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Seems everyone wants the best option, but no one wants to pay for it. How did this happen?

We’ve all seen the threads.

“I need a delay that has tap, stereo, and 10 presets. What are my options under $50?”

“Man, seeking overdrive pedal. Must be the greatest drive tone I’ve ever heard. Needs plenty of clipping options, and a built-in boost. Budget is $60.”

“I’m looking for THAT sound! Classic rotating speaker, needs full stereo, amazing overdrive already built-in. Bonus points if it can cook me breakfast and do my taxes. Won’t spend more than $100.”

How did this happen? Why do we now expect that we can get the absolute best product available at such ridiculously cheap prices…?

All I’m saying is that we, as a group of musicians who are interested in gear, have to recognize that quality doesn’t usually come cheap.

IMPORTANT: I am not saying expensive = best. There are plenty of comparably affordable options that provide exceptional quality, even batting above the average for their price range.

I’m also not saying that affordable = bad. There are obviously diamonds in the rough, and these often have a way standing out from the crowd.

What I am saying is this: We accept the difference between entry level products and higher quality products in every other aspect of life, and we need to remember the same applies here.

Why is this important? Because there are incredible companies run by incredible people putting out incredible musical tools for us to use! We need to pay them what they deserve if we want them to keep doing what they’re doing.

If we can’t afford that right now? That’s ok, save up.

If I have a limited budget to spend on something, then I have two options:
1. Buy an entry level product that is within my budget, recognizing the quality in both build and sound will likely be lacking in some respects.
2. Save up until you have a bigger budget so you can afford something of a higher quality.


I don't have a ton of extra dough to spend on gear and sometimes I just gotta save for a month or two for good stuff. Otherwise I try and find a great deal on reverb and pull the trigger on it fast.

Some brands have been doing a great job making stuff for under $199. If the budget is 50-60, you may as well save a bit longer and get something in that price range.


Because the price of general electronic goods has dropped so steeply, and we expect a commensurate price decrease in guitar-related electronic items. You can buy a 70" 4K TV for $500. You can buy a desktop computer the will match/outperform a computer from 5 years ago for the same price as a boutique pedal.
Because with brands like Joyo and Caline you don’t -need- to spend more than $40. Most pedals from brands like Boss and MXR, that you’ll find on the vast majority of pro boards top out at $150-$200.

don’t get me wrong I love my $300 pedals, but once you pass that $150 mark you start getting into diminishing returns
this theory would be derided by pretty much everyone on here if you were to change the topic to designer clothes or branded sports shoes.

I can bring up Strymon because I actually think they make pedals that are about worth the money, but part of their brand strategy is that refuse to be included in sales so they can protect the image of their pedals as premium products. It's essentially a marketing theory that makes people place more worth on items if they're highly priced, strymon are using the fact their pedals are expensive as a selling point.

Another tell tale give away is too look how many companies have consistent pricing across their brand regardless of the actual products. How is it that a pedal company that sells super expensive digital reverbs also sells expensive rat clones? Why do all companies price their Fuzzes, ODs and distortions roughly the same when a Fuzz can cost anything between $30-$500.


It's All Been Done Before
Silver Supporting Member
People like settling I guess. “Poor QC? I’ll just buy another one!”

I’d rather spend more on something that works better whenever possible. There are choices on what to compromise on in life - a $200 stomp box vs a $50 stomp box is not a deal breaker.

You can argue that the cheapies keep getting better and better, but if I want to buy something once I want to buy the good one - not the cost cutter copy that’s 80% there.

I guess I’m fortunate that I’m a simpleton so I don’t need dozens of these things and perhaps if I did I’d be looking at cutting costs. To each his own.


Many years ago, my old man taught me something more valuable than money...

"You can buy a cheap tool ten times, or a good tool once"

Most expensive is certainly not always best, nor is least expensive always worst quality... but somewhere in the middle, the price meets performance.

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