Are Guitars Vegan?

In today’s day and age, vegan diet (and vegan lifestyle) is growing more and more popular. A lot of people are switching to vegan diet, due to many reasons.

Some are doing it because of health, and others because of their moral reasoning. Some are taking both of those reasons into their considerations.

And, finally, some people tend to go far enough to ask themselves questions like the one from the headline.

If you’re not into this modern vegan thing, you’ll find these types of questions ridiculous. However, since this became the question of today’s society, I took my time to find an answer.

Are guitars vegan? In other words, are today’s guitars built without utilizing any animal based products whatsoever?

Guitars are mostly built vegan. Most parts that assemble the guitar as an instrument are not of animal origin. There are some parts that can be of animal origin. Such are strings, fretboard inlays and sometimes guitar nuts.

Differences Between Cheap and Expensive Guitars

Guitars mutually differ in their value. There are ridiculously expensive guitars, and yet there are ridiculously cheap guitars.

There are many reasons for price difference. Of course, expensive guitars have more quality, and are better overall. They are built out of the better materials (wood type), better hardware (for example, pickups), and so on.

However, they differ by the origin of materials, also. Cheaper guitars are usually 100 % vegan made.

Expensive guitars often use, for example, pearls as a fretboard inlay. Also, they often have guitar strings made out of cattle gut. Cattle gut is frequently used for bowed instruments, though.

Cheaper guitars come with synthetic strings, most of the times.

Animal hide glue may have been used in building an expensive guitar, also.

Anyway, the bottom line is following. There’s a high probability that an expensive guitar contains some parts of animal origin. Cheap guitars are probably 100 % vegan made.

If you want to know whether your guitar is 100 % vegan or not, it is best to contact the manufacturer. I can’t tell you more than that. Every guitar model has its own story.

Vegan (Or Non-Vegan) Parts

Now, let’s go through most known parts that assemble every guitar, to check if it’s vegan or non-vegan.


As it’s been already stated in this article, strings can be made out of cattle gut.

In the past, early guitar strings have been made out of cattle gut. Precisely, they’ve been made mostly out of the dried lamb intestines.

Today, most of guitar strings brands produce their packages very intensively. It’s hard to make guitar string packs in such fashion without usage of synthetic materials.

To prove this point, let’s take a look at some of the best selling brands out there.

For example, D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings. (link to Amazon) If you take a look at the details on the Amazon page, it says:

NYLON CORE BASSES – Pro-Arte strings use a silverplated copper winding on a proprietary multi-filament nylon core to create the basses to blend warmth and projection perfectly into one set.

OK, so these strings are made out of nylon and cooper. This means that those are not made out of animal products.

Now let’s take a look at some acoustic guitar strings. For example, Elixir Bronze Acoustic Strings. (link to Amazon)

By looking at the specifications of this product, you can clearly see that those are made out of bronze core. They are also coated with special nanoweb coating.

Again, those are not materials of animal origin. And by the way, check out the article from this page about coated strings, if you wish:


Guitar necks are made out of wood (you don’t say?). But the neck itself has a lot of additional parts. There’s a fretboard with its frets and fretboard inlays.

Of course, frets are not animal products. It’s simple cooper or steel material from which a fret is made.

Fretboard inlays are what interests us about this. Fretboard inlays can be made out of the pearl. Pearl is an animal product. Let’s see exactly what it is at Wikipedia’s page:

A pearl is a hard, glistening object produced within the soft tissue (specifically the mantle) of a living shelledmollusk or another animal, such as a conulariid. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is composed of calcium carbonate (mainly aragonite or a mixture of aragonite and calcite)[3] in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers.

And more…

Pearls are formed inside the shell of certain mollusks as a defense mechanism against a potentially threatening irritant such as a parasite inside the shell, or an attack from outside that injures the mantle tissue. The mollusk creates a pearl sac to seal off the irritation. Pearls are thus the result of an immune response analogous in the human body to the capture of an antigen by a phagocyte (phagocytosis).[6]

Expensive guitar models can use pearls as a material for fretboard inlays. But those are usually guitars with a price above 1500 $.

Most guitars use synthetic materials, like plastic, crushed glass, epoxy and so on.


Guitar nuts are usually made out of plastic. However, some expensive guitars may have a nut that’s been made out of a bone.

Bone nuts are not very common, although they exist. Anyway, if you’re a vegan, you don’t have to worry about it. Your guitar probably has a simple, plastic made nut. (if it’s fairly cheap).

Animal Hide Glue

Animal glue can be used to assemble the guitar parts. Again, it’s the same story. Expensive guitars may use it, for some models.

Most of guitars use synthetic made glues for that purpose.

Polishing Products

Polishing products are not technically the part of a guitar, but they are used on a guitar. Every guitar needs to be polished now and then.

There are a lot of polishing products for guitar (or wood, in general). How are those made? Lot of those are made out of animal secretions. Secretions from insects, to be more precise. Shellac is the name of the resin secreted by female bugs.

It has wide appliance, and one of the things you can use it for is as a polishing material.

However, there are a lot of vegan made polishing products, such as Walrus Oil. It is is a curing oil made of polymerizing safflower oil and hemp seed sil with a hint of lime.

Anyway, if you’re interested, check it on Amazon, here.

Final Words

Most guitars today are mostly vegan-made. Mostly. There’s a high chance that your guitar has some material of animal origin.

With the price coming up, that probability also goes up.

Anyway, if those are the things that are concerning you, it’s probably to consult manufacturers of guitar model you’re planning to buy.

That way you’ll be certain if a guitar is made out 100 % vegan, or not.

I hope this article gave you some insights about this subject. If you enjoyed reading it, I’m more than happy about it.

Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles from this page!

Cheers, and rock on!

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