#1
I was thinking. I hear people say "A guitar made out of quality woods and good craftsmanship will have better tone"; what do you define as better tone? How will a guitar made from china out of plywood sound 'bad'? What is a 'bad' sound? It may sound tinny, and may not have much sustain, but sometimes you might want that. How do you define 'quality woods'? I am really confused by this, because I can't see how anything can sound 'bad'? Surely it's just different? How can you pin point a sound to be "undesirable"? I thought that at the end of the day a sound is a frequency, and frequencies are a personal matter, and can not be universally classed as 'undesirable'. You could relate this to a chorus effect; it sounds out of tune, and back in the 1600's if an instrument was out of tune they would class it as a negative, yet these days it is classed as a positive. Another example of this would be Ian Brown. From a technical standing point, his voice is a disaster, yet many people including myself believe that it has character, and represents a true honesty and ' I don't care' attitude. Yet at some point in time, this would be classed as a negative.

What do you think?
Last edited by Supersonic-95 at Jul 13, 2013,
#2
If the build is accurate and correct and the components are in working order then it does not matter objectively. A hammer is a hammer, unless the head pops of as you swing it.

If you like the sound and the feel of the instrument then the price does not matter. You cannot pay more for the same guitar to make it sound better or feel better and you can play expensive guitars that feel weird (and let them collect dust).

A $100 guitar in the hands of a great guitarist beats a $10,000 guitar in my hands.
#3
People have different ideas on what 'better' is.
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#5
So what exactly is the point of this thread if its already common knowledge?
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#6
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
So what exactly is the point of this thread if its already common knowledge?



Well, the point is what I've stated.
#7
Eric Clapton's Blackie Strat cost him a total of $300. Eddie Van Halen's Floyd Rose cost him around $600. Jimmy Page's Danelectro Shorthorn (The one he recorded "Kashmir" on) cost him around $400-500.

A guitar is a guitar no matter how you put it. It's about the guitarist behind the guitar.
#8
Quote by Supersonic-95
Well, the point is what I've stated.

...ok
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#9
Quote by sovaso
Eric Clapton's Blackie Strat cost him a total of $300. Eddie Van Halen's Floyd Rose cost him around $600. Jimmy Page's Danelectro Shorthorn (The one he recorded "Kashmir" on) cost him around $400-500.

A guitar is a guitar no matter how you put it. It's about the guitarist behind the guitar.


In any case, Blackie was bought 40 years ago and is around $2000 in todays money. Although he took the best parts of 3 and made one.

It's subjective, but there are some objective components that make a guitar more valuable, and are meant to make sound resonate in a 'better' way.

There is a consensus that certain guitars are better than others because of the materials used, the quality control and the playability.
#10
Something that is defined as "bad" is something that the majority of the population will have classified as a negative attribute. That doesn't mean everyone thinks it's a negative attribute, naturally there are outliers in all metrics. If 90% of guitar players think that cheap $5 chinese factory Strat knock-off ceramic bar single coil pickups sound thin and brittle and dull and lifeless, that doesn't mean that the other 10% must dislike it. However since an overwhelming majority classify it as bad, it is called bad, even if some people like that bad sound.

At any rate, sound quality is one of the last things people dislike about cheap guitars. The most common complaints are tuning stability, neck warp, rust, jagged fret ends, scratchy pots, jiggly input jacks, finicky switches... basically every parts is there but doesn't work as expected. That's the true defining characteristic of super cheap electric guitars.

Quote by sovaso
Eric Clapton's Blackie Strat cost him a total of $300. Eddie Van Halen's Floyd Rose cost him around $600. Jimmy Page's Danelectro Shorthorn (The one he recorded "Kashmir" on) cost him around $400-500.

A guitar is a guitar no matter how you put it. It's about the guitarist behind the guitar.


This is a very broken argument. Eric Clapton bought (or rather assembled) his Blackie strat in the late 60s. He bought 6 guitars for $200-$300, took the best parts of each, and then slapped them together to make Blackie (he then gave away the others).

