#1
I just read a forum post about Henry Juszkiewicz the CEO of Gibson and how the company is going downhill. Now I own a Gibson Explorer (2006 model with ebony fretboard and white color) I got it on ebay for $750 and other than the buzzing I get on the 6th string (which I counteract with a high action unfortunately) It plays great, and looks pretty damn good. But this made me think of what the other companies instrument qc is like. So my question is, out of the follow companys, which have great quality instruments, and which have ****ty guitars with prices that are too high. I mean its said when a ESP Edwards Les Paul that is a Les Paul Black Beauty/Custom ripoff is 10 times better than the gibby it is based off on, and its like 1/4 or 1/3 of the price.

The companies are:

Gibson(How are the newer 09 models, are they an improvement or ****?)
Epiphone (I know, apart of Gibson)
Fender
Jackson (I know they are part of Fender)
Charvel
Carvin
Dean
ESP/LTD/Edwards
Ibanez
B.C. Rich
Ernie Ball
Gretsch
Washburn
Schecter

The next few aren't that big in terms of name, but how are the products quality wise?

G&L
Parker
Caparison
Zemaitis
James Trussart
Ran
#2



Can say my Caparison is certainly well built but definitely could do with some improving but then again from others I've seen mine seems to be an off model.
Last edited by azn_guitarist25 at Sep 26, 2009,
#3
lol nice pic. I know I probably opened up a can of worms but I am curious and plan to buy guitars from these companies once I get out of college and make some money, and maybe a few cheaper ones on ebay while i go to school, but I want to get a damn good guitar and i dont like how gibbys are like $3000-6000 and they probably arent even worth it. Buy anyways I'd like true unbiased input and not opinion.
#5
You know, I don't think you'll get unbiased input, because you'll get responses like this:

Quote by innertom
G&L>fender


with nothing more than an unsubstantiated statement.

A guitar is a very personal thing, meaning each person will interact with it a different way. You can have a handcrafted, completely custom guitar, but someone will hate how it plays, looks, or sounds, and call it a low quality piece of crap.

Granted, some guitars are made with higher quality parts, and more time is spent on the details, but all that is quite moot when all it boils down to is what you want out of it. I guarantee there are some people out there that wouldn't trade their Squier standard strat for a vintage one.

Quality is relative.
#6
Good point, i guess asking would be irrelavent, ok then what are peoples opinion on these brands, I think that out of the major ones, the best in terms of quality(in my opinion) would be ESP/LTD/Edwards, Fender/Jackson, and Ibanez.

I hear Carvins are great too but never played one.
#7
Well, my Caparison is pretty much perfect in every way. But my Carvin (costing less than half the price new) compares very favorably to it. So I'd say that for what you pay for, Carvin makes an awesome guitar. I also have a Fender Strat that I absolutely love. I have, however, played other American Deluxe Strats that I haven't liked nearly as much.

I can't really make much of a judgement on Carvin or Caparison because I've only played one guitar from each brand, one after I bought it and one before. So maybe I got lucky, I won't know more until I get my next Carvin. But Fender... I'd say try before you buy. Every Strat I play is different.

My Carvin and Caparison are both good enough that I'd feel confident ordering more of these guitars unseen and unplayed. My Fender is awesome, but I've played enough not-so-awesome Fenders that I'd need to play before buying. That's my .02.
#8
I had a Parker for a while, great guitar with great quality build and components, the only thing was the shape annoyed me intensely.
#9
no two guitars are the same, even if they came off the production line 1 after another, as such it`s impossiblble to say, i do play alot of highend guitars when i go to a guitar store and i can find two identical guitars with differences in quality.

if it`s a cosmetic issue (paint blemish, scratch etc..) i`m not that bothered, i`ll demand a discount.

if it`s a construction issue i put the guitar back on the wall or if a guitar need a major setup, i won`t bother.

my ep9 euphoria has a massive paint blemish on the cutaway, and that`s a £800 acoustic.
#10
i was refering to build quality when i said G&L>fender
G&L make some of the best, most reliable guitars
#11
the main issue is one of statistics, which (as we all should know) are bull****. you can make them say anything. of course you're going to hear a lot of crap about the QC for larger companies. why?

