By: Pro Lessons

If you’re looking to build your own guitar, there are plenty of great options. The least expensive option is the all-in-one guitar kits. These kits come with everything you need to build the entire guitar… just add solder, choose a finish, add some good old fashioned sweat equity and BAM! You've got a new guitar for roughly 1/10 the price that a similar guitar would cost from a major manufacturer.

How well do they stack up? Well, there can be a lot of variables that determine the outcome of how your guitar will sound, play and look.

There are also some inexpensive things you can do to increase the overall tone and quality of your build. It all starts with choosing the right guitar kits. Let’s look at some of the best guitar kits out there:

Low Priced Guitar Kits

The fine folks over at are putting together low priced kits that include everything you need to build your own guitar at a very reasonable price, with most kits costing between $110 and $180.

They are getting great reviews as well. Check out their 5 star rating from 85 customers on This is very impressive in this age of internet anonymity and nit pickiness. Not one single person gave them anything but five stars. I’m sure the owner, Sam Anderson, has had to do some pretty crazy things for unreasonable customers to keep that rating, so hats off to him.

In our brief conversation, he was super courteous and knowledgeable. He told me about the importance of keeping his kit quality as high as possible while designing to a price point. He was very forthcoming about the places in which they cut corners, too. The pickups are generic, but you could also choose a Seymour Duncan for a higher end build.

Indeed, I would exercise that option and this is a great place to splurge a little. So if you’re in the market for a low priced/high quality build, this is a great place to start.

Pro Tip: Even if you start with the basic pickups and electronics, it’s easy to swap them out for higher quality components later on.

Many a player have swapped out the pickups several times in their builds before they found exactly the tone they were looking for.

Affordable Guitar Kits: Where to Get the Best Price, Quality & Setups

Acoustic Guitar Kits

If you want to build an acoustic guitar, you need to check out these kits from Stewmac. These are some of the highest rated kits out there and have received stellar reviews from luthiers as well as high customer ratings.

They have two main kits, a Dreadnought and a Triple-O, but each kit has plenty of options for you to choose based on your skill level and desired result. If you’re going to do it, I'd suggest going all the way and getting the dovetail neck and torrefied top (an aging process that enhances the overall tone and stability of the guitar) for only a few dollars extra.

Before you order a kit, you should definitely check out your local shops and listen to the difference between the sound of rosewood vs. mahogany back and sides, as well as the difference between a cedar and sitka spruce top. We’re a fan of rosewood back and sides and spruce tops, but that’s just a preference, and all of the options can be great in the right situation.

In addition to selling great acoustic guitar kits, Stewmac sells every component of electric and acoustic guitars under the sun. To read up on all the types of guitar available click here. Plus, Stewmac has an extensive library of how-to videos. Check out the videos over at Stewmac’s YouTube channel, and with a few searches you can find a detailed video on pretty much anything that mystifies you.

Even if you are building a kit from another company, we highly recommend Stewmac for any parts that you want to upgrade. They sell everything from individual parts to electronic kits which come with all of the potentiometers and caps that the highest quality manufacturers are using.

Premium Guitar Kits

Considered by many to be the best kits available, uses premium woods and parts. You choose every component from the pickups to the tuners. You basically put your own kit together from their extensive list of parts.

The upside to this approach is that you will get a guitar that specs out better than most guitars from major manufacturers, in many cases, rivaling their “custom shop” models. The downside is that you get what you pay for and these guitar “kits” come at a premium price. By the time we priced out a custom telecaster with finish, it was nearly $1028; that's pretty close to what you’d expect to pay for a new USA tele.

The big draw here is that you can customize every aspect of your guitar. I like the look of the precision guitar website but I do wish it was laid out a little better. They sell almost everything you need to make a guitar, but they don’t have them arranged into kits, per se; their “kits” are just a neck and body. Then you have to look through the different pages to find what you need. Which, in some cases, doesn’t exist.

For instance, I didn’t see any strat pickups or tele pickguards. Speaking of which, if you ever find yourself in need of a pickguard, please check out The Pickguardian… They do great work

Pro Tip: One way to cut a huge chunk of the price off of these builds is to finish it yourself. That puts the Premium kits into the more manageable $700 range and within reach of most serious builders.

Finishing Your Guitar

When all's said and done, you’ve bolted on your perfectly fitted neck to your favorite hunk of tone wood body and it’s time to finish strong. We at Pro Lessons have an affinity for natural wood finishes (which is AWESOME) because this is the very least expensive way to finish a guitar.

Armed with some aerosol cans of nitrocellulose from The Guitar Reranch  we spent roughly $30-$40, which saved us about $300-$400 per guitar. We also got some true oil and ultra fine steel wool for the finish on a mahogany neck.

The Reranch offers how-to videos as well as a huge selection of finishing options for everything from the uber sleek wood dye sunburst with a glossy finish, to the gritty, vintage, distressed finish that has become so popular with custom guitar shops like Jeff Senn guitars. Whatever finish you’re into, this is the place to find it.

Ultimately, when building our own guitars, we took an “ultra premium” approach. We ordered necks and bodies from Warmoth and USACG (We highly recommend USACG), We used premium wiring kits from Stewmac including CTS potentiometers, Switchcraft jacks, and orange drop caps. We went with incredible hand wound pickups from Lollar and Wolfetone. We wound up with guitars that rival any custom build or manufacturer that we’ve ever played, with a custom sound and, most of all, a working knowledge of how to change or fix anything on them.

The cool thing was that we only spent about $1000 each on the guitars we built. They would have cost us three to four times as much if we purchased them from the custom shop of a major manufacturer. However, if we were building to a price point (say $300), we wouldn’t hesitate to give the kits at a try.

We have talked all about building guitars in this article. However, unless your just a collector the next step is to learn from the pro players, just like you learned to build from the pro manufactures of guitar kits. Click the link below and see how Pro Lessons can help you take that custom guitar you just built and teach you to play it like nobody else.

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