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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Ghostdriver, Jun 23, 2021.
Leslie West did pretty well with his 'entry level' Les Paul Junior!
In one sense guitars are consumer items. We can be subconsciously influenced by advertising hyperbole, and I do believe we guitarists have imbibed a good dose of brand name hyperbole.
I somewhat think we consumers of guitars have a desire to "Keep up with the Joneses", thus the ranking of guitars, when after all is said and done the quality of what we play may be more pertinent than the name on the headstock.
I think the main difference between a cheap guitar and a more expensive one is that the cheap one won't get old as well as an expensive one. I mean if you play it a lot.
The other difference is in the materials, i have got a cheap squier tele, and the paint is really thin. I made a ding in no time, but that is ok it is a small one. Actually, i didn't make the ding, it was when it was loaded in the car, so i blame my friends for piling stuffs on top of it.
And the last difference to me is the pick ups. Well, that is what you paid for. Otherwise this tele plays awesome.
A last thing is that the hardware part rust quick. It might happen on a more expensive model, i don't know. But that squier got the same rust as my fender i played for 15 years in about 5 years.
Entry level doesn't mean cheapest. I've always thought of it as the minimum spend for a credible piece of gear; a price-point which allows you to begin the learning process with gear which won't in itself be a hurdle. I don't think this has anything to do with brands or countries of manufacture.
I'm quite happy playing today's "entry level" guitars, they're far better than most "good" guitars from 50 years ago. Where they come from doesn't bother me either as all guitars are imports.
I had a FSR MIM Strat that held its own with most anything. I miss it. Black with an aluminum guard.
I used to know a guy like that. If he spent the money to buy something more expensive, then everyone around him needed to do the same so he could feel good about his purchase. If someone got something nice for less, he would chastise them for not spending more for what he had.
His insecurity forced him to want everyone else to do what he did; otherwise, he spent too much - or could have spent less! - and didn't get his money's worth.
This is the same person that would go to Subway and order as many veggies as he could on his sub. He did not like his sub that way and would whine the whole time he was eating it because it did not taste good, but he was determined to get his money's worth. I just don't get that.
My second thought was some teen posting from their mother's basement who has fully bought into "you need top of the line gear to sound good" BS.
I've posted this before. I took my old Hondo in for an electronics buff and a setup a few years ago. I gave $45 for it ~40 years ago...never really getting a sound out of it that inspired me. The guy at the guitar shop played it (a real guitarist) when I went in to pick it up...it sounded beautiful! That convinced me it is in the hands, heart and head of the musician.
Over the last eighteen months (that shall not be named), I've filled a great amount of time reading reviews, forum posts, posting for advice on this or that, and being a part of this community as well as the sisters for Strats and Gretsch (until banned). It has been fun and I learned a lot.
Over that time, I purchased many guitars, pedals and amps...nothing over $750 (average closer to $400) and nothing MIA. I tried to pick guitars with very close to the same neck specs, but different pickup/control and finish specs, and different amp specs. I was pretty successful at putting together a menagerie hitting many wickets...and all better than I'll likely ever play.
Edit: Because this isn't long enough yet...I do have 2 MIM Fenders in my menagerie.
All this to say, I could of had two or three MIA guitars and one or two boutique amps...but to what end? Were I to play out of the house again, I'd not take a really expensive piece of gear anyway.
If someone doesn't like that and prefers MIA and the associated $$s...I'm okay with it. For me, the value added isn't there and "resale" is akin to a trip to Vegas.
I have a 1963 Strat and a Squier Bullet Strat. I really enjoy the feel and sound of both.
I guess I’m the entry level element here.
I started playing in 1989. I got my first three electric guitars in pretty short order—a single guy with a decent job can do that.
I was blessed that my first electric guitar was a high-end “professional” guitar—a 1980 G&L F-100. My second guitar was a G&L SC-2; it was one of George and Leo’s “student models,” in that it was stripped-down and simple, but not lacking in construction, design or playability. My third electric guitar was a G&L Nighthawk—a world-class Strat-style instrument.
I’ve played (and owned) every level of guitar from high-end handmade down to imported knockoffs, vintage and modern and in-between.
If my house were on fire, and I only had time to get one guitar, it would be my pinstriped 1995 MIM Telecaster. It is not the most valuable or pedigreed instrument I own, but it checks every box of what I want in a guitar.
