Seriously? THREE GRAND?

Musekatcher

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I'd rather have a responsive piece of balsa that is musical, versus a dead, un-musical piece of Rosewood or other more valuable by the pound wood for an instrument. PS - violins have been constructed of selected balsa, that outperform lessor grade spruce and maple violins, to demonstrate how important stock selection is, as much as, or even more than species selection.
 

Ash Telecaster

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I had the good fortune to work with John Suhr many moons ago at Rudy's Music (it's pronounced John Sir for the jokesters out there).

John was the absolute best at making a guitar play like butter, incredible fret jobs, and no one can level frets better, just the best. I had a gold Pensa-Suhr Strat style HSS that I regretfully sold that was ridiculous to play.

Regardless, the prices of guitars are definitely getting out of hand. You can easily get a great guitar off the shelf, or even build a parts caster for well under $1,500. But there is obviously a market for high end boutique equipment, and this fits the bill.


I once asked about the pronunciation of his name after a work friend insisted it was pronounced like "zair". It turns out that work friend was wrong. I don't know John like you do but he generously helped me completed an MBA work assignment. Great guy. I also own a Suhr guitar and it is everything you would expect a cream of the crop instrument to be, including pricy. But worth the money to me and I'm very glad I bought it.
 

fenderchamp

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It's not a matter of raw materials *cost* - Paulownia has been used for years by mass manufacturers in China for hundreds of thousands of lowest-budget guitars; it's soft and prone to damage; and comparing the look of even the most distinctive Paulownia to "average" swamp ash is, IMO, absurd.

It's been known as being below basswood in the self-builder world, and disliked by a large number of professional techs because it's so soft and has been encountered only on the lowest-budget instruments.

Doing fine hand work and setup on a Paulownia instrument is a "variable", as its stability is so low. Neck adjustments are common as it's extremely prone to changes in humidity

Fender was mentioned above, and I read they will no longer be using swamp ash at all. BUt they are not changing to Paulownia.

Anyway - it's not a tonewood debate subject I just thought it was funny seeing a $2999 guitar made of the stuff beginning builders gravitate to purely because it's cheap.


Fender released a not terribly cheap US production model and called it empress or princess wood or something like that, it was paulownia https://reverb.com/price-guide/guide/5252-fender-tele-bration-empress-telecaster-2012-honeyburst of course a fender production model circa 2012 was no 3K guitar.

I think GFS has done a lot of damage to the perceived value of paulownia, The Paisly sig tele's are Paulownia, though I think they have some pine on top of them or something. I know of one guitar body maker at least that charges at least what they charge for light swamp ash, for paulownia too, they charge more than they do for basswood. GFS sells bodies out of other woods too for cheap, so it's not like only paulownia.
 

scooteraz

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I fell over laughing reading the description. I built a LOT of Paulownia guitars as cheap experiments, presents for kids, and one experimental B-bender. Yeah, it sounds OK. But THIS?

https://www.suhr.com/instruments/classic-t-paulownia/

"Sounds and looks similar to Swamp Ash. It is a highly resonant tone wood that is both beautiful and extremely light in weight"?

Oh, it's light alright. AND soft - it dents easily and IMO best for hand tool use only - powered screwdrivers can strip the stuff before you can blink. And I've never seen Paulownia with distinctive grain like swamp ash. Plus much of it has an odd, greenish tinge to it.

I was lmao wondering if they bought the bodies from Guitar Fetish for $50......:lol:

I see a lot of these threads on the cost of guitar maker X’s price, and how outrageous it is. I always wonder, what should the MSRP be, and what is that based on?

