Choosing a guitar is tough, and so is finding guitars made in the USA with so many manufacturers in the market today. We decided to dig in to find the craftsmen that are making quality guitars right here in the USA. Below are our findings.
Full List of Guitar Brands Made in the USA
Brand name: PRS Guitars
Headquarters: Stevensville, MD
States manufacturing in: MD
Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars is making its guitars right here in the USA. They are handcrafting acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, as well as amplifiers. PRS is dedicated to putting care into the sound and feel of their guitars. And they have a lot of models! You should be able to find something that suits your playing style. They are headquartered in Stevensville, Maryland, and have been making guitars since 1985.
Brand name: C.F. Martin & Co.
Headquarters: Nazareth, PA
States manufacturing in: PA
Martin guitars use a construction process and attention to detail to make their guitars of the highest quality. The wood used to produce their guitars is all environmentally sourced, and every aspect of the construction process is carried out meticulously. The HD-28V (pictured here) is their most popular Vintage Series model and will sound great across a variety of playing styles.
Brand name: Gibson
Headquarters: Nashville, TN
States manufacturing in: MT, TN,
Gibson is one of the premier names in guitars, and a lot of them are made in the USA. Their Les Paul guitar is one of the most popular guitars of all time. A lot of their accessories (like replacement strings) are also made here.
Brand name: Collings
Headquarters: Austin, TX
States manufacturing in: TX
Known for acoustic guitars, Collings is based in Austin, Texas, and has been crafting guitars since the 1970s. Their old-school products are made with a top-quality mix of hardwoods and tonewoods for strength, beauty, and a rich and versatile sound for most playstyles. If you’re looking for the basics, the D1 model – a square-shouldered, 14-fret dreadnought is one of the most popular body shapes in the world. If you’re looking for some more customized options, the CW Mh A is made for flatpickers and bluegrass players, or go with their OM1, which stands for “Orchestra Model.”
Brand name: G&L Musical Instruments
Headquarters: Fullerton, CA
States manufacturing in: CA
Founded by Leo Fender, Dale Hyatt, and George Fullerton after the original sale of Fender, G&L is a guitar company that focuses on small-scale custom production of guitars and offers quality instruments that you can get in the United States today. G&L offers many different guitar types, but their electric guitars made in Fullerton, California, are some of their most popular. These guitars are made to sound edgy, play smoothly, and remain tuned for a long time when they are set up properly.
Brand name: Heritage Guitar Inc
Headquarters: Kalamazoo, MI
States manufacturing in: MI
Heritage is a smaller guitar manufacturer similar to Gibson in its product offerings. The company is well-known for producing high-quality electric guitars and offers a selection of hollow-body and solid-body guitars. One of its most famous is the H-150. The H-150 has a full solid body for maximum tone quality, but it’s not too heavy and still comfortable to hold as it has a smaller form factor than many other solid-body guitars do. The guitar is made up of a mahogany body and a solid maple top and offers a recognizable tone that should sound familiar to many. The guitar produces a thick and rich sound that comes across well over microphones.
Brand name: Kurt Wilson
Headquarters: Des Plaines, IL
States manufacturing in: IL
Kurt Wilson has been producing handcrafted guitars out of their Illinois factory since 1990 and offers electric guitar models. The Kurt Wilson Standard Series of guitars are known for its traditional construction, high level of quality, and attention to detail. The Standard Model is a classic, but they do have a few other variations as well: an XL model that’s a bit bigger, a semi-hollow model, and an XL semi-hollow model with an arrowhead F-hole. All Standard models are made to be high quality and fuse old-school design with modern-day engineering, offering a rich and resonant sound that will come across well on most quality speaker setups.
Brand name: Koentopp Guitars
Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA
States manufacturing in: CA
Koentopp is well-known for producing clean-sounding archtop guitars that are highly versatile. They offer many different customization options, making it easy to pick out the exact build that you want. Both American and European tonewoods are available to choose from for builds, so make sure to choose the American option. The guitar comes with a standard 22-fret layout and solid ebony fittings that function reliably. These guitars are handmade with high attention to detail going into every part of the construction process. The company produces a limited number of these guitars, so it can take time to order and purchase one of them.
Brand name: Rickenbacker
Headquarters: Santa Ana, CA
States manufacturing in: CA
Rickenbacker is a legend in the music industry – they are credited as being the first known producer of electric guitars, all the way back in 1932. Today, they continue to make quality instruments, including their bass guitars, out of their facility in Santa Ana, California, and obviously has a long history of doing so. The bass models in the 4000 series were first introduced in the 1950s! These guitars are well constructed and are made to be easy to tune as well as produce a quality sound.
Brand name: Jon Kammerer Customs
Headquarters: Keokuk, IA
States manufacturing in: IA
Jon Kammerer guitars are constructed to be highly customizable. These guitars utilize top-quality OEM equipment and carefully selected hardwoods. The guitars can be customized and modified in several different ways during construction, and the added options don’t come at an extra cost. This means that you can get a more specific guitar than you can from most other companies when ordering a Jon Kammerer creation.
