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Seriously? THREE GRAND?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Silverface, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    I should have been more specific. I was reacting to the idea that a Paulowina guitar should be significantly cheaper than one made of some other commonly used wood. At Warmoth the price differences between a Tele body in poplar, basswood, alder, mahogany, maple and swamp ash are within $50, not very significant.
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    True that not much money is saved on that price guitar by choosing cheap body wood.
    Note though that as ash becomes swamp ash becomes light weight swamp ash becomes ultralight swamp ash, the body price goes up possibly $200 at the lightest examples.
    Swamp ash that makes a 3lb solid Tele body is really rare, and some buyers want that.
    Rare enough that Suhr and Fender could not stack the racks with 6lb solid swamp ash body Telecasters, because they just can't get that quantity.

    But the other way to look at cheaper materials is that putting chinese parts on a top dollar guitar kind of makes the guitar less good, thus worth less money.

    To many of us including me, paulownia is a cheap wood that works poorly for guitar parts.
    Especially bolt on neck guitars where the neck plate literally sinks into the body wood as tightening the screws compresses the soft wood.

    So for me it doesn't save much money but it lowers the functional value A WHOLE LOT.

    And again, budget hobby builders are very well served by painted $40 paulownia bodies that are usually close enough to Fender spec to assemble into decent or maybe even really good $150 Tele shaped guitars.

    Add $3800 to that price?
    I'd want a more durable guitar with a more solid neck joint, and no crushed soft lumber at a critical mounting point.

    What we have now though is a forum chat driven market, and a lotta love for GFS type ultralight ultra cheap guitars.
    Turns out folks are willing to pay big money to get what so many say is great at 1/20th the price.

    I can buy a paulownia body for $40 that's just too far off in shape to please my eye, I really dislike how bad I think the poor guard fit is always shown on those cheap but useful bodies.
    For maybe $80 I can buy a better quality paulownia body that parts fit better on, that have a correct shape on the bass side of the neck pocket, and that provide a nice even reveal around the edge of the guard at the cutaway horn.
    Then for $100 I can buy a top quality chambered alder Thinline body from Tauro Woodworks.
    Not only can a US maked do that for that price, but he will custom change it within a range of specs, like delete the F hole, or for me delete the pickup routs so I can assemble an Esquire style with no neck rout.

    I cannot see any reason to save the $60 off a whole good guitar by choosing a chinese paulownia body that is only sorta close to a Tele shape.

    Except for one reason:
    A final build that comes in under $200!
    That makes cheap paulownia bodies attractive and legit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  3. Injam

    Injam Tele-Meister

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    Yeah I know Bill’s is not a Fender.
    The body of the new Fender 70th Anniversary Esquire Electric Guitar is made of pine. Roasted pine. I think that makes it harder.
     
  4. mightysteve

    mightysteve TDPRI Member

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    Bill Kirchen's pine Tele is a indeed a custom, made by Rick Kelly of Carmine St Guitars in NYC, who makes them to order. I've played it - Bill's a generous guy - and it plays and sounds great. I believe there are some sort of Don Mare pickups in there, for what it's worth. Rick's finishes (nitro?) are pretty rough and ready, and you have to love a thick neck, but I've now played a couple and they're cool variants on the Tele theme.
     
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  5. Supertwang

    Supertwang TDPRI Member

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    Someone better tell Fender....I owned a 2012 USA Fender Telecaster ELITE for a couple years. It had a PAULOWNIA body bolted to a wildly flamed maple neck. It was very lightweight and very resonant...and came with the awesome “twisted Tele” pickups. I loved the guitar except it was way too flashy looking for me....many country players probably would’ve given their left nut for it. I sold it because I had the opportunity to more than double the money I spent on it. I still miss that guitar and would have another PAULOWNIA guitar in a heartbeat. BTW,...PAULOWNIA has been used for instrument building in Asia for 1000 years.
     
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  6. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Holic

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    And lead was used as a base for makeup for almost 2000 years.
     
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  7. Bmoflaz

    Bmoflaz TDPRI Member

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    Even the Brad Paisley relic has a spruce cap on the body... I assume because pawlonia is sooooo soft. I have two basswood teles that I love for all of the same reasons. A super-light tele is unlike anything else. It's the best playing experience possible IMHO.
     
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  8. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Holic

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    This thread reminds of the jazz world's solid vs laminate archtop discussions. "Why would anyone pay $3000-$4000 for a laminate guitar?(ES-175, Ibanez GB10, etc)". Because the "inferior" raw material has some desirable properties along with its drawbacks, and the cost is mostly in the labor anyway.

    I suspect that the time involved for Mr. Suhr's employees to create hardwood inserts for Paulownia bodies might eat up any difference in raw material costs vs more typical guitar woods.

    If Suhr, Andersen, etc are truly putting that much extra employee time into building T and S type guitars to higher standards, then the prices don't seem out of line, no matter what woods they use.

    BUT it's all far more than I'd spend on a solid body guitar anyway.
     
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  9. djhblues

    djhblues TDPRI Member

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    Well you got a deal there for sure. I have a Suhr Classic S Antique Roasted Neck w HSS pickups. Agree that it is the nicest playing guitar I own. And I have a number of high end guitars. But its the go to for everything.
     