Anybody who calls it a “entry level” guitar is a moron—especially if they’ve never played it!
The last gig I played before _____, I took my pinstriped Telecaster and my MIM ‘72 Telecaster Deluxe. The audience didn’t care, and the other bands on the bill didn’t care, either. They sounded as good as I could make them sound.
If something ever happened to my beloved made-in-America Fiesta Red US Vintage ‘62 Stratocaster, it would probably be replaced with a MIM Strat—either a ‘60’s reissue or a Jimmie Vaughan signature model. The price-to-features and quality ratio is almost nil, at this point.
…and with improvements with manufacturing, even something that I would classify as a “starter” guitar is a pretty good instrument…I was shocked when I played a friend’s low-level $150 Squier Telecaster…it felt and sounded good, period. Not “good for the price,” but “that’s a good guitar” good.
The guy who made that statement, besides being a jackwagon, an idiot and a moron, is probably one of those guys who think their entire signal path must be the top of the tops, because they’re afraid someone might see them as lesser…kinda like the guys who refuse to wear a pullover shirt unless there’s an alligator or a polo player on their left breast.
How dare you!
You might ask when that jackwagon is gonna upgrade his entry-level brain to a better “pro” model.
That’s irksome, but not as irksome as, “Hey babe, wanna go nosh some za?” There’s nothing worse than that.
I’ve owned epiphones and gibsons and I would say that a more expensive epiphone is a better guitar than a cheap Gibson.
I’ve played squires that were just as nice as Fenders; MIMs that played just as well as MIAs, and my current telecaster is a MIJ that I would put up against any MIA.
One of my favorite basses (I’m primarily a bass player) is my Ibanez Mikro. It’s the second Mikro I’ve owned and I put a $200 preamp into it (the guitar retails for less than that). I also like my $1500 Warmoth build. The Mikro and the Warmoth would both work for the gigs I play and I’ve used them both.
I do not even know what that is...sounds icky.
my 2 most expensive guitars are around 16-1800 bucks (the rest are between 500-1000). the majority of people i personally know IRL (with the exception of classical guitarists and a couple pros) who own guitars more expensive than that price tier play worse than me. jus sayin'...some "collectors" grossly overestimate their needs.
Back in 1964, we started a band with some of the worst guitars out there. I mean God Awful.
Sears, Japan throw aways and the like. But were learned on them and some Airline amps,
got better, purchased better guitars and amps as we went along. I still remember my Japan
Telecaster knock off to this day and I'm 70 years old. Look, we didn't care where it came from,
or how much we paid for it, we were making music, and happy to do so....WE WERE KINGS...
I appreciate your approach here. And I understand your opinion entirely. There are certainly those that hype low-end instruments as "as good as" higher end production models. I have 2 Affinities and would also never pretend that they are on par with much more expensive instruments. One in particular (which I've referenced before), I really enjoy and gets a lot more play time than my Fender guitars. I've set it up to my liking and really worked the frets and fingerboard edges to enhance the playability. It is fairly modded, but not with high dollars worth of upgrades. It plays and sounds beautifully, but it still does not "feel" like a top end instrument. In any case I would happily gig with this guitar anywhere. My Squier Contemporary series guitar feels much more substantial, and is one I also play more than my Fenders (although my preferences do ebb and flow over time and my "players" tend to rotate in use ). However, if I move to my son's Player series instrument (actually a P-Bass), the difference in quality is again apparent - mostly in better stock electronics and definitely in fit and finish.
Above that, in my humble opinion, there is a point of diminishing returns these days. Above the Player series, which seem to be the new "Standard" series, the overall quality does not seem to increase greatly, from the many samples I've tried. The differences then start to be variations in appointments - hardware, pickups, neck radius, bindings and even finish variations. All different options, but not necessarily better, depending on the player's preference.
I will say that my 2019 Squier Contemporary, the Player P-Bass and my two early 2000s MIK Fenders all seem substantially better in quality than my '83 Am Std Tele, but that one is from a different era Still, the MIA Tele is the third one to get lots of play time and is tied for my #2 spot with the fore-mentioned Affinity Strat right now
that's the only thing i truly dislike about them. poly necks have given me way less trouble than nitro necks with gunkiness. if we're talking new guitars, i'll take a poly neck any day, they always stay the same and ready to go. but that sheet peeling off on the body stuff is always my fear (though i know you can remedy the edges with a little sanding and super glue).