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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. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA
    I’m not going to go for a guitar with super hot humbuckers for surf or country or garage rock, and I’m not going to go for a guitar with low output single coils for grindcore. I’d also have different string gauges on both of those guitars because the one for grind/doom/crust would be tuned below e.
    bottlenecker likes this.
  2. Tiago

    Tiago TDPRI Member

    Jun 14, 2019
    Freiburg, Germany
    Price has nothing to do with it. I’m blessed enough to own guitars, basses and amps across the price and “vintageness” spectrum. When a piece of gear clicks, it clicks, and becomes dominant in my preferences for an unspecified amount of time. And if it is good, it stays. If not, it is moved on to other, more loving hands.
    Of course one needs to purchase (and sell) to get there. There is no right or wrong way, you have to find your own, and that requires experimenting and finding out what you like.
    Marc Morfei likes this.
  3. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 19, 2014
    Pärnu, Estonia, EU
    Buy something top-notch and be done with it.

    Now, being top notch doesn't always mean the more expensive. My #1 guitar, my Tele is "just" a Standard. In 1988 I tested quite all Teles in my town and decided that one was the best. Even over some many others much more expesive. Since then, I had a couple of more Teles but now I only keep that one because I compare all the others with that one. I am done. got a good one and is enough.

    The other approach is my band mate, he is always looking for cheap, the cheapest tele. But While I have only one for ages, he has around 10 or 12 and all were meh.... all but one he got a year ago. Serendipity happens some times

    Same with rest of guitars
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    DekeDog and greenhornet like this.
  4. TG

    TG Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 23, 2004
    The wild west of Ireland
    I can appreciate both sides of this discussion, but I've gone cheap recently.

    As a kid in the 1970s a cheap guitar was the equivalent of a grand and a real Gibson or Fender was pie in the sky for a teenager.

    2 decades ago when I was raising a family and gigging to make money practicality meant no more than 2 guitars at a time and reliability/functionality were tops. That meant a telecaster, a small combo and a lead.

    6 years ago life took a turn and you guys nearly lost me. But rebound occurred and I'm gratefully in a retirement situation better than I could hope for.

    But no more gigging.
    I love guitars and much of the joy is the search and arrival of new guitars.
    (I've told Herself I can be loyal to one guitar or loyal to one woman....her choice.)
    So recently....and especially with the lockdowns...I've had a blast buying, selling, trading and buying more guitars. Just for fun. The cottage here now has a dozen guitars on the walls and every day is like visiting a guitar shop and trying this one... then that one....then the other one. The best guitar situation I've ever been in.
    This is only possible because of Epiphone, Squier, Vintage and, especially, Harley Benton.
    Thing is, I have had Gibson, Fenders, Gretsches and PRS...and I appreciate the quality....but every one of them has been sold and isn't missed.
    Currently, the 2 guitars I play the most are Harley Bentons. Especially this one. 20210503_084450.jpg
    StrangerNY and Oxidao like this.
  5. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

    Dec 18, 2020
    I set myself up for both success and failure from the get go.

    At seventeen, I spent all of my college money on a new Martin 000-18 (even paid list price for I did not know that 40% off was even possible). This instrument was beyond reproach. Fast forward forty years and thousands of dollars later. Sure, I traded up, I traded down, I even traded sideways. All in, for the pursuit of tone. To find and define something with value meant my expectations had to be set a little higher each time.

    Today, I only need help with my Partscaster (another post coming soon). That's the number one reason I showed up here. There is a chance it will be beyond reproach. Like I said, I'll need your help.

    Then, it's on to a baritone lapsteel. I already know that one will be out of the park. It speaks to me now, even before the slab of Birdseye maple has been selected.

