J. BURTON GUITARS

         Handcrafted Guitars and Repairs

​                     Austin, Texas


​​​​As you can see, much like buying a car the final price is based on the basic cost plus the options and trim package that you choose.  All that being said I'll price some typical guitars below and your custom guitar will most likely fall somewhere in this range.  Email me and I'll send a pricing spreadsheet that you can compute your own guitar cost.


Basic Guitar -- Great Sounding, Great Looking, Clean

Typical Attributes:  Straight grain 2A Sitka spruce top, Khaya Mahogany back, sides and neck, indian rosewood headstock, fingerboard and bridge.  Vinyl or Ivroid body bindings, no purfling, simple 3 ring or herringbone rosette, Mother of pearl soundboard dots, chrome mini Gotoh tuning keys, satin finish,  no electronics.  No case.

$ 2,565


Level Two Guitar -- Great Sounding, Great Looking, More Exotic Woods and Trim with Minimal Electronics

Typical Attributes:  Bearclaw Sitka spruce top, 3A cocobolo back and sides, mahogany neck.  Ebony headstock, fingerboard and bridge.  Wood body binding and purfling, 3 ring mother of pearl rosette, chrome Gotoh 510 tuning keys, gloss nitrocellulose finish, under bridge K&K transducers.  No case.

$ 3,225


Level Three Guitar -- Great Sounding, Great Looking, More Expensive  Woods and Trim with Upgraded Electronics and Features

Typical Attributes:  Adirondack (Red) Spruce top and bracing, Gabon Ebony  or 4A cocobolo back and sides, mahogany neck, Ebony  or cocobolo headstock, fingerboard and bridge.  Wood body binding and purfling, 3 ring paua abalone rosette and paua bar position markers, ​cutaway, arm bevel and soundport, chrome Waverly tuning keys, gloss nitrocellulose finish, under bridge K&K transducers with onboard preamp.  No case.

​$ 4,585

Add a Cutaway

​$400

Add Arm Bevel

$400

Add Sound Port

​$150


what Does It Cost and why?


MATERIALS


Soundboard Wood

Most of the sonic signature of the guitar comes from the top.  Often the wood is graded more on a cosmetic basis than a sonic basis and as with other things, the more scarce or perfect it is, the higher the price.   For many years Sitka spruce has been the wood of choice for top wood . It is strong, light and relatively inexpensive. There are plenty of other soundboard options though.  In the spruce family there are , "bearclaw" Sitka, Englemann, European, Lutz or Adirondack Spruce, as well as Cedar, Redwood or one of my favorites, Port Orford Cedar (a type of Cypress) .  Price range $50 to $350.


Back and Sides

The cost of the wood for the back and sides can be significant.  This can range from inexpensive woods such as mahoganies to extremely expensive woods such as Brazilian Rosewood or African Blackwood.  Most of the guitar's sound comes from the soundboard.   See my page "About Guitars" for a more through discussion of tonal properties.  There are many lessor known but still very good choices for back and sides.  If cost is a factor, consider saving here.  Price Range $100 to $3.000.  Don't panic!  Many of the beautiful and tuneful woods can be had in the $350 price range and there is nothing quite like the crispy crunch of the inexpensive mahoganies.


Trim Package

Elaborate shell, herringbone, bindings, purflings or special inlays can also significantly add to the cost without changing the sound of the instrument.  That being said, they could be important to the look and aesthetics for you and  it is a custom guitar.  You may want to personalize and customize your special instrument.  Included in this group would be the fingerboard, bridge and headstock veneer as well as the tuning keys.  There are so many options here, that'd we would need to discuss their cost individually.

It's pretty easy to add $200 to $1000 in this category.


Electronics

You may not need electronics.  If you do need them there are so many options in this category that we'll need to discuss them individually.  Roughly it could add $150 to $700 depending on your choice.


Cases

You may not need one but if you do a good quality TKL hardshell case will add about $160 to the cost.  Soft sided cases are usually around $90.  If I'm shipping it, I must include a hardshell case for protection.


Stuff You Don't Think About

This is all the stuff like bracing, truss rods, frets, head and tail blocks, adhesives, abrasives, lacquer, solvents and stain, kerfing, paper towels, rags, tooling, repairs, and shop overhead.


Labor

Much of the cost of the instrument is the labor associated with the production of the basic instrument.  This includes the labor for wood processing, parts production, fitting, assembly, finishing and set up of the instrument.  This remains reasonably constant from one instrument to another regardless of the material used.


As you might expect, things that add more labor add more cost to the instrument. This would include things such as cutaways, arm bevels, sound ports,  working with some exotic, difficult to bend and process woods or elaborate inlays and rosettes, etc.  It would be necessary to price these on an as needed basis.

J. BURTON GUITARS

         Handcrafted Guitars and Repairs