$200-$300 seems cheap now but but adjusted for inflation, $300 USD in 1968 is equivalent to $1952.98 in 2012 dollars, according to this inflation calculator. That's more money than an American Standard Strat today. Clapton basically tossed ~$10,000 at 6 guitars to get the parts to make one guitar. That's not what I'd call a good argument for cheap instruments.
Last edited by Seref at Jul 13, 2013,
#12
I think its funny when people bitch about how Gibsons are so overpriced when they should realize that a Gibson LP Standard is about the same price now as it was 50 years ago. An LP in 1959 was $275. That's over $2000 in today's money. And the LP Standard of today is a more sophisticated guitar than a '59.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jul 13, 2013,
#14
if it's a POS which won't stay in tune and intonate properly and whose pickups are muddy as hell and whose electronics are scratchy etc., I'd say that's objectively bad. Sure, to a certain extent it's subjective, but I'd also say to a certain extent it's objective as well.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#15
They resonate better

The human ear likes too hear complex frequencies, which should project better on the better guitars.

When something is high in demand the price goes up.

If you play a chord you want to have every note clear and not muffled.

Though there is indeed a cultural influence as well as to which sounds are liked at the present time.

It's basically multiple factors which can't be exactly quantified.

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#16
About the chorus effect thing: It's the same as why in an orchestra there are dozens of violinists playing the same thing. They play a bit out of tune and a bit out of tempo compared to each other. The difference is so small that you don't notice it but it makes it sound bigger. Chorus does the same thing: It kind of tries to replicate the sound of two guitars playing the same thing or a 12 string guitar.

But I'm sure in the 17th century orchestras had many players playing the same part just like today. Chorus pedal doesn't make you sound out of tune. Or it does but just so slightly that you don't notice it (unless you use really extreme settings) - it just makes your sound kind of bigger.

TS, seems like you have just discovered philosophy and are now making these philosophic threads about stuff. Good, but I don't think you need to get too philosophic here. Almost everything is subjective and we know it. Most stuff depends on our opinions. That's why people ask you the bands you like and stuff when you are looking for a new guitar. For some styles different gear works. And the usual advice: Try it yourself. Different guitars work for different people. But don't you agree that a guitar that doesn't stay in tune is a bad guitar? Unless you are after guitars that don't stay in tune.
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#17
Lots of people think that Gibson make good guitars, but there are as good guitars made by Tokai, Burny, etc at maybe half the the cost of a Gibson, so people wont buy Gibson because they can get that quality elsewhere, cheaper.

I spent days looking through Gibsons and copies when I wanted to buy my Traditional. I much preferred the wine red but this one just played much better than the others.

I say you can't go wrong with a Gibson. It's the real deal, it holds it's value excellently, they have great customer service and are excellent instruments.

But there are excellent copies too.
#18
I have 2 Deans that I bought simultaneously as my first electrics, a Special Select EVO (@$500) and a Time Capsule Cadillac (@$3500). Since then, I've bought other guitars ranging in price from $700-3500.

That EVO is as comfy to play as anything I own (of similar mass). Good balance, nice neck, and it holds tune with a death grip. It is objectively well made.

BUT...

It is clear that Dean cut its costs on the EVO in a lot of ways. It doesn't use the prettiest of woods, the quilting is poorly matched, so it doesn't look as good as it could- definitley not as good as the Caddy. And most importantly, its pickups are crap. It literally has the worst pickups of all of my guitars. The difference is quite audible.

And its not a question of how hot the pickups are- I have other axes with similarly voiced pickups that handle cleans...well, everything...better.

So, despite all of its good qualities, I rarely play it anymore. Which is why I'm getting new pickups made for it.
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#19
Quote by Dave_Mc
if it's a POS which won't stay in tune and intonate properly and whose pickups are muddy as hell and whose electronics are scratchy etc., I'd say that's objectively bad. Sure, to a certain extent it's subjective, but I'd also say to a certain extent it's objective as well.

