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What' your approach to gear buying?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Marc Morfei, May 2, 2021.

What's your approach to gear buying?

Poll closed May 9, 2021.
  1. You don't need to spend a fortune. Squires and Epiphones are great!

  2. Buy something top-notch and be done with it.

  1. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Feb 6, 2018
    Wilmington, DE
    I've been following this site for a few years now, and I am still struck but what a wide range of opinions people have. Almost everything that gets discussed here is subjective, and it just comes down to personal preference, so there is never a wrong answer.

    Recently I ran across a used Suhr guitar. And it got me thinking. For every guy who loves his Squire or Epiphone, and is thrilled he only had to pay out a few hundred for it, there is a guy who says just get something really good to begin with, and save yourself the hassle and expense of always GASing for something else.

    I have enjoyed trying out lots of different things. Buying used low- and middle-tier items has allowed me to do that at minimal cost. But now I'm thinking -- why have a whole bunch of guitars and amps sitting around? Why not just have a small number of things that are really great? If for the same cost you could have six sub-$1,000 guitars, or two top-shelf instruments, which would you choose?
    Roscoe295, black_doug and Deathray like this.
  2. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    Going through a bunch of inexpensive "bang for buck" instruments is a great way to learn what you want out of a guitar and what you don't really need. Once you figure out what's important to you, focus on that and get the best example you can afford. Even then, it's still fun to have a few inexpensive "second line" guitars that you don't play a lot but are fun to pick up occasionally. I never play 12 string electric with a band, but I have a nice Agile Harm 12-string I picked up cheap that is fun to play when the mood strikes. I can't envision ever buying a Rickenbacker 360/12, the Agile is all I need.
  3. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jan 15, 2010
    Approach? OOOOOOOOOHHHHH I want that.
    LGOberean, OldPup, Bill and 15 others like this.
  4. Buckaroo65

    Buckaroo65 Tele-Holic

    Nov 8, 2019
    Lucky Spot
    I voted for cheap because yes wasn't a choice. Whose heart doesn't warm right up when walking into a room full of gear? I'd imagine hearts get warmer when they walk into a room full of expensive gear, but until my ship comes in, I'll have to settle for top notch cheapness...
  5. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

    Sep 21, 2012
    I spend more buying lots of cheap ones .
  6. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

    Oct 14, 2012
    Where I live, the equipment choices are pretty standard. Suhrs and Swarts, etc. are unheard of. Literally. I took my Reverend Jetstream 390 into the local guitar emporium the other day to trade for a Gibson. None of the guys there had ever heard of Reverend !?! In some ways it helps to have fewer choices.

    A game I often play in a music shop is to imagine that I've just won some contest and I can have one thing, free, no matter how cheap, no matter how expensive. It's not always the most expensive thing that I'd go for, but rather something that appeals and I could use. Your choices can be sometimes surprising when you take cost out of the equation.

    I didn't vote because my answer is both. I have cheap gear that I love. I have expensive gear that I love.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  7. Deathray

    Deathray Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 1, 2019
    Central illinois
    I agree wholeheartedly. Without planning it that way, I realized that was what I did. I must say that once I bought my first expensive guitar, I realized I was no longer searching for that elusive “something” that had me collecting less expensive guitars. I realized that I found the guitar that checks all the boxes- tone, playability, comfort. The others began to gather dust. I have since bought a few other higher priced guitars, while pairing down the overall number of guitars. But everyone is different, and let’s be honest, budget plays a huge part in the equation. I’m not a professional musician, so I cannot see buying anything I don’t have the money in the bank for. Guitar payments ain’t happening!:)
  8. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 20, 2010
    Harrisburg, PA area
    I have had an acoustic in my hands since I was 10. I know what I need and what works for me. Conversations about brands seem kind of silly because I will know when I play it and brand seems more or less irrelevant.

    With electrics, I have way less experience. So I tend to wonder about options and possibilities.

    The TDPRI community has generally responded to my questions about electric guitar quality by saying, "you'll probably know if/when you need a really nice guitar." So I figure, until I get to the point of having a specific thing I want, I can stick to "learner models."

    At this point, I feel fortunate to have some budget guitars that people have described as "punching above their weight:" I've kept an Indonesian Bullet and a Dillion 335. I've ditched an MIM Tele, an MIM Strat, and an Epi LP Special.

    I may be circling around to a nice electric but I really have no business buying one yet because I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be the right model. If I get to the point where I think, "I want this exact guitar, but with none of the little imperfections" I'll probably go on a hunt for a 4-figure instrument.
  9. Electric Warrior

    Electric Warrior Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Jan 7, 2018
    I like trying lots of stuff, too. It's way easier to do with inexpensive stuff. I'll always have a revolving door for a guitar or two.

    I also don't like having too much unused gear sitting around, whether it's a $300 guitar or a $3000. If I don't use it, I'm not getting value from it. I've tried "keep [x] handy just in case," but my personal reality was I never needed it at all.

