Some guitar pedals cost so much more than others. Usually those are low-production, boutique pedals. Pedals made by mass production are usually much cheaper.
But what makes those expensive pedals cost so much? You may wonder if some pedals are just too expensive. Here’s the answer.
Components and various materials that make pedal cost. Labor has to be paid, also. Retailers that sell those pedals have to increase the price additionally. And, in the end, there are big taxes.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that determine the final price of a guitar pedal. Let’s go through each of these factors.
Components, Parts, Materials
Various components have to be used and assembled to make up a guitar pedal. While it’s impossible to count all of those components and materials, let’s go through most important ones.
Input, output, send or return, jacks have to be installed on every guitar pedal. Well, it costs a bit to have them. What’s the usual cost?
It’s about 4 – 6 $, depending on quality of material.
- 3PDT foot switch
Guitar pedals have those foot switches. And, they cost a little. If you were to look on Amazon, or other selling sites, you’d find that these switches cost about 4 to 5 dollars.
But, by excluding taxes out of the price, we see that one foot switch cost a bit less.
My guess: around 3 dollars.
- LED, resistor
I’d guess that this costs no more than 1 dollar.
- wires, soldered materials
Every electronic device has to have some wires, soldered points and other similar materials installed and mounted.
Guitar pedals are not different.
I’d say that these parts don’t cost more than a dollar or two.
Every pedal has an enclosure. Guitar pedal enclosures are usually made out of aluminium. Enclosure must have a nice, smooth, mirror like finish.
Those are usually made in China, Taiwan, Indonesia and similar far east countries.
Nevertheless, it costs to use and to make guitar pedal enclosure. What’s the usual price?
My guess: around 4 – 5 $.
- painting and artwork
Every guitar pedal has to be painted and lacquered all over its surface. On top of that, most guitar pedals have some graphic artwork. That costs a little bit, but still – it costs.
I guess it’s no more than a dollar or two.
- product box
In the end of the process, every guitar pedal has to be put in its box. That box has to be made, obviously. Also, apart from the box, there are additional promotional and instructive papers inside.
How much can this cost?
My guess: About a dollar.
Someone has to assemble all those parts into a working guitar pedal. Well, that’s called labor.
Many big companies have their workers in far east countries, like China, Indonesia, Taiwan, and so on. But you probably knew that already.
Of course, labor wages in those countries are much lower than labor wages in the west. However, companies that have their labor far away are making their products massively; in a mass production.
Guitar pedals made by a mass production are much cheaper. In fact, those pedals are not even expensive by any means. However, not all guitar pedals are made that way.
There are many low production, boutique, hand made, guitar pedals today. Of course those pedals are more expensive in the end. That’s because they’re made in the US, or Europe, where labor wages are much bigger.
Now, what’s the price of labor included in the final price of guitar pedal? It’s really hard to tell, as various pedals have very different final prices.
But I’d say that at least 10 to 15 percent of the final price of boutique guitar pedal accounts for labor.
When guitar pedals are made, they have to be brought to stores. For that, companies have to pay a big price.
Drivers that bring those pedals to the stores have to be paid. Retailers, who need to make a living have to increase the price additionally, also.
Retailers usually increase the price for about 30 to 33 % percent. That’s around one third of the purchase price!
Anyway, let’s say you make a pedal. When you calculate all of the expenses described above, including labor, you conclude that you’ve spent around, let’s say, 40 dollars to make and pack a brand new guitar pedal.
Now, with the one third of increase by retailers and drivers, your pedal’s final price will get to 53 – 54 dollars.
But we didn’t even include taxes in this calculation, which brings us to the next factor.
Good, old taxes. A big chunk of the final price of every product accounts for taxes. Guitar pedals are not different.
So, what kind of taxes account for the final price of a guitar pedal? First, there’s a self employment tax.
Second, there’s an income tax. And finally, there’s a state tax, different for every state in the US. All of those combined add around 40 percent to the price.
I’ll leave the calculation for you. But, you can see that the increase by taxes is certainly significant.
Last, but not least, is the market economy factor. It’s the market, a place where supply and demand meet.
Some pedals are more popular than others, obviously. In other words, some pedals sell much more than other. As long as there are people who are willing to pay a big money for a pedal, the pedal will keep its price.
That’s just the way it is.
Now, let’s recap all of those factors that determine the final price of the pedal.
- components, parts, materials
As it’s been described, there are a lot of different materials and parts you have to use to build and assemble a guitar pedal.
That costs, obviously. It varies with every pedal, but nevertheless, it is a part of the final price.
Someone has to make these pedals. Whether it’s some worker who assembles all parts together, or a machine – it costs.
Companies that have mass production of their pedals have the labor far away from their headquarters. In the countries like China, Indonesia, Taiwan and so on.
Boutique, low production pedals usually have their workers in their own country, like US or Europe.
Labor wages vary all over the world, but nevertheless they account for a significant percentage of the final price.
- retailer increase
Once made, guitar pedals have to be brought into the stores. And the retailers have to make money, too. So they put a big increase on a guitar pedal product.
That’s, with the taxes, one of the biggest factors that determines the final price of a guitar pedal.
Taxes add up to the price. There are several taxes that account for the final price. Self employment tax, income tax and state tax.
- market economy
In the end, market has its say also. Some pedals sell more than other. As long as there are people willing to give a certain amount of money for some pedal, the price won’t fall down.
Check Out These Affordable Pedals
If you’re looking for some good quality and affordable pedal, check the article from this page. I reviewed best pedals for grunge and alt rock.
I hope this article gave you some valuable information about this topic. If you enjoyed reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.
Also, if you have a lot of pedals but don’t know how to store them properly, check this article.
Don’t forget to check out other interesting articles about various guitar topics and issues!
Cheers, and rock on!