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Do You Think That Some Guitars Are Way Over Priced?

Mornats

Hobbyist
I'm talking electric basses rather than guitars but the principal is the same. There are three basic levels of basses for me and they typically match the Fender range. At the bottom there's the Squiers, then the Mexican made Fenders, then the USA made Fenders. Prices are around £350 / £650 / £1800 I think. I own a Squier VM jazz (£240 when I bought it) a Mexican P bass (£514 back in 2015) and a Yamaha (we, can't actually remember the cost). Anyway, when I bought the Squier and the MIM Fender I compared them both against the USA models to see if saving up and going for the "proper" version was worth it. To be honest, none of the USA ones matched up the cheaper ones.The USA Fender P bass was lighter and felt a little easier to wear as a result but there was maybe £150-200 difference in quality but not over £1000 difference. I actually preferred the Squier jazz over the USA jazz I compared it against. I was actually a little disappointed that I had no justification to splash out and treat myself.

I think one key difference is that the shop I bought them in had a member of staff who loved setting up basses correctly so he set up all the ones that came in. That setup pushed the quality of the cheaper basses so much closer to that of the expensive ones.

So my recommendation would be to try and find a guitar that you just gel with and love playing and if it's a cheap one, pay an expert for a good setup. It'll save you hundreds.
 

Nils Neumann

Senior Member
Some guitars are definitely overpriced! I think after around $2k for an electric, the return on investment is relatively weak in terms of quality in general. However, for an acoustic instrument like a steel string guitar or a classical guitar, the cost is much higher, especially for classical guitars. There can be a world of difference between a classical guitar costing 2k vs. an instrument costing 6k.
I think with acoustics you really have to play a ton of them in a big store with a big selection. Then you can potentially find a incredible sounding guitar for a good price.

I found acoustics to be way more personal then electric guitars. Even in the same product line they can sound and feel very different. Again with electrics not so much.
 

Nils Neumann

Senior Member
I'm talking electric basses rather than guitars but the principal is the same. There are three basic levels of basses for me and they typically match the Fender range. At the bottom there's the Squiers, then the Mexican made Fenders, then the USA made Fenders. Prices are around £350 / £650 / £1800 I think. I own a Squier VM jazz (£240 when I bought it) a Mexican P bass (£514 back in 2015) and a Yamaha (we, can't actually remember the cost). Anyway, when I bought the Squier and the MIM Fender I compared them both against the USA models to see if saving up and going for the "proper" version was worth it. To be honest, none of the USA ones matched up the cheaper ones.The USA Fender P bass was lighter and felt a little easier to wear as a result but there was maybe £150-200 difference in quality but not over £1000 difference. I actually preferred the Squier jazz over the USA jazz I compared it against. I was actually a little disappointed that I had no justification to splash out and treat myself.

I think one key difference is that the shop I bought them in had a member of staff who loved setting up basses correctly so he set up all the ones that came in. That setup pushed the quality of the cheaper basses so much closer to that of the expensive ones.

So my recommendation would be to try and find a guitar that you just gel with and love playing and if it's a cheap one, pay an expert for a good setup. It'll save you hundreds.
You are so right about set up! It‘s crazy how much you can improve your guitar if you learn to do it correctly.
There is so much intonation an feel just in the bridge.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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So my recommendation would be to try and find a guitar that you just gel with and love playing and if it's a cheap one, pay an expert for a good setup. It'll save you hundreds.
Yes that is excellent advice. Nearly all manufacturers only do a basic setup in the factory. I even had a normal Squire Strat, not the cheaper Bullet though but the normal one, i had it set up properly and i added better 'hot' single coils to it and it was really great to play, it surprised me to be honest.

There is this 'thing' about having the name Gibson or Fender on the headstock but if you can get past that, then there is no reason not to go cheaper in this day and age.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
That setup pushed the quality of the cheaper basses so much closer to that of the expensive ones.