How to Find Guitars Made in the USA
Big-name guitar brands such as Fender and Gibson still produce all or most of their guitars in the USA. While you can purchase guitars manufactured abroad, American-made guitars are historically better sounding and of higher quality.
When buying an American-made guitar, knowing where to start and what you should be looking for can be challenging. Here are our top tips on finding guitars made in the USA.
What Does “Made In The USA” Mean?
First, let’s define what it means for something to be “made in the USA.” According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “all or virtually all” of the product must be made in the United States – including all materials and components. In other words, everything from the sourcing of the raw materials to the assembly of the product must take place domestically.
For more information on FTC’s regulations, check our “made in the USA” labeling guide.
When looking for guitars made in the USA, it’s important to note what materials are used. Some of the most common materials used to build guitars include alder and maple body woods, mahogany and rosewood neck woods, and ebony and rosewood fingerboard materials.
Other key components to look for include high-quality pickups, electronics, machine heads, frets, and metal bridge components.
Hardwoods, such as maple, rosewood, and ebony, are known to provide better resonance and sustain than softwoods and are typically sourced domestically, as the USA has some of the best hardwood forests in the world. The USA also has one of the highest production of hardwood lumber in the world, falling just slightly behind China. So when you’re looking for a guitar made in the USA, check and see what type of wood is used. Hardwoods may be more expensive, but the quality of the product is worth it. Plus, you’re more likely to find US-made guitars if you choose a product with quality materials.
Hardwoods are not in the budget for every guitar player, so there are softwoods guitar options too. The US imports a large quantity of softwood lumber from Canada and other countries, but there are also some domestic softwood forests. Softwoods, such as poplar and pine, are also used for guitars but typically as a secondary material.
In addition to hard and soft woods, a few other materials are used to make guitars. For example, metal components such as pickups and tuning keys can easily be sourced from US-based companies. But check what type of material is used and where it is sourced to ensure that the guitar you’re buying is truly made in the USA.
The second thing to look at when looking for guitars made in the USA is the labeling. Specifically, you should look for the FTC-protected “made in the USA” label. In addition, Title 19 Chapter 4 Section 1304 of the United States Code states that all imported products must be labeled as such. So, theoretically, finding US-made guitars should be easy.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it may seem. First of all, the FTC does not police the usage of the protected “made in the USA” label as well as it should. There is no pre-approval process, so it’s up to the companies to determine whether or not their products meet the FTC’s “made in the USA” standards.
Additionally, some companies use tricky wording in their labeling to confuse consumers into thinking their products are American-made. For example, some well-used labels are “designed in the USA or “assembled in the USA.” These labels actually mean that only a portion of the entire manufacturing process takes place in the United States. Another popular label is “made in the USA with imported materials,” meaning they use foreign-made products although the guitar itself may be put together domestically.
Finally, don’t be fooled by the American flag on a guitar label. Just because you see the flag does not automatically mean the product is American-made. Make sure to look at everything with a critical eye before purchasing!
Finally, here are some more tips to help you find a quality guitar made in the USA.
Take advantage of the internet’s endless resources and search for American-made guitars. There are websites dedicated solely to selling American-made instruments and several online stores specializing in selling these items. Many of these websites list the country of origin on each product page, so you can easily find guitars made in the USA.
If you have a particular brand in mind, you should also check out the company’s website. If the product is made in the USA, you should find this stated on their website somewhere, as “made in the USA” is a huge selling point. On the other hand, if the product is made abroad, expect not to see the country of origin anywhere since companies are not required to state the country of origin when it comes to online or promotional materials.
Visit Local Stores
Local music stores are great places to shop for American-made guitars. The salespeople in these stores will be able to provide you with valuable information about the different instruments available and can often help you find a quality product.
Call the Manufacturer
If all else fails, you can always contact the manufacturer directly and ask them if their guitars are made in the USA. Most companies will be more than happy to provide you with the information you need.
Guitars Not Made in the USA
When doing our research, we came across popular guitar brands that are not making their guitars in the USA. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of these brands which we’ll continue updating as we do more research.
- Squier – Made in China, Indonesia, Korea, India, Mexico, and Japan.
- Charvel – Made in the U.S., Mexico, and Japan (they have a “USA Select” range to distinguish their USA-made range).
- Fender – Made in the USA, Mexico, Korea, Indonesia, and China.
- Gretsch – Made in Korea, China, and Indonesia.
- Epiphone – Made in China.
- Ibanez – Made in Japan, China, Indonesia, and the USA (custom builds).
- Yamaha – Made in Japan, China, and Indonesia.
- Reverend – Made in South Korea.
- ESP – Made mostly in Japan but also in some other factories in Asia.
- Jackson – Made in the USA, Japan, Mexico, Indonesia, China, and Korea.
- Harley Benton – Made in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.