Reason to Buy More Expensive Fender

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by RoCkstAr256, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Friend of Leo's

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    Umm it takes years before we find rig we like, guitars, amps , pedals. Sometimes we are forced to sell and than we want to go back to them after years. Sometimes we cannot find what we played, it changes.
     
  2. PlainAllman

    PlainAllman Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes there is a reason to buy a more expensive Fender. The reason is the same reason to buy a less expensive non Fender. There is only one reason for buying either. The reason is cause you want to. If you don’t want to then don’t.
     
  3. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Afflicted

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    To be fair, I do think the 90% (or something similar) is true for real acoustic instruments... For electric guitars, no way. (I can believe that it does have an impact, but nowhere near 90%, hence my reference to the Fender cardboard strat experiment)

    Also for the people that think they can hear the difference between a 500 and a 2500 euro guitar, they are usually wrong too... I have done the "blindfolded" Squier vs Fender test so many times before, with professional players. It's 50-50 all the way, so it's no better than a guess.
    Again here I will make a difference between acoustic and electric instruments.

    But quality does have an impact on price, as does marketing. With the HB price and quality are definitely related. It's low quality on so many levels, that the sound hardly matters. But those were not included in the test, which makes it unfair (as was my initial statement).

    I must say I find the pickups of the TE-52 surprising in the test, but as they are bottom of the barrel, it remains uncertain if that was a lucky shot or not. On a quality instrument there will be a more consistent QC.
     
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  4. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    It’s all subjective. Personally, my favorite guitar is my heavily modified ‘91 MIM Tele, and I’ve had Am Standard Strats, a Gibson Les Paul Custom, Rics, and a Martin. I’m under no illusion it’s better than any of the others, it’s not, but it just feels very second nature.

    However, I could easily justify getting a more expensive guitar if it met my needs. Better grade of wood, better electronics, better hardware, better attention to detail... You’re not getting that with Squier or Harley Benton. The MIMs are a big step up in quality, but still cut a lot of corners compared to their US counterparts to meet a practical price point. That’s not to say they’re bad, unplayable, unsuitable guitars or great platforms for upgrading, but there is a difference in quality. I had been GASing for a FSE Deluxe Ash Tele until I saw the AO ‘50s Tele. The FSE is maybe my favorite MIM, but the difference in quality was very obvious, and now I’m considering selling off some of my higher end equipment for the AO.
     
  5. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Tele-Meister

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    he said "Great Tone" with approving grin after one those demonstrations on the next, no "Great Tone" with no approving grin, this is my view nullifies the whole comparison.
     
  6. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

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    It’s simple for me - by the highest quality guitar at a price that you’re comfortable with. So for me that usually means a major manufacturer guitar from the used market. Why pay retail + taxes? Now and then I’ll buy a guitar at deep discount from a retailer. I just traded a couple of dust gatherers from the herd for a Gretsch Electromatic with a Bigsby. A set of locking tuners and it’s a completely giggable guitar. Others like the higher end stuff that I could never justify financially. Whatever makes you happy!
     
  7. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Afflicted

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    I do agree with 99% of your post, but to me comparing a Harley Benton to a Squier, is like comparing a Squier Bullet to at least a Fender high end.
     
  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    I simply don’t have the range of experience necessary to make any calls here regarding actual guitars made in a variety of places and at a variety of price points. However, a few things do spring to mind.

    The ‘law’ of diminishing returns seems real to me. And not just for electric guitars. In my general experience, there seems to be a kind of tipping point. More money gets you more quality and (generally speaking) at some point, crossing a threshold seems to give you a notable bump up. From that point on, more and more buys you less and less. Once you cross that threshold, ‘twice as much’ cost never gets you ‘twice as much’ quality / performance. No one should ever expect it to.

    The next thought I had was regarding the sound of stuff on YouTube. I recorded my Tele the other day. I used two half way decent mics (close with Sennheiser e906 & room with AudioTechnica AT2035), and although the result sounded good (after tweaking in the DAW), it didn’t really sound like being in the room with the guitar and amp. And that was playback through my interface and monitors. I know stuff can sound good on YouTube these days. I just doubt a). that it sounds accurate and b). that it got there without some heavy editing.

    Also, aural quality and character are highly subjective and extremely personal (which is probably in part why musical taste can be both so personally important and so polarising). Tactile response is the same, highly subjective and extremely personal. Musical instruments combine both of these elements. Consensus is, I suspect, an unreasonable expectation.

