They're more inexpensive because of the litmus. They have the basics: Dense neck material (maple) Resonant/lighter body (ash, alder, basswood, pine, etc.) Quick assembly. Binding ain't cheap. Carved tops aren't cheap, either. Mahogany is not as easily accessible as other woods. It depends. On a Strat I can do most of the wiring on the guard and dump it in once I'm done. With the LP I've got to do the work inside of the cavity.