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The Jaguar was a step up from the Strat. And no, if I wanted a Strat I would not settle for a Duo Sonic or a Music Master. I glad Fender offers Strats at different price points.
yeah, my mistake. I meant Mustang, not Jaguar.

In any event, I think you can argue the 'brand equity' thing from either side.

On the one hand, there's the argument that the 'model' has specific meaning within the brand. A good example of this is Martin's D-28. That model has a narrowly-defined set of features--dimensions, wood selection, neck joint, etc.--in addition to the Made in USA label. They have a bunch of other models which look almost identical, and in some cases even have similar features, but they are not called D-28s because the market understands what that model entails.

Same applies to Gibson J-45.

A Stratocaster has come to mean a guitar with a specific shape, and to a lesser extent some particular features, but that's where it ends. It can be made of any number of wood species, have any number of pickups, and can be manufactured anywhere in the world.

I personally preferred when Stratocaster meant a top-of-the line, American-made guitar. My first pro-level guitar was a 1980 Strat, and I'll never forget the excitement of driving with my dad to Rondo Music in Union, NJ to buy that guitar. I'll also never forget the feeling of playing that guitar on stage in my high school cover band. I felt 'legit' playing that guitar. After all, it was essentially the same guitar Hendrix and Clapton and Gilmour and Beck played.

Obviously none of this amounts to a hill of beans in the larger scheme of things, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it...:aok


Silver Supporting Member
I see your point, but much of it is flawed... with Free Enterprise, the demands of the consumer will steer the companies due to supply/demand and this is generally a good thing for everyone. Lack of Free Enterprise usually means you have no choice and the one option available nearly always sucks. (Look at China under Mao where there was no free enterprise of any kind - they couldn't even own instruments as they were contraband!)

One great thing about today is we have so many choices and though some woods are in short supply or no longer used, the fact that we have global supply accessible to anyone with a computer, modern manufacturing methods and information sharing via the internet has led to far more consistent instruments than were achievable in the past.

This is truly the best era to buy an instrument there has ever been, and now it just keeps getting better for most guitar makers, if they choose to make quality their priority.

For every company like Gibson who cuts every corner they can, or who has diluted their quality or offerings, there are hundreds of smaller builders that can give you an instrument far better than anything the corner cutting company has ever done.

Nik Huber Orca 59
Nik Huber Orca 59.jpg

PRS Silver Sky

Ernie Ball Music Man


Most of the responders missed the point entirely. The argument was in favor of a fixed quality guitar for a fixed price that would include a guitar at the status of 'the best the company has to offer'. As far as labor (not parts) costs go it costs about the same to make a pro level guitar than to make a cheapo. But I figured it would get mistaken that way.


I remember spending hours looking through those huge Sears catalogs that actually had straight-up electric guitars for sale....multiple pages....numerous models (mostly LP copies). No big names of course...'Harmony' being the most common.

Indulging in sentimental nostalgia is always nice but the reality is the market today provides good to superb quality instruments at practically all price points (relative to said price-point of course).

The ability to get that little kid just starting on guitar a high quality instrument at an affordable price might be the difference with that kid sticking with the instrument versus giving up due to quality deficiencies that make playing difficult at that stage.


Most of the responders missed the point entirely. The argument was in favor of a fixed quality guitar for a fixed price that would include a guitar at the status of 'the best the company has to offer'. As far as labor (not parts) costs go it costs about the same to make a pro level guitar than to make a cheapo. But I figured it would get mistaken that way.
You thought you were making an argument in favor of something? I thought it was some kind of sarcasm performance art.


Free enterprise for the most part is a good thing. At times it is not so good. The world is full of shuckers and hustlers and no industry is exempt from them. The Guitar Industry is no exception. When makers begin to offer a single model of a guitar with levels of quality you know it is time to rethink it. Back in the 50's and 60's a Tele, for example, was just that a Tele. Oh they came in a few colors and you could have them eventually with a maple or rosewood board. But that was it! The same model that Mike Bloomfield used on the famous Dylan Sessions at Columbia Studios in NYC (the one that Al Kooper innovated his brilliant organ work on "LIKE A ROLLING STONE" et al) was the same model Tele any dreamer could have purchased at any store that carried them across the country. NOW THAT WAS EGALITARIAN. You could get that guitar for the same exact price that Bloomfield or some kid with a paper route would pay.

We all had the same shot. And no matter where you bought it or who you were you had an equal shot at getting a pro guitar and you got it for the one and only price offered. But today...wow! Teles (or Strats, or Pauls or most any guitar) come in such a variety of price levels. It used to be that the pickups on a Tele were the same on all of the Teles made. That is the way it should be today. They made the best pups and guitars they could and offered them at a nominal price. This "Baskin-Robbins" idea of "29 flavors" is a rip off. By diluting the "Tele" into cheap/not so cheap/moderate/pro-leve/classic/top of the line compartments they have cheapened the guitar itself. It used to be that a Tele or a Strat or a Paul was a guitar of distinction. Nowadays you would have to go to the top of the line in order to get the quality that was so easily had back in the day. All you had to do was ask for a Tele and play one or two of them and off you went on the road to your dreams. So much for progress. I mean it costs the same to wind a cheap pickup as it does to wind a pro-quality pickup. Back in the day Fender and Gibson did not offer sub-standard products at any price point. Don't even get me started on the ploy of "artist models"!! Wow, don't.
I understand being ignorant; I have that problem in several areas. What I don’t understand is the compulsion to advertise it.


If I'm interpreting OP's rambling boomer-ese correctly, it is harder now to succeed as a successful musician because guitars come in at a range of price points. Am I doing this right? The ALL CAPS sort of gave it away.




Mike Bloomfield could buy a Telecaster (with no aid from his rich industrialist parents), as could the kid selling papers. Granted he must have sold a lot of papers to afford that equivalent-of-$1835 guitar but... errr... bootstraps. Courage favours the bold. Having to pay a lot of money for a guitar of quality is the very measure of equality.

The Telecaster was designed from the ground-up to be fabricated easily by unskilled labour using generic machining technology and principles. No fancy hide glues, jigs, clamps or French polishing acumen required. Cut out piece A. Cut out piece B. Assemble.

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