because people who get a ****ty fender or gibson are a lot more likely to complain about it than people who get a ****ty cheaper-brand guitar (as their expectations will be higher).

because the people who buy lower-priced guitars from smaller companies are generally younger and less experienced than those who buy the high-end guitars, thus being less able to distinguish the difference between a good version of that model and a bad.

because you always hear about the negatives than the positives. if someone's happy with their guitar, they're happy with it. if someone's dissatisfied, they're going to want to bitch about it.

and most importantly: because more people buy gibsons, fenders, and etc than other brands. if more gibson lps are being bought than esp eclipses, of course you're going to hear more complaints against gibson, even if, percentage-wise, more people have QC issues with ESP.

i'm not saying QC issues don't exist -- they do -- but it's impossible for anyone who doesn't actually work with those companies to be able to make any sort of educated, truthful conclusion. there are too many factors.
#12
Quote by SCopeland24
Good point, i guess asking would be irrelavent, ok then what are peoples opinion on these brands, I think that out of the major ones, the best in terms of quality(in my opinion) would be ESP/LTD/Edwards, Fender/Jackson, and Ibanez.

I hear Carvins are great too but never played one.


TBH, all of those companies mentioned have very good QC. You can't go wrong with any of them.
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#13
In this thread, the relative quality of guitars made by companies with annual output in the tens or hundreds of thousand of instruments are compared in a purely scientific manner by a bunch of people with anecdotal experience with perhaps as many as 5 individual guitars on average from each company involved in the comparison.
#14
its all really in bell curve form

there are going to be some poorly built, some greatly built, and most in the middle
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#15
High quality Fenders are really nice. They're really expensive but you get what you pay for
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#16
Not always, I know people who get ****ty high end fenders and I know a person who has a squire bullet that plays better than almost anything else. Its the same with every company, and the honest truth is its not overall quality of companies thats slipping its the quality control thats slipping. This just means more bad apples are let through with the gems and people are more likely to complain about a ****ty guitar then they are to give praise of a nice one.

Another thing is every company mass produces guitars and then ships them to all different climate types. This means that regardless of how much you spent on your guitar chances are that you will need to get it set up.

To answer your question, avoid dean and bc rich, and all american made guitars are over priced for the sole reason that it costs more to pay the workers. On the other hand you get the piece of mind that you helped our economy, so it that helps you sleep at night then go for it.
#17
I suggest the smaller companies, if you look for more modern sound. Sometimes, smaller companies can make vintage sounding guitars (like Fibenare Regime), but it's not a real Strat or a LP.

At about 2006, Fibenare made superstrats (Classic series), that used mahogany body, set neck, high quality PUs and tremolo... only for $3000 (Erotic costs about $5000). And it's handmade, unlike modern Gibsons.
#18
Quote by innertom
i was refering to build quality when i said G&L>fender
G&L make some of the best, most reliable guitars


That's opinion and nothing more. I've played Fenders that have been more reliable and made better than G&L and other guitars with the same shape and features. Likewise, I've played G&Ls and such that destroyed some Fenders.

When it comes to quality, it's all about preference.
#19
I agree that quality is all relative and peoples opinion distort their feeling on quality but my view is if you're gonna pay over a grand for a guitar you shouldn't get a bolt on neck with minimal or poor electronics and a simple and cheap rosewood fretboard, but again that is just an opinion.
#20
People are going to flame me like **** for this but Gibson's quality is definitely going downhill.
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#21
I agree with you, older gibsons ve played are nicer than newer ones, but again its more hit and miss, but there are more misses with newer models than older ones.
#22
Quote by ascend
In this thread, the relative quality of guitars made by companies with annual output in the tens or hundreds of thousand of instruments are compared in a purely scientific manner by a bunch of people with anecdotal experience with perhaps as many as 5 individual guitars on average from each company involved in the comparison.

