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When cheaper gear is better


I have 3 guitars I pick up and play 95% of the time. A 80's MIJ Squier Strat I paid $175, a Squier VM Thinline Tele that I have $200 in after the Bill Lawrence Keystones and a LTD Phoenix 200 that I paid $250 for with a hsc. I could easily sell off all my other guitars, except for a couple that have sentimental value.

I am working on a scratch build of a Explorer Phoenix type guitar. If all goes well I will probably sell the LTD ff as well.

As for amps I am in a middle of a purge, but my main players are a Jet City JCA20H and a Blackstar HT-1 both picked up used. I plan on keeping my Blackstar Core10 and my Ceriatone 2550 and everything else is going. I will be in the market for a Soldano here hopefully in a couple months but really it appears my amp quest will come to a close.


Silver Supporting Member
I never had much desire to join the boutique gear market, with the possible exception of pedals. Now, I would be hard pressed to even consider a pedal over $200. There is way too much in the way of affordable gear that is good enough to record and gig with. And, unless you have unlimited funds available, every gear purchase you make has an opportunity cost. It's always helpful to know what that cost is.

Buying the gear is one thing. Being able to maintain it is a whole other challenge.


There is a balance of everything, a compromise.

For example, if something is half the price it's easier to take the chance on it and not regret it if you don't use it or like it as much. It might be 97% as good, so you can be happy.

Some people are willing to pay for that extra 3%

It depends on the player and how badly you want it. How much you personally will value or appreciate it. I don't pay attention to names very often though.

I view music gear the same as everything else in life, even internet providers.. I want the highest quality connection for the best bang for buck price. The right balance depending on how much I will use it or value it. I don't need a $500 internet bill per month, and at the same time couldn't be happy with a starter plan that requires conserving and restricting your internet use.

I also think it's important to be able to use or maximize any gear and not have to rely on top stuff to get "your sound". It's good to be able to play on any guitar neck, to sound good on any amp, and to get your sound out of any brand of pedal.

However there is a lot of great stuff out there, and that's cool too. It's nice to appreciate that high end stuff, and value what it does for you.

For someone they could underappreciate their $300 OD and for another, they could highly value their $50 OD and it's just about finding something and that it suits your needs and that you use it frequently and appreciate it. Someone else could have the $300 OD and appreciate the crap out of it. If you do that, it means you made the right choice.. regardless of it's price.


Silver Supporting Member
Let's not confuse price and boutique. There's some amazing deals on used boutique gear out there. For me I don't expect as much out of my gear if I don't have too much invested. I've had $3500 amps that I was super critical of because all of my money and then some was tied up in it. So it damn well better be perfect. I just got a Divided by 13 CJ11 and a Timmy pedal. It's one of the best rigs I've ever had and the total invested is $1400. It's not cheap but it's not over the top expensive either. And it sounds and feels fantastic. It's not perfect, but for that price I'm ok with that. I've seen a ton of great boutique amps for less lately. Just because it's a small builder doesn't make it elitist...


My little Hughs & Kettner TM18 with an EVM12L in the HK cab really thrills me with its tone, volume and versatility. My boutiques are jealous and soon will have new homes.


I cant really discuss this topic about amps, I dont have any low cost amps right now. Though I have had some major disappointment with some higher end amps such as the Egnater Tourmaster 4100, and Fender SuperSonic.

I have found this topic to be true concerning guitars and effects though. I have an MIM strat that cannot be beat, since I have had it I have bought and sold 2 USA strats thinking they would be even better. Wrong! Idk what it is about this strat that I snagged used for about $250, but Ill never sell it.

Also, I have a Joyo Vintage OD that has beaten out several other OD's on my board: Rocktron Austin Gold, BBE Green Screamer, and even the Ibanez TS9 itself.

I love cheap gear.

dewey decibel


I often said I could gig with a used Hot Rod deluxe and a dirt box and be fine.
I'm glad I don't have to, but I could no problems. And will if I ever need the $$ bad enough.

