Have you ever 'downgraded' from a more- to less-expensive guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by BigSB, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. BigSB

    BigSB Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    First, let me say that I KNOW that the guitar that plays right to you and sounds right to you IS RIGHT FOR YOU. I totally get that.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has ever had a guitar worth X and then played something worth, say, .5X and decided they would 'downgrade'.

    I traded for a guitar (a well-cared-for and expertly-set-up Epi LP Standard) I really enjoy, but the other day I plugged a +/- $100 guitar into a SF Vibrolux and was in heaven. Of course, the amp really helped, but the cheap guitar was a totally-stock Squier Affinity Telecaster that had a great setup and just sounded wonderful. Didn't even buzz in the single-pickup positions!

    I also realize, having owned just about one of all of the major mass-produced guitars out there, that an LP is as different from a Tele as a cheese-steak is to a Cuban sandwich. Both delicious, both easy to make "taste" great, but very different in their construction and the goal of their "flavor" combinations.

    I'm just really thinking hard about moving the LP along and switching to the Tele. I was a Tele guy for years before I ever owned my first LP, and I'm going to be playing in a blues/soul trio (with a B3) format soon, and I think maybe the Tele will cut better.

  2. grapeshot

    grapeshot Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Vienna, VA
    Sort of, for a long time I was a PRS guy and had some crazy nice PRS guitars (still have a couple). My go to guitar for last couple of years has been a Fender MIM Road Worn parts Strat (Road Worn Player rosewood neck, Road Worn 50s sunburst body, AmStd Fat 50s pickups & wiring, Am Vintage trem). It's a great guitar, under 7lbs, sounds great, I f^n love it. I still have some nice and expensive guitars (PRS, a Gretch, AmStd Tele, Custom Shop Strat), but none get the pay time of this Strat. I have a set of 57/62 pickups I am thinking of putting in, though, but I'm on the fence as it sounds really good as is.
  3. Birddog

    Birddog Member

    Nov 9, 2007
    I just sold my LP Standard. It needed fretwork. Its tone was pretty good. I found myself lately, however, just playing my Les Paul LPJ (not junior, LPJ). It was an $800 guitar, as opposed to the $1800 guitar I wasn't enjoying anymore. The tone on the LPJ simply blew my Standard's away, and I found myself turning more and more to it for practice and for gigs. Some of it had to do with the 60's neck on the Standard. The LPJ has a fat 50's neck. Then there was the pickups. Burstbucker Pro's in my Standard, Classic 57 in the LPJ. Everything just sounds better with the LPJ and I started to consider the Standard my backup. Too expensive for a backup. I don't regret the switch at all. (and yes, I know I could have gotten a fret-job and switched pickups in the Standard).
  4. cardinal

    cardinal Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Yes. It's hard psychologically (at least for me), but once you just dump the expensive one, it's over with and out of mind. Some guitars are just great guitars that happen to be very inexpensive. If you stumble into one, great: don't fight it.

    I've sold off cheap guitars after "upgrading" and severely regretted it because I liked the cheaper one better. I just couldn't be honest with myself about it. Dumb.
  5. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

    Feb 5, 2011
    Yep. My MIM Strat moved to #1 years ago. My US strat is still #2 though. But never gets played.
    monwobobbo likes this.
  6. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    I have a few times:

    I downgraded from an American Deluxe Strat to a MIM Strat

    Also downgraded from a Gibson ES-137 Custom to an Epiphone Dot

    And finally, downgraded from a Gibson LP Standard to an Epiphone LP Custom

    There are some tradeoffs, and some things that are different (for better or worse). But ultimately, I decided I want to play the guitars that make me the happiest, and, for whatever odd reason, I decided I liked playing those less expensive guitars better than their more expensive counterparts. I couldn't really quantify it, or justify it, all I know is that I was happier when I was playing them.
    amstrtatnut likes this.
  7. David Garner

    David Garner Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    Yorkville, Georgia
    I sold a beautiful Taylor 816ce because I never played it. I got an Epiphone Masterbilt AJ500 and I love it so much I don't know if I'll bother to get the Gibson J-45 I was planning to buy to replace the Taylor.