So my recommendation would be to try and find a guitar that you just gel with and love playing and if it's a cheap one, pay an expert for a good setup. It'll save you hundreds.

I agree.

I have a "studio" Stratocaster that I bought many years ago for something around $1k and, despite the name brand, the setup is more important than the instrument, as far as fun playing. Put it through a tube amp and it sounds very nice.

Maybe something more expensive would be better? IDK

The workshop in Los Angeles I use, recommended by the best guitar player I know: Renson Guitar Shop, 818 761 4766 Very old school and not too expensive, considering.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
There‘s always something better, but is it 2,000 dollars better?

Yuze guys made me want to buy an SG again.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Yes, nearly all the "high end" models. They're glorified phallic symbols and objects of mythical desire. Mainly targeted at men, which makes it worse so.

It most definitely is true for electrics. Acoustics is a different topic.
 

fish_hoof

Active Member
I think when its your main instrument, the price does matter. Ive owned everything from a $100 guitar to a $6000 PRS Hollowbody. I will tell you... I had more fun playing the PRS than the $100 guitar. Even the $1k guitars I've owned. I think when you are a master of your craft, I think you want the quality to go with it. Ive been playing for 25+ years, and while not a master... I would sooner put the money in to a top quality guitar and really enjoy the instrument. To me, there is just something creatively special when playing an instrument that was created with such craftsmanship.

I'm sure the same would go for a violinist... there's the $1k violin, then there the stradavarious.

Maybe I'm nuts... who knows. But I don't think they are overpriced, I think it depends on your talent and dedication to learning and playing the instrument. For another illustration, its like someone learning to race cars. We might look and say a Ferrari is overpriced compared to a Corvette. However, someone who really knows cars and its their passion and have a true talent for racing... would absolutely know the difference and say it's not overpriced.

Ok....I've had a beer or two and now rambling. Maybe I AM nuts.
 

easyrider

Senior Member
All depends on the end user and their perceived value...I have an American Deluxe Stratocaster and although it’s beautifully made and sounds incredible...I never really play it...I have a Gibson Les Paul Zebrawood and I’m indifferent about the thing!

I have loads of guitars...

But this thing I love dearly....1998 Fender collectors Edition Telecaster.In 1998, Fender produced a limited run of Collector's Edition Telecasters modeled after a '55 with gold hardware.

Bought it used for £700 And I’ve been offered much more for it...but the value to me has nothing to do with price...

ilpRPgL.jpg
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
So, i am saying this because of what i experienced.

In my time i have had loads of guitars, Yamaha, Fender, Gibson, Ibanez and so on.

Quality, yes, playability, yes. Sound, yes.
But this is what i noticed a few years ago.

My situation was a bit hard but i needed a guitar as i didn't have one.
So i went to the music shop and bought an Epiphone Les Paul Plustop Pro at £350. I played it in the shop and i was impressed.
I played it at home and i was even more impressed.
The quality of the build, the sound it made, everything. Anyway, a year later, i came into a large sum of money.
Now, do i go and buy a high end guitar. I fought it and fought it and the thing that tipped it for me was, having just lost my sister who was only 55, she had gone through her life saving and saving but being to scared to buy the things she really wanted in life.

So , I made up my mind, live for the monment and enjoy it. I went to the shop and i bought a Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop 59 re issue at £5600.00.
View attachment 33638
Yes, It is a gorgeous guitar and yes it sounded gorgeous and ok, its is hand built buy the craftsmen at Gibson but,
That Epiphone i had that i had just sold after getting the Gibson was actually very close in quality build and even sound.

Even a Standard Gibson Les Paul can be up to 4 times the amount of the Epiphone.


