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Do You Think That Some Guitars Are Way Over Priced?

Mornats

Hobbyist
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.

Yep, spot on. The only exception I'd make is if that fancy woodwork inspires you to pick up the guitar and want to make music moreso than a regular-looking one then maybe it's worth the extra money.
 
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Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
I had the great pleasure to try a 57’ Strat and it was an amazing experience.
Wanted to run off the shop with it.

I saw another collection of incredible instruments in Japan (those guys know their stuff). You can actually try them (with handkerchief on your tummy).
Most expensive was a 40.000€ Strat signed by Clapton (with a 00-something serial).

To answer the OP, nowadays cheap guitars have a good quality so yes, some branded guitars are a tad overpriced ;)
 

JohnG

Senior Member
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.

This is quite interesting, as I bought my Stratocaster in 1987, so maybe that was lucky? They convinced me to get the one with supposedly much better pickups so I did (had a job then!) and it still sounds nice to me.

Maybe just lucky? Maybe the amp makes more difference in my particular case?

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

That is a great story, Keith! My first guitar cost I think $45 from a pawn shop. Probably way overpaid.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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That is a great story, Keith! My first guitar cost I think $45 from a pawn shop. Probably way overpaid.
My first was £15, my second was £50 Black LP copy by Avon lol my third was £250 LP copy by Ibanez and then that's when i bought the Yamaha SG2000
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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I had the great pleasure to try a 57’ Strat and it was an amazing experience.
Wanted to run off the shop with it.

I saw another collection of incredible instruments in Japan (those guys know their stuff). You can actually try them (with handkerchief on your tummy).
Most expensive was a 40.000€ Strat signed by Clapton (with a 00-something serial).

To answer the OP, nowadays cheap guitars have a good quality so yes, some branded guitars are a tad overpriced ;)
Yeah those 'vintage' guitars where definately quality back then. That's why they feel so good, plus they have been well bedded by now.

Imagine how Kirk Hammett feels owning 'Greenie', jammy git lol
 

KEM

Ludwig Göransson Fanboy
Yes absolutely, anything by Fender, Gibson, or any older brand is incredibly overpriced, you’re paying for the name, but you’re not getting anything special. A lot of newer companies are making amazing, completely custom instruments for much cheaper than established brands and they’re of much higher build quality and have much more luxury features.

Check out Aristides, my favorite guitar brand by far and I plan on ordering a custom build from them in the near future:https://aristidesinstruments.com/
 

ynwtf

New Member
Personally, I feel the expense is more for the craft of a build, material, etc., than any practical gain in function. I am sure there are subtleties in intonation, balance, etc., but diminishing returns and such compared to what you as the player may need, want, or even perceive.

That said, my standards are low and I realize I would not likely appreciate those subtle improvements as a player. I would, however, love to have a handmade acoustic guitar and would be willing to pay a premium for that. As a "piece" of art, sort of, or a collectible type of perspective. Electric? Not so much.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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That said, my standards are low and I realize I would not likely appreciate those subtle improvements as a player. I would, however, love to have a handmade acoustic guitar and would be willing to pay a premium for that. As a "piece" of art, sort of, or a collectible type of perspective. Electric? Not so much.
Yeah i agree there, with acoustic, you can't change the sound with picups, the sound comes from the build and wood so the more expensive, generally the better quality and sound. The acoustic has to be built with quality for playability as there are no real setup aids.
 
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FlyingAndi

Active Member
Most of my guitars are in the $1000 range.
My most expensive guitar is a Parker Fly Supreme. While it is an amazing instrument, perfectly built with some (at the time) groundbreaking ideas, I cannot say that I enjoy playing it more (or less) than the last guitar I bought, a $300 baby blue Strat copy. I was actually surprised of the quality you can get today for that price.
I love all of my guitars. One of them is a JS100 (which was already mentioned twice in this thread).
Like @Keith Theodosiou I also switched the pickups on that one (for a PAF Pro and Fred) which made a big difference. It's probably the guitar I use the most. (The tremolo could be better, though).
 

