If it costs a lot, is it better?

Jack DeVille

Full disclosure: this is research for my professional endeavors. Mods, if this is out of line/whack, just lemme know and I'll delete the thread. :)

With that disclaimer out there:

Is an expensive piece of kit better? My experience has shown me that pieces that cost more are generally perceived to be of higher quality, while bargain-priced pieces are often regarded as inferior/lower-quality; regardless of actual quality/performance of the item.

Penny for your thoughts, TGP?


Silver Supporting Member
There’s a fuzzy line. When the cost of goods vs sale price is an unreasonable margin , expensive is not better- it’s greedy.

Clark GriswoId

Looks Great. Little Full, Lotta Sap.
Silver Supporting Member
Not, in my experiences, all the time.

Most are all 1 trick ponies, regardless of price point.
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I assume that most bargain priced gear is "hit or miss".
I assume that most top shelf gear is just hype / marketing.

I really only trust the mid priced offerings.
By I am a "value over flash", kind of guy.


Gold Supporting Member
Nope. But, that being said, if you price your stuff lower than other goods (pedals) of comparable quality/construction, I believe the market will believe the higher priced kit to somehow be objectively "nicer" based upon the price tag alone.

It's easy to forget that a pedal you bought on blowout for $50 was once a pedal that folks were glad to pay $150-$200 for. And you file it away in the back of your mind with the other "$50 pedals" you've bought, no matter the difference in quality/performance.

So, if you don't price your products accordingly, you can/do risk having your customer base subconsciously group it as being inferior. (Priced too low- must be a budget pedal when everything else in the field commands 25-100% more than what you ask; priced too high- unwieldy expectations.)
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Diminishing returns is definitely in play, but I’m not exactly sure where it lies. I do know that I’ve been happier with my moderately to reasonably priced pedals than with the bargain bins I’ve bought over the years. Can’t say the higher priced ones are that much better than the moderate to reasonable priced ones


Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Strymon sells multiFX but keeps a long arms reach away from the multifx label.
- it'd be interesting to see what would happen if someone interviewed Mr Strymon at, say, NAMM, and asked him 'what his next multifx box was going to be'... they tasty bit would be how he handles the 'multifx' label.

Chase Bliss : still not sure how they allure draws an extra 150 for each pedal.
In these days, the content truly isn't that astoundingly different.

Kingsley : tubes. Tubes in pedals. Or their equivalent.
<shakes head> many flavors, but a pedal that costs as much as an amp head... I guess I'm in the wrong business.

Much of it will be in the outer esthetics, and does it allow the avg TGP'er to deny that they bought a glorified multifx, or an up-hyped nice device with many, many knobs and controls. Subtle solid colors... maybe tending towards metalics.

I dunno, Jack.
Many can play at that.game, but it seems that there's gotta be some mystique in the backstory before the hype starts to feed itself. I'm not a fan of hype.

If there was a way to give your customers control over many of the parameters of the basic Blood and Chrome algorithms, maybe they'd pay more... much more.

? Stack six Tapex2 engines in series, give the user controls over the tap-positions/lengths and convince them it's a reverb?
No, not srs.

? Create a better IR-loader (to take advantage of all the reverb IR's out there) and come up with a UI that allows the user to tweak some aspect of that IR.... basically, make an ePsi with sexy packaging and convince the kids they can load up anything they want. Build in the capability to load cab-sims in the same box.

I dunno Jack.
Personally, I'd like to see you play in the higher-margin market... no need for you to slug it out with the hundred-buck micro pedal folks.


I did an experiment recently - bought a Aroma "bluesy vintage blues" overdrive online, paid $30. Sounded all right, nothing special. Then I bought the same pedal from some guy on CL, and (to his surprise and delight) gave him $300 when we met up to do the deal. (Asking price was $15). Now check this out: not only did the CL pedal sound 10 times better than the one I bought online, no ... it actually sounded 20 times better than what I imagine it would have sounded like had I paid the original price of $15!

Science is amazing, people. The only question I still have is this: what does a pedal that you didn't pay for at all sound like?
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Yes. Unless there's cost allocation to hype, Instagram factor, basically stuff to make em look good on style points but not on engineering points.

My Gurus 1959DD (back when Gurus was still good) is miles above others. My Becos Compiq Stella is preferred for me. In the pedal world it gets blurry but there is a discernible cost of entry for a next tier.

For guitars, my Sugi DS499 and Deimel Firestar are miles above than my other boutique options. But they do cost a lot more too. Where most boutique options cost 3k in my currency those are 5k and above.

My expensive cables sound heaps better than my cheaper ones. My expensive power supply is more reliable than my old one. My expensive picks are better too. Honestly once you've been doing this for over a decade and done circuits with good enough pricing, there are items that push quality with pricing.

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