In Praise of Inexpensive Gear

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by tweeddeluxe, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

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    I've always chased the bargain instruments... when you could get a Fender or Gibson for a week's pay, I played Fenders and Gibsons. Now that times are hard, I play Squiers and other asian imports. And honestly, I've never once thought, 'wow, what a POS I'm playing'. CNC machines make cheaper guitars eminently playable and I like the fact I can mod them to my preference without feeling like the Gruhn Police will be knocking on my door. They're just tools. Really fun tools.
     
  2. danelectro

    danelectro Tele-Meister

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    Cheap for me means old gear that has no collector value. 70's Fender, Hagstrom, Harmony, SQ Squier. The only new gear I buy is parts and pedals.
     
  3. 5foot2

    5foot2 Tele-Meister

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    I'm new to this sport.. and I've been very happy with the moderately priced equipment.

    My main rig is a Silvertone 1484 head (cost about $400 including the tech work after I got it) into a 2x10 cab with a pair of Webers ($175), an '08 MIM Strat ($200) and a few pedals. All the stuff was used via Ebay or local classifieds (the strat I just got and was a smokin deal).

    I also own a vintage silvertone 1410, a strat partscaster i built, a couple of Ibanez electrics, a Takamine acoutsic and three other amps. None of the gear was big money stuff, but is of good quality. As a new player I get a chance to stretch my guitar dollar and try out more stuff with the cheaper gear.

    The extreme opposite of this thread was the '52 Tele I saw at Guitar Center in LA last week while I was on vacation. The beauty was safely behind glass with price tag of 34K. Next to it was it's cousin a '65 Strat at 25K.

    Presently I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a the right deal on a MIM Tele.
     
  4. tlimbert65

    tlimbert65 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't know, I prefer to spend a little for decent whiskey. ;)
     
  5. mr newhaven

    mr newhaven Tele-Holic

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    My favorite acoustic ever is an old yamaha fg 130 that I got for a fraction of what a couple of gibbons cost me...got rid of the Gibsons because of it!
    ...still looking for the "right" Gibson but I'm in no rush...

    I've found my favorite guitar ever at a pawn shop but it wasn't cheap...but my god it was worth it!

    As Ron Kirn says..."tone is in the underpants!"
     
  6. therecordfable

    therecordfable Banned

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    Reaper is one of the best purchases I've made this year.
     
  7. Hoopermazing

    Hoopermazing Tele-Holic

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    I went through and Agile guitar phase. Now, I'm selling them off. The flat necks have gotten the better of me. I am, however, digging the higher end Squiers for modding purposes.
     
  8. ledet

    ledet Tele-Holic

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    I can easily afford expensive gear. But why spend more than you need to spend?

    A 500 dollar guitar will give me the tone I need. It's mostly in the fingers and amp anyway, the guitar is just the general character.

    I only spend big money on amps and acoustics. That's where the money and components actually mean something. On an electric guitar? No. As long as it plays well and has decent pickups.
     
  9. tweeddeluxe

    tweeddeluxe Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree with everything in this post. I love me some tube amps; that's been my main splurge but I still won't allow myself to spend over 8 bills for one. I'd rather build clones of vintage models. And I've got one really nice acoustic that's scratched that itch for some time to come...hopefully.
     
  10. Tele-Caster

    Tele-Caster Tele-Holic

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    My Favorite Value Purchases

    When I bought my Telecaster in 2006 after a nearly decade-long hiatus from music, I expected to pay up to $2,000.00 for an instrument that would let me get the sound I hear in my head to the ears of an audience. So I went shopping with that amount in pocket.

    The Telecaster that had the sound that I was looking for turned out to be a 2004 MiM Standard. It was "new old stock" and it set me back a whopping $250.00 out the door at a Sam Ash store in Southern California. That has proven to be the best money I've ever spent on anything having to do with music.

    Now, I know why that guitar stayed on Sam Ash's wall for two years. It sounds more like an acoustic guitar than anything else and it really doesn't do the "Telecaster Twang" thing very well. I'm okay with having the Tele no one else wanted because it gets me the kind of acoustic-like "cleans" that I hear in my head.

    That Telecaster stated a "cheap" gear trend with me.......

    I bought a Fender Frontman 25w amp to pair with the Telecaster. I tried a bunch of different amps, including hi-fidelity "keyboard" amps and they came closest to the sound I was looking for. But the Frontman I wound up buying delivered it exactly the way I hear it in my head. There doesn't seem to be a lot of love for this amp in guitardom but mine is integral to the tone I am looking for. Best of all, I got my "floor model" example for $75.00.

    I needed a back-up guitar. I kept trying Telecasters but haven't yet found one that sounds like mine.

    I did find a 2003 MiK "Tribute by G&L" Legacy that nails the acoustic-like clean tone of my Telecaster with exactly the same amp e.q. settings. That guitar was "new old stock" as well and I got it plus a G&L hardshell case for $350.00 out the door. It is an absolutely fantastic instrument. I have no idea what they go for regularly and don't care. I'd have paid several times what I got this guitar for if that is what it would have taken to buy it.

    I can get "my tone" at most of the rooms I play out in easy enough by tweeking the Frontman's eq and reverb but some rooms proved a bit tough and I got to thinking that just a touch of chorus might help in those situations.

    I tried a Danelectro "Cool Cat" after trying a bunch of chorus pedals and not digging any of them. I run this very light when I do run it and it does what I want it to do without sounding like a "chorus pedal." At higher effect levels than I use for my standard tone, it still sounds angellic. It has become so key to my sound in certain situations that I bought two more in case they quit making them altogether or quit making them the same way and mine craps out. I think I paid $29.00 for each of them at the local mom and pop music store.

