We're all being suckered......

bgmacaw

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Just a question for all of you who buy cheap guitars and then spend money to upgrade them so they are better: By the time you spend all the money on the upgrades, depending on how far you go that is, how much have you really saved vs. getting a better guitar with better electronics, etc. to begin with??

A lot of people spend far too much "upgrading" guitar because the internet told them that they should. This happens with Squier, MIM Fender and even MIA buyers. I've even seen Fender Custom Shop buyers do it (look for TDPRI threads with people swapping pickups on these $3000 guitars).

My strategy is to shop for good values on parts as well as guitars. For example, buying a used SD Seth Lover for $15 because someone cut the lead short or someone selling a used set of tuners from a MIA Strat for $20 because they were "upgrading" to locking tuners.
 

chris m.

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Check out this Jack Pearson interview. Listen from 52:50 to 56:30. He's played with just about everybody and is a well known top player. Check out his master class youtube video if you want to see someone with serious chops....

His #1 and #2 electrics are Squier Strats, one of which he got used for $87. No pickup upgrades, either.

A couple of key points he makes. He figures only about 1 out of 10 guitars, no matter the price, has the resonant/live feeling he is looking for. He is looking for a guitar that really resonates.



Here's the link to his master class-- playing his $87 red Squier. The guy next to him, acting as the interviewer, has a much more expensive guitar, but when you listen it's like chalk and cheese. It's the archer, not the arrow.....

 

teleman1

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Recently purchased a 2014 Squier (YES Squier) Classic Vibe 1970's 3 Sunburst Telecaster and I already know what you are thinking because I too was conditioned to dismiss Non US Fenders long ago. I have a 1992 USA Strat (standard) so I am already familiar with the quality of USA builds. The truth is that the Chinese Squier 2014 is FABULOUS. Yes FABULOUS, great looks, nice quality, straight neck, super playable and good tone. I doubted my own judgement initially so I went to the music shop and tested three Player and Player Plus Telecaster (900 euro) models and they were far worse. The 2014 Telecaster was made in China, in particular the "Grand Reward" factory outside of Hong Kong. Still doubting the conventional wisdom, I asked the advice of my brother in law who plays (very well) a 2002 Eric Clapton Series Deluxe Stratocaster. "What do you think?" I asked him. "The Squier is better than my EC Deluxe Strat," he said.

So what's going on? We live in a time when you can buy a 50 inch flat screen TV for 450 euro/dollars, so is there any justification for charging over two thousand bucks for 1950's technology? I think the Chinese builders were out to prove the same point by building the best Classic Vibe models they possibly good, perhaps to show up the Corona factory, who knows. I have heard more than once on this forum that the Classic Vibe is good value and good quality. I realise that few people who have spent over 2000 will agree that they have overpaid but there is something very strange going on if I can pay 300 for a guitar worthy of seven times the price. PS I have been playing for 40 years. We can rave about the Sprague Orange drops and the noiseless pick-ups but at the end of the day an electric guitar works through a vibrating conductor inside a magnetic field (Faraday's Law). Granted a Custom Model is hand made but Computer Numerical Control still governs many of the factory parts. Can we agree, the top prices are affected by elements other than playability and sound. Are we fashion victims who crave a name brand like Louis Vuitton bags and Italian sports cars?
4 years ago my friend & I were in Amsterdam. We walked into a music store & my friend bought a few things. One was a Chinese Strat. STOCK! It played fantastic, sounded fantastic, plugged & unplugged. It was very inexpensive. Made me wonder about my custom shop strat. Yes it was better than the Chinese unit, but not $2000 better more like $500 better
 

Festofish

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in the last couple years I’ve collected a wide variety of guitars.
G&L-1
Epiphone-2
Schecter-4
Squier-4
Jackson-2
Sterling-1
Gretsch-2
Chapman-1
All have been great though I do tend to buy/trade used guitars. Most have been set up great. It isn’t an accurate comparison to a new factory fresh set up.
 

Papanate

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So what's going on? We live in a time when you can buy a 50 inch flat screen TV for 450 euro/dollars, so is there any justification for charging over two thousand bucks for 1950's technology?. Can we agree, the top prices are affected by elements other than playability and sound. Are we fashion victims who crave a name brand like Louis Vuitton bags and Italian sports cars?
Yes the Top end guitars are Luxury Items that command top dollar - the Squier is a Luxury Item that comes in at a price people can afford. Is it worth it to buy the top end? I don't think so - but then again I got all my 'Vintage' gear long before it was vintage
or not cost effective - so my guitars were decent price - $250 for a 63 Stratocaster - $125 for a 51 Telecaster - $300 and $350 for my 58 and 59 Les Pauls - all bought in the late 70s or early 80s - now is the CV Stratocaster I have as good as the 63? I think so - and I'd rather play the CV rather than the risk of playing the 63 out - and no one even notices - or if they do they are a guitarist who wants to prove something.

