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#1
I have been reading several reviews recently mostly on youtube but point being what I have come away with is the following, all Squires are garbage as well as any Gibson that costs less than 2 grand, forget Epiphones and the like. The overwhelming opinion seems to be if you buy a guitar for less than a couple thousand dollars you might just as well resign yourself to the fact that you are going to have to invest another $500, at least, to get a guitar that is even remotely playable. On the other hand I have seen dozens of reviews of, for example, the Squire Classic Vibe series of guitars that praise them to no end. Both of these views can't be true. I get the feeling a lot of people are buying a $500 guitar and expecting to get the equivalent to a $1500 guitar and are disappointed when that isn't true.
#2
It mostly has to do with expectations. Guitars these days are a lot better then they were decades ago. A lot of the midcore stuff coming out of asia is getting pretty good.

That being said...500 dollars is still 500 dollars there's a reason why these guitars are cheap...they have to cheap out somewhere whether it's the pickups or the hardware.

If you don't go fancy with a lloyd and features, a cheap guitar will mostly likely play fine.

IMO however all guitars need a setup and adjustments unless it's a custom and you are already telling the builder exactly what you want.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#4
Getting it set up properly is often more important than the price.

$50 to $500 = big difference in quality
$500 to $1500 = small differnece in quality (but good for showing off to other guitarists - your fans will not care)
#5
TBH, it's not really the price of the guitar that's a big issue. Get it set up properly, and $500 will feel like $1500 and more easily.

As for sound, the amp often bottlenecks that a lot; a shite amp would make a '59 LP sound garbage; but a decent amp will give lower-end guitars and pickups a pretty hefty lift.
#6
Hey Arrawin I just posted a somewhat exhaustive reflection on this topic here that you may profit by reading.

Personally I think you can get fantastic guitars on the used market in that price range. Getting a guitar professionally set up from that price tier (used) can yield a guitar that is just as playable as a $1500 axe, but it might not look as pretty, feel as "right" in terms of fit/finish/balance, or have hardware as robust as the $1500 guitar.

But sometimes they do! Taking your time to find a guitar that plays well in that price tier can be a little more time consuming but it's definitely doable.
#7
If you know guitars and get to play them before you buy you can get some great deals. All guitars are not the same even ones that are the same make and model can have subtle differences in tone and playability.

I like having good playing cheaper guitars because I will not ruin the value by modifying it to my personal tastes. If you modify an expensive guitar you ruin the resale value of it.
#9
Quote by Gold_Concept
I prefer a Gibson Special or Studio, I bought Epi copies but those guitars don' t have soul .


You've bought a Fake Epi.....
that's a big difference
#10
Quote by AcousticMirror
It mostly has to do with expectations. Guitars these days are a lot better then they were decades ago. A lot of the midcore stuff coming out of asia is getting pretty good.

That being said...500 dollars is still 500 dollars there's a reason why these guitars are cheap...they have to cheap out somewhere whether it's the pickups or the hardware.

If you don't go fancy with a lloyd and features, a cheap guitar will mostly likely play fine.

IMO however all guitars need a setup and adjustments unless it's a custom and you are already telling the builder exactly what you want.


yeah pretty much

also different people have different opinions. so if you watch a video by someone who likes expensive guitars you can get the impression that cheap guitars are crap, but if you watch a video by someone who likes cheaper guitars you can get the impression that expensive guitars are pointless and the only people who buy them are mugs. Neither is the entire story.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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?
#11
There are good and bad guitars at any price range, I have played a Gibson Les Paul that was a total piece of shit then I picked up an SG straight after that as soon as I got my hands on it felt magical.

I have played total wank Epiphones that you had to constantly fight against and felt like a toy, the Epiphone I have is somewhere between the two Gibsons I described earlier.

All my Ibanez are great and they range from 200 quid to nearly 700, the Gio admittedly needs new electronics and pickups badly but the fretwork and general feel are perfectly reasonable, especially considering the price.

Hell, I just bought a Harley Benton acoustic a few days ago that is incredible and that was just over 200 quid, I'm seriously considering buying an electric from them soon and seeing how that holds up.
My Squier needed a lot of work before it could be considered anywhere near good, but I got it for 30 quid from Cash Converters.

Obviously if you find a decent Fender, Gibson, PRS, Music Man, Ibanez Prestige, Jackson USA they will destroy a cheaper guitar, they are truly phenominal works of art, but that by no means cheaper guitars are unplayable, terrible sounding pieces of shit, there are great ones out there.
My Gear:
Ibanez Jet King 2
Ibanez RGDIX7 MPB
Ibanez GRG 7221
OLP John Petrucci
Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro
Squier Stratocaster (modified)
Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#12
The debate about cheap v expensive is endless. I'm in the "cheap" camp for electrics because I'm confident of my ability to choose and fix guitars I like. This isn't to say they aren't expensive ones I would like, but I would argue it on mojo and aesthetics rather than performance.