    Yet another thought I had was the cost of labour. I was talking to a somewhat upscale garment manufacturer’s rep about six months ago. She stated that the only difference between the made in New Zealand line and the made in China line was “the person standing behind the machine.” The fabric and other materials are literally the same, the machines are exactly the same, etc. She also said the manufacturing quality was the same. The only difference between the run of the mill (pun intended) product and the quite a bit more expensive exclusive product was the “made in XX” part of the label and cost of labour. Now, it’s apparently not quite that way with guitars, as anecdotally at least, there do seem to be real differences reported in hardware quality, etc. But, I also remember hearing something similar stated about guitars, that the significant cost is the labour cost. So, I’m inclined to believe that comparable quality product of differing points of origin might be quite disparate price wise.

    No idea what any of this might ultimately mean, other than none of this is simple.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  9. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    Good comment. Agree with most of it. But not here:

    Of course sound can be a matter of taste. But since an instrument is also a tool, it's quality can be judged objectively.
    There are factors like resonance, harmonic spectrum, sustain, evenness, projection, and many more.

    Let's check the evenness. With my high end guitars the quality of tone extends all over the whole range of the fretboard. On the more simple guitars, for example the sustain and girth above the 12st fret declines substantially. Most non-CS-Fenders I ever played show this character, and that's no matter of taste, it's a matter of quality. My FCS guitars, my PRS Santana and my boutique guitars all have the same power and substance of tone up to the last fret.

    Many players won't need that, if you play mostly rhythm or stay on the low positions it's no issue. But it's a fact, and I very rarely get a normal or even cheap guitar in my hands that's real good in the high positions. That's why I spent the money for some high end guitars, because I simply don't get that tone quality with my deluxe strat or MIM telecaster, for example. And I never found a MIA or similar that sounded as good as these expensive ones, or else I would have spared me the expenses.

    There are more factors I could describe, but since many simply won't believe it I won't try to convince anyone.
    And for playing at home it's no issue, I use all of them, including a Squier strat. It only really matters for me when I perform.
     
  10. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Friend of Leo's

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    This is what i had in my mind. Those are differences that would matter to people at the end of quality check. Sure , pickups can sound a little better but is it worth extra grand? Not, i say. I say that theres a Huge Difference between Bullet & Affinity Squier vs Classic Vibe, i would say its outstanding. Clasisc Vibe to PLayer is Close, Vinera feels surely better. Anything higher than vintera i would say, not that much. Maybe just my opinion. Can;t afford USA ones but i have played a USA Strat. The most important thing is amplifier, we can make those cheap sound good but cheap amp wont make great guitar sound good, right?
     
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  11. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I picked it despite the filtering of the Tonemaster. Guitar A sounded loose and less defined clean or dirty. And I could hear string buzzes from uneven frets he couldn't mask with good playing. The HB sounded good. But the AO sounded better to me. It had more output and more freqs. But it sounded balanced.

    The Tonemaster to me sounds homogeneous in all the clips I've heard it in. It tends to mask difference in guitars. In a real Twin I think the guitar difference would be more marked. I don't think it's a conspiracy to sell HBs , I'm sure a CV would sound pretty much as good, or a Vintera.

    The difference in cheaper guitars to expensive can be wood metals plastics finish. 50 feet away or in low res internet they might look similarish but side by side the quality and figure of the wood the quality of the metal and materials and finish starts to stand out. That might mean not much to you so there's no value in it. That's OK if you like what you play and it does it for you. All of us compromise on price vs performance and quality at some ratio.

    The 52 will have flame or birdseye rock maple, not plainer stuff or nonrock maple like the MIJ neck on my friend's homebrew that's much softer than my MiM. Ditto the body. Ditto the solid Gotoh tuners, the triple chromed bridge plate. Stainless screws not cheesehead, nickel plated stuff not potmetal with flash chrome. The neck plate - heavy. I replaced the bridgeplate on my MIM with a NOS 70s and it's harder and heavier and much better chromed.

    The frets don't divot after six months. The body isn't soft basswood or a multipiece wood with alder veneer.

