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After All, it's just Wood & Glue, Right?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Monte Allums, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Monte Allums

    Monte Allums TDPRI Member

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    A guitar, whether made by Gibson, PRS, Fender, etc., is just wood and glue, right? The other components all add up to make the sum total of an instrument. Guitar manufacturers would like us to believe that fancy figured woods and exotic fretboards all have superior tonal properties. I say hogwash. Don’t get me wrong, the aesthetics of any instrument does play a part in the guitar’s desirability. But trying to sell me on some marketing mojo that exotic woods possess? Sorry, I ain’t buying it.



    If you want to make music you can do it as successfully with an upgraded Squier as you can with a PRS Dragon. Don’t get me wrong, I love eye candy as much as the next player but as I’ve gotten older (and I’m really old) tone and playability have become much more important than the aesthetic of my guitars. In a free market society manufacturers must hype their mojo in order to compete in the world guitar market. And as the Asian guitar manufacturers have gotten better at making their wares, the American manufacturers are being faced with competing on the world stage.



    Throw in the fact that China manipulates their currency. $100 USD in China will buy somewhere around the equivalent of $300 to $400 worth of goods in China. It’s not a level playing field and I fear the Asian manufacturers will gain more and more market share as a result. Add to that all the patent and licensing fraud along with the fakes being sold, this paints a very dire reality for many guitar manufacturers worldwide. As they scramble to carve out market share companies like Gibson have made some not so smart decisions. Take the Robot Tuners and the much failed Firebird fiasco. Those were just bad marketing decisions.



    But can we really fault Gibson for trying to stay relevant? Gibson should focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. Produce a solid instrument, they need to get back to their roots. Refine the instrument, don’t add fancy electronics, just give us more of what made Gibson, well Gibson. Instead of adding new unwanted electronics why not put more effort into QC. The QC of their guitars seem to have been sacrificed on the alter of economics on R&D for all those fancy add-ons. As guitarists we seem to forget how good we have it. Today in 2021 you can get a decent quality guitar for not a lot of money. The advent of CNC has made the manufacturing process simpler and cheaper as well as more predictable.



    All that said, it’s a great time to be a guitarist! Plug and play! Don’t get caught up in all the minutiae. Remember, it’s the talent, not the tools!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I build guitars. Mostly acoustic guitars. I think it is more than just wood and glue. Maybe the hands and soul of the builder....
     
  3. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I think the wood gives the guitar the "feel" part.

    I have built a number of guitar from different wood species and they all sound a little different and feel different in my hands.

    I for one don't care for richlite fingerboards, It is a feel thing for me. Give me a maple, rosewood, bubinga or anything other than richlite. Again it is a feel thing for me.

    However I do agree that you don't have to break the bank on an expensive guitar to make music. I have a Squier strat that I just adore (it also has some flamey maple on the neck), however it is still viewed as a "cheap" guitar (hey I paid $50 for it and got a small amp to boot) by anyone that sees it. But it plays great and sounds way above its price range.
     
  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's the glue! That's where the Mojo is!
     
  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just wood, glue and a metal sign. I did leave off 3 strings though.

    sinclair_cbg.jpg
     
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I miss the Late Jurassic. At least we got to see all the coolest bands.
     
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep

    IMG_3547.JPG
     
  8. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I hear these arguments over and over about every industry. There are good economic reasons why products migrate to cheaper labor regions of the world. My $169 Grote is proof of how and why it works. The guitar manufacturing is just following the global economy like every other product line before it. I think the steel, automotive and semiconductor industries are perfect examples of this migration. There are good things and bad things with these migrations, but it is quite natural even back 200 years ago when it would be regional migrations within the same country. IMG_4163.JPG
     
  9. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Wood and glue are at least two components of the majority of the guitars that I’ve seen.
    Yes, I can make music on an Esteban or a Keith Urban infomercial special acoustic guitar and most folks hearing it will probably enjoy.

    But I have never had a guitar make ME feel the way I do when I play my Martin HD-28V.
    Wood and glue in each instrument. But there’s way more to it. The skill of the craftsman makes the whole much more than the sum of its parts.

    I have no comment regarding Chinese global economics or Gibson’s current market strategy.
     
  10. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Absolutely. But even if you are cynical about it, you can say that QC makes the whole much more than the sum of its parts. Putting acoustics to the side (as craftsmanship plays a much much—did I say much?—bigger role there than with solid-body electrics), there is a reason why some or even many inexpensive guitars sound great, and most higher-priced ones sound great.

    None of this is to suggest that one should not buy an inexpensive guitar. Heck, even a cheap one. Except in extreme cases, it’s better to have a low-quality instrument than none at all. Buy the best instrument you can, but by all means, buy and play a musical instrument. It makes you a better person. And yes, we live in a Golden Age of affordable musical instruments. I wish I had even one tenth the number of choices when I was an aspiring young hack.
     
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  11. medownsouth

    medownsouth Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    There is a point where a thing becomes greater than the sum of its parts, but I believe in quality as a decisioning point not brand equity
     
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  12. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Wood and glue. And a license plate, a couple angle brackets, a cross medallion and an English sixpence, some pickup and strings, and some electronics. And screws. And some frets.

    This guitar rocks.

    IMG_20201009_222726.jpg
     
  13. Cadillac_Mike

    Cadillac_Mike Tele-Meister

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    I don't think I've ever read an electric guitar description even from PRS or Gibson claiming that "fancy figured woods have superior tonal qualities." They know that's BS which is why those brands all use non-flamed or lesser flamed tops on their models with solid finishes. The sound of the guitar however isn't affected at all.
     
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  14. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    yep, just wood and glue.... you probably walked past a potential guitar body today and thought it was trash.....;)

    100+ yr old Hoop pine studs from an old local house being demoed... free.:D

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  15. Monte Allums

    Monte Allums TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, acoustics are a different beast for sure. So I would agree. I was referencing solid body electrics.
     
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  16. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    A car is just a metal box with wheels and an engine.
     
  17. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Hey Monte, welcome to TDPRI!
     
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I build electrics too. Just more wood and glue. The archtop was getting its neck glued on in my previous post.

    IMG_4854.JPG

    IMG_6257-1.jpg
     
  19. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Dude.... that is crazy man!!! LOL!!! Like it!!
     
  20. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    you can get a burger from mcdonald's or you can get a really good one for a little more from a classic diner in your area. they're still both low brow food, but one was made with care. of course, there's always that one spot that isn't any better than the diner, but charges you 18 dollars for the burger with bleu cheese and shallots on it. it's the same with any craft.
     
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