Low vs High End

Bjackcity

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The quality line between budget instruments and more expensive stuff has gotten a lot narrower. When I first started learning to play the guitar Squier was a joke, but now they're real nice and I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed to play a show with one. One of my favorite guitars is a Squier Classic Vibe jazzmaster.
My first electric was a 87 Squier bullet in Torino red. I still have it, so there were a few good ones out there just far and few between. Funny thing is up until recent years nobody wanted to play it because it was just a “Squier.”
 
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EspyHop

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Like with anything guitar related, it depends.

None of my Washburns, Tacoma, or Seagull comes close to my 000-18. Not that they’re bad, just that the Martin is vastly superior.

Electrics, IME, aren’t as obvious. I had an ‘81 Les Paul Custom. I could never bond with it. Sold it for an American Standard Strat. Loved that guitar and had for nearly 20 years. That said, my ‘91 MIM is my favorite of any electric. It’s all about what works best for you as a player.
 

hemingway

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The most playable guitar I have is a G&L tribute that costs less than a MIM. It still staggers me that a guitar that cheap can be so well built with a neck so flawless.

With top end guitars you're often paying for aesthetics. Which often just means fancy paint.

Not that I don't like them. But they won't make me play any better than my G&L tribute.
 

teletail

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Recently I’ve enjoyed playing my lower end guitars more so than my higher ends. I find that I actually play them to their fullest potential and since The quarantine I have had time to notice that I actually play and sound better on them compared to their expensive counterparts.
So I’m wondering if anybody else feels the same way about their Society dubbed “low” end guitars?
No.

I don't even know what it means to "play a guitar to it's potential." My cheap G&L has the same notes as my ES-175.
So I’m wondering if anybody else feels the same way about their Society dubbed “low” end guitars?
No.
Do we get caught up in names on headstocks too much?
For many brands, the name on the headstock has significance. Play a Ron Kirn, Anderson, Suhr, Doc Fisher, or any of the other high end boutique guitars, and then see how you feel.
Are we really playing our “high” Enders the way they deserve to be played?
The implication, on purpose or not, is that you need to attain some level of skill in order to deserve the right to play these guitars. IMHO, you "deserve" to play whatever level of guitar you can afford. A piece of wood has no rights.
Are they really worth it?
Whether you think they are worth it, or you don't think they are worth it, you are right. For me, I want the best possible instrument to play on. I'll never understand the fascination with cheap guitars, but to each his own.
 

beagle

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Define high end. The most I've ever paid for a guitar is about £500 and never buy used. I don't care what it says on the headstock or what anybody else thinks. The best things in life are free.
 

GreatDaneRock

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As of lately I've been rocking my Squier VM Custom II, with P90s on steroids (hot!). Bought used on GC for $260, great condition.

Really enjoying the neck and the lightweight feel of the guitar, compared to my MIM one is about 1lb lighter and a joy to wear for hours.

It also records so beautifully, I recorded a couple of tunes that sound stellar.

Who said Indonesians couldn't build a killer guitar?

GDR
 

bgmacaw

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For many brands, the name on the headstock has significance. Play a Ron Kirn, Anderson, Suhr, Doc Fisher, or any of the other high end boutique guitars, and then see how you feel.

Likewise, if you gave them an inexpensive guitar to work their magic on you would think it felt fantastic. Often the main thing that's lacking on modern lower end solid body electrics is lack of final meticulous detail work. Even a garage hack like me can make a typical Squier or Epiphone play great.

Of course, not everyone wants to learn how to work on guitars or collect necessary tools to do so. For them, it makes more sense to buy a more expensive guitar that is less likely to need a lot of adjustment.
 

jvin248

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Likewise, if you gave them an inexpensive guitar to work their magic on you would think it felt fantastic. Often the main thing that's lacking on modern lower end solid body electrics is lack of final meticulous detail work. Even a garage hack like me can make a typical Squier or Epiphone play great.
Of course, not everyone wants to learn how to work on guitars or collect necessary tools to do so. For them, it makes more sense to buy a more expensive guitar that is less likely to need a lot of adjustment.

+1 ... that $100 fret level is the highest value added mod that can be done on a guitar.

All the old vintage guitars in their 50-70 years have had some sort of work done on them. Eventually, as they became more valuable, they found their way to better talented guitar techs which made them the great players they are today. Those guitars are no longer random factory guitars, they are custom shop models. Doing that same work on a beater modern starter guitar gets their playability up there too.

The unfortunate factor in the whole guitar industry is that factories use fretwork in their pricing tiers: the worst fretwork guitars are going to the kids trying to learn how to play a guitar -- which is like starting them out on the tenth level boss fight of a video game, while the good players are tooling around in their level one easy-to-play guitars. Most kids can't stick with that fight so they go back to playing video games that are designed easy on the first level and get progressively more challenging to the tenth level. The real loser in this game are the guitar factories, thinking they are being responsible with cost containment rather than expanding sales. Supermarkets have used the concept of loss-leaders for decades to get buyers in the door and increase traffic and overall sales. A kid who learns to play on a good starter guitar will continue to play and eventually buy dozens of more expensive guitars, amps, and pedals -- some may even change the music industry.

