how good is a $4500(or more) guitar?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mystixboi, Jun 13, 2016.

  1. great-case.com

    great-case.com a.k.a. "Mitch"

    Messages:
    5,749
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    Undiscloseable
    Arch Tops, Hollow Bodies and Acoustics are in a class by themselves, in my opinion. With these designs, the fabrication techniques and materials has been shown to greatly impact the quality of the instrument's sound. While some may be tempted to invert my opinion into an insult aimed at solid bodied electrics, it is not denigration to say the SBE(s) are simply easier to build. Based on that conjecture, I have always theorized that SBE(s) top out in price at a lower level than the aforementioned guitar designs. When I say 'top out' I mean that guitars above that price tend to add nothing but bling to the result.

    Exceptions appear to be centered on rare designs, such as my PRS Arch Top. Although it was only about $2K when I bought it new in '98, I have seen it sell for much more lately. Many PRS Private Stock guitars offer switching that is unavailable in the core line. These functional enhancements are tailored to very specific tastes and hence, the guitars garner 'tween $8k and $12K each. Most assume that PRS PS guitars are simply overBling'ed offerings, but I don't think that is true.

    Boutique acoustics seem to have a very high top out price. I've sampled some from the upper shelf and I can honestly say that there does not seem to be an upper bound to the quality of sound.
     
  2. dlguitar64

    dlguitar64 Member

    Messages:
    5,007
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Durham,NC
    My friend plays the violin (modern maker worth around $20,000) and is looking for a new bow and
    is interested in one that "only" costs $5000. Guitarists get off cheaper than any other instrumentalists.
     
    gerg6, JPIndustrie and bgmacaw like this.
  3. GreenKnight18

    GreenKnight18 Member

    Messages:
    2,092
    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Location:
    DC
    I have one of these expensive guitars. Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt to my specs-- which were all pretty standard for a parts guitar, a Jaguar. It does have a color and neck that Fender never produced in the wild (Sherwood Green+ blocks and binding neck)

    I will not argue with anyone that is superior in any way to than a guitar that costs thousands less. It is not.

    But I do love my guitar. The more I play it the more it feels like mine. It is special to me for its looks, sound, feel, and sentiment. As it's a Fender, I could have assembled parts and built a clone for a lot less money-- but I do enjoy knowing that I got it right from the source (all arguments of what Feder is and was 50 years ago aside). Can people derive just as much good feelings from a guitar that costs way less? Of course, but I think my guitar has been paying for itself with my enjoyment. It's eight years now, and I have no desire at all to sell it. When you start to break down the numbers over that number of years, $2,000 isn't much different than $4,500.
     
    JPIndustrie likes this.
  4. spikedog007

    spikedog007 Member

    Messages:
    192
    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm curious what it actually costs to produce a high end guitar? There's a lot to consider when you think about the wood cost - especially if it's highly figured or rare wood - the drying of the wood - buying ovens, running the ovens - the machines for cutting the wood, paying for the space to perform the work, the rest of the hardware - pickups, bridge, nut etc - paying a top notch luther enough to make a living for a highly labor intensive job, etc., etc., etc. For a USA made guitar with high end wood, I imagine it can get very expensive just to make the guitar, not to mention distribution channels needing to make a little off the sale as well.

    Are some guitars overpriced, probably, but I've learned that you typically get what you pay for.
     
  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

    Messages:
    8,085
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    It's highly variable. A manufacturer like Fender, Martin or Gibson will have lower costs due to economy of scale. They can buy parts and raw materials in bulk while the small builder pays a premium on small purchases. Also, the big guys will have lower per unit labor costs (but more indirect overhead).
     
  6. Pushead

    Pushead Member

    Messages:
    697
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Cleveland
    I suspect at those higher dollar levels, you're paying for time and expertise, more than the materials and equipment required to make it. At least when it comes to small, specialty builders.
     
  7. Devnor

    Devnor Member

    Messages:
    3,455
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Supply & demand, and this includes availability of raw materials, is one of the the biggest driver of price. If James Tyler sold Studio Elites for $2000, everyone would order them, the quality would suffer and the leadtime would be astronomical. Of course when you are manufacturing in California, there are numerous taxes and regulations. All the those costs are passed on to the consumer. I don't believe James is swimming in huge profits because his guitars cost $5000. Much of this applies to Fender CS. Shooting nitro finishes in the numbers Fender produces in the golden state requires a massive investment and subsequent maintenance costs to comply with environmental regulations. If these builders would move out of state, as so many other companies are doing, costs would be reduced. I suppose they build there for a reason and since neither entity is hurting for business, you're going to pay to play.
     