The CV Telecasters though - the necks are small for me - so why the guitar might be just as good - I can't play it - but I don't worry about it.
 

Ronzo

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My guitar collection is all American now (no Fenders) mostly because I couldn't find the equivalent made elsewhere without massive lead times or no other company making that guitar type. Yes it hit my wallet hard but I'll not part with these guitars easily.

If a Chinese, Indonesian or Korean plant could build me a Gibson CS 336-a-like to my spec I would buy it but overseas custom building small batches just isn't feasible.

So it's either US custom built or second hand Gibson CS 336s.
Interesting that you talk about small batch building in the Far East, because that’s how I got my LP copy.

My company at the time did a lot of products using Far East (Taiwan, mostly) contract manufacturing. There was a community of people who understood that very well. At the time (early 2000s), we had a branch office in Broomall, PA, and they shared some space with a small firm that did musical instrument import.

They had enacted a contract with KHL in Korea to import about eight LP copies under their Wolf brand - the “Rockey series”. A shape-correct LP copy with a long-tenon set neck (slim 60’s profile) Grover tuners, AlNiCo PAF-type pickups. Tobacco sunburst with rosewood board, or cherry sunburst with an Ebony board for a modest upcharge. I got the cherry/Ebony version. Less than $375.00 USD.

After I got it shipped to my South Florida office, I was delighted with the quality. It had small, cheap Alpha pots, but I soon rewired it to ‘58 Burst specs with new pots and caps. I tried PIO caps, but saw no difference versus inexpensive Nichisen poly caps, so I slid the PIOs on. What DID make a noticeable difference was the huge 12 gauge copper bus-bar grounding schema to each of the pots. So much so that it seemed to be of the essence of the sound.

Everyone who is a Les Paul player favorably comments on the sound and feel. The materials and construction are right. And when my friends hear I’m bringing it to a gig, one or more of them say, “You’re bringin’ the Wolf? Caucasian, that’s all ya had to SAY!” 😁
 

1 21 gigawatts

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I go both ways on this argument. I have two Squire Strats and two Epiphones that I am happy with. I have a PRS SE that has what could be considered a 10 top from PRS USA.

I also have a Gibson DC Junior Tribute that I absolutely love. The Gibson logo doesn't make it nicer than some of my cheaper guitars, but I'm not going to lie and say that it doesn't mean anything either. It certainly adds to my enjoyment of playing it, regardless of how vain that may sound. The older that I get, the more that I realize that you can't put a price on what makes you happy.
 

THX1123

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This post is for humorous purposes only.

chinese_knockoffs_of_popular_brands_640_12.jpg
 

boris bubbanov

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The only reason a Squier wouldn't last 50+ years would be because someone threw in a damp basement or an outdoor storage shed because it was such a cheap guitar. While some people have treated vintage Fenders and Gibsons this way, it's a lot less common.

If one takes care of a modern electric guitar properly, it will last. And, as we've found with even cheap catalog guitars of the 60's and 70's, they will usually last a lot better if they were cared for and stored reasonably well.
I'm not prepared to agree with this. Because we have no way of knowing, where the maple came from and what the quality of the steel in the truss rod is. 50s guitars made with old growth wood have IMO a higher probability of still performing well, way into the future and I think Fender North America cherry picks the maple they have used since, and still use now. Even though some of the MIC Classic Vibes had one piece bodies (which is cool) we don't know how long those slender necks of uncertain arboreal lineage will fare in the long term. But why anyone would keep a MIC Classic Vibe instead of playing it to bits and sawdust, is 100% beyond my ability to understand. Please, make some music with them, guys!
 

boris bubbanov

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Check out this Jack Pearson interview. Listen from 52:50 to 56:30. He's played with just about everybody and is a well known top player. Check out his master class youtube video if you want to see someone with serious chops....

His #1 and #2 electrics are Squier Strats, one of which he got used for $87. No pickup upgrades, either.

A couple of key points he makes. He figures only about 1 out of 10 guitars, no matter the price, has the resonant/live feeling he is looking for. He is looking for a guitar that really resonates.



Here's the link to his master class-- playing his $87 red Squier. The guy next to him, acting as the interviewer, has a much more expensive guitar, but when you listen it's like chalk and cheese. It's the archer, not the arrow.....


Here's what puzzles me:

Why don't people understand as given, the better the player, the cheaper the guitar they need to use to make people grin and make folks feel good?