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  10. japan-amp-guy

    japan-amp-guy TDPRI Member

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    When I worked with Bill in the '90s he described his tele as a "Frankentele" and said that the neck and the body came from different guitars. He is a consumate musician who can pick up pretty much any guitar and make it sound great. But that tele was the essence of what he calls "Diesel billy". I had the honor of doing sound for Bill several times at the Ark in A2. He is originally from Ann Arbor so every year at Christmas he would come back and play a show with the late Kub Koda ( of Brownsville Station fame, also from the Ann Arbor area) and Sarah Brown (yet another Michigan native). Cannot say enough about what a great player and down-to-earth guy he is. But the last time I worked with him was over 20 years ago. Based on what people are saying here it is apparent that he is no longer playing the (naturally relic'd) tele that he was playing then.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  11. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    All I could think when I clicked the link is that Fender needs to step up its shell pink game. Too good a color to show up so rarely.

    Then again, I am biased. I had to put this together because Fender wouldn't. (and yes, I know CME did a limited edition...after I made this).
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    Making my Warmoth builds seem like a bargain. I find it unlikely that Suhr plays any better than my 1986 yamaha 12 string. Just sayin'.
     
  13. biblebound

    biblebound TDPRI Member

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    I've owned a lot of Fender style guitars. At the moment I have two American made Fenders. I also own various boutiques. I've even recently put together two all-parts guitars, a strat and a tele, that ultimately turned out to be excellent instruments. All are fine examples of Leo Fender's creations, several with unparalleled tone and great playability. However, my Suhr Custom Classic T, in respect to both tone and playability, are a step above. Yes, expensive, but Mr. Suhr's instruments bleed quality. The price tag may not be worth it to some, but make no mistake, there is a difference.
     
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  14. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Dang it. I do keep hearing that. My current Tele is 8.2 pounds but would love to try a lighter Tele.
     
  15. slimfinger

    slimfinger TDPRI Member

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    Is Paulownia softer than pine? Pine tele bodies I've seen are pretty damn soft, dent easily. Personally dents don't bother me, it's a guitar not museum furniture.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The softest pine is similarly as soft as paulownia and has similar screw stripping issues.
    But there are many varieties of pine and some is similarly hard like hardwoods.
    Southern Yellow Pine has long been used as flooring, and is both very hard and heavy.

    Alder is pretty soft too and dents easily without a hard finish.
    The harder pine used in a lot of Squiers holds up pretty well.
    An oil finish doesn't harden the surface and an oil finished light weight alder body will dent up pretty easily, though not as bad as paulownia.

    Retailers might not agree with you on the dents if all their new guitars became used guitars after a few weeks on the racks.

    Kids today!
    No respect for stuff that doesn't belong to them!
     
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  17. Bodeen

    Bodeen TDPRI Member

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    Idk... Guess it’s just me, but I can’t get interested in any modern produced guitars in that price range. Come to think of it, about the max I go is around 2k-2500~ for anything made from ‘80 on.

    Now... when I start looking at really expensive guitars they’re the older, sometimes beat up vintage stuff that starts at, like, 9k and up. I guess my priorities are just all fk’d up. lol I don’t think twice about driving a beater truck, but 40g for a nice all original 50’s era model doesn’t seem that bad...especially compared to how much money I’ve spent on harley-davidsons through the years (almost sickening - lol). There’s always worse things you can spend money on. ;-)
     
  18. Terrytown

    Terrytown TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Truly a beautiful guitar. Any intonation issues with the double string brass bridge barrels.

    TF
     
  19. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Holic

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    Some here misunderstand value of knowledge, and value of what is possible with wood.

    If they sell a 3k turdwood guitar, at the end of the day it'll still be turdwood.

    That's what's pointed here.
     
  20. shallbe

    shallbe TDPRI Member

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    IMO. Good wood is wood that sounds good and is structurally sound enough to keep the guitar together over time. "Turdwood" to me would be ANY type of wood that is heavy and sounds dull---ash or whatever.

    Regarding John Suhr. I feel like I know the man pretty well. I worked with him on custom guitars starting over 15 years ago. I have 5 of them now. He does not build junk or build with junk. If he is doing a run of Paulownia guitars, he got some good stock and knows how to build with it. I'm sure it varies, just like ash, alder or pine---in weight and other ways. Wood isn't wood, no more than all brass is the same and all "nitro" finishes are the same. Some are significantly superior.

    Redwood is a soft wood. It sounds great! Guthrie Trapp's old green Floyd Tele is redwood. That guitar is a warrior, been around the world and still going strong.

    Also, while I own a lot of guitars, I no longer own any Fenders. I like vintage influenced guitars that are made for performance and sound great. Fender lost me long ago with the thick, sticky "nitro in name only" finishes, crap hardware, sloppy neck joints, needed shims, etc. I'm at a point where I don't need to go back since i got my first Suhr in 2005.

    I'm not saying you have to pay a bunch of money to get a great guitar, either. While I own Suhrs, I also LOVE my Guitar Mill/Musikraft builds. They cost less than a decent US Fender Telecaster, are built better, superior hardware and sound wonderful.

    Finally, nobody pays list price. And I buy great guitars used when I can (Kirn, Protocaster) for true bargains. I'm not a fanboy of any brand, but I know what I want in terms of specs---and pine or Paulownia is not it. So while expensive, the Paulownia Suhr will sell probably around $2400 everywhere, not $3k. Precision custom shop builds made in California ain't cheap, regardless of wood. Just ask Fender.

    [​IMG]
     
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