KEM

Ludwig Göransson Fanboy
I remember when they launched a few years back. My initial reaction was WOW! lol

They’re an incredible brand!! One of the few where I think the prices they charge are absolutely worth it, everything is extremely high quality and built to perfection. My friend recently got one and it’s by far the best guitar I’ve ever played.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
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.


Well, that also specific to gibson's business plan. And the obvious bankruptcy that followed.

They had their run decades ago with high end les pauls selling great. Once china manufacturing started to catch up in quality, Gibson kinda said lets sell epiphones as the cheap brand and leas paul as high quality...

but somewhere in that period theuy upped the quality of the epiphones and yep.. as many poeple like you and me realized.. making a guitar is not rocket science or dificult as it was 30 years ago. now china can make pretty good guitars and les pauls started to look like they shoudnt have been that expensive to begin with... maybe some emotional attachment, brand loyalty etc helped.
Might be the realization that paying chinese manufacturing is a lot cheaper than paying US manufacturers. And nowaays its hard to say US made is "better" when we are typing on our chinese made iphones, taiwanese cpu and gpu desktops or south korean samsungs.

But still, a Gibsons from 1959 or 1969 will fetch for a lot of money.. not realy because they are better though. but because of the emotional attachedment and brand.

Same with mic preamps and microphones. like if it was dificult for chinese manufacturing to reproduce a tech from WW2 like neuman or neve preamps (1970s). But we convinced ourselves that neuman and vintage neve should cost 2000+ while warm audio or gap can sound exactly the same for most seasoned engineers. Every time there is a blind shootout at gearlsutz and no one can tell the difference from waves ssl compressor to a vintage ssl compressor to a 2200 compressor...

So i think it goes along with how music works. we are faimilair and confortable and the higher marketing powers made it be so we like specific music and and bands so we will like simialr bands or bands formed by memebers of said bands. familiaristy and emotional connection.
 

GP_Hawk

Member
No doupt there are some gems out there under $1000.xx I have a few. A 1983 black Srtat Elite I picked up for $650. The electronics were stripped out of it but it still had the lace sensors in it. Playability on this guitar was amazing but the pickups sounded like s#@! without the original electronics. So I wrote fender a nice email seeing if I could get the original electronics.. treble boost and all. And this surprised me but 3 weeks later, I received the original kit from fender with a note..."Hope this does the trick..." free of charge!
Anyways installed all the original components, but ended up putting dimarzio area 57, 63, and a chopper in the bridge.
I know a guy that collects custom shop fenders, gibsons, suhrs and has 40 + of them and he absolutely loves this guitar😁
 

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Stringtree

Senior Member
Louis, that's an extraordinarily pretty guitar... Or was. I'll bet it was heavy!

I bought a chipped American Tele off the floor at the Guitar Center for a big discount, and it's been my favorite. Instead of the neck being studded with sharp fret bits, it feels like soapstone. The sound is pure and it's got a lot of sustain.

My favorite effect to occur is when the guitar goes away and there's just the playing and the music. A cranky guitar often reminds me of itself and breaks that connection.

I think the same about microphones. When the mic goes away, it's doing a great job. A mic can be made by robots, but there's still some craft in building and setting up a guitar that lets a player just play.
 

NekujaK

Searching for the Lost Chord
A good friend of mine is a world class guitar player. Besides doing session work and touring with bands for decades, he's the go-to guitar guy for a fairly prominent boutique blues label, who send him tracks by bands they're recording, to have him replace and/or add guitar parts. He can play just about anything. For a couple of years, I took lessons from him, just to apply some structure on my sloppy self-taught chops and maybe hoping some of his magic might rub off on me :sneaky:

I've only ever owned Strats and Teles, but a while back, was working on a project where I really needed a humbucker guitar, plus it was high time I owned one anyway. So after a little research, I decided on a cheap Korean PRS model - I think it was less than $300. It's a decent guitar, and for someone with my mediocre skills and sporadic need to play parts, it fit the bill perfectly.