    It's not so much that you have to pay a lot and be done with it, but find what you really like and be done with it. If you want to hold it all the time, great, if it's inexpensive, all the better!
    Digital Larry likes this.
  10. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2016
    For me anyway, I would rather save up to purchase the instrument that I really want rather than buy the similar one that I can immediately afford. It is like a food craving, if I desire ice cream, I still desire it even after I ate something else so I might as well just go for the ice cream. It is also cheaper in the long run to just save up and buy the premiere instrument rather than buying a couple of cheaper versions first and still end up buying what you wanted all along.

    Luckily, I don't have expensive tastes for the most part so the mid-priced instruments are often what I wanted in the first place, but for the rest, I buy the high end.
  11. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Holic

    Aug 15, 2020
    I don’t see the “fret over option paralysis and never buy it” option.

    Or the, “Finally make your decision but unforeseen expenses cut your purchase off at the pass”

    This is my life, but I should learn to play the ones I have...
  12. gridlock

    gridlock Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 1, 2011
    Tampa, Fl
    It has always been more top-notch gear for me. Even my first guitar and amp purchase as a teenager was a new Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Marshall JMP half stack, all paid for by me with my first bank loan.

    After many years of buying, selling, and trading gear, I finally know what I like.

    For guitars mostly Fender American made Telecasters and Stratocaster's with Rosewood necks and Gibson Les Pauls with bigger/50’s style necks and humbuckers.

    For amps, vintage Fender’s and hand-wired Marshall’s.

    Currently, I am happy with all my gear but I’m always open to buying, selling, and trading (within my preferences) for gear that looks, feels, or sounds better to my eyes and ears.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
    Tele-friend likes this.
  13. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights Tele-Meister

    Oct 25, 2017
    Very weird question. Nobody has ever bought an expensive guitar and never wanted another one. Might be what some people say to rationalize spending all that money, but they'll eventually get hit by the GAS just as the ones that spend 1/10 of what they do.

    If you got lots of money, you buy expensive gear. If you got little money, you buy cheap gear. It's as simple as that.

    Oh, and if you got no money, you desperately try to sell some of your least favourite stuff to raise as much as you can to buy whatever you can afford.
  14. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

    May 25, 2007
    St. Croix, USVI
    Ive purchased both and while I like some of my lower end purchases very much (MIM C-50s tele) some of it not so much. I have never felt that a high end purchase (Reinhardt 18w 1x12 combo) was lacking or a mistake

    At this point in my life I don’t see me buying a lot of gear. I’m happy with both of my amps. My SG, tele, LP Special aren’t going anywhere. The strat is up for sale. My next guitar purchase will be my last. A LP Standard is what I want.
  15. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

    Aug 25, 2019
    West By God Virginia
    Despite what a lot of "I love my cheap bass" threads say or imply, NO ONE is saying that inexpensive instruments can't be good. And I've never heard anyone say that every boutique instrument hits it out of the park. I've had very expensive basses and I've had SX basses. I used to carry an SX bass as my spare, so I definitely believe they are gig worthy. Having said all that, there is absolutely no comparison in sound, feel or look between the most expensive basses I've owned and the cheapest. The most expensive basses have been much, much better, no contest. I want the bass to carry as much of the load as possible and an easy to play, great sounding bass means I can concentrate on the music, not on getting a good sound.
    David C likes this.
  16. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2015
    I have been playing my avatar Carvin since 1986. It is top notch but not expensive, so I have fallen through a crack in the poll.
  17. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Feb 21, 2008
    Left of the Left Coast
    I’ve never been in a position to buy anything from the top shelf, so the question is moot for me. Both arguments are valid, depending on the person. I am a play-at-home hack. In a blind test, you would not know whether I was playing a Classic Vibe or a Nocaster. A better player would likely be able to exploit the quality difference in ways I can’t. Then again, a really good player often transcends the instrument, so here we are back at the beginning again.

    My philosophy is play what you like, and don’t concern yourself with what other people play. Unless it’s pointy, then you can laugh at them. :D
  18. Tele-friend

    Tele-friend Tele-Meister

    Dec 26, 2020
    If you have/want for example 3 guitars then I guess different price ranges is the way to go.
    Split the budget to ~1/6 + 2/6 + 3/6 (for example 300$, 600$ and 900$ guitars).

    Maybe one lower/medium priced squier to have as a 'beater', for practicing with band, for learning how to setup, maybe as a spare for concerts etc. A guitar you dont worry too much about if sth happens to it.
    Then one like a Fender player series or vintera or baja. Guitar which is already really good in terms of quality but still not crazy expensive.
    And for last a really good guitar, for the budget you can afford. From Fender Performer series and all the way to Elite. Sth you take good care of and use maybe more at home in studios etc.
    This is my 'philosophy', but of course everybody has their own. And I do realise that budget you have is a really strong factor to consider.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  19. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Antelope, California
    Although I do have a couple of US made guitars (Tele and an SG), most of my guitars are what I call "working man" guitars with pro quality components and built solid to take being out on the road. I have a few stock higher-end MIMs and a few other guitars that were cheap to start out with but I've upgraded them with better pickups and hardware. So, no stock Squiers or Epiphones, but no high-end showpieces either. I'd guess most of them would sell for somewhere between $500 and $1K.
    El Marin likes this.
  20. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

    Jan 30, 2015
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    I have in these, less $$ than what a "be done with" guitar would cost. Why would I want only ¾ of a guitar ?

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