+311

Also, I love my inexpensive, Pine body, Squier CV Tele; so, inexpensive sometimes doesn't always mean POS.

There are also guitars with bodies made from the much maligned Agathis which sound very good with decent amps.

#20
Bill Kirchen (a.k.a. "The Titan of The Telecaster" and co-founder of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen) has an all-pine Tele- no truss rod!- that sounds killer.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Quote by Ippon
+311

Also, I love my inexpensive, Pine body, Squier CV Tele; so, inexpensive sometimes doesn't always mean POS.

There are also guitars with bodies made from the much maligned Agathis which sound very good with decent amps.



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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#22
Quote by MaggaraMarine

TS, seems like you have just discovered philosophy and are now making these philosophic threads about stuff.


I've never really done philosophy
#23
you don't say
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#24
Quote by Mephaphil


There is a consensus that certain guitars are better than others because of the materials used, the quality control and the playability.


There's no consensus.
#25
Quote by xxdarrenxx
They resonate better

The human ear likes too hear complex frequencies, which should project better on the better guitars..


We still haven't defined "better."
Resonance has little to do with what comes out of the amp.
There's nothing about a "better" guitar that "projects" complex frequences "better."

We have, however, some pretty good evidence that a lot of people listen with their eyes. And that if they think the guitar is much more expensive, then it will sound (to them) "better."
#26
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#27
Quote by dspellman
We still haven't defined "better."
Resonance has little to do with what comes out of the amp.
There's nothing about a "better" guitar that "projects" complex frequences "better."

We have, however, some pretty good evidence that a lot of people listen with their eyes. And that if they think the guitar is much more expensive, then it will sound (to them) "better."


This is ****ing ridiculous.

Here's your definitions. A "better guitar" can exist in two separate ways. One is objectively better and another is subjectively better. An objectively better guitar is one that all sampled people, excluding few statistical outliers, can agree is better. Usually the characteristics that are used to come to this conclusion regard construction, fit and finish, and materials quality. These are subjects whose value and quality can be rated on an objective level. Opinion plays no role. A rash of warped necks on $99 Yamaha Pacificas is a negative aspect no matter who you ask. No comparison to another guitar needs to be made. Low quality potentiometers are negative aspects no matter who you ask.

Let's move to subjectively better guitars. Tone is subjective, we all know that. But if 90% of a sampled population call guitar A better than guitar B, its subjective quality is given the property of universality. 10% may not consider it tonally superior but that doesn't mean that it is not the better guitar. That means it is not better for them. An overwhelming majority (not a slight majority) in favor of a variable defines that variable as the superior variable. You will be hard pressed to find the person who enjoys the tone from this $64 First Act guitar than this mexican Strat. And that Strat's not even a very good guitar. The fact that you might find one person in a thousand who claims that the First Act is tonally superior is not indicative of the Strat not being the better guitar. It is indicative of what statisticians refer to as "the bell curve."

Resonance has much to do with what comes out of the amp, on that you are simply ignorant. The majority of harmonic content in guitar tone comes from three sources: the design of the pickup, the circular oscillations of guitar strings which are influenced by the vibration of the guitar (not the oscillations caused by picking the string), and the vibration of the pickups beneath the oscillating strings. In two of the three sources, vibration of the guitar plays a leading role. Vibration comes from resonance, or the resonant frequencies of the oscillating strings imparting a vibration on the guitar. Resonant quality of the guitar is then inherently related to the current generated by the pickups which is then amplified by the amplifier and sent out through the speaker. Guitars that aren't resonant tend to have the characteristic of "dull" and "two-dimensional" tone.

You are the worst kind of snob. You are the snob that thinks everyone else is the real snob. And what's worse, you don't know about the things you attempt to talk about.
Last edited by Seref at Jul 13, 2013,