As others have said, good setup counts for a lot.
Last edited by Tony Done at Feb 4, 2017,
#13
They all have there place. Truth be told when I used to go out and play with friends I'd usually take this stupid little HSS Peavey Raptor I got a garage sale for $30. After changing the strings and giving it a minor setup I had a lot of fun with that guitar and in the end that's all that really matters.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#15
Quote by Arrawin
all Squires are garbage as well as any Gibson that costs less than 2 grand, forget Epiphones and the like. The overwhelming opinion seems to be if you buy a guitar for less than a couple thousand dollars you might just as well resign yourself to the fact that you are going to have to invest another $500, at least, to get a guitar that is even remotely playable.
I'd say that basically none of this is true, and is a great exaggeration at best.

The higher end Squier instruments (particularly the Vintage Modified and Classic Vibe series) are great instruments for the money. No, they're not on the same level as a nice USA or Japan made Fender, but for the money, you could do far worse. I own a 5-string VM-series J-bass and it's as nice as some stuff I've played costing several hundred $ more. And if you're not fixated on Les Pauls, you can definitely get good Gibsons for far less than 2K, more like half that figure, and sometimes less if you go used (SG's and such). Personally, I believe both expensive, and cheaper instruments have their place, and it can make plenty of sense to own both.

Expensive guitars are usually built in countries with higher labor costs (US, Japan, etc.). That's part of the cost, but there is also the use of superior materials, hardware, electronics, and a better level of craftsmanship.

Inexpensive guitars can be excellent instruments too. You just need to learn where cost-cutting measures are used. Often, the overall construction of the guitar will be good, but they might use cheaper electronics and hardware, and/or finishes to keep costs down (as well as cheaper labor). I will say to watch out for inexpensive guitars with floyd rose/locking trem style bridges though.

Almost any guitar will need adjustments/a set-up regardless of it's cost, so bear that in mind too.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#16
It is great to see all these replies and just for the record I own an Epiphone Les Paul, not one of the super cheap ones, it cost $500 but I will say it is the best guitar I have ever owned by far and yes I did own a Gibson LP Studio at one time and I like this much better. It plays just as well and I'd have to say I like the pickups more as the tone I get is almost perfect for my tastes at least as far as classical rock is concerned. I am looking now for a good blues electric which is why I was particularly interested in what they had to say about the Squires in that video.
#17
Have to agree with a lot of the points here. I'll reiterate a few:

Expectations: I have different expectations for what I'm getting between say, a Jackson JS22 and a SLATXMG3-6. I'm not paying $700 for a JS22, for the same reason I wouldn't pay $50,000 for a Honda Accord but would for a 7-series BMW. The person makes the music with the tools they've trained with. A better tool helps, but if you aren't adept, a higher-end unit won't do jack.

I'm less worried about an $80 guitar getting banged up than I would be if I bought an Ibanez Prestige. I have multiple guitars for tuning reasons. The most I've paid for a guitar was my Squier Bullet, bought brand new for $130 or whatever it was. The rest were used at $80-100. Nice if you need a back up...which is my end goal: 2-guitars for each tuning.

Experience: A good guitarist is going to sound better because of their knowledge of the equipment. I recall some video of Steve Vai rocking out on a fan's Squire. Obviously, better equipment helps, but if you don't know what you're doing, it won't matter how much you paid for it.
Also, learning maintenance is a priceless skill, unless you want to pay a luthier every time something needs tweaked. Even then, what they do may not jive with your preferences.

What I've come to focus on with a guitar is the body and neck. If those two are good, especially on cheap guitars, things are good. Going up if you want a Floyd Rose, you'll want to pay attention to which ones, but the rest tend to be leveraged on taste after a certain point. Ceramic magnets are more favorable for metal, as an example.

A better guitar is always a plus, but in the end, the equipment can't make for a better player. Just ask Nick Jonas and Lil Wayne,.
Guitar/Bass:
Schecter: Damien 6/Stilletto Extreme 5, Squier: Bullet HSS*, Washburn RX10*/WG-587, Agile Septor 727
*mods

Amps/FX
Peavey: Vypyr 30/Max 112 (200W), ISP: Decimator

Quote by dannyalcatraz
Understood- I waste money on amps*, too.

justinguitar.com is the answer
#18
I especially agree with you about the neck. I have come to believe that, to me, the most important things are the feel of the neck contour and the frets. I have big hands so I need some room and some frets on the large size to feel comfortable.
#19
The reason for the discrepancy in reviews is the experience level of the people making those reviews. Someone who doesn't know a quality guitar may very well think his First Act electric is pretty damned good...whereas an experienced player might rather burn that First Act for firewood than actually try to play it. Some people are naturally enthusiastic and defensive of their purchase choices, even showing loyalty to a poor brand rather than admit they bought a piece of garbage.

