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How much does it cost to build a Strat® replica?

If you are considering building a guitar to save money, for get it.  Get a big jar and put your change in it every day until you have enough to buy the guitar you want.  You’ll come out ahead on cost.  

Guitar parts come three ways,  a.) cheap imported parts;  b.) standard OEM parts; and, c.)  parts that look great and do the job as well.  The cheap parts are typically made outside of the US.  Chrome chips or wears prematurely, metal parts are sometimes rough, and frequently the specs are off by .01” —  just enough to throw everything else off. 

Cheap bodies are likely to have a high moisture content, which will result in shrinking as the wood dries out.  They are typically heaver rather than light.  In general, there is little attention paid to the sound quality of the wood. 

Pickups, well, let’s just say that your preferences are almost guaranteed to gravitate towards the higher end of the price range.  And you will curse cheap tuners every time you have to retune in the middle of a song, or if a slight turn changes the tuning by several semi-tones.

Better parts come as standard equipment on American Strats.  There are also well known parts manufacturers like Schaller or Wilkinson, who produce quality parts.

When you start getting into exotic pickguards, gold hardware and custom wound pickups, the prices increase substantially.  Additionally, period correct parts or vintage parts can drive the cost of building a guitar right through the bass drum.

 

Let’s beat to the chase and look at some numbers.  These prices were taken from the internet.  Many of these parts are only available through dealers who part out guitars. 

Warning:  Prices are a function of supply and  demand and may have little to do with the actual cost of an item.   

 

 

 

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You could build a very nice guitar using many Fender® USA parts for $1,200.  You may even be able to cut a few corners and save a few bucks on that price, but, if you want quality, you are going to be in the $1,200—$1,300 range when all is said and done. 

 

There are many very good guitars available for much less.  But if you know what you want and nothing less will do, or, if you just want the satisfaction of having a guitar that no one else has — let’s go to work!

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The Guitar

JakeSpear & Co.

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Part

Low end of range USA Parts

 

High end of range USA Parts

Body

$349

to

$899

Neck

$349

to

$699

Bridge

$79

to

$150

Pickguard

$40

to

$100

Jack Plate

$30

to

$50

Switches

$79

to

$150

Neck Plate

$9

to

$200

Pickups

$220

to

$350

Screws

$18

to

$25

Tuners

$75

to

$200

Nut

$10

to

$50

Strap Buttons

$8

to

$25

Knobs & Spring Cover

$29

to

$100

Total

$1,295

to

$2,998