Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Great cheap guitars vs. a transcendent guitar

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by matrix, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    I played a D28 for the first time just this summer at a GC. It was very nice. I put it down before I got too attached, so I don't really know if it was transcendent.

  2. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    I think the word you are looking for is 'cowardice'. A true hero would have been brave enough to fall head over heels in love and still walk away

  3. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

    Apr 27, 2016
    I don't think there's a guitar out there that makes me play better. There are just guitars that I like to play more than other guitars, so if I'm playing them I tend to play longer and get better through practice.

    Where would I look for a guitar that I can enjoy playing more than the guitars I already have? Usually from a convenience sample of guitars tried out at a handful of stores near me.

    I dunno, I think a lot of what you're saying is very poetic and makes a great story, but that's not really the way I think of instruments. For me it's as simple as "I like this, I play this." or "I'm not liking this, I'm gonna look for a different one." My simple MIM tele definitely hits the former category every time! (Although I need to tighten the input jack soon... my cables keep falling out.)

  4. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    May 9, 2005
    "Cheap" and "transcendent" are not always mutually exclusive. The best Tele I have ever owned was a "mutt" partscaster where someone took Squier Vintage Vibe thin line body and replaced the neck with the largest aftermarket Tele neck available. At least the size of a Nocaster neck. They ambered the neck and gave it a satin finish. They also upgraded the bridge. It cost me less than $400, and it plays and sounds better than the Custom Shop Tele I had and better than the pink paisley reissue I had.

    Truth be told, it is probably as good as any of my guitars.
    Piggy Stu likes this.

  5. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    Apologies. The second half of my post was me being obtuse. Thanks for being so gracious and not blasting me! I do get where you're coming from.

    If the spirit of your question is about having one adored guitar over several well-liked but not adored guitars, I'd probably go with the one adored guitar. But if you mix real-world issues in there, then I'm basically saying what everyone else says. I need backup guitars for gigs and for the practice space; $2,500 is more than enough to buy an adored guitar and several more besides.

    And I stand by the first half of my original comment. What makes music great for me is not the physical experience of playing, it's the social experience of connecting with musicians and the audience. If you gave me a $2,500 gift card to a music store I'd probably buy a really nice gear cart, lighter-weight PA stuff, and things to make my performing job easier before new guitars even came into the equation. In fact if I got that gift card today I'm not sure I'd spend ANY of it on guitars.
    matrix likes this.

  6. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    "Discretion is the better part of valor."
    matrix likes this.

  7. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    Hard to catch what you are saying when you are running away so fast....
    Jupiter likes this.

  8. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Yup. I've been through it with guitars and bicycles. The right one for YOU just feels so right that it's almost like the gear disappears and leaves you with the activity with nothing between you and what you're doing, even though the activity requires very specific gear. Might not be "the one" for anyone else, but if it's the one for you, you just know it, you feel it. You have to have played or ridden enough to fully appreciate it, but it's real. It doesn't make you a better player or rider, but it DOES let you enjoy playing/riding SO MUCH that you just do it that much more, with none of the frustration that a mismatched piece of gear can cause, and THAT makes you better over time.

    I was a hard core rider for about 20 years and owned and built up a lot of bikes from the bare frame and fork. And I had two over that time that fit me perfectly and just disappeared when I rode em. And I rode them a TON. And I became the best cyclist I could be on those bikes. And I was never that great a rider - I was a "B" level club rider, "B+" in my strongest years. But nobody loved it more than I did.

    And I'm not a particularly good guitarist AT ALL, incredibly limited actually. But I've been a bad guitarist for a LONG time and I pretty much know myself as a guitarist and I've had that connection with an instrument a few times over the years. I currently have two guitars that feel that wonderful to me and I played quite a lot before I found them. But when I did, I knew it pretty quickly, within several minutes of playing them. They don't make me better, but they sure get out of the way and feel and sound right and let me be as good as I can be... That's all I can ask of a tool...
    midnight340, matrix and RLee77 like this.