Shortly after I got it, I brought to my friend to have him check it out. I don't have to tell you what happened... the second he got it into his hands, he made it scream, wail, chug, cry, and shred in ways I could only dream of. If I closed my eyes, I wouldn't be able to tell he was playing a budget guitar.

At some point, talent eclipses any limitations a less expensive instrument might have. That's not to say there aren't bad guitars out there, but if the frets are true, it stays in tune, has decent pickups, and is assembled well, any decent guitar player can make it work. I mean after all, the original guitar EVH cobbled together for himself (the Frankenstrat) was certainly not a piece of high-end craftsmanship. He just got the basics right, and the rest was all Eddie.

Incidentally, my friend owns over 50+ guitars, but his absolute favorite - the one he uses as often as possible - is an early 1960s Strat with standard pickups. He sanded all the paint off the body, allowing the moisture in the wood to completely evaporate, resulting in the lightest electric guitar I've ever held - it's even lighter than my Ovation acoustic. The light wood gives it a really lively resonance and saves his back when playing gigs.
 

PaulieDC

1967 Bizzarrini (btw, don't own it, just love it)
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. View attachment 33706

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.

View attachment 33707
OH MAN, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A PICTURE OF MY BAND BACK THEN. 😂
 

PaulieDC

1967 Bizzarrini (btw, don't own it, just love it)
What are your thoughts and experiences?
Played electric YEARS ago then hung it up in the 90’s. In 2014 a couple folks in church asked if I could play acoustic guitar for them while they sang. I borrowed one, got the hands going again and got through it. My wife says “You play very well, YOU need to find and purchase a nice acoustic” (did I marry the right girl or what??).

Cut to the chase: I normally hate acoustics, so hard to play, but I got sold on a Yamaha A series due to YouTube. 800 bucks, and I thought that was a huge price, but the Mrs said “hit a store and try it out”. December 2014 I went to Guitar Center in Scottsdale (great acoustic room, you can try tons of guitars) and there it was, had a glowing halo around it. Until I played it. The neck felt like a 42 oz. Dick Allen bat and there was that midrange honky dated acoustic sound...YUK. So disappointed. I saw a Gibson that was $1100, tried that. Same thing, felt chunky, hard to play, dated sound. Saw a $1400 Martin, and after playing that with the same experience, I concluded that I’m a loser and it’s just me. Went to walk out, and saw this $2800 Taylor 714ce hanging on the wall, there was no room in the expensive glass case where higher end guitars normally live. I actually got TICKED. Why on earth would anyone charge $2800 and how good can it be?? RIDICULOUS. I pulled it down to play it so CONVINCED this was completely ridiculous to charge this much... and... oh my GOODNESS, the neck was like my best friend all my life. The TONE, even being rosewood, was nothing like I ever heard. It was so easy to play! Had a wider 1.75” nut for my Big weird hands. But the tone... and I then said OH GREAT, I found the blasted guitar of my dreams and it’s nearly 3 grand. There goes that idea. Came home and told my wife what happened and I reasoned that we cannot spend 3 grand on a guitar. She gave me that look over her glasses and said “Excuse me, the Lord can’t provide?”, and I can’t argue that so the plan was in place. Not sure when and how, but...

Two weeks later I’m watching the NAMM 2015 review vids and Mick from Guitarist Mag Did a video on these new Taylor 600 series maple acoustics, where they discarded the idea of bracing the maple like it was rosewood and completely redesigned to let the maple breathe, reasoning that orchestral instruments are maple and spruce so guitar makers have been bracing Maple wrong all these years. The result was so good that these things were w huge hit at NAMM. I was playing the vid where Mick is playing the huge Maple 618e and my wife walks in the office and says “WHAT GUITAR IS THAT??”. I explained it all, and she said That’s the one. And it is, the tone is like nothing else, it’s like a grand piano of guitars. Sweetwater had it for $78 a month for three years, and boom, we spend $2799 so I could play guitar. 5 years later, it still amazes me as soon as I pick it up. Oh, about the Lord providing... The guitar came in April (had to be ordered) and that same month two people in my church approached me about giving them guitar lessons (New venture for me). $80 a month for the two of them, then a few more joined in. The guitar was paid for by lessons, even after claiming it in taxes, in under two years. I never spent 5 bucks out of pocket. That makes this instrument even more special and worth every penny.

