In a world without budgetary concerns, acoustic guitar prices don’t matter. However, most of us, must work with a budget.
A budget does not mean cheap. The less money we have, the more we need to work with quality.
So what drives the price of an acoustic guitar up?
First is the manufacturing cost which has two main driving forces. Location and method.
A guitar made in US is more expensive than one made in China or Mexico even if the material and workmanship were the same. Standard of living in US is higher which means prices to manufacture anything that is labor intensive higher so that the workers can earn a living.
Often with higher prices comes more attention to detail and higher quality product.
Next is the manufacturing process. Automated steps reduce labor cost and end product cost. A hand-carved guitar part takes much longer than a machine cut one and costs more. Does this mean a hand-carved guitar part produces a higher sound quality? Not necessarily.
Think of advances in medical surgery, there are machines surgeons use that are far more precise than hands.
Last is the material. Rare woods that are prepared over a long time have a very different tone than laminated wood pressed together by a machine. However laminate survives a change in climate and temperature much better.
Ultimately, it all boils down to this. Which guitar sounds good to you and feels right in your hands without breaking the bank.