Expensive guitars are for us "lesser" folks (I'm talking about me) who need ever single bit of help we can find, can beg borrow or steal to get. Jack Pearson needs no help, but guys like him do not grow on trees. Guitar players like me, do grow on trees and we're the bunch for which the expensive guitars exist. The fact that Jack can get great sounds out of any old guitar, doesn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise a single one of us. With kindest regards and all that.
 

jdl57

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So what's going on? We live in a time when you can buy a 50 inch flat screen TV for 450 euro/dollars, so is there any justification for charging over two thousand bucks for 1950's technology?
Hate to break this to you, but unless you are talking onboard modeling, ALL guitars are 1950's technology--except for acoustics which are 1850's technology. The Broadcaster was introduced in 1950 with an inflation adjusted price of over $2,000, significantly less than the Gibson electrics which were hollow body archtops. Back then, everything Americans bought was made in the U.S., outsourcing to other countries for lower cost had not been invented. Imported goods, like Irish wool or British sports cars, were a luxury, and expensive. Nowadays, very little is made in America (except for foreign cars--go figure), but what is made here is a luxury, and expensive. I'm glad you like your Squire, but I will not apologize for my $2,000 Broadcaster reissue, it is a luxury, and I love it.
 

cometazzi

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I think this is part of the story people tell when they're congratulating themselves on their brilliant cheap guitar purchases. That cheap guitars just suddenly got good. It's a popular idea on the internet.
I reject this notion entirely.

I've owned cheap guitars made from the 1930s through the 1990s. I've played plenty made after that. I've not played a squier I'd prefer to my $90 univox from the 60s, or my $125 ibanez ar50 from the 70s. My 80s japanese squier was in no way inferior to a new squier.

My experience is opposite, but maybe because my era is later. I paid $179 for that 1990 Squier II I posted earlier in the thread. MSRP was $200 but it had some gouges on the pickguard, so they knocked $21 off for me. I've owned that since, and I've owned a smattering of modern Squier Affinity guitars as well. I bought the Squier II new and all the Affinities used, but if you were to go out into the store and buy one new today, you'd spend about $289 for about the same thing.

The quality of the Affinities is light years above the Squier II. Are Affinities as good as MIA? No. But for a modern 16-year old buying their first guitar, I feel like they're getting a much better start than we did 30-some years ago.

In 1990 I got a plywood body, potmetal saddles and bridge block, medium brass frets, the infamous trapezoid tuners and sticky polyester all over the neck.

Today, you'll get an Agathis body, better bridge, better tuners, medium jumbo frets and satin finish neck. I'll argue the stock pickups sounded better in the Affinities, but I've changed them out in both.

This is so absurd, I almost don't want to believe it:

1652481656014.png



Again, I'm not trying to say a modern Affinity is as good as a MIM or MIA. But they're absolutely good enough.
 

bottlenecker

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My experience is opposite, but maybe because my era is later. I paid $179 for that 1990 Squier II I posted earlier in the thread. MSRP was $200 but it had some gouges on the pickguard, so they knocked $21 off for me. I've owned that since, and I've owned a smattering of modern Squier Affinity guitars as well. I bought the Squier II new and all the Affinities used, but if you were to go out into the store and buy one new today, you'd spend about $289 for about the same thing.

The quality of the Affinities is light years above the Squier II. Are Affinities as good as MIA? No. But for a modern 16-year old buying their first guitar, I feel like they're getting a much better start than we did 30-some years ago.

In 1990 I got a plywood body, potmetal saddles and bridge block, medium brass frets, the infamous trapezoid tuners and sticky polyester all over the neck.

Today, you'll get an Agathis body, better bridge, better tuners, medium jumbo frets and satin finish neck. I'll argue the stock pickups sounded better in the Affinities, but I've changed them out in both.

This is so absurd, I almost don't want to believe it:

View attachment 983051


Again, I'm not trying to say a modern Affinity is as good as a MIM or MIA. But they're absolutely good enough.

Yeah, inflation is bonkers. I played a pretty good affinity tele sitting in with a friend, and it was back when they were $179 everywhere. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't better than earlier cheap guitars I've had.
 

bgmacaw

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Nowadays, very little is made in America

True for many consumer goods but a lot of B2B manufactured goods are made in the USA for various reasons. I've been working for these kinds of companies in software development for almost 15 years now so I'm glad they're still here.
 

bgmacaw

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Here's a crazy price comparison over 50 years. The guitar on the left was my first guitar that I bought with my summer lawn mowing money and a little extra cash from my grandparents. That's about $320 in 2020 dollars. On the left is a Musician's Friend Rogue acoustic I bought for $54 on a "Stupid Deal of the Day" in 2020.

Which is better? While it is super cheap, the Rogue is better by a long shot because it's actually playable above the third fret. If I were to go up to $350 in 2022 dollars (ouch!) then I could move up to a Yamaha, Ibanez Artwood or D'Angelico which would be even better.

19702vs2020.png
 




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