I could try to replicate this guitar from Warmoth parts, but I’m thinking a that I’m about 1150 into parts (about $250 for a roasted maple neck with SS frets and add a nut, they don’t appear to have any Paulowina, but a finished sugar pine body is ~$400, say $150 for pickups, switches pots and caps, another $150 for bridge plate and saddles, locking tuners pickguard and misc hardware, ~$200 for the Ilitsch silent system). Add in assembly time and a good setup, and I’m about $1400 into the guitar, at my cost. If I then have to sell the guitar, what is an appropriate MSRP for something that am $1400 into cost of the product alone, without any overheads? If I’m doing it as a business, I also have business expenses to cover.....Suddenly, $3000 MSRP doesn’t seem so far off.
 

brogh

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It's in the Suhr pricing range, they do not come cheap, I've played one used for a couple of minutes in a shop wasn't impressed, this one looks kinda cool imho I'd like to give a run to this one :)
 

61fury

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Suhr does offer a lifetime warranty if I read it right

" Warranty Information
ELECTRIC GUITARS AND BASSES
This warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, misuse, abuse, neglect, unauthorized or improperly performed repairs, alterations, and/or wear and tear occasioned by use of the product, and does not include any expense for inconvenience or loss of use while the product is being repaired or replaced. JST expressly disclaims any liability for consequential damaged arising from the sale, use, or inability to use the product. Any warranty implied by law, including any warranty of merchantability or fitness, is expressly limited to the one (1) year warranty term for the parts on our electric guitars and basses. The foregoing statements of warranty are exclusive and in lieu of all other remedies. Material and workmanship lifetime warranty is limited strictly to the original retailer purchaser of the instrument registered with JST within 10 days of purchase from an authorized JST dealer or distributor. JST will pay shipping costs to return the unit to its owner within the mainland U.S. The above warranty policy only applies to customers in USA. If you are an international customer, please check with your distributor and the dealer in your country for warranty matters. Warranty issues must be handled through your dealer or distributor. If you are an international customer who purchased (or plan to purchase) from a US dealer, we can handle warranty matters direct but you will be responsible for shipping both ways. We encourage international customers to purchase through your local distributor or dealer for this reason. Our international distributors are set up to handle warranty issues in their respective countries. If you do not have an authorized Suhr dealer in your country, please contact us direct for further details."

Suhr warranty page


So if your pauwlonia body has stripped screw holes maybe they cover that? Anyone here with a Suhr, have you had warranty work done? I'd bet they would make any wrong right.
 
Last edited:

61fury

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Well maybe not?

"This warranty does not cover damage caused by accident, misuse, abuse, neglect, unauthorized or improperly performed repairs, alterations, and/or wear and tear occasioned by use of the product,"

Still they sound like an operation that will see to their customers properly
 

telemnemonics

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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.


All fair points, but then you had to ruin your run of fairness by dismissing Fender for: "thick sticky finishes, crap hardware, sloppy neck joints, needed shims etc".

I generally support the small high end expensive makers of better gear, and here I repeat that Surh was liekely pressured by "old guys with bad backs and good credit" to offer paulownia as a body wood option.

Here at least we have lots of love for paulownia bodies.
But that's gotta be 90% old guys with bad backs!
If you want to stay in business you hafta sell what the customers want.

Fender stays in business just like Suhr, selling stuff buyers want.
I find Fender hardware makes guitars that cannot be improved upon.
What makes a Tele great, mediocre or lousy is not the bridge, tuners or controls.

Maybe Suhr knows pickup secrets Fender has not learned, but IME Fender does OK for price point guitars, which is generally what factory products are.

I've worked most of my life in high end custom woodworking.
You pay extra for custom made, or for limited production where the crafts people reject sub par materials and spend more time ensuring every example is up to the higher standard the price implies.

No need for Fender to be bad here, and no need for Suhr to be bad either.

Paulownia is IMO not a very good material for guitar bodies.
But if an old guy with a bad back prefers solid paulownia over a harder wood make lighter by chambering, might as well sell it to him.
 

Ess Eff

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I luv my Paulownia guitars.

I'd pay extra for them even if the materials cost less.... but I did put them together myself at a very reasonable price.
.
IMG_20200831_104624.jpg
 

FLRocker

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If you're going to charge 3K for anything, you're going to have to sell it hard...
 

Telenator

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

TF

No issues. This guitar tunes perfectly. I can play a Bb at the first fret, or an open position F and they're in tune. It's amazing. Makes it so much more fun to play.
 

