Interesting Article - Are Expensive Guitars Worth It?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by gjohnson441496lpjr, Apr 13, 2019 at 2:25 PM.

  1. Exiled_On_Main_St

    Exiled_On_Main_St Member

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    Preference is one thing, but if you’re comparing why one Fender Strat is better than another, you’re looking at parts, features, stability, wood used, attention to detail (which is why handmade is generally better). Some woods are of higher quality. Harder to source, rarer, it’s a fact. If you use that wood the quality of the parts goes up, hence the overall quality is higher.

    You may like the cheaper guitar which is fine, but if you were looking at it objectively you would have go for the guitar with better parts and attention to detail. Mostly on the more expensive model.
     
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  2. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    That's funny.
    None of those things listed make a guitar better in any significant way.
    And some of them are not even wanted by many players.

    S Mac
     
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  3. Exiled_On_Main_St

    Exiled_On_Main_St Member

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    I disagree. I believe they do. Go figure.
     
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  4. macatt

    macatt Supporting Member

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    From the point of view of a working life long professional:
    Although I like some of those features, they don't necessarily make a guitar better or higher quality and can come with drawbacks of their own.

    IE:
    1. "Locking tuners increase stability and make it easier to restring"
    [They can also be heavier and many believe that they affect tone negatively. Many prefer vintage slotted tuners with no sharp end poking out.]

    2. "Graphite nut increases tuning stability and reduces string breakage."
    [Many/most players think this affects sound negatively as well, or at least makes open strings sound duller.]

    3. "Compound radius on a guitar makes playing and bending more comfortable at all areas of the neck."
    [Many, including me, prefer a uniform radius (like 9 1/2" or 12') and don't want the fretboard to get flatter higher up the neck.]

    4. "Compound necks make it easier to play at all areas of the necks."
    [Same as above.]

    5. "Contours on the body of the guitar make for a more comfortable playing experience."
    [Maybe to some, but others don't like the guitar sliding off their lap or leaning at a weird angle. (I like them though) Many Tele players hate the contours when added those guitars. Also; contours on a high end Gretsch? Gibson hollowbody? Not happening.]

    6. "Contoured heels make for easier access to higher frets."
    [I suppose yes, to a degree. I've never had a problem with it myself.]

    7. "Single piece bodies are generally of better quality."
    [Single piece bodies are rare as hen's teeth even on high end guitars. Also there is no proven or obvious advantage.]

    Most of those things are simply preferences and not necessarily quality improvements.

    Here's what really makes a difference for the better in more expensive guitars:
    Meticulous construction and high quality workmanship; the near perfect fitting of parts and details like rolled fretboard edges, perfect fret work, high quality bone, tusk, brass, or roller nuts (you choose), high quality bridges and high quality electronics.
    A super high quality finish is a huge plus also and only found on a more expensive guitar even though it has no effect on it's playability.

    To illustrate my last paragraph about the real the difference between average and high quality for instance, look closely at the difference between an Electromatic and a Proline Gretsch costing three times as much or more. In cases like that I completely agree that more expensive guitars are worth it.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 7:51 AM
  5. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Silver Supporting Member

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    I've found with guitars, as is the case with most things in life, paying less to get less is not something that appeals to me. I guess I'm less motivated to compromise in my aging years as I was forced to do as a younger fella. People have their own barometers as to what's perfectly fine and what constitutes an unnecessary indulgence but I've never stumbled on a $500 Suhr. These so-called "as good as a Suhr, Anderson, Vigier, etc" claims for Indonesian-built guitars might as well be unicorns because I've never played one.

    Are expensive guitars worth it? That's a question that comes down to personal choice but it sure is easier to find a great expensive guitar than it is to find a great cheap guitar.
     
  6. gjohnson441496lpjr

    gjohnson441496lpjr Member

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    Appreciate your comments.
     
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  7. gjohnson441496lpjr

    gjohnson441496lpjr Member

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    This^. I mentioned that I'm in the process of buying a Gibson ES 235. Out of all the merchants in Nashville I only found one place last week that had one. I inquired about it this morning and it was sold. I'm glad I called first because I wanted to take my Mesa with me to try it out on. The sale may have been a blessing in disguise because Sweetwater has a boatload of configurations of the ES 235 that are not even on the Gibson website.

    Staying on topic, the Gibson website has the ES 235 in a few colors and without binding on the neck, but Sweetwater has more binding and finish options. After reading a considerable amount of consensus on this subject about construction, quality and electronics, I'm now considering one with more options. I consider myself to be thrifty but I want to go for it. Why not?

    :agree
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Member

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    I remember when Concord and Electra guitars, at $200, were considered good budget guitars. When they were introduced where I was in 81 or so, the improvement they represented was substantial. Other new guitars in the same price-range were definitely outshined. I guess I should invite you off the lawn while I wave my cane.

    The only Platinum BCR I've played was a Warlock bass. I pressed it into duty for a couple of demos. It wasn't a good bass, but it did have a couple of usable sounds.
     
  9. SDR

    SDR Member

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    1. Can the action be set low and work on all 21-24 frets across all six strings?

    2. Can the guitar be properly intonated and hold?

    3. Does the guitar generally stay in tune?

    4. If electric, do the pickups, pots and wiring carry the signal to the amp without undue interference?

    Give me those four things and I’m set. Generally however guitars under $600-$800 have a very hard time doing all four in my opinion.
     

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