I used to have daydreams about what cheap gear I would pick up quickly to replace all my vintage/expensive stuff. Kinda weird thing to daydream about...


Silver Supporting Member
I'll add one example. My Ibanez Korean made IC300 is a beast for metal oriented music. I've owned more expensive metal guitars such as ESPs and Jackson (both fine companies just more expensive end guitars) but my cheapy Iceman sounds so good and I only paid $300 for it (used with case). I've got so many nice remarks on my tone, not only from guitar players but from non guitar players (which to me is a indicator how good the tone is if non guitar-nerds are able to hear the difference).

My Iceman also has a EMG 85 in it which of course helps a great deal.


Senior Member
I like the sounds I get out my Tweaker 15 head MUCH better than what I got our of a THD Bivalve or the Groove Tubes Soul-O-Single. Paid $285 for the Tweaker which was less than I've paid for pedals. By far the best bargain I've ever found. 3 years of daily use and not even a glitch. Value per dollar off the charts.


Lactose Intolerant Guitar Slinger
My Epiphone B.B. King Lucille through my Marshall 6101 30th Anniversary. $1100. Guitar was 500 new amp 600 used. Amazing tone.

The 6101 was not a cheap amp new though.


1. Bad Monkey is $20 used, $50 brand new; it eats many a booteek OD pedal for breakfast.

2. Used Marshall JMP or JCM800 is in the $1000 or so range; eats many a booteek handwired head for lunch.

3. Tokai Love Rock is $1000--1500 range; eats some of the LP Standards from Gibson for supper, or at least hangs with them.

4. TS808--why squander $600 on a vintage one, or even $170 on the reissue? Get a used TS9, $60 or so, and for $1 worth of parts, convert it to 808 spec.

5. Why blow $$$ on fancy pedalboards made out of aircraft-grade powder coated aluminum? Plywood, 1x4 lumber, and a can of black spray paint and you're ready to rock.


Silver Supporting Member
I like my MIM Nashville Tele just as much if not far more than many of the American Teles I've played, a couple extensively. There have only been 2 that I liked better. They were also 3X the cost. But they didn't play or sound 3X better. Maybe about 10%.

For some things I like my SE Custom over my CE24.

I like my HRDX as much as my '70 Bassman. And I love my Bassman.


Platinum Supporting Member
Chalnick ValClone one of my favorites.
Timmy is a great Transparent overdrive

Got some used stuff at great deals - Cage 18/00, Soloway Swan ... others


Agreed unless what they "don't really like" about the Soldano is that they can't afford it. Which is almost always the case (I assume you agree hence the wink). I would be willing to bet that over 95% of Jet City owners have never even plugged into a SLO. I'd also be willing to bet that over 95% of the Jet City owners on TGP will claim they have :D
I completely disagree with this. I've gone through more amps than I can count and at certain times when I've been shopping for amps I've been able to afford more expensive amps but I've found that cheaper amps sounded better to me.

For example, if we're talking about just tone, I'll take a Bugera V22 over almost any Mesa that costs 4 or 5 times as much. Or a Palomino that cost me $300 over a DRRI.

Nowadays cost has very little to do with tone.

As for whether a SLO sounds better than a Jet City, sure, in my opinion it does, but will that be the case for everyone? Some people may prefer the JC's tone.


Silver Supporting Member
I like my MIM Nashville Tele just as much if not far more than many of the American Teles I've played, a couple extensively. There have only been 2 that I liked better. They were also 3X the cost. But they didn't play or sound 3X better. Maybe about 10%.
Oh, you got that right! I LOVE my MIM Nashville.


I'm freakishly satisfied with my Recording King dread ($350), guild gad212 ($700) and mim strat.

I was almost satisfied with many prior amps, but I upgraded until I got an express 5:50 and I'm perfectly happy here.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


When it's being stolen or having beer spilled on it

I love playing my sg faded...one of, if not the best feeling guitar i have played for my personal preference.

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