  9. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Well said.
    A guitar that you connect with presents no barriers between the notes your fingers want and the notes that get played. I would argue that it can make you a better player because you're not fighting the instrument to get the notes out. There are a lot of factors that go into that -- frets, neck profile, feel, shape, weight, balance, finish, tone, etc -- but when they all come together just so, it's special.
    Piggy Stu and matrix like this.

  10. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    There used to be a time when a fella who wanted a basic Fender or Gibson or Martin would be required to shell out some serious cash.

    Mostly, guys wouldn't have that kind of money up front, every shop let them make payments on a long term layaway schedule.

    So, right up front, before any reservations are had you would have to have a certain level of work, patience, and dedication at least to the guitar itself if not music at large. It was pretty much a large self-investment.

    Lots of the worlds most timeless guitarists got started in this fashion.

    Now it's all about being quick, spoonfed learnin's, weekly cheap purchases, as the words whispered from the invisible hyper consumer deeply embedded in the conscience pour into our poor minds. It's hard to slow it all down in the information age.

    But, IMO, the guitar as a serious slice of pie was the better way to go. Although there are plenty of exceptions, it's a hell of a motivator, if not a piece of the "transcendence."

    Now, some folks buy expensive fiddles like a hoarder buys pawn shop squiers, it's just a fix for that addicted consumer mindset.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017

  11. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    I think it gets interesting in two price zones....

    a. that $200-$300 in "man 33 years ago when I was 20 you could only buy a piece of junk for $200". I have an older used Yamaha FG750S (beautiful solid top with laminated birch sides and back) that I bought with a ratty hard case for $200. It's nothing like my D28 but it's remarkable considering the price I paid. I think that Yamaha and CV Squiers fit this category. There are remarkable gems.

    b. That $500-$900 (often used) range...HWY-1 Fenders or better Fender Mexi's and Gibson Specials or Gibson Tributes or Gibson Faded models. I have a 60th Anniversary blizzard silver Mexi Strat with Tex Mex pickups. My silver strat plays itself. I have a P90 Les Paul Special that cost under $1000 new that is a treasure to me because of how it feels and sounds. I'll take the silver Strat and the LP Special with me as long as I can play and I have guitars that more but I think about the Strat and P90 Lester more.

  12. trouserpress

    trouserpress Tele-Meister

    May 4, 2015
    Jvin, can I use a no-load pot as blender with this mod?

  13. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    raysachs, I'm with you on the racing bike analogy. Another part of the analogy is over time something that fits you well can fit you even better as you sort of grow into it. I've been running the same Time road bike for about 15 years now. I loved it when I got it and built it up, and I love it even more now. That's a good thing because new pro-quality road bikes are now running over $8,000, which is totally ridiculous. I have some guitars that I've had for years and years and they all have grown on me as I've grown into them, so to speak. Maybe guys that flip guitars constantly never get that experience of having an "Old Faithful".....where the familiar, feel of it is totally part of your muscle memory. Think of how Brian May's guitar must feel to him. He's been playing that one guitar ever since he built it with his Dad's help.

  14. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    It's a body, a neck, and components, how those are put together, and setup; nothing magical involved. Nowadays, if you do your homework, $800 will get you a flawlessly-built guitar with professional, road-worthy components that will last you a lifetime. Anything past that is brand or builder reputation, a fancy finish, exotic wood, binding, inlays, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that - someday I still want to get myself a US PRS with a killer flame top. But I realize it won't play or sound any better than my other guitars, some of which cost a heck of a lot less. I've owned four guitars that sold for over a thousand bucks new, but the price isn't what makes them great guitars.

    When I was young I thought that $3000 guitars had something more to them than budget-friendly models. I remember finding one now and then and it just felt like butter; melted in my hands. Looking back it was all just that it had a great setup and a neck profile that I liked. Now that I know how to do a setup, my MIM Fenders feel just as good as those supposedly magical guitars from my past.

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