Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Well, it runs even a little deeper than that - people who build guitars are trained, specialised (hopefully professional) people - you would kind of hope that they get paid pretty well for what they do - maybe not as much as a doctor or a dentist, but you'd like to think that the dudes in Nashville, or California, or for that matter wherever Ibanez guitars are made, who put your guitar together earn enough for a decent life, and that don't work in some dreadful sweatshop.
So, what you pay for the guitar you buy reflects to a large degree the quality of life that the builders live. I have to assume you'd rather that the people who work at Fender, or Gibson, or PRS can afford to live somewhere better than a tarpaper shack on Tobacco Road - like you yourself would like to I hope, so as a result, you pay for your guitar in US, or Japanese salaries - simple as that.
while there is of course a fairly decent margin in a guitar (that's why a company chooses to build 'em, eh?), the raw materials are getting pretty costly - a AAA Maple top has gone from about $40 worth of wood to $500 - you get the pleasure of paying that increase, somewhere along the way!