The total cost of the project could be split into the two categories of tools and materials.  I have chosen to only list the materials purchased, not the tools.  This was done for two reasons: 1.)  I already had lots of tools before starting this project so a list of random tools I bought along the way just wouldn’t provide very useful information and 2.) I feel tools shouldn’t really be included in the guitar cost since you can use them for other stuff (telling myself that makes me feel better when I’m spending money).  Anyway here it is:

Qty  Description Amount
1 3/16″ x 48″ Steel Rod $4.00
1 Bleached White Bone Nut Blank $4.82
1 Bleached White Bone Saddle Blank $8.27
1 Fretboard Finishing Oil $12.95
1 Guitar Strings $23.45
1 Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology $26.40
12 Laminated Wood Purfling (b/w/b ) – 2 ft $28.20
1 Mahogany Back and Sides Unbent $89.49
10 Mahogany Reverse Guitar Kerfing $29.80
3 Medium Fretwire – 2 ft $9.51
1 Nitrocellulose Spraying Lacquer – 1 quart $25.86
2 Pearl and Abalone Inlay Blanks $57.80
12 Pearl Dots $7.80
2 Polishing Compound $34.68
1 Rosewood Guitar Bridge Blank $5.98
1 Schaller M-6 Mini Guitar Machines $66.24
10 Side Pearl Dots $5.53
2 Sipo Mahogany Neck Blank $52.90
1 Sitka Spruce Soundboard – Grade AA $20.38
1 Soundhole Rosette – Black/White Herringbone $9.44
1 Tusq Bridge Pins $18.49
4 Uncarved Guitar Braces $22.12
1 Unslotted Rosewood Fingerboard $16.60
Total  $580.71

As you can see I could have bought a really nice guitar for what it cost me to build mine, so if you are looking for a way to have a nice guitar without paying lots of money, this might be a bad idea.  But if you just want to build something amazing then I can’t think of a better project, and don’t forget the total cost of materials will likely be spread out over the course of months.

note: material prices are all approximately from the first quarter of 2012

24 responses to “Cost

  1. Great documentation of your project. I have built a half dozen cigar box guitars and have been wanting to go the next step on a “real” guitar. Your web page has pushed me to do it. I am pretty familiar with most of tools etc, but my one question is any tips or thoughts on the planer to buy and how to set blade and use. I had a Stanley planer a few years ago and never seemed to work good. Likely user error, but it seems luthiers all use planers so I need to learn. Thanks.

    • Thanks! I’m glad to hear it. And as far as planers go I’m afraid I don’t have much to offer in the way of advice, this project was the first time I really used one and I also had trouble getting good results. The thing that probably helped me the most was keeping the depth of the blade small and sharpening it regularly, I never did well when I tried to take a large amount of wood off at once. Also I found that pushing the planer at an angle so that the edge of the blade wasn’t perfectly perpendicular to the direction of motion helped me out a lot, it seemed to add more of a slicing component to the cutting action of the blade, so hopefully some of that is helpful? In any case good luck with your guitar!

  2. Hi Aaron is it? I just wanted to show my gratitude I was hastened because of the lack of info I was able to find till i found your guide. I am going to start this when ever I have gartered the funds. so just wanted to thank you for spending the time to help others. merry xmas Jessie

    • I got my wood materials pretty much exclusively from Stewart-MacDonald, and I bought most of it around then end of 2011 start of 2012, prices may have gone up since?

  3. This site is incredible. I just started my own guitar and am also using the Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology book. Your documentation is helping just as much, if not more, than the book. Great work. I am hoping my guitar turns out as well as yours did.

  4. Aaron and Colinpg: I love this blog, very good. I have spent a month reading various blogs, I bought Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology book by Cumpiano, as well as the Bogdanovich book. Read them both cover to cover, both are great, as are several of the blogs/youtubes. I have decided to go with the Cumpiano/Natelson version and want to do a classical guitar. I have bought my planers, scrapers, etc and am going to purchase my wood this week and start. Colinpg, you apparently just started yours, and I was wondering if you (and aaron if you want) want to set up an email exchange where we can ask each other questions, etc and converse about any issues we have while building. I assume it would not be the best forum to do this in this comment section of this blog, as it may clutter it up with details, photos, etc. If your interested, comment that you are, and I can post my email addy up you can email me and we can start. (Aaron, if I do that, once we get the email discussion going, I assume you can delete my email addy from this public post so I won’t get spammed, etc.). Thoughts guys?

  5. This is a great post! I have been trying to find the right time to build a guitar, and this post will prove useful when I start building one this winter. I was wondering if you purchased hardwood floor planks or just pieces of the wood? Thanks

    • I’m glad to hear it. I just got a set of matching back and sides sides from, it seemed like the best route for me at the time and I was pretty happy with how it worked out.

  6. Wondering how much cheaper it would per guitar if you bought enough supplies and built five guitars.

    • Not sure, might be able to get some materials cheaper, but I have to imagine you’d have to buy a lot more material than just for five guitars. It would however spread out your cost for tools and jigs and forms (assuming you could use the same jigs and forms for each guitar).

  7. Hiya Aaron, I was just reading your blog and I saw your summary regarding cost. As a furniture maker and a teacher I come across this question regularly, however I also play guitar and have done for years. The general thought is that an acoustic guitar made by hand from woods you have chosen is comparative to a guitar worth £3500-6000. This takes in to account the working hours etc which is also spent on those expensive guitars. I have had the pleasure of playing quite a few home made guitars and quite a lot of them sound better than their expensive equivalents. The guitars you can by for £600 are made in a factory they may or may not be inspected but the care in the making is not there and the attention to detail is definitely not there. Well done on your guitar.

    • Thank you! I haven’t been able to compare enough custom vs factory guitars to feel like I could have an opinion worth sharing, but I suspect you’re correct 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s