    I still have my MIM Thinline I bought in 99 on our first trip the states, so I keep it partly for sentimental reasons. On its second fret dress and still original pickups - repotted bridge. Changed pots from 1 meg, switch,.bridgeplate, F neckplate. The MoTS pickguard has started to wear through in layers where my fingers resr.

    I sold the CS Nocaster Thinline I had at the same time. I still regret it - but really needed money for guttering and vet bills.Otherwise I'd still.have it. It was in another league playing and soundwise. Way better than me.

    The Thinline cost me $650US incl case from San Fran GC. I wouldn't get that for it The CS NC cost $US1500 s/h and I actually made a hundred or so. I can't find another for what I paid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  12. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi.

    Good point. I was kinda thinking, in the back of my mind, more of physical preferences I guess.

    But I also kinda just meant that people are subjective & emotional creatures, by and large, so any time the possibility of interpretation comes into it, we’ll get disagreement. And guitars are a nexus, where several different kinds of potential for disagreement meet / intersect.

    Right, it’s almost half past midnight where I am, half way between the rock and roll ends of the week. Time I slept.

    Night y’all.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  13. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Meister

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    Bolt together guitar made for Uber ease of production but yeah any production tele over $650 is just ridiculous imho. For my money Schecter has been excellent! I’ve got a strat, Tempest Special and my #1 is a PT(tele). I’ve paid a grand for all three used and I don’t miss Fender.
     
  14. Stu Cazz

    Stu Cazz TDPRI Member

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    I literally adore my Ltd. Edition Standard Tele and thank Rosa at the Ensenada factory for the excellent work.
    Muchisimas gracias Rosa!!!

    Now, that said. I had to put some time and a bit of cash to bring it from very nice to outstanding.
    I can honestly say that I own a 100% Tele that does exactly what I expect from such a specimen.
    It only needed a set of nocaster pu's & orange drop cap, a Wilkinson bridge with compensated saddles and most importantly a Graphtech nut.
    Still way under 1000 bucks.

    But.....

    If money was no problem, well that would have ended probably in a different way.

    To be honest and not fall into hypocrisy.

    I would love to order me a custom master-built bad a$$ Fender Telecaster. A nitro finished brass, saddled, fat necked, blonde beast with a lovely high quality tweed case.
    A guitar I just can play from day one without having to work on it. Built and set up to my liking, that even smells good!

    That defeats the whole Tele idea? Yeah, well maybe. But I don't care you only live once, If you can afford the best go for it!

    That whole cheap vs. expansive debate is nonsense.
    Only a lobotomized fool would choose a HB over a nice CS Fender Tele, if they'd give them away.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  15. Kebmel

    Kebmel Tele-Afflicted

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    Shane receives a free guitar to review, is he going to bag said free guitar
    and dry up his free guitar supply, I think not.
     
  16. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

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    Like anything else... when it gets to the top tier... .0000000001% performance improvement costs 200% more.

    You aren't going to see a lot of harley bentons with a neck as thin as the one on my jem... because if you build a neck that thin with cheap wood it's going to develop warp/cup/issues 10 out of 10 times.

    despite my jem being exactly 3/4" thick (including fretboard) at the first fret... I never adjust it - not even yearly. many other (nice) guitars i've owned I adjust 2 times a year. some I have owned (cheap) require constant adjustment.

    not exactly an obvious difference but it illustrates why someone might pay more for it.
     
  17. Kebmel

    Kebmel Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm a non U.S.A resident, Fender has always been my
    ideal for quality and sound.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  18. claes

    claes Tele-Afflicted

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    The hb is actually nice but heavy as hell. Yes I owned one and then they had wilkinsons pickup. Sold because it was les paul heavy...so was my "prince".
    Last time I checked out teles in the store it was an blue squier affinity tele that impressed me most.
     
  19. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd venture to guess that if you want features and appointments exactly like the ones found in vintage teles, you won't find them in a Harley Benton guitar. You'll have to pay more for those things. Northern Ash isn't swamp ash. A maple fretboard on a maple neck isn't a one piece neck. A vintage style rod requires a curved slot and a skunk stripe. Vintage details are going to cost you more money.
     
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  20. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Afflicted

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    To be honest, all three of the HB's I've owned had chunkier necks than some Squiers... But ALL of the HB necks had either the beginning of a knot, or a repaired knot in their necks, with one already starting to warp because of it, and I expected the others to do the same, because of the fact that my home does NOT have a perfect 100% equal humidity through the year.
     
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