body and neck is usually double of a kit price. Where does this extra price bump come from? Is the wood just more aesthetic or are there factors which affect overall build quality? Naturally I would like a decent guitar so I'm guessing these complete kits are a no-go? Naturally also I'd like to save money, so if there are any areas where higher prices come purely because of aesthetic reasons, I'd like to know.

the wood is typically a better quality

The kits come with all the parts, but the parts are barely usable and you will end up upgrading pretty much everything anyway.

Both of these sites have decent quality kits for the prices.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Sometimes it's just the packaging cost <G>.

Generally the cost of a kit will exceed the cost of a finished guitar with the same specs. And individual pieces outside of a kit will exceed the cost of a kit.

Buying an ABR bridge, for example, in a bubble pack in a brick and mortar store will cost you just about 100X times what it costs a volume manufacturer to add to a guitar in production. And no, that's not an exaggeration. That nice new Schecter you just picked up cost you 6-10X what it cost the Schecter importer to have delivered to their Burbank setup area. And the actual manufacturer was making a serious profit *and* covering labor and other plant costs, so you can guess what the actual wood and bits and pieces cost him in volume. So if you paid $1000 for a Schecter that cost Schecter perhaps $100, and if that $100 represents profit, labor, building costs/maintenance, etc. for the manufacturer, you need to figure that the actual materials probably cost the manufacturer around $10-20. If you doubt that, hit the next NAMM convention in January.
Last edited by dspellman at May 17, 2015,
unfortunately building your own to save money doesn't really work. yeah, a kit has the parts, most of them are gonna suck and you'll be swapping stuff out in short order, but you also need the tools to set the thing up correctly. those cost money as well. guitar kits aren't really as plug and play as retailers want you to believe.

imo, one builds their own to get what they want exactly or to basically have fun doing it and to learn something. it's a pretty cool thing to hand craft your own but you aren't going to save money.
Last edited by ad_works at May 18, 2015,
My advice for a 1st build...

Go to eBay, type in "guitar husk" pick the style, woods from there. Most the results will be name brand.

Wood veneer can be had anywhere from eBay, menards, hobby lobby etc. Not a requirement but an option if youwant a figured top.

Then hope on over to guitar fetish, get the goods, pickups bridge, tuners.

Most the "project guitar husks" I've seen are decent quality.
Quote by Robbgnarly
....The kits come with all the parts, but the parts are barely usable and you will end up upgrading pretty much everything anyway...

Indeed so. A $100 kit is unlikely to give you a finished guitar comparable with a $100 off the peg guitar.

I have a real itch to build a complete guitar from parts but, by the time I have added up all of the components of a standard I feel appropriate, I might as well buy a finished guitar...it turns out cheaper.

It is possible to get a good deal using second hand parts, but then second hand guitars are pretty cheap as well.

Bizarrely it is probably cheaper to buy a finished guitar and upgrade any parts that are less to your liking, than starting from scratch.
Please note: The above comments are based on my experience, and may represent my perception of that experience. This may not be accurate and, subject to the style of music you play, may be irrelevant or wrong.
You get what you pay for. I've built a couple of guitar kits from R.M.Olson and Co. at www.rmolsonguitars.com. These kits cost more, but you get high grade construction, great exotic wood veneers, and useable parts. Wiring harness is included in some kits. He has set neck kits only.
Check out my ES-175 and Olandoc builds at the Real Musicians Forum website, www.realmusiciansforum.com to see what you're getting into and the tools and skills required to finish the job right. I'm Guitbuilder there too.
Building a guitar from a kit is fun, challenging, and a skill that has a learning curve.
Good luck.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at May 19, 2015,