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
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Heritage is a smaller guitar manufacturer that is very 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.
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 their 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.
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.
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.
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 the construction process, 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.
Factors To Consider
When looking for a guitar, the action is crucial depending on your experience level. Focus on lower action for new players, or a mid-range action for experienced players looking for a cleaner sound. Most guitars should come with a low action when it arrives, or it should be easily adjustable to a low action level that’s comfortable for beginners to play.
Look at guitars made from quality laminates, partial hardwood components, or full hardwood components to get the best sound quality overall. The best guitars are made of full hardwood, but they can be cost-prohibitive for some buyers, which is why we considered other options here as well.
Focus on finding guitars with a lighter translucent finish in most instances. The richest guitars generally show off some of the wood grain through the finish. Thicker finishes that block the wood grain can take away from the sound of the guitar and leave you with something that falls a bit flat.
All of the factors above contribute to the sound of the guitar. Listen to audio files and tested a few of your own to find the guitars producing the best quality at the right price. As I mentioned above, I have a local friend in the music industry where I live and he was kind enough to lend us his expert ear for the sound quality on a recent guitar purchase. Finding the right guitar online can be tough since you can’t experience the instrument in person. However, there are good tools like Tonepedia you can use to test and experience guitars online before purchasing.
Brands Aren’t Everything
While it’s not a bad idea to buy based on brands known for their quality, we understand that brand name alone doesn’t tell you if a guitar is good or bad. There are some low-quality options from very well-known manufacturers. Look for quality above the brand and only choose guitars based on their features and value.