yeah this is pretty much how i feel. there is variance in everything. i need some real statistics to explain who has the best quality control. not the opinion on 1 of 50,000 models sold this year.
because of this i just wouldn't buy a guitar without playing it.
i'm probably going to buy a Epi LP like next week, and i'll seriously try out 20 of the exact same model if i'm unsatisfied with the average quality build.
with cheaper brands it's all about finding that outlier on the positive end (rather than the negative one). I guarantee if you take your time and try out a ton of models you can easily find Epi's that are better than Gibsons.
Basically in conclusion, American made doesn't mean quality made. With the size of factories in SEA there is bound to be some more skilled guitar makers than the average guy at the Gibby plant in Nashville. It's just the better brands tend to have lower variance. BUT that doesn't mean an Epi couldn't exceed the expectations for the average Gibby, in fact I guarantee a relatively small percentage of them do.
Getting a good guitar imo is a matter of probability so try before you buy, don't just assume it's good for being made in America or cause it says Fender or Gibson it.
Last edited by KurdtStaley at Sep 26, 2009,
#23
All I can say about B.C. Rich is that they focus way too much on looks and way too little on quality. This is why you can now buy $700+ guitars with agathis bodies.
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#24
I'll only cover the ones I have experience with.



Gibson(How are the newer 09 models, are they an improvement or ****?)
Gibson are definitely going downhill, and have been for a couple of years now. We're basically seeing a return to the infamously bad quality of the mid 70's and early 80's. Interestingly, a few years ago people were saying Gibson had gotten back on top form again and were almost as good as they were in the early 60's. Give it another ten years and they'll probably be good again. I believe it cycles; they slack off when they think they're doing well, then people say they're crap so they kick it back into top gear.

Epiphone (I know, apart of Gibson)
Doing better, and have been doing consistently better for years. I think this could be part of why Gibson aren't doing so great themselves now; they seem to be putting more effort into making Epiphone and Kramer good than they are on keeping the Gibson brand itself good. Between the unbeatable hardware Epiphones now have and all the unique models and just the general jump in quality, Epiphone have become a serious contender again afer spending the last few years being forgettable. Two-three years ago I would have said nobody should bother with Epi and that they should just buy a Vintage/Tokai/Indie/Rally/Agile/LTD copy instead, but now I would say Epi are just as viable as the copy brands, if not outright better.

Fender
They're being consistent right now. They've made a few mistakes (removing the S-1 switch from USA Standard guitars; discontinuing some of their most popular models despite sales still being high) but the quality of their instruments hasn't changed for many years now.

Dean
I don't know if they've ever been good really, but there's a fairly large selection of Deans here, up to around the £800 price mark, and I've tried them all and they've all been consistently terrible.

ESP/LTD/Edwards
I put them on par with Fender or Gibson as the equal top 3 brands now. ESP have made vast improvements to all their lines recently and their build quality seems to get better every time I pick one up.

Ibanez
Same as Dean for me. I've tried a lot of them and they've all been horribly built. I don't know if this has just been bad luck or if it's consistent for everyone, but from what I can tell there's no reason to touch an Ibanez guitar.

B.C. Rich
See Ibanez.

Gretsch
Part of Fender, in case you're not aware, and basically the same deal. Not as good as they were before the takeover, but still really great guitars. I think Fender needs to make them a little more accessible though, few places stock a lot of Gretsch models and most of their range is in the intermediate/high price bracket even though not all of them are really worth it. It'd be nice to see some of the lower models reduced a bit, make the brand more beginner-friendly.

G&L
A lot of people say they're better than Fender. I don't buy it. In terms of build quality they feel alright, but I can't get past the funky electronics. I don't really see any reason to favour G&L over Fender.
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#25
Most of the problem is all of this outsourcing to foreign countries.

These people will meet whatever goals they are given for the day. They will cut corners until they turn a square into a circle. They will not try to have their quotas lowered for the sake of quality. They take pride in meeting the goals given by their bosses.

The guitars come to America and are supposed to be QC approved. There may not be enough A+ guitars to meet the demands they promised..so they may go to a Quality person that will approve them.

A major problem with industries right now is Quantity over Quality. I see it every day.

I would make a major purchase on a guitar right now. If you dont do it now..you may need to wait at least 18-24 months. We are slowly heading to a recovery and many industries are producing like its no tomorrow.

Everyone is rushing....and that is why its not good to make major purchases on items that were made in the recovery phase of a recession. In a recession..there a smaller orders and the extra time makes the industries focus on quality because the competition is so great, they are not forgiven easily for mistakes.

This is a big problem in every industry right now. Outsourcing is killing us. Sorry if I'm going political.

On the other hand..sometimes the stars line up and you get the best lp-100 ever made...sometimes..you get a B- Gibson.

I Agree with MR.FLIBBLE I have gone through 8 of Dean's Flagstaff Razorbacks in guitar center with a bad 17th fret. I hate those things.
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Last edited by Washburnd Fretz at Sep 26, 2009,
#26
a couple things on companies i havent seen mentioned.

first PRS. i have yet to touch a bad one made in america. i havent really heard any complaints about them either. they are supposed to have great quality control and they make some great (if expensive) guitars. then their SE models come along and are a different story. these are more in the $5-600 range and their quality is very inconsistant. from a company like PRS you would expect guitars that feel pretty good and play well, but without the features and nice-ness of the high quality stuff. you can get this, but you can also get some that are really bad. my SE has a few issues with the finish, but nothing thats noticable from a couple feet away and plays damn well imo. however, ive played other SE models that felt pretty bad and i had to put down right away. high model, i wouldnt mind ordering without playing. SE model, must play first as QC is not great.


then Michael Kelly. every single one of their guitars ive played has felt, looked, and sounded great. my room mate bought one, and we tried out a bunch when he got it (including a bunch of different models). i liked them so much i knew what i was getting for my next guitar. i have one now and it is very nice. few minor finish flaws, but again nothing noticable from a couple feet away. they are not that expensive and i think they are great. not to say that there arent some bad ones out there, but i have yet to try one or talk to someone who has. they arent made to be on par with those real high quality guitars, but you get a nice guitar for the money.
#27
Quote by Washburnd Fretz
The guitars come to America and are supposed to be QC approved. There may not be enough A+ guitars to meet the demands they promised..so they may go to a Quality person that will approve them.
This is actually quite interesting to me. Epiphone are my favourite for this subject; the ones sold in North America and Canada go through QC in America, while the ones sold in the UK and Europe go through QC in Finland. Apparently, according to Epi themselves, the Finnish QC department spends three times longer with each guitar than the US QC department does, and will fix more problems/send back more flawed guitars.

I find it somewhat amusingly true to stereotype that America puts in a third of the effort and allows twice as much junk than Europe does.

Quote by jof1029

first PRS.
My experience with PRS has been that every proper PRS model has been incredible while every PRS SE model I've come across has been unforgivably terrible and cost twice what better PRS copies cost.
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#28
My 2009 Epiphone is pretty good, all i really need to do is a set up. But's it's from the Korean factory, so this doesn't really help anyone since most epi's are made in china.

My 2008 Gibson is excellent, i've had it for a year now and i still haven't needed to set it up.
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#29
About Washburns-
They're current import models are the best imports I've ever played. A WI-14, which is the lowest an actual Washburn (Not Lyon) makes, is much much better than any Epiphone I've played. The X50 Pro is much better than any import Schecter I've played, and then we get to the USA models. I've played a WM 526, and that thing was the most perfect guitar. Action set up from factory was perfect, frets were incredibly smooth, and it was balanced so nicely.
#30
^Washburns are good. Well, the acoustics at least. I've never given the electrics a ride before

Of the big 2 (Gibby and Fender) I think Fenders have a far better general quality. Gibson instruments are generally a more difficult instrument to make, but at a starting value, generally, of about $1000 more for, say, a Les Paul Standard compared to an American Standard Stratocaster, the quality SHOULD be equal. I can't really speak for many of the brands, but I know G&Ls are fantastic instruments as well.
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#31
just my .02 cents

if you're looking at american fenders, gibsons, american jacksons, musicmans, american ibanez guitars, and esp guitars and find the price a bit too high check out:Suhr and Anderson guitars. Also check out brands like PRS and Blackmachines, DBZ guitars, Caparison, etc.

Lastly, for the price of those big name companies, you could go to a luthier and have a 7 string mahogany body/mahogany neck with fanned frets, bare knuckle pups, original floyd rose, w/e. I mean youll pay around the same but the quality/specs/parts will be way better.
Last edited by 1979ckhtt at Sep 26, 2009,
#32
in my opinion esp standards are the best built most consistent quality guitars currently made. if you can afford one.
#33
Currently, I find that ESP and Fender have the best quality in the 1000-2000 dollar range, and above that I'd say PRS and small companies are the ones to go for.
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