    That's me in a nutshell.
  6. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I voted top notch but some of the cheap guitars I have owned were among my favorites.
  7. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    I play hollowbodies. I don't think it's that extreme. The different sounds I like are subtle, and everything I love lives in the subtleties.
    I think most electric guitars are zeros today, and I hate that.
    I think this is how most rock players hear it, and why I don't dig their guitars, or their amps.
    This thread is about gear, and I meant amps too. Same perspective applies to amps for me.
    telemnemonics likes this.
  8. ndcaster

    ndcaster Doctor of Teleocity

    Nov 14, 2013
    just get the right tool for the job

    but I voted "save up for top notch" because when I get seduced by a specific thing and it's expensive (vintage J-50 cough cough), everything under that thing is going to feel like an approximation

    it's a failing, but I fixate like that sometimes

    so instead of frittering the money away and feeling second-best all the time, save and get the thing you were after in the first place

    but in the interim, there are lots of jobs to do, so use your ears and spend wisely

  9. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

    May 16, 2009
    Most often it has been just one higher end guitar and that’s my main guitar.

    But I’ve happily played Squier CVs, Dearmond Starfire, Epi Casino, or a Hamer Duotone (import version) as main guitars at times in recent years and they were objectively nice guitars.

    If I wanted a bunch of guitars around (I don’t), I’d be totally good with a number of them being affordable imports.
    StrangerNY likes this.
  10. Jimclarke100

    Jimclarke100 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 8, 2009
    Horsham, UK
    Weak willed. I go to the shop to buy a Squier, and walk out with something more expensive.
  11. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

    May 25, 2007
    St. Croix, USVI
    My last guitar purchase (I traded 1 hour of labor for it) was a decent Washburn acoustic. Basically $100.00 for a guitar he didn’t want and I wanted/needed. That was 5-6 years ago

    At my age, and impending health issues, I’m very serious when I say this will be the last guitar I’ll buy.
    Do I need a $2,500 Les Paul? In reality - no. Do I want a Les Paul that checks all of my boxes? Hell yeah!

    Im not a gear head nor a collector. I don’t have GAS like some here do. I enjoy what I have and play when I’m able to.
  12. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2009
    North of Toronto
    I’m in the middle. I like to buy something too-notch and be done with it. I find I don’t need to spend a fortune. I’m learning that cheap pedals from Mooer, Joyo et al. aren’t worth it, for me. The ones I’ve tried all ended up underwhelming. They’ve been replaced by moderately priced offerings from MXR, EHX, Ibanez, TC Electronic, etc.
  13. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2013
    I picked up a friend's Epi Casino the other day. Light, plays well, great neck. I was quite impressed. So I'd say cheaper guitars are not the end of the world.

    I gig (gigged?) with a 90's American Deluxe strat and a 2017 American Pro Tele. Given the seismic shift in guitar prices, if I were starting out today, it would likely be Chinese guitars. American Fender/Gibson are too expensive. I can't quite get my head around the 30-40% rise in prices in the last few years.

    Actually, I'd probably split the difference and go with a PRS Vela Semi. Still affordable (just).

    For pedals, secondhand Boss. Or Mooer. They're fine.

    Amps: if I had nothing, I'd try a Boss Katana. Not the greatest but entirely giggable.

    Looks like I'll never get that 335. :(
    StrangerNY likes this.
  14. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Afflicted

    May 12, 2019
    There are a lot of things that I buy where I just want the best bang for the buck, but with any hobby I've ever had, I've always combined bargains with the best I can afford. None of my hobbies have ever included collecting, and I've never kept anything just to have it. So, to answer the OP question, none (or all) of the above.
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    You're not playing Surf and Grindcore in the same set are you???
    I've never even bought any Surf music and don't actually know what Grindcore even is.
    I do know about drop tuning, never payed music where it was useful, no clue how to use that much bassy boom from a little six string!
    Playing bass yeah, but not from my guitars!

    Again, players that use a LP/ 335 or a variety of guitars I don't play, I like what some of them do, but when I play a LP into a Marshall it just sounds like I'm trying to be some other player. I can like players but just can't channel their groove and feel like it's me.
    Obviously I'm not suited to wedding bands! Covers require a generous does if interpretation..