    That first Danelectro pedal was such a hit with me that I decided to try the Cool Cat "drive" pedal as a replacement for my vintage Ibanez Tubescreamer. Now, it doesn't sound like the Tubescreamer and I am not really in to high gain tones, but when I do use them, I really like the tones I get from that cheap Cool Cat. I paid $29.00 for that one, too.

    Lastly, on Monday, I was at the local guitar shop trying out a "Tele-style" guitar through a Peavey 15 Vypyr amp. I didn't dig on the guitar, but I did dig on the amp. Thankfully, someone else didn't dig on it. I assumed it was new but the shopkeeper had taken in for trade in credit and wound up letting me have it for $75.00.

    I've been having a ball with the thing. The models make my Tele sound just like it does through the real amps. It is wierd. Freaky, almost. That little crap-box shouldn't sound good but it does. What's more unbelievable to me is how it not only closely replicates the sound of my Tele through some popular tube amps, but also copies the "playing feel" of the guitar when paired with the real things. That, to me, is almost more amazing than the tones it delivers. I wish I could get it to duplicate "my tone" -my Tele with both pups on, through my Frontman with a little reverb. I think I can get there with a little more experimentation. If so, the little Vypyr might prove to be my second-favorite bargain purchase, next to my cherished Tele. I was going to get a Vox AC-30 but I'm not so sure I need to now, as that little Peavey nails that sound perfectly.

    T-C.
     
  11. Steve G

    Steve G Friend of Leo's

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    I dont see him post as much in the parts of this forum that I frequent but I d say rob di stefano had it right.. you need good pickups (or at least one's that sound good to you) and a neck that feels good to your fretting hand. All the other things come second to that.

    Unless youre female in which case its COLOUR!!;) (just kidding!!)
     
  12. fuzzbender

    fuzzbender Former Member

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    Amen brother.

    There's no cheap gear, just vastly overpriced alternatives.

    As Einstein discovered, price is relative. There's always pricier.

    What price art.
     
  13. Oster

    Oster Friend of Leo's

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    If there was magically a TDPRI in the late '50s, most of us wouldn't be playing Telecasters. Too expensive. There's this projected belief that comes up now and again that Leo Fender designed an inexpensive tool for the workingman. Wrong.

    Most of us, were we to praise inexpensive gear, wouldn't be talking about Kay or even Harmony either. Do the conversions there and both would be out of range - being what most people seem want to spend on guitars.

    An 'In Praise of Inexpensive Gear' discussion would likely be about those little plastic Snoopy ukeleles that you wind up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  14. meric

    meric Tele-Holic

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    I get more of a kick out of finding good gear cheap than just buying good expensive gear. I think that some people love to brag about how much they spent instead of how much they saved. I am still gushy about my CVC because it is such a good guitar and I only paid 299.00 for it new. Maybe I am just not able to appreciate the finer points of a Custom shop Nocaster but I can't justify spending three or four thousand dollars on an electric guitar. The extra love and attention just does not translate into extra sound/playing performance...my opinion only ...I have only strummed a C S Fender, never owned one ...so maybe it is just my ignorance showing...
     
  15. Oster

    Oster Friend of Leo's

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    I've been a member here since 2003 and in that time I have not once seen a member brag about how much money they spent on an expensive guitar, it just isn't done.

    What I do see on the contrary is a lot of ridicule aimed in the other direction, coupled with complaints about this imaginary, non-existant arrogance from "expensive guitar buyers".

    Some, like me, don't think a $1000.00 US made guitar is "expensive" - not that I have that kind of money lying around but rather that has been the going rate since day one.

    Very cheap gear from Asia is available. Certainly many people here seem to like it - you're certainly in the majority if you do - but my argument is that it doesn't now make the $1000.00 range "expensive" or inflated.

    Like I said earlier, I'm on the fence - I have bought and will buy deals if I like them but my heart is with tradition, probably because I hang on to the stuff I saved up for and have always resold the cheap stuff.
     
  16. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

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    If that Snoopy uke played, looked and sounded as good as a CV or VM Squier, you're damned right it would've.
     
  17. 3 Chord

    3 Chord Friend of Leo's

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    Well said, and now with the current state of our country, I am done buying MIC stuff and will save until I can support the homefront. Sorry to offend anyone but I am going to do my part even if are politicians are not.

    And really, no one can really, truely feel a MIC Squier is superior to a MIA version. A good buy maybe and to some that is more important but it is not going to be a better guitar in the long run.
     
  18. meric

    meric Tele-Holic

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    I agree with you three chord not in the long run or short run is the Squier a better guitar than a MIA Fender.....I am just very happy with an affordable 'very good' guitar. I have both....love em both!
     
  19. meric

    meric Tele-Holic

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    Oster, I have heard people brag, in a round a bout way how much they 'had' to pay to get an amp/guitar/speaker. My original post contained nothing to indicate this trait was exclusive to tdpri membership.
     
  20. tweeddeluxe

    tweeddeluxe Tele-Afflicted

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    Looking back thru this thread I don't think anyone has made such a claim. IMO, there's not a Fender made worth more than $800 which, unfortunately, is below the range of all MIAs. At prices above $500 for new Fender products the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Get above $1000 and you're a darling of FMIC's marketing department. Sheesh, solid body guitars are just two pieces of wood, 2 or 3 pickups, and a handful of cheap hardware.
     
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