So, in this day and age, are we paying just for the 'name'. There are loads of guitar makers out there now that build quality guitars for a fraction of the price. It was different 30 years ago but now, there is quality everywhere.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

I did end up selling the Gibson and with that money, i bought a few more instruments.
I used to work in a VERY high end vintage guitar store. I've played just about everything you can think of... 50's Teles & Strats, 57 Goldtops and 59/60 LPs, Original White Flacons and Roundups, even John Enstwistle's Broadcaster (straight out of a personal collection and thoroughly verified). I've handled some pretty incredible guitars in my time...

We also sold newer second hand stuff for players though. There really is a huge difference when you play a 59 LP or 57 Tele vs anything new. Now am I suggesting someone mortgage their house for 59 or 60 LP? No! (Unless you're into that kind of thing :P)

That said all of the major guitar brands have really declined in quality over the decades. That quality decline goes back a LONG time, but with each successive decade the decline is noticeably worse. You really notice it when you handle guitars from all decades day in and out... Even the same guitar models made in the early to mid 80s are a lot nicer compared to more recent ones.

IMO if one were in the market for an LP in the higher (NON-vintage) price range I'd look at an early 80s heritage instead, or something around that same era. It'll cost you the same or less, and the age will give it a nice bite that only comes with time as the instrument ages... With anything used/vintage vet your dealer before impulse buying anything. There's A LOT of fucked up used guitars out there.


I'll flog my shop if you're lookin for vintage or players stuff. They have plenty of realistically priced guitars, not to mention plenty of eye candy for guitar fetishists :P
(Lots of fun/quirky stuff under "other")

 
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Sly

New Member
I think if an instrument inspires you to push your creative boundaries then it is good value regardless of its cost (as long as the kids aren't going hungry because you bought it lol!). Thanks to manufacturing methods it is more difficult to find a really poor quality instrument these days compared to when mist of us started playing.
 

dgburns

Leg Ahh toe / Shpeig haw too
You can pay alot more for a guitar today than 30 years ago. There’s also more choice and price range. And as others have said, the low end is where the quality has come up a fair bit, I think mostly because of competition in the price range people are most likely to spend.

I take a rather unscientific approach to shopping. I consider buying if I sit down and ideas start coming out when I play the thing. I wrote half a soundtrack within 15 min of sitting down with a particular 8 strg. It was on the lower end of cost. No love with the higher end model.

I bought a Jeff Beck strat a few years back. It was a 30 sec buying decision, it was just a case of that guitar was coming home with me period. We bonded right away.

My late 80’s 1957 re-issue Les Paul Black beauty and I required about 25 years to get in the zone. That thing sounded ok when new (read midrange strong) but it has opened up in recent years into a way more open sound with a rainbow of nuance. Now we get along famously.

Like candy, you can’t have just one, lol.

Was deep into vintage for a while, but it not always a given that old means more desireable. I’ve played a few vintage dogs.

If you strap one on and it ‘speaks’ to you, priceless. Sometimes it’s instant, sometimes it takes a lifetime.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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When I was about 17, I was heavily into Jimmy Page so i wanted a Les Paul Standard.

This was around 1975. I persuaded my dad to be my guarantor so i could get one on HP. He said ok, Fantastic! we wnt to the music shop and i spoke to the owner.
Now, he said to me, Les Pauls are great yeah but there is a new guitar out that in his opinion was better quality and in fact, Carlos Santana had just started using it. The Yamaha SG2000 Sunburst. 1248-450x600.jpg

It's the same price as a Les Paul Standard which was around £550 back then.
He said, try the Les Paul then try the Yamaha and decide for yourself what one you want.

So i tried both. Now, as much as Jimmy Page was my hero and i wanted to look like him, the Yamaha felt a lot better to be honest. The craftmanship was top notch too. It just felt amazing to play so, i bought the Yamaha.

You never know untill you try something and compare it to something else.

And here is me playing it (i'm in the orange top) and i loved that guitar.

Me 1976.JPG
 

GtrString

Senior Member
Guitar prices are all over the place. To my experience they are priced according to how much work the manufacturer has put into it, but that work does not always translate into a superior instrument. Often it is, though, once you have it set up properly. I think more expensive guitars are usually easier to set up, maybe due to the better quality components. Easier to get the sound you are looking for, if you know your tone.