    I don't know why we become who we become, or are who we are, but I'm pretty much stuck with my limited musical personality!

    At the same time, I can play Country or Hard Rock with the same guitar, and after using a range of high output HBs I've found that lower output clearer pickups work better for my nasty screaming dirty sounds, because dirt gets muddy and I just don't like dirty pickups for dirt when pedals and/ or amps add more dirt.
    My first electric I made from parts and put brand new Dimarzio Super Distortions in it.
    That was 1980 and amps mostly had little gain and no MV, while not a lot of dirt pedals were in guitar shops.
    With an OD250 into a BF Bandmaster, I loved the sound and it was pretty good but after some years I learned my preferences and for whatever reason they got narrower, not broader.

    Hum from a low/ medium output SC is a problem so I got a Decimator for silence when I stop playing.
    I have a Gibson LP, a Gibson Explorer, and a D'Angelico 335 shaped semi hollow.
    Never play them.
    I did buy a low output TVJ Tron type for the 335 style bridge, and tried it in a Tele bridge, cool but still lacks the bass clarity I want or need to interface technique with resulting sound. Got a HS Filtertron in the queue but no particular rush.
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    I hope I didn't come off sounding like I'm judging others who play more than one type of guitar?
    That was far from my intention!

    My approach is really kind of limited, but I'm working with that and have gotten used to it.
    When I used to word "extreme" to describe pickups I end up not wanting to use, I meant pickups that are at one end or the other of the spectrum, like very bassy, very bright, very middy, distorted in the bass range, nasal sounding, low on clarity, or lacking in treble.

    So that means pretty much no Gibson type full size HBs, not hot over wound Fender style pickups, no CS '69 Strat bridge pickup, and no neck pickups of any kind because they produce too much bass for my bridge pickup oriented approach.
    Aside from Tele bridge, Jazzmaster, warmer Strat and Firebird pickups, I have piles of other pickup types I just can't use.

    I can like a LP Jr P-90 but ideally I like alnico poles way better than steel poles, for the different bass character.
    IDK why.

    If I could sound like David Lindley I might make the shift from who I am to an attempt at his sound, and be really happy!
    Lindley and Duane are among my favorite sounds!
    Acoustic bottleneck and particularly resonator guitars is a top favorite sound too.

    Those sounds are just not me though, feels way wrong after a minute of even Duane style basic LP into Marshall sound.

    I'm sure as hell glad there are players making those sounds with other guitars though.
    And I'd love to have Lindley's Dumble or one of Duane's Marshall's, those I could work with.
    bottlenecker likes this.
  17. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 16, 2012
    To buy if I wants or need.
    Im single.
  18. ronzhd

    ronzhd Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Spring, Texas
    The "vote", I wonder how many people that voted "buy something top notch and be done with it", are owners of Squiers and Epiphones? Be done with it? Are you kidding me. Buy what you want, play what you want, nothing else matters.
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    I find the "seismic shift in guitar prices" annoying too!

    In the late 20th C I could buy parts Fenders made from US and MIJ parts for $300 all day.
    Those prices have gone up 3-4x since the '90s.

    But house prices in my area have gone up 10x in that same time span!
    Of course Detroit house prices dropped drastically in that time and whole neighborhoods rot away with no home owners taking care of the abandoned homes.

    While Chinese guitars are really pretty well made, I'm not served by the choice of FMIC and Gibson to spec with features like shaving too much wood off the necks and putting tiny low frets on all the decent outsourced guitars.

    For $450 I can buy a Chinese guitar that doesn't suit me, or for $600 I can assemble a US parts Fender that does.
    That extra $150 is way less than modding a Chinese guitar to suit, and of course you can't add wood to a thin neck!
    northernguitar likes this.
  20. _MementoMori_

    _MementoMori_ Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 17, 2021
    The Bible Belt
    I'd like to have a vintage LP Standard or Telecaster some day, but until then I'm content hacking away at cheap guitars. I have trouble leaving things stock so I'm probably not cut out to be an expensive/collectible guitar owner.
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