55 Why Are Olson Guitars So Expensive

Olson Guitars Luthier's Collection
Olson Guitars Luthier's Collection from luthierscollection.com


Olson Guitars are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and unparalleled sound quality. However, many guitar enthusiasts find themselves questioning the high price tag that accompanies these instruments. In this article, we delve into the reasons why Olson Guitars are so expensive, exploring the meticulous attention to detail, the use of premium materials, the labor-intensive manufacturing process, and the reputation that comes with owning an Olson Guitar.

The Meticulous Attention to Detail

Olson Guitars are known for their meticulous attention to detail, which is a significant factor contributing to their high price. Each guitar is handcrafted by a team of skilled luthiers who pour countless hours into every stage of the manufacturing process. From selecting the finest tonewoods to meticulously shaping and carving each component, the level of precision and artistry involved is truly remarkable.

Hand Selection of Tonewoods

One of the reasons why Olson Guitars stand out is their use of premium tonewoods. The luthiers at Olson carefully hand-select each piece of wood, considering factors such as tonal properties, grain patterns, and overall aesthetic appeal. This meticulous selection process ensures that every guitar produced by Olson has the best possible sound quality and visual appeal.

Customized Designs and Features

Olson Guitars are highly customizable, allowing musicians to tailor their instrument to their exact preferences. Whether it's choosing the body shape, selecting the type of bracing, or opting for unique inlay work, customers have the opportunity to create a truly one-of-a-kind guitar. This level of customization requires additional time and effort from the luthiers, further contributing to the higher price point.

Use of Premium Materials

Another reason for the high cost of Olson Guitars is the use of premium materials. The tonewoods used, such as Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce, are highly sought after for their exceptional tonal qualities. These woods are not only rare but also require special permits to be sourced legally. Additionally, Olson Guitars incorporate high-quality hardware, such as top-of-the-line tuners, bridges, and pickups, further adding to the overall cost.

Rare and Exotic Tonewoods

Olson Guitars often feature rare and exotic tonewoods that are not readily available in the market. These woods, such as Madagascar Rosewood or European Spruce, are highly valued for their unique tonal characteristics and visual appeal. The limited availability and high demand for these woods drive up the cost of the guitars.

Premium Hardware and Components

In addition to the tonewoods, Olson Guitars use premium hardware and components to ensure optimal performance and durability. From high-quality tuning machines that provide superior stability to custom-made pickups that capture the guitar's true essence, no expense is spared in sourcing the best possible components. This commitment to excellence comes at a price, which is reflected in the overall cost of the instrument.

Labor-Intensive Manufacturing Process

The labor-intensive nature of crafting an Olson Guitar is another significant factor contributing to its high price. Each instrument undergoes a meticulous manufacturing process that involves numerous skilled artisans working on different aspects of the guitar.

Handcrafting Every Component

Unlike mass-produced guitars, Olson Guitars are entirely handcrafted. From shaping the neck to fitting the frets and assembling the body, every component is carefully crafted by skilled luthiers. This level of craftsmanship requires a substantial investment of time and expertise, resulting in a higher price tag.

Precision Bracing and Voicing

One of the secrets behind Olson Guitars' exceptional sound is the precision bracing and voicing techniques used during the manufacturing process. Each guitar's bracing is meticulously carved to enhance its tonal characteristics, resulting in a balanced and resonant instrument. The process of voicing involves tapping and adjusting the guitar's top and back plates to achieve the optimum tonal response. These labor-intensive techniques contribute to the cost of an Olson Guitar.

The Reputation of Olson Guitars

Olson Guitars have earned a reputation for being some of the finest instruments in the world. This reputation further contributes to their high price. The craftsmanship, attention to detail, and exceptional sound quality associated with Olson Guitars make them highly sought after by professional musicians and collectors alike.

Handmade by Master Luthier James Olson

One of the factors that contribute significantly to the reputation of Olson Guitars is the fact that they are handmade by master luthier James Olson himself. With over four decades of experience, James Olson is widely regarded as one of the finest luthiers in the world. The exclusivity and prestige associated with owning an instrument crafted by such a renowned luthier command a higher price.

Endorsement by Renowned Musicians

Many renowned musicians, including James Taylor and Eric Clapton, have publicly praised and endorsed Olson Guitars. These endorsements not only increase the demand for Olson Guitars but also add to their perceived value. The association with iconic musicians further contributes to the higher price tag.


While the price of Olson Guitars may seem steep, it is important to recognize the exceptional craftsmanship, premium materials, labor-intensive manufacturing process, and reputation that come with owning one of these instruments. Each Olson Guitar is a work of art, meticulously crafted to deliver exceptional sound quality and visual appeal. For those who appreciate the finest in guitar craftsmanship, an Olson Guitar is a worthy investment.