That said, Ive sold every Gibson Ive had (4), due to ergonomics, tuning issues ect. I have a Reverend, which are priced like a Mexican Fender, and the Reverend’s quality is unrivalled by any guitar Ive ever had (20+). I also like Fenders, they come in all price ranges, are easy to set up and always has the right vibe.

But today the cat is out of the box, you can buy bodies, necks, parts and assemble a great guitar yourself, unbranded. Heck you can even draw up your own designs and have it cnc’d far east, and print your own parts with a 3D printer. So buying brands isnt as special as it once was, thats why vintage gtrs are sought after (you buy a part of history, not just a guitar).

So I think brands have lost some value, which prices should reflect. But they also do to some extent, as you get a lot of guitar for around 1k. No need to pay more these days.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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Three years ago, i bought one of them kit guitars just to see what they where like. £100 and build youself. So, i sprayed it, bought some decals and put it all together. The Tree of Life inlays are actual inlays not decals.

Ok, it is a bit hard to play but with better parts and a bit of adjustments, it would be actually fine.
It does look the nuts though lol


View attachment Guitar Kit.mp4
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
If it's "just" a guitar, even if it's a super-fancy Les Paul or whatever, yeah... it does get to a point where it's a bit ridiculous. Beyond a certain point you're not buying sound or even playability, but buying really nice woodworking. Curly / Flame maple tops look beautiful, but do they sound better than the flat-black painted version? Not to my ears. I pick 'em by ear, not by eye.

It's a little different story when you're talking about different pickups / tuners / bridges, active electronics, and next-generation science-fiction stuff like sustainers, Variax engines, hex pickups, Paul Vo engines, etc. I'm definitely guilty of spending big on that stuff. But consider that even my Parker Adrian Belew cost less than that "normal" Les Paul in the first post - as nice as it is, compared to the cyber-guitar that the Belew is, it's "just" a guitar. When it comes to Les Pauls, give me one that feels, plays, and sounds good and I don't care what color it is.

But some folks will pick a guitar (or a car) for reasons other than the obvious functionality, and that's okay too. When it comes to a car, will the people you're driving to meet know or care whether you arrived in a Prius or a 1970 HemiCuda convertible? Not unless they were watching you pull up. Likewise, when people listen to the music you recorded, will they know or care whether you used that $6k Les Paul or a pawn-shop Epiphone? Again, not unless they were watching you record it.

Results, people, it's all about results. (Unless it's not.)
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
I used to go for mid end guitars, and played on a lot of cheap guitars. That said, I did decide to pick up a YJM strat when switching to 6 string, and all in all - it lived up to the price tag. Like with anything - you reach a point where you're well into diminishing returns, but from top to bottom it was just well built. Granted that's only 1650$, but it does feel like corners weren't cut - unlike the JS100 which I was happy to get rid of.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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Results, people, it's all about results. (Unless it's not.)
Of course, but what i'm saying is the results of todays cheaper guitars match the results of todays expensive guitars pretty well.

Back in the day, everyone wanted to 'sound like' Hedrix, Peter Green, Clapton and so on and the only way to have done theat in them days was buy the guitars they had.

Now you can sound like that with cheap guitars. The look of a guitar is just down to the taste of the guitarist.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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I used to go for mid end guitars, and played on a lot of cheap guitars. That said, I did decide to pick up a YJM strat when switching to 6 string, and all in all - it lived up to the price tag. Like with anything - you reach a point where you're well into diminishing returns, but from top to bottom it was just well built. Granted that's only 1650$, but it does feel like corners weren't cut - unlike the JS100 which I was happy to get rid of.
I had a JS1000 and it was beautiful specially for £1400 Now i still have a JS100 and i still like it to be honest. I just put a Mojo pu on the bridge and it's fine.
 
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