.
 

guitarist232345

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I have one low end guitar but I retired it because the tuners were garbage.

For me I have low, middle and high end guitars but gravitate toward the middle.

My favourite guitar is a Gibson but the other favourites are all middle tier.

There is zero reason to go beyond a middle tiered guitar imo - middle tiered guitars offer everything ultra high end guitars offer in terms of playability. Like, my Gibson is great but I have played some Baja Teles that are comparable at half the price. My most recent guitar (my Squier Esquire) is a low mid tiered guitar and I have zero complaints against it, in fact I will take it on stage with my new band soon. If it ever loses charm I can always upgrade parts but it wouldn't need that and the upgrades would be on a want rather than needs basis (ie: locking tuners, high end PuP, new nut, new wires etc...
 
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bgmacaw

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I have one low end guitar but I retired it because the tuners were garbage.

Hopefully, the tuners on yours weren't as bad as these guitars...

won't stay in tune.png
 

teletail

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Likewise, if you gave them an inexpensive guitar to work their magic on you would think it felt fantastic. Often the main thing that's lacking on modern lower end solid body electrics is lack of final meticulous detail work. Even a garage hack like me can make a typical Squier or Epiphone play great.

Of course, not everyone wants to learn how to work on guitars or collect necessary tools to do so. For them, it makes more sense to buy a more expensive guitar that is less likely to need a lot of adjustment.
I don't think we're going to come to agreement here. As Bill Parcels said, "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh$%." I don't believe that you can take a bunch of cheap parts pulled from bins at random and turn them into a Suhr.

As an example, I have a 1985 Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul. I've played a lot of Les Pauls over the years, but nothing in the same league as this. I owned an Epiphone Les Paul for several years. A very nice guitar, totally adequate to play gigs with, but not even close to the Custom Shop in terms of looks, playability or sound.
 

Fiesta Red

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Not too long ago (before the quarantine), I played a “player grade” 1966 Fender Telecaster Custom...

I’ll admit, it caught my eye because it was my favorite finish (Fiesta Red, duh)...the aesthetics were great...double-bound body...nicely aged neck, beautiful rosewood fretboard...transition logo (always looks weird/cool to me)...

It was “player grade” because the body had been refinished...which led to one of the things that I didn’t like about it—the body was *too* perfect, while the rest of the instrument—neck, hardware, etc.—was appropriately aged. It threw off the aesthetic of the guitar just a bit.

It was very lightweight—I estimate it to be around 6 pounds. It was well-balanced, too—no neck dive at all.

I played it through a nice/average low-wattage tube amp, and was very impressed by the sound of both the neck and bridge pickups—a wonderfully balanced sound, not too boomy on the neck, not too shrill on the bridge.

I am 99% sure some neck work had been done to it...the fretboard radius felt very close to my “Big Tex” Telecaster (9.5”); I’m positive that the frets had been replaced or at least polished/leveled at some point...they were too perfect for an instrument of that age. Happily, whoever did it (wisely, IMHO) didn’t put the giant jumbo ginormous fretwires that too many people feel are necessary. The neck was a nice size—not as big as a Baja Tele neck, but a tad larger than the neck on “Big Tex” (the pinstriped 1995 MIM Telecaster I cherish). The action was nice and low (like I like it).

Weirdly, (considering the dozens of differences) it felt a lot like my main Telecaster...which is dang near *perfect* for me.

Overall, I felt it would have been a great instrument to own—it felt good, it played good, it look good, it sounded great, it had great tuning stability...but I couldn’t see paying $8500 for the guitar—even if I had the money.

The 1966 I played was great—but (IMHO), without it being “all-original” and without any special provenance (not owned or played by anybody famous or not purchased from the “original one-owner” with all the case candy, etc.)—it was just another really nice old guitar.

To me, it would be a wiser investment to put together a partscaster—maybe splurge and get a (real) Fender 60’s reissue neck with the yellowed lacquer and a rosewood fretboard and then pick up various Frankenstein’d parts here and there (cheaply) and make a similar-looking/playing/sounding guitar—for less than 1/4 of the price.

But that’s just me...
 

MrGibbly

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Recently I’ve enjoyed playing my lower end guitars more so than my higher ends. I find that I actually play them to their fullest potential and since The quarantine I have had time to notice that I actually play and sound better on them compared to their expensive counterparts.
So I’m wondering if anybody else feels the same way about their Society dubbed “low” end guitars?
Do we get caught up in names on headstocks too much? Are we really playing our “high” Enders the way they deserve to be played? Are they really worth it?
No matter how "cheap" the guitar, I can't do it justice...but, some look nicer than others hanging on my home office wall. :)
 

skitched

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Am I wrong to believe that today’s $200 guitars are about as good or better than most “expensive” guitars from the 50’s-70’s? While I really appreciate a handcrafted piece of art I’m pretty sure Hendrix, etc. could make some good tunes with today’s “cheap” instruments.
 

teletail

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Would you call an Epiphone ES 339 pro that costs $500+$50 setup+ $120 for hard case a low end unit?
Just asking for opinions?
Cost of the case and setup are irrelevant.

It depends on what you compare it to. Compared to a $100 Squier Affinity, no it's not low end. Compared to a $4,000 Gibson, yes it is low end.
 




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