Karl Beach

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I fell over laughing reading the description. I built a LOT of Paulownia guitars as cheap experiments, presents for kids, and one experimental B-bender. Yeah, it sounds OK. But THIS?

https://www.suhr.com/instruments/classic-t-paulownia/

"Sounds and looks similar to Swamp Ash. It is a highly resonant tone wood that is both beautiful and extremely light in weight"?

Oh, it's light alright. AND soft - it dents easily and IMO best for hand tool use only - powered screwdrivers can strip the stuff before you can blink. And I've never seen Paulownia with distinctive grain like swamp ash. Plus much of it has an odd, greenish tinge to it.

I was lmao wondering if they bought the bodies from Guitar Fetish for $50......:lol:

Maybe they could cover a few tops with out-of-fashion paisley wallpapers and urethane (like Fender actually unsuccessfully did in the late 1960s), call them some kind of King Krimson Kloset Relicks, and charge even more? Curious minds want to know...
 

ahiddentableau

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Yup, I've played a couple Suhr's and they are very nice guitars, but it's one of the ugliest headstocks out there. Could never bring myself to own one based solely on that.

I agree completely about the headstock.

Suhr obviously makes great guitars, but that headstock makes me think of the 100 dollar chinese special my parents rented for me when I first decided I wanted to try the instrument. It really is too strong a resemblance. In fairness, there probably aren't too many ways to shape a 6-inline headstock, but I'd like to think they could come up with something better. Headstock shape is a big reason people still want a Fender: they found a classic and attractive shape.
 

Karl Beach

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Sold body guitars, despite "religious" wood arguments, unlike top-notch acoustics, can be successfully made from a wide variety of materials...even Masonite and structural foam...and then made to "sound good" with an appropriate combination of components and electronics. In my worldview, the durability of the material chosen is the paramount consideration for the builder of high-end guitars, an attribute that far outweighs any alleged distinguishing sonic characteristics (if any). Bluntly, expensive guitars made from time-tested, expensive woods are demonstrably more durable, more easily serviced (e.g screw holes don't need to be filled with epoxy during rebolting), and long-lived in serious use than entry-level guitars made from economy woods...a product-placement hierarchy that makes perfect sense since many novices play only a little while before abandoning their guitars. In other words, soft woods can indeed sound good in electric guitar body application, but can...and do...present structural problems to repair people and don't fare well in accidents (e.g. being pulled off the stage by over-enthusiastic bar patrons, and aren't likely to endure the ravages of time. As always, I could be mistaken...and usually am. Rock on!
 

Southpole

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Fender released a not terribly cheap US production model and called it empress or princess wood or something like that, it was paulownia https://reverb.com/price-guide/guide/5252-fender-tele-bration-empress-telecaster-2012-honeyburst of course a fender production model circa 2012 was no 3K guitar.

I think GFS has done a lot of damage to the perceived value of paulownia, The Paisly sig tele's are Paulownia, though I think they have some pine on top of them or something. I know of one guitar body maker at least that charges at least what they charge for light swamp ash, for paulownia too, they charge more than they do for basswood. GFS sells bodies out of other woods too for cheap, so it's not like only paulownia.

I own the Fender Empress Telecaster, solid paulownia, as below. I don’t think I’ve put any dents in it. It does not have pronounced neck dive or any other problems because of the wood type. It is very light and resonant.

206E2F7A-9D93-400D-A717-070937054E66.jpeg
 

ponce

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Even if I had the means I'd never buy it only because of that ugliest headstock in the world of guitars.
 

wreckmark

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I don't think Suhr would use a wood that is inferior.....period. I also think Paulownia is an excellent tone wood......and it's light! Just like all wood, it's wood. It can vary widely in appearance and color.
I have a Glendale Tele and it looks amazingly like Ash. And also sounds amazing! And is also the lightest Tele I own.
82991870-BD82-4447-BF8D-FA0B442879B4_zpsijpnicsb.jpeg

IMG_5868_zpsnsxiklv3.jpeg
IMG_5735_zps3ukuyuya.jpeg
 

Dik Ellis

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I would spend $3000 for an acoustic guitar, but not for an electric guitar. I paid $600 for my new Les Paul Custom and case in 1979. Now they list for almost $5000.
 




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