    JPIndustrie likes this.
  8. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    805
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    The craftsmanship and expertise that come with small builders are not cheap. Quality rarely is.
     
    JPIndustrie and Stratburst70 like this.
  9. Rayzaa

    Rayzaa Member

    Messages:
    1,507
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Cant agree with all that.For cars, i dont like wood in my cab area for one and some cars like Range Rovers are a piece of **** that dont have good reliablity and neither do BMWs though not as bad. Cloths i dont know about, i dont buy those kind of cloths and dont even own a suit. Not my bag.
    Some thing are just over priced and thats a fact. Nike shoes....made in sweat shops and they still cost the same. Most cloths are made elsewhere than in the USA where labor is cheaper. Even import guitars cost less.
     
  10. Schlep

    Schlep Member

    Messages:
    461
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Q: "How good is a $4500+ guitar?"

    A: Should be pretty darn good to great, but ultimately it will be only marginally better than one costing 1/2 as much.
     
    PartoftheDark and cristo like this.
  11. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

    Messages:
    9,155
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    For a solidbody, the maximum level for build quality from a mass-producer tops out and plateaus long, long before $4500. I'd say after $2500, you're paying for the prestige of a name, exquisite rare materials, mosaic type inlay, special-run colors, etc.or all of the above.
     
  12. treeofpain

    treeofpain Member

    Messages:
    6,767
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Google "law of diminishing returns". It is a factor with any type of product.

    You just need to decide if the incremental increase in quality has the proportionally higher value for you.

    My experience is that for around $1000 you should be able to get a really good guitar. For $2000-3000 you can get an exceptional guitar. Above that, you are beyond the value for most folks, or you are paying for vintage or some niche name brand.
     
  13. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,004
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Subjective. A $4500 guitar is like porn. I can't tell you what it is, but I know it when I play/see it ;).

    And, $4500 is chump pocket change to some people...so who's to say ;).
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  14. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

    Messages:
    8,501
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    You'd have to really want a particular guitar to put out $4500 for it. Great guitars are out there for much less. It's the buyer's choice!
     
  15. winterblu

    winterblu Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,873
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Location:
    Nor Cal
    Unless you're having one built specifically to your specs I say buy used, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
     
  16. milli vanilli

    milli vanilli Member

    Messages:
    4,741
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Depends your approach. If you want to say "hey, I got a (insert small builder here)" and rattle off specs on TGP, get tons of likes, share pics, and feel proud of your museum piece then spend as much as you can. Nothing wrong with that. People collect showpieces all the time, and a lot are really cool, may even increase in value. But that comes from a collector approach.... If you are more concerned about how something plays or sounds, get out there and try the expensive stuff AND the cheap stuff. You listen with ears, play with hands. The wallet isn't the main part of the equation IMO. There are some cheap guitars that slam, and some expensive guitars that are dogs. That is the player approach. NEITHER IS WRONG. Just make sure what you are going for so you don't end up with a showpiece instead of a player or a player instead of a showpiece. Long as you are happy in the end...
     
  17. milli vanilli

    milli vanilli Member

    Messages:
    4,741
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Yup. I grew up on violin. That's why I chuckle when I see the prices of electric guitars. A lot of those violins are fine art, one of a kind instruments that are so expensive they are usually on loan to the player...and sky is the limit on price.
     
  18. twisty571

    twisty571 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Your examples are guitars you picked out and possibly some of the ugliest options.....I bet I can find some beautiful Gibsons/PRS/Fenders for 1/2 that I would prefer....oh wait I found one and I would have 3100 left over for that white 2013 SG Standard (small PG) I want also and still have $2000+ left. My point is you may look at your guitar as a thing of beauty but the guitars you chose to compare it to weren't remotely what most people would prefer. Your guitar maybe sweet & play like buttah but I have had a broke neck SG Standard that played better than anything I have touched yet. Seems to me musicians have been getting along just fine with the big name basic builds since the start.......
    [​IMG]
     
  19. kiwicanuck

    kiwicanuck Member

    Messages:
    1,535
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Location:
    Orcland, New Zealand
    It depends on the company. A certain notorious company would charge that for their mid-to-upper range, while other companies would do an incredible no-compromise guitar for that much.

    The cost is usually influenced heavily by how much their shareholders, marketing, and endorsements cost.
     
  20. Mikhael

    Mikhael Member

    Messages:
    2,732
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    EXACTLY. THAT is when I would pay big bux for a guitar. Built to my specifications exactly. There are NO production models that conform EXACTLY to the things I want in an electric guitar. Some have bits and pieces, but none of them have it all.
     

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