Yikes, that was long... sorry!
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
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.

Exactly. There are certain guitars that I love the look of, which draw me to pick them up, but that I find uncomfortable or difficult to play (I'm looking at you, Explorer and Flying V!).

It's almost like there's two separate worlds co-exisitng - the amazing curly maple finishes and beautiful craftsmanship in high-end guitars, and what the experience is when you're playing with your eyes closed.

Sure, there's some overlap - you don't want chintzy tuners, a bridge that's difficult to adjust, or a body shape that feels unbalanced or uncomfortable (I'm looking at you, upper horn on the Parker Fly!), but the aspects that let me get into the zone when playing are often not the things that you'd even notice just by looking at the thing hanging on the wall at the shop.
 
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Keith Theodosiou

Keith Theodosiou

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Played electric YEARS ago then hung it up in the 90’s. In 2014 a couple folks in church asked if I could play acoustic guitar for them while they sang. I borrowed one, got the hands going again and got through it. My wife says “You play very well, YOU need to find and purchase a nice acoustic” (did I marry the right girl or what??).

Cut to the chase: I normally hate acoustics, so hard to play, but I got sold on a Yamaha A series due to YouTube. 800 bucks, and I thought that was a huge price, but the Mrs said “hit a store and try it out”. December 2014 I went to Guitar Center in Scottsdale (great acoustic room, you can try tons of guitars) and there it was, had a glowing halo around it. Until I played it. The neck felt like a 42 oz. Dick Allen bat and there was that midrange honky dated acoustic sound...YUK. So disappointed. I saw a Gibson that was $1100, tried that. Same thing, felt chunky, hard to play, dated sound. Saw a $1400 Martin, and after playing that with the same experience, I concluded that I’m a loser and it’s just me. Went to walk out, and saw this $2800 Taylor 714ce hanging on the wall, there was no room in the expensive glass case where higher end guitars normally live. I actually got TICKED. Why on earth would anyone charge $2800 and how good can it be?? RIDICULOUS. I pulled it down to play it so CONVINCED this was completely ridiculous to charge this much... and... oh my GOODNESS, the neck was like my best friend all my life. The TONE, even being rosewood, was nothing like I ever heard. It was so easy to play! Had a wider 1.75” nut for my Big weird hands. But the tone... and I then said OH GREAT, I found the blasted guitar of my dreams and it’s nearly 3 grand. There goes that idea. Came home and told my wife what happened and I reasoned that we cannot spend 3 grand on a guitar. She gave me that look over her glasses and said “Excuse me, the Lord can’t provide?”, and I can’t argue that so the plan was in place. Not sure when and how, but...

Two weeks later I’m watching the NAMM 2015 review vids and Mick from Guitarist Mag Did a video on these new Taylor 600 series maple acoustics, where they discarded the idea of bracing the maple like it was rosewood and completely redesigned to let the maple breathe, reasoning that orchestral instruments are maple and spruce so guitar makers have been bracing Maple wrong all these years. The result was so good that these things were w huge hit at NAMM. I was playing the vid where Mick is playing the huge Maple 618e and my wife walks in the office and says “WHAT GUITAR IS THAT??”. I explained it all, and she said That’s the one. And it is, the tone is like nothing else, it’s like a grand piano of guitars. Sweetwater had it for $78 a month for three years, and boom, we spend $2799 so I could play guitar. 5 years later, it still amazes me as soon as I pick it up. Oh, about the Lord providing... The guitar came in April (had to be ordered) and that same month two people in my church approached me about giving them guitar lessons (New venture for me). $80 a month for the two of them, then a few more joined in. The guitar was paid for by lessons, even after claiming it in taxes, in under two years. I never spent 5 bucks out of pocket. That makes this instrument even more special and worth every penny.

Yikes, that was long... sorry!
It may have been a long story but it was definately an amazing story!!
 
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