    The Taylor cost about 7 times what the Epi did.
  8. Johnny21

    Johnny21 Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2011
    I had a $4k PRS, loved the top and playability, but the tone wasn't all that.

    I play a cheaper not big brand name guitar that oozes tone and matches the tone in my head. It's been my number 1 for a few years now.
  9. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    Northern MD
    Played FCS Tele's in the past. My current T-style instruments are partscasters, and I couldn't be happier.

    Whether or not that's a "downgrade" is a matter of opinion. I love my partscasters, and they came in at a fraction of the cost of my old FCS guitars.

    No knock on FCS...just talking real world out of pocket experience.
    pepedede likes this.
  10. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2007
    A few months ago my main gigging guitar was a Les Paul Classic.

    It was replaced with a $499 PRS SE Custom 24 Floyd.
  11. VDeuce

    VDeuce Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2003
    Les Pauls to a PRS SE Bernie Marsden
    amstrtatnut likes this.
  12. GA20T

    GA20T Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Sure. I've had a few nice old Martins & Gibsons etc. over the years, but have "settled" on an old '60s Yamaha folk size that just sounds and feels like home. When it comes to electrics, the showy, "high-end" stuff (or stuff that's heavily marketed that way) never really appealed to me.
  13. Ridgeback

    Ridgeback Member

    Aug 23, 2004
    Really only once. I sold a primo 66 Lake Placid Blue Jazzmaster and used some of the proceeds to replace it with an 08 thin skin Jazzmaster. The rest of the $ from the vintage JM went toward upgrading my 11 CS time machine strat to a very sweet 64 refin strat. Overall, I'm happier with the "downgraded" JM and "upgraded" strat (but I do miss that LPB JM).
  14. ColorBlindJames

    ColorBlindJames Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    Eastern Tennessee
    I bought a new PRS Custom 24, a Suhr Modern Satin and a Les Paul Standard several years back and there were all great, but eventually I sold them and now I play mostly a couple of used American Strats, a Tele partscaster and a custom humbucker Tele, each of which cost less than half what I paid for the PRS, etc ...

    My current guitars are not nearly as nice as my old ones, but I like them all a lot and I can't imagine paying what I paid for those other guitars for any guitar now - the differences, while noticeable, are not, in my opinion, worth the extreme differences in cost.
  15. Ilduce

    Ilduce And now for something completely different! Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2014
    I have a really nice G&L USA Legacy that as solid and good looking as it is I'm just not bonding with it. I'm selling it and will probably get either a less expensive Tele or LP special, MIJ maybe.
  16. rummy

    rummy Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    I kept the Highway 1 strat over an American Vintage Hot Rod one.
  17. Bossanova

    Bossanova Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    Washington, DC
    Many times. But, I'm fickle and moody, so I don't sell them. I'm fortunate to be able to afford to keep a bunch and rotate them. My cheapest right now is a squier VM jag, most expensive is a Gibson R7. $ wise it's X vs 10X, but I don't look at it like that. With the band I play in right now, the jag sounds better and fits better, but if I got rid of that LP i'd cry.
  18. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    Chattanooga, TN
    I take care of my electrics but never baby them. I like tough guitars that I don't have to fuss over. All my electrics at the moment are parts tele builds. I love them all, and none are worth all that much, so the temptation to sell or trade them is low.

    I've owned many electrics worth $1,500-2,500 or so. I liked them all, but I was always more worried about dinging them or whether I was going to do something stupid that would reduce the resale value. I'm much more happy owning beaters.

    Now, acoustic instruments? That's different. :D
  19. Dynation

    Dynation Member

    Jan 20, 2015
    the GWN
    I got rid of an LP Supreme I had at the time and was much happier with my cheaper guitars. Mind you, I have expensive pieces now but I wasn't jiving with that particular one.

    That being said, if you feel like the Tele is the kind of feel and tone you want right now, by all means go for it. You don't need to spend 3k to have a great player that you can connect with.
  20. cam.man67

    cam.man67 Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Jefferson, MD
    Not that got rid of it, but my '05Squier '51 bumped off my '05 SG Standard as my main giggin guitar. Both were missed, but the idea of swapping a$1200 guitar for a $150 one has always been interesting to me.:)

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice