Page 3 of 5
#81
Well, not only has this thread become very informative, it has reignited my GAS.

Next up I guess is to compare the high-end Valkyrie models (remember the Valkyrie? They still get them in at Rondo now and then) to SG Studios. I think they'd probably be a bit closer in specs, considering weight isn't such a big deal in nailing "SG sound" as it is for Les Pauls.
#82
Someone's been PMing for backup...

The nitro thing I don't agree with. I want my guitars to ruin nicely which is why I have an AVRI Strat with a nitro finish. But whatever.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


#84
Quote by Tom 1.0


They are still Agiles.

+1 and they are an inferior guitar, not a bad guitar, just inferior in construction/materials.

The best thing about this is comparing a mass produced Asian guitar to a hand made instrument.
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#85
This is the thing. Subjectively, yea whatever. You can like what you want.

Objectively you can't deny the higher grade parts and construction.

These threads pop up every now and again, Squier vs Fender, Gibson vs 'insert guitar here'.

At the end of the day everything else is just imitation. It's very rare that a copy beats the original. Not to say they are bad guitars, just not as good.

The poly argument annoyed me lol. Nitro looks so much better when it fades, it feels better, smells better. It's just better.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


#86
Quote by Robbgnarly


The best thing about this is comparing a mass produced Asian guitar to a hand made instrument.


You need to join the rest of us in the 21st Century. Gibson uses CNC's in their guitar construction now.
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=212874&dfpPParams=ind_182,aid_212874&dfpLayout=article

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbU1R4KDymw

"CNC machines and guitar making go together as well as 'Country and Western' or 'Rock and Roll'. In fact, CNC does such a good job at improving the productivity and quality of repetitive wood routing tasks that all of the major guitar makers have adopted it over the past 20 years. Gibson, though, recently took CNC use a step further when it installed a new automatic bandsaw that helps keeps its Nashville factory humming along.

In the past, CNC machines were employed primarily for routing, according to Gene Nix, a Gibson wood products specialist who helped develop the new bandsaw. 'We'd been using CNC routers since the late 80's,' he says. 'But a CNC bandsaw is a first for the guitar business.'

Gibson installed the new saw, which was built by Warsaw Machinery, primarily for reasons of productivity. In the past, the company's electric guitar necks were manually run through the bandsaw prior to their final shaping. Nix says a good saw operator would get from 200 to 250 necks per day.

The three-axis bandsaw, which works on up to three necks at once, can do 'several times that amount,' Nix says. The same logic applies to electric guitar bodies. The saw can handle a stack of three to five body blanks, depending on the guitar model."
Last edited by peskypesky at May 13, 2013,
#87
You know people who buy good guitars dont need to go to such extremes lengths to justify their purchase.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
#88
Quote by peskypesky
You need to join the rest of us in the 21st Century. Gibson uses CNC's in their guitar construction now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbU1R4KDymw

But you left out the part where besides the body shape routing it is done by hand.

You have a serious hard on for agile huh?

It is fine that you like them, but honestly stop trying to pull up this stupid debate. If Agiles were as great as a lot of the fan boys make them out then why isn't everyone playing them now? Agile is a good BUDGET guitar, nothing more or less.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#89
^+1. This thread has derailed from its original purpose. Like Tom and Mepha were saying, the argument will not be won by either side. A lot has to do with justification.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Mesa DR Tremoverb combo 2-2x12's
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#90
Quote by Robbgnarly
But you left out the part where besides the body shape routing it is done by hand.

You have a serious hard on for agile huh?

It is fine that you like them, but honestly stop trying to pull up this stupid debate. If Agiles were as great as a lot of the fan boys make them out then why isn't everyone playing them now? Agile is a good BUDGET guitar, nothing more or less.


Have a hard time dealing with facts, do you?
#91
Quote by peskypesky
Have a hard time dealing with facts, do you?



1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
#92
Almost bought an expensive Agile. Then I realized the risk was too damn high and bought an AW-7 instead.

Expensive Agile. Oxymoron?
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#93
Quote by peskypesky
Have a hard time dealing with facts, do you?

What facts? it is all you opinion vs others opinions.

I will have to say your user name is perfect for a 16 yr old troll

Fact is I like PRS, they are CNC machined and you know what they are probably the most consistant big guitar mfgr that is currently producing guitars.

Can a mod please close this crap already
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#94
Faded Studios are one of the cheaper options for Gibson and I think they're better than the Agiles I've played. The neck on those guitars are incredible.

Epiphones Standards, Customs are where the comparison lies for me. I have a lot of time for those guitars.

Again, no one is saying they're bad guitars just that the comparison might be a little inflated and that perhaps there's some bias going on.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at May 13, 2013,
#95
Quote by Robbgnarly
+1 and they are an inferior guitar, not a bad guitar, just inferior in construction/materials.

The best thing about this is comparing a mass produced Asian guitar to a hand made instrument.


Okay, you've made the assertion. I call BS. Now back it up.

1. Prove that they're inferior in construction.
2. Prove that the materials are inferior.
3. Prove that they're any more "mass produced" than any Gibson.

Here are some things you may not know.
  • Gibson LP style headstocks are the most broken headstock, followed by tilted pointies. Agiles...not so much.
  • The species of mahogany we know as Honduras Mahogany was planted and is farmed throughout Asia. It is no longer available from Honduras and largely comes from places like Indonesia, which is where Agile's factory gets it and where Gibson gets it.
  • Gibson uses Indian rosewood (when they can get it). Isn't India closer to Korea than to Nashville? Guess where Agile's rosewood fretboards come from? Gibson's "layered" rosewood fretboards have fret slots that are so deep that the construction resembles a set of small rosewood blocks glued to a thin strip of rosewood.
  • Chinese maple is among the best figured maple in the world.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with an ebony fretboard, real MOP or abalone inlays, a Graph Tech nut and a Graphtech NVS2 bridge with String Saver Saddles. They ship with D'Addario strings.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with triple binding on headstock and body (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 is fully grain-filled and comes with a glossy finish (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with a two-piece back.
  • The Agile AL-3000M comes with a full 3/4" maple cap.
  • The Agile AL-3125 is chambered; most other models are solid mahogany.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with Grover 102-18N tuners.
  • Agile AL-3100 Floyds come with a Floyd Rose from the same Korean production line as what comes standard on the Gibson Axcess.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have CNC-created necks and bodies.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have glued necks.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-sanding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand assembly of all hardware and wiring.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand binding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-scraping of binding.
  • Gibson has nibs that reduce the string spacing of the nut. Agile's frets are full-width
  • Gibson's fretboard binding cracks in the area of the nibs if there are temp or humidity variations.
  • Agile's frets are hand-filed.
  • Gibson's frets are machine-milled using a fixture that simulates string tension. And yet they still arrive with frets that are sometimes not level.
  • Gibson's finish reacts with chemicals, reacts with solvents, reacts with some materials, reacts with moisture, cracks, checks, disintegrates, discolors, flakes and releases nitric and sulfuric acids which can etch and corrode nearby metals. Agile's does none of that, and does a better job of protecting the guitar.


So explain what you're on about, eh?
Last edited by dspellman at May 13, 2013,
#96
Yea okay. Agile, the guitar of kings.

My frets are level as were my previous Gibsons. I've never seen binding crack. Nitro>poly. It's not just the wood, it's the quality of the wood.

Who cares about the strings anyway?

Do you think it's the same grade with the same expertise? Because it's not, it's not at all.

Again, Agiles are cool. Just not as cool as you're claiming.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at May 13, 2013,
#97
Quote by Mephaphil
Faded Studios are one of the cheaper options for Gibson and I think they're better than the Agiles I've played. The neck on those guitars are incredible.


You realize that "better" necks are an opinion, right? You also realize that you have three different options in size for Agile necks on most AL (LP-style) guitars, right? Which have you played? I'm assuming here that you've never owned an Agile, but "played" one. Or two? There are the standard size necks which are similar but not identical to 60's necks, "wide" (which gives you a full 1 3/4" nut width and wider string spacing in the cowboy chord area with about the same overall neck thickness from fretboard to back of neck) and a slim neck, which has the same width as the standard neck but which has less depth front to back. What, exactly, did you NOT like about the Agile neck?

Again, no one is saying they're bad guitars just that the comparison might be a little inflated and that perhaps there's some bias going on.


I'm not sure where the "bias" lies (def. bias = 1. An inclination or preference that influences judgment from being balanced or even-handed. Prejudice is bias in pejorative sense.) Certainly some Gibson owners should show an inclination toward their guitars, perhaps Agile owners would show an inclination toward theirs. What of the people that own both (I have four times as many Gibsons as Agiles)? Is there any chance that they'll have an objective vision of the two? Or will the amount of money they've paid bias them as well? What, exactly, do you find "inflated," and in which direction? Agile owners have an inflated idea of the quality of their guitars or Gibson owners have an inflated idea of the value of theirs?
#98
Quote by dspellman
Okay, you've made the assertion. I call BS. Now back it up.

1. Prove that they're inferior in construction.
2. Prove that the materials are inferior.
3. Prove that they're any more "mass produced" than any Gibson.

Here are some things you may not know.
  • Gibson LP style headstocks are the most broken headstock, followed by tilted pointies. Agiles...not so much.
  • The species of mahogany we know as Honduras Mahogany was planted and is farmed throughout Asia. It is no longer available from Honduras and largely comes from places like Indonesia, which is where Agile's factory gets it and where Gibson gets it.
  • Gibson uses Indian rosewood (when they can get it). Isn't India closer to Korea than to Nashville? Guess where Agile's rosewood fretboards come from? Gibson's "layered" rosewood fretboards have fret slots that are so deep that the construction resembles a set of small rosewood blocks glued to a thin strip of rosewood.
  • Chinese maple is among the best figured maple in the world.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with an ebony fretboard, real MOP or abalone inlays, a Graph Tech nut and a Graphtech NVS2 bridge with String Saver Saddles. They ship with D'Addario strings.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with triple binding on headstock and body (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 is fully grain-filled and comes with a glossy finish (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with a two-piece back.
  • The Agile AL-3000M comes with a full 3/4" maple cap.
  • The Agile AL-3125 is chambered; most other models are solid mahogany.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with Grover 102-18N tuners.
  • Agile AL-3100 Floyds come with a Floyd Rose from the same Korean production line as what comes standard on the Gibson Axcess.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have CNC-created necks and bodies.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have glued necks.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-sanding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand assembly of all hardware and wiring.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand binding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-scraping of binding.
  • Gibson has nibs that reduce the string spacing of the nut. Agile's frets are full-width
  • Gibson's fretboard binding cracks in the area of the nibs if there are temp or humidity variations.
  • Agile's frets are hand-filed.
  • Gibson's frets are machine-milled using a fixture that simulates string tension. And yet they still arrive with frets that are sometimes not level.
  • Gibson's finish reacts with chemicals, reacts with solvents, reacts with some materials, reacts with moisture, cracks, checks, disintegrates, discolors, flakes and releases nitric and sulfuric acids which can etch and corrode nearby metals. Agile's does none of that, and does a better job of protecting the guitar.


So explain what you're on about, eh?

Yes they are made of cheaper materials:
Agiles tend to have 3+piece bodies (for the most part)
Even most Studio faded Gibsons are 2-3 pieces
Gibson is made with better hardware as a standard not an upgrade.
The Gibson head stock angle is a touchy subject. Yes it is weak, no it is not wrong or inferior. It has worked for 60+ yrs now. could it be inproved, yes but most Gibson purist would have a hissy fit.
Yes even Squires have a bit of hand finishing that is involved. Gibson is the only large Guitar Co. to use as much hands on building as they do in every model not just a few like others.
So you don't like a Nitro finish, that's fine, I can go with either. But the finish of a Gibson takes much longer to cure another reason for heftier prices.
Like I have previously said some people can not and will not justify the price of certain guitars. Others see it as full justifiable, which does your wallet say?

I have worked on a few Agile guitars and I can say that they are not bad at all, but IMO they are deff not up to par with Gibson.

Doesn't Samick make Agile?
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#99
Yes, I am well aware as I've stated many times that I personally love the neck on the Studio Faded. I never made a definitive comparison to any other neck.

And yes, I know what 'bias' means, hence the correct use of the term.

I believe you have a guitar you like and I think that you are judging it too highly based on your unwillingness to look at the information accurately, because of what you paid for it, emotional attachment or whatever. This has created your bias.

Please try to refrain from patronising people or the discussion will turn from a discussion into an argument.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at May 13, 2013,
#100
Quote by Mephaphil
Yea okay. Agile, the guitar of kings.

My frets are level as were my previous Gibsons. I've never seen binding crack. Nitro>poly. It's not just the wood, it's the quality of the wood.

Who cares about the strings?

Do you think it's the same grade with the same expertise? Because it's not, it's not at all.


Okay, so you have absolutely nothing.

Ask Gary Brawer about the average $2K+ Gibson and the quality of level of its frets. The reason that Gibson owns PLEK machines is that they had such a bad reputation for fretwork that they needed to ride the coattails of PLEK's reputation for precision. Would you know level frets if you had them? How low is your action?

Go visit My Les Paul. You'll get to see binding that's cracked. Just because YOU haven't seen it doesn't mean that the rest of us haven't.

Sure Nitro>Poly. In Elven Mythology. Explain why the entire automotive industry dropped it sixty years ago. What, exactly, do you think is ">" about it? Explain why the EPA banned it. Back *something* about your assertions up.

What do you know about "quality" of wood? Can you point to anything at all that's better about the wood that Gibson uses?

Exactly how much expertise do you think is involved in producing a guitar? I've been through the Martin plant, the Gibson plant in Nashville, the Taylor and Carvin plants down in Escondido. I can run down to the Suhr production line in Lake Elsinore (it's just a couple miles down the road from my office). And I can run over to Fender Corona (the museum is across the parking lot from me). I have a ton of photographs of the Epi plant in Qindao. Can you explain to me two things that Gibson does that are different or better than any of those plants?
#101
Quote by dspellman
Okay, you've made the assertion. I call BS. Now back it up.

1. Prove that they're inferior in construction.
2. Prove that the materials are inferior.
3. Prove that they're any more "mass produced" than any Gibson.

Here are some things you may not know.
  • Gibson LP style headstocks are the most broken headstock, followed by tilted pointies. Agiles...not so much.
  • The species of mahogany we know as Honduras Mahogany was planted and is farmed throughout Asia. It is no longer available from Honduras and largely comes from places like Indonesia, which is where Agile's factory gets it and where Gibson gets it.
  • Gibson uses Indian rosewood (when they can get it). Isn't India closer to Korea than to Nashville? Guess where Agile's rosewood fretboards come from? Gibson's "layerend" rosewood fretboards have fret slots that are so deep that the construction resembles a set of small rosewood blocks glued to a thin strip of rosewood.
  • Chinese maple is among the best figured maple in the world.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with an ebony fretboard, real MOP or abalone inlays, a Graph Tech nut and a Graphtech NVS2 bridge with String Saver Saddles. They ship with D'Addario strings.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with triple binding on headstock and body (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 is fully grain-filled and comes with a glossy finish (a labor intensive process).
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with a two-piece back.
  • The Agile AL-3000M comes with a full 3/4" maple cap.
  • The Agile AL-3125 is chambered; most other models are solid mahogany.
  • The Agile AL-3000 comes with Grover 102-18N tuners.
  • Agile AL-3100 Floyds come with a Floyd Rose from the same Korean production line as what comes standard on the Gibson Axcess.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have CNC-created necks and bodies.
  • Both Gibson and Agile have glued necks.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-sanding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand assembly of all hardware and wiring.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand binding.
  • Both Gibson and Agile require hand-scraping of binding.
  • Gibson has nibs that reduce the string spacing of the nut. Agile's frets are full-width
  • Gibson's fretboard binding cracks in the area of the nibs if there are temp or humidity variations.
  • Agile's frets are hand-filed.
  • Gibson's frets are machine-milled using a fixture that simulates string tension. And yet they still arrive with frets that are sometimes not level.
  • Gibson's finish reacts with chemicals, reacts with solvents, reacts with some materials, reacts with moisture, cracks, checks, disintegrates, discolors, flakes and releases nitric and sulfuric acids which can etch and corrode nearby metals. Agile's does none of that, and does a better job of protecting the guitar.


So explain what you're on about, eh?


Sigh... It's still an Agile.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
#102
No. I prefer nitro because I like my guitars to relic. Sure, the Gibsons of now are different but they'll still wear a lot better than an Agile. I have an AVRI Strat too. I'm aware that the finish was hazardous to people's health but it's recreated well now and is nitro lite essentially but it's as good as we'll get without breaking state laws, right?

It's not real nitro but it's better than the hard shell and layer after layer that poly is on a guitar. I want my guitar to wear with me, poly doesn't do that. It's a preference and it's one that I think makes a guitar superior because it's more expensive to reproduce and because it allows a guitar to age with me. Okay?

Some wood is easier to obtain, even if it's the same breed. Some companies are not as fussy as others and won't choose wood based on how objectively superior it is.

Gibson are well known to pick the wood for each guitar and discard wood that doesn't meet their criteria. I very much doubt that Agile can do that on the price they sell their guitars for.

You can have two trees. One is treated with different chemicals than the other and costs more than the other because of this. Guitar companies speak about the quality of the wood they use quite often.

Of course I've seen pictures of cracked binding, thousands of Gibsons have been sold. But if I searched for the same issue with Agiles I'd find it, they aren't indestructible.

I'm not denying that you have more information on Agiles than me, I also don't hang around at factories on my days off but I have played 20 years and I've owned upwards of 20 guitars, I've also played scores extensively. Common sense tells that you can only pack a certain amount of quality in a guitar for X price. If I see an Agile and a Epiphone LP Custom and I think they're pretty similar, I don't see where the extra comes from to make it comparable to a Gibson.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at May 13, 2013,
#103
I mean, there are grading systems for wood. Master Grade. AA, AAA, Class 5. What grade does Agile use because Gibson tell you what they use on the product pages.

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Les-Paul-Traditional.aspx

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Les-Paul-Standard.aspx
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


Last edited by Mephaphil at May 13, 2013,
#104
Quote by Mephaphil
I mean, there are grading systems for wood. Master Grade. AA, Class 5. What grade does Agile use because Gibson tell you what they use.

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Les-Paul-Traditional.aspx

It is all a conspiracy Gibson just make the grades of wood up. And they never made a LP it was a clone of an AL3100

In 20 yrs Agiles will be worth a mint, just wait and watch
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
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Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
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Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#105
In all honesty they may well use their own grading system, but you can tell by the weight, the resonance, the clarity in the finish etc that it's a high quality wood.
Quote by Shredwizard445
Go ahead and spend your money, I don't care. It won't make you sound better.


Quote by Shredwizard445
Sure upgrading your gear will make you sound better.


#106
Quote by Robbgnarly
Yes they are made of cheaper materials:
Agiles tend to have 3+piece bodies (for the most part)

Even most Studio faded Gibsons are 2-3 pieces

This is a Gibson Tribute ($1100+) back. Four pieces.



I have three Agiles. One has a single piece back. The other two have two-piece backs.
The neck-through guitars have two piece backs because they're wings on either side of the central neck. Flip through the RondoMusic site and show me the AL-3XXX series guitars with four-piece backs. Bear in mind that these are $399 guitars.

Gibson is made with better hardware as a standard not an upgrade.


That would explain the extensive market in expensive wiring upgrades, more linear pots, correct cap values? Gibson uses mostly asian sourced parts (as do Agiles). The Agile AL-3000 uses pretty decent pots and wiring -- honestly, the only thing I'd say could stand an upgrade *might* be the pickup switch. I'm thinking this is very close to a wash. Leastways for the under-$2K Gibbies.

The Gibson head stock angle is a touchy subject. Yes it is weak, no it is not wrong or inferior. It has worked for 60+ yrs now. could it be inproved, yes but most Gibson purist would have a hissy fit.


You're right, Gibson Purists would have a hissy fit. It really hasn't worked very well for 60+ years; it was never designed for the amount of bending that we do in modern playing. And for 60+ years players have complained about G and D strings going sharp on them. That's not "working." They use a "just okay" cheap plastic as a nut and it requires some fancy work on the part of a good tech and (often) some fancy lube to make it work reliably. The construction of the neck could be done differently; there ARE similar necks with similar headstocks that dont break nearly as often, and we all know there are fixes. Gibson continues with it NOT because its better construction, but because purists would have a hissy fit.

Yes even Squires have a bit of hand finishing that is involved. Gibson is the only large Guitar Co. to use as much hands on building as they do in every model not just a few like others.


They are not. Every guitar company that makes these guitars does at least this amount of hand finishing. Truth is, Gibson does far LESS hand finishing on the cheap guitars, and that means anything with a non-grain-filled finish and anything with a "satin" or matte finish. Gibson managers will tell you this at NAMM. The whole point of this kind of finish is to reduce the amount of hand labor. The traditional Gibson gloss finish is extremely labor intensive, and when Gibson can eliminate that finish, its costs plummet.

So you don't like a Nitro finish, that's fine, I can go with either. But the finish of a Gibson takes much longer to cure another reason for heftier prices.


First, by definition a lacquer finish dries, it doesn't cure. A lacquer finish is one that can be dissolved by the same solvents that carried it. A cured finish cannot be dissolved by the same solvents that carried it. Gibson originally went to lacquer because it dried faster (and increased production rates) than the varnishes and shellacs they had been using. They need to go to a catalyzed paint and they know it (again, talk to the gibson reps at the NAMM convention). A large portion of their customer complaints revolve around the lacquer finish, and they can eliminate both the dry-to-dry time *and* the complaints, while producing a finish that is thinner, more protective and more even (just as Taylor does) simply by moving to a computerized robot fixture and arm and a catalyzed nearly-100%-solids waterborne system. They don't because they've painted themselves into a corner (almost literally) by making it a differentiating "feature" in their marketing to the aforementioned Gibson purists.

Like I have previously said some people can not and will not justify the price of certain guitars. Others see it as full justifiable, which does your wallet say?


I buy whatever I like, including guitars that are more expensive than what Gibson offers. It's not a question of justifying price in my case, but in finding something that offers something that I don't already have in terms of sound, playability, etc. My buying habits don't revolve around Brand Names That Guitar Center Sells or Guitars That Guitar Heros Own. Among others on my short list: A Trussart SteelPhonic in cream snakeskin finish. A specific Nik Huber guitar. A Carvin Holdsworth headless (25.5" scale, 31" overall length!). Aside from the Axcess, Gibson has really not offered much different in the LP line aside from cosmetic variance. The two guitars (the Axcess Custom and the Agile neck-through above) are currently extensively modified. Each has a Fernandes Sustainer. Both have German trems with heavy brass sustain blocks. Each has a slightly hot '57 (9.2 kohm) in the bridge and a DiMarzio Fast Track II in the neck ring alongside the Sustainer Driver. The controls have been moved and they are now a Master Volume, a master treble rolloff, a Sustainer Intensity knob and an active sweepable mids boost (about 16 dB) on a push pull. Oh, and a Buckethead-style momentary kill switch. Both are PLEK'd.

I have worked on a few Agile guitars and I can say that they are not bad at all, but IMO they are deff not up to par with Gibson.

Doesn't Samick make Agile?


I still don't know what about them you can point to that isn't "up to par" with Gibson. I'm not saying they are. I just want to hear specifics backed by facts. So far, zip.

Samick makes everything, I swear. At one point, Samick made 75% of all the guitars on the planet. May still do. Samick doesn't make all those guitars directly, of course; they own the manufacturers that do. Samick also owns a chunk of Steinway and was working a deal for a chunk of Bosendoerfer last I checked. I don't know if they have an interest in the plant where Agiles are built. At one point, Gibson used them to produce Epiphones in Korea. Korean epiphones got very very good indeed and Gibson was not pleased with comparisons between those Epiphones and Gibsons. Gibson tried to buy Samick but was rebuffed, so they opened the plant in Qindao. Some of the first Agiles were built in a plant that had a surplus of left-over Epiphone pickups, and I think some of those pickups found their way onto some of the original Agiles. That may have been a Samick owned plant at one time. I honestly don't know about now. Agiles originally came with an open-book style headstock and traditional cutaway point. At some point that changed to the current headstock and the truncated cutaway horn. The speculation is that Gibson had something to do with it, but I've never heard confirmation of that, so it remains speculation.
Last edited by dspellman at May 13, 2013,
#107
Quote by Tom 1.0
Sigh... It's still an Agile.


And from what I'm holding, that's actually a pretty good thing. But that's the whole point of "Opinion on Agile guitars?" -- the title of the thread.
#108
Yeah but you are arguing the toss that they are better than Gibson.

They aren't.

They are an expensive import model and only the very best models that cost more than several US made Gibsons can be said to compete with the lowest of the low from Gibson.

The more expensive guitar can be on par with Cheaper ones? Is that your point? Great.

You have some Agiles that you really like, cool. Good for you.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
#109
Quote by Mephaphil
No. I prefer nitro because I like my guitars to relic. Sure, the Gibsons of now are different but they'll still wear a lot better than an Agile. I have an AVRI Strat too. I'm aware that the finish was hazardous to people's health but it's recreated well now and is nitro lite essentially but it's as good as we'll get without breaking state laws, right?


I understand the whole relic thing. I'm not a fan. None of my Gibsons (including the '49 ES-175) have extensive checking. The black L6S seems to be nearly pristine. But I get it. At Rumble Seat Music in Ithaca NY (highly recommended, btw) last year there were two original '59 bursts last year (and a '60). One of them was SO checked it looked like an alligator skin. The other was this one, that looked like an under-the-bed survivor. I came close to trading one of my old classic cars for it:



There is no nitro "lite." And no, they won't wear better than an Agile.

It's not real nitro but it's better than the hard shell and layer after layer that poly is on a guitar. I want my guitar to wear with me, poly doesn't do that. It's a preference and it's one that I think makes a guitar superior because it's more expensive to reproduce and because it allows a guitar to age with me. Okay?


It's real nitro. Nitrocellulose lacquer is cotton or wood pulp nitrated with nitric acid and sulfuric acid. Toss in some solvent to make it a lacquer. There is no "fake" lacquer. PLEASE go to Escondido and take the Taylor tour. Taylor makes mostly acoustic guitars that rely on the quality and response of the woods. They do not and will not use nitrocellulose because they have a better paint and a better system. I really can't buy an argument that a finish is superior because it deteriorates faster. But if you want to pay more money for that, have at it.

Some wood is easier to obtain, even if it's the same breed. Some companies are not as fussy as others and won't choose wood based on how objectively superior it is.


That's absolutely true.

Gibson are well known to pick the wood for each guitar and discard wood that doesn't meet their criteria. I very much doubt that Agile can do that on the price they sell their guitars for.


All guitar manufacturers pick their wood. Gibson does NOT hand pick the wood for each guitar at the factory. But I've actually talked to suppliers that send Gibson wood by the pallet and container load. They do NOT pick and choose for particularly high quality. They don't take the worst wood, either. It's generally good stuff, but not any better than most other manufacturers.

You can have two trees. One is treated with different chemicals than the other and costs more than the other because of this. Guitar companies speak about the quality of the wood they use quite often.


Okay, you need to know more about wood. What guitar companies toss around in marketing copy won't tell you (or me) much.

Of course I've seen pictures of cracked binding, thousands of Gibsons have been sold. But if I searched for the same issue with Agiles I'd find it, they aren't indestructible.


You're correct. You'd probably have trouble finding a lot of information about Agiles and cracked binding, though, for two reasons. One is that there are probably a lot fewer Agiles out there than Gibsons in any given year, and they've been building them for a relatively short time; the other is that Agiles don't build guitars with nibs. Gibsons are fairly unique in this (it's another one of those Gibson Purist things). What happens to Gibsons with neck binding (and nibs) is that the wood expands and contracts, and the fret tang ends poke the binding and crack it. It's SO common that it's one of the things they look for in determining if a vintage guitar is truly vintage. Other things that they look for on vintage guitars: The Kluson tuner knobs are nitrocellulose plastic, and they'll discolor (some are actually pretty brown) and shrivel. Same with the inlays (which are nitrocellulose-based plastic and will discolor and disintegrate over time). MOP, on the other hand, is stable and stays white

I'm not denying that you have more information on Agiles than me, I also don't hang around at factories on my days off but I have played 20 years and I've owned upwards of 20 guitars, I've also played scores extensively. Common sense tells that you can only pack a certain amount of quality in a guitar for X price. If I see an Agile and a Epiphone LP Custom and I think they're pretty similar, I don't see where the extra comes from to make it comparable to a Gibson.


There are a number of factors at work here.
One is that the guitars are built in South Korea. Labor's going to be cheaper there, but it's not SO much cheaper (and it's going up). South Korea is in the process of moving well out of the cheap labor thing and into the High Quality thing, just as the Japanese did in the '70's. Some Hyundai models are giving similar Honda models fits in both the quality and the price department. Not so ten years ago. The plants are newer (in some cases) and more modern and efficient. Regarding labor; Gibson has consistently ranked as one of the worst companies to work for over the past 10 years or so (see Glassdoor.com); it's possible that the company culture itself and their production schedules are responsible for some quality control issues.

Wood and materials are a very tiny part of the final selling price of a guitar (despite all the talking we've done about it). They (pick random Asian cheapo builder) can make a pretty reasonable Les Paul (ish) guitar for around $100 selling price these days, with profit all around. I wouldn't care to scrap the paint off to find out what's under there, but I will tell you that the most expensive Historic probably has well under $100 worth of materials and hardware in it.

I've worked in advertising, marketing consulting, package design and advertising photography for years. The perfume that sells for $100/ounce (or more) probably has just a few cents worth of actual perfume in the bottle. Everything beyond that is the expensive packaging, the extensive promotion and advertising and several levels of profit. A lot of what's in the final price of a Gibson is Guitar Center profit, pilferage, rent, shopwear, advertising, etc. And then there's Gibson Corp profit and a whole lot of advertising, special event support, endorsement deals, etc. The smallest fractions of the final selling price of a Gibson guitar are the materials and labor involved in actually building the guitar.

Agile's got a different setup. There's a profit at the manufacturer level, container-load shipping to New Hampshire and whatever profit Kurt makes. Aside from a badly-done website and some EBay entries, there's NO marketing, advertising, special event support, endorsements. There's no brick and mortar store, employees, rent, airconditioning, pilferage/breakage/shop wear. The materials and labor involved in actually building the guitar are a MUCH higher percentage of the purchase price.

If you're buying an Agile, it's not because you saw someone playing one or read an ad. It's because you found out about it via word of mouth. That's a big difference in the costs of the two guitars.
Last edited by dspellman at May 13, 2013,
#110
Quote by Tom 1.0
Yeah but you are arguing the toss that they are better than Gibson.

They aren't.


Yes, they are. Let's narrow that down a bit.
I'm first telling you that Gibson has nothing that can compete with them in the under $1000 price range.

I'm further saying that the spec on the $399 guitar is better than that on most of the $1100-1500 guitar range as well.

And I'll go one more into the pot. You can order, from Rondo Music, during their semi-custom weeks once a quarter or so, at prices up to around $1000 (and slightly more), a guitar that Gibson simply cannot equal. Let's not say "cannot", but "won't." And in that mess, I'm saying that Gibson won't build you a Les Paul type guitar with anywhere near the combination of specs that you can get off that list. For any price.

They are an expensive import model and only the very best models that cost more than several US made Gibsons can be said to compete with the lowest of the low from Gibson.

The more expensive guitar can be on par with Cheaper ones? Is that your point? Great.


I don't know that $399 qualifies as an expensive import model, do you? Otherwise, see above.

You have some Agiles that you really like, cool. Good for you.


Thank Yew.

Do you think the OP now has a better understanding of Agiles?
#111


Agiles are the best guitars ever.

Enjoy having to explain why you bought one for the rest of your life.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
Last edited by Tom 1.0 at May 13, 2013,
#112
Quote by Mephaphil
I mean, there are grading systems for wood. Master Grade. AA, AAA, Class 5. What grade does Agile use because Gibson tell you what they use on the product pages.


There are grading systems for wood. None of them correspond to what Gibson makes up for marketing copy. Perhaps the least accurate is the "A" system for grading tops, though most manufacturers just toss those A's around with abandon. Gibson does have some nice tops available. They also have some questionable tops on their production guitars.

Gibson also hasn't worked out that whole thing with the black stain/sanded off to make the grain more contrasty and deeper looking quite yet. Sometimes it's good, oftentimes it's simply blotchy.

PRS has that down. And if you get a good top from PRS or Nik Huber or Tom Anderson or Suhr, you've got a honker. Another company that does insane tops is Carvin, and all of the above have done some amazing things with what Carvin calls the Deep Triple Step type finishes.

I don't know what grade Agile uses. I requested a tight flame top on my guitar (you'll have to page back a bit) and I got it. $100 upcharge (at the time) for a full thickness figured maple top. I think you'll agree that's pretty much what's on there.
#113
Quote by Tom 1.0


Enjoy having to explain why you bought one for the rest of your life.


Not necessary. I simply hand them over and say, "Play it."
They're pretty simple guitars. Don't need a lot of explanation.

So this is about all you have to offer to this discussion?

I've got three Moonstones. You probably don't know what those are, but I usually get to explain them. I have a couple of Alembics. You probably have never touched one, but I usually have to explain those, as well. When I get my Trussart, I'll have to explain that one ("there's a what? A *candy box*? Under the bridge? And there's a pickup in it?), and that'll be fun. I have to explain the Variaxes all the time, especially the Acoustic 700 ("uh, it looks like a thin acoustic, but it's really a solid body mahogany guitar?"). I'm looking for a 705 bass, and I'll definitely have to explain that one. I have to explain the Gibson L5S all the time; most folks have never seen one. Same with the L6S, but not only have most folks never seen one in person, but this one is black (most were maple with a clear coat and a black pickguard) and it's got an ebony fretboard. And it's got a mids cut as well as a treble cut. And a six-way pickup selector. Lots of 'splainin' to do. I have to explain stuff like the '39 Epiphone Emperor ("it's HUGE!") and why it's got a french polish finish.

I have to explain a lot of things in my garage, too.

But not so much the Agiles.
#114
Is this really happening?
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#115
Quote by lemurflames
Is this really happening?

yep it really is
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#116
Quote by dspellman
Not necessary. I simply hand them over and say, "Play it."
They're pretty simple guitars. Don't need a lot of explanation.

So this is about all you have to offer to this discussion?

I've got three Moonstones. You probably don't know what those are, but I usually get to explain them. I have a couple of Alembics. You probably have never touched one, but I usually have to explain those, as well. When I get my Trussart, I'll have to explain that one ("there's a what? A *candy box*? Under the bridge? And there's a pickup in it?), and that'll be fun. I have to explain the Variaxes all the time, especially the Acoustic 700 ("uh, it looks like a thin acoustic, but it's really a solid body mahogany guitar?"). I'm looking for a 705 bass, and I'll definitely have to explain that one. I have to explain the Gibson L5S all the time; most folks have never seen one. Same with the L6S, but not only have most folks never seen one in person, but this one is black (most were maple with a clear coat and a black pickguard) and it's got an ebony fretboard. And it's got a mids cut as well as a treble cut. And a six-way pickup selector. Lots of 'splainin' to do. I have to explain stuff like the '39 Epiphone Emperor ("it's HUGE!") and why it's got a french polish finish.

I have to explain a lot of things in my garage, too.

But not so much the Agiles.

Wow aren't you just the coolest, most knowledgeable Agile connoisseur the world has ever seen.

And nice use of name dropping also
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#117
I understand that someone can love Agile guitars, but having such a massive boner and taking a bullet for them really isn't helping their reputation. It actually kinda detracts.
Ibanez Prestige RG852MPB
Ibanez Prestige RG652KFX
ESP E-II M-1
LTD AW-7
Schecter Loomis NT
EVH 5150 III 50
PRS 212 DB
Line 6 POD HD500X
Deadhorse OD/Boss HM-2
#118
Quote by dspellman
I've got three Moonstones. You probably don't know what those are, but I usually get to explain them. I have a couple of Alembics. You probably have never touched one, but I usually have to explain those, as well. When I get my Trussart, I'll have to explain that one ("there's a what? A *candy box*? Under the bridge? And there's a pickup in it?), and that'll be fun. I have to explain the Variaxes all the time, especially the Acoustic 700 ("uh, it looks like a thin acoustic, but it's really a solid body mahogany guitar?"). I'm looking for a 705 bass, and I'll definitely have to explain that one. I have to explain the Gibson L5S all the time; most folks have never seen one. Same with the L6S, but not only have most folks never seen one in person, but this one is black (most were maple with a clear coat and a black pickguard) and it's got an ebony fretboard. And it's got a mids cut as well as a treble cut. And a six-way pickup selector. Lots of 'splainin' to do. I have to explain stuff like the '39 Epiphone Emperor ("it's HUGE!") and why it's got a french polish finish.


I have an obese yorkie with a personality disorder (seriously, diagnosed); two couches; a fake fish mounted to a piece of wood, mounted to a wall; I think a plate in the sink (wife is out of town with her parents, I'm a pig)... Oh, wait, you don't care?

Shit, me neither.
OffsetOffset
#119
you guys are forgetting the main issue - both companies have a lack of left handed support and only offer a few models/styles for us. It's a real shame!
#120
Quote by Green_Ghoul
you guys are forgetting the main issue - both companies have a lack of left handed support and only offer a few models/styles for us. It's a real shame!


You sure about that? I usually see quite a few left-handed Agiles on their website.

I just checked and they have 49 styles of left-handed Agiles.
That's not even counting the left-handed models of Douglas and SX guitars.