Regarding quality: Cheap guitars are getting better all the time. The process of mass production has long been mastered, and the cheap guitar manufacturers have been making improvements all the time (they have to in a competitive marketplace). This probably sounds stupid, but a "high end" Stagg dreadnaught is probably better built than nearly anything made in the old days (pre-WW2), at least in regard to manufacturing tolerances.

The top end is dominated by bling, in my opine. That's the difference between a $1400 and a $4000 guitar...one is prettier
Last edited by TobusRex at Feb 5, 2017,
#20
I think a decent part of it is what you're using for a baseline. If you've been playing on an Ibanez J custom, then a decent Epiphone might actually feel unplayable. If you've been playing on a Squier Bullet, that same Epi will be an insane upgrade and like a different world.
Quote by Neopowell the PUSO
Girls, stuck for a present? Get your man a remote control helicopter. Guys fucking love remote control helicopters.

Mah gear

Ibanez RG350mdx w/ SD TB-6
Ibanez RG7321 <3
Vyper 15
Ashdown EB 12-180 EVO II Combo

7>6!
#21
Quote by Tony Done
The debate about cheap v expensive is endless. I'm in the "cheap" camp for electrics because I'm confident of my ability to choose and fix guitars I like. This isn't to say they aren't expensive ones I would like, but I would argue it on mojo and aesthetics rather than performance.

As others have said, good setup counts for a lot.

I think this post wins the thread.

As much as I like my more expensive guitars, I'd be foolish to say that my MIM fenders, epiphones etc. are "inferior", because the reality is, while they may not feel quite as well constructed, they can play and sound every bit as good as a much more expensive guitar with a surprisingly small amount of work, in most cases. I'd say the same for some of the guitars Squier have been manufacturing in the last few years, too. I think they feel kinda cheaply made but they perform great.

Of course, I enjoy my more expensive guitars more - they do have a certain 'something' about the craftsmanship that just makes them feel nicer to hold in some abstract way, but that has no measurable impact on how the instrument actually performs, aside from just making me feel better about playing it. And that's just it; I'm honest enough to admit that, for me at least, expensive instruments are a self-indulgent thing - But I'm willing to indulge myself in that way, because I love music, I love guitars, and... I can. Is that a problem? I think not.
I like analogue Solid State amps that make no effort to be "tube-like", and I'm proud of it...

...A little too proud, to be honest.
#22
My cheap guitar , not a poor chinese copy .

Gibson SG Special


#23
Yesterday I was in a local shop and I was trying out guitars looking for a Strat. Played about 8 different ones. American Standard, Special, Mexico, Standard, Deluxe, Special, etc. The two best playing ones were the Mexico Standard and the American Standard. I had a friend hand them to me while my eyes were closed. Unplugged, I couldn't tell the difference (unless I felt the bridge), plugged in, the American sounded much better due to its superior electronics. Didn't buy, but I'm now looking for a Mexican Standard Strat to upgrade it's electronics. Price doesn't matter.

That same shop had a couple SGs (I love SGs) and the Gibson worn SG Special played way nicer than the Gibson Standard they had on hand, but plugged in, the Standard sounded better. The price difference between them was around $900. Those same pickups can be put into the Special for a small fraction of $900

Price really doesn't matter when it comes to stock guitars. Buy a guitar on how it plays because you can always upgrade its electronics. Also, don't put too much stock into the grade or quality of the wood because it doesn't make that much of a difference. Some would argue it's a huge part of the sound, but in reality, it is only a part.
Quote by JD Close
Piano dick had some good parts, but should have said "As the business man slowly gets boned", would have accented the whole dick feeling of the album
#24
Quote by Arrawin
I have been reading several reviews recently mostly on youtube but point being what I have come away with is the following...


i'm not surprised you are mislead. almost any new (and i'd wager used as well) guitars can be made to play and sound "decent" with as little as a proper set up.

i tend to expect a more expensive guitar to be a better instrument but that's not always the case, not by a long shot.

i recently purchased a $500 new epiphone that played and sounded great. was it a better instrument than a $2,000 model? nope. could you play the hell out of it and get some great tones? absolutely.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Feb 5, 2017,
#25
Quote by Tony Done
The debate about cheap v expensive is endless. I'm in the "cheap" camp for electrics because I'm confident of my ability to choose and fix guitars I like. This isn't to say they aren't expensive ones I would like, but I would argue it on mojo and aesthetics rather than performance.

As others have said, good setup counts for a lot.


Hell yeah. All that matters is you can get your groove on and have fun.
#28
one factor many people do not consider (which I never understand) is .. when they buy something below top quality and then "build it up" to top specs..and feel they have saved x amount of money in the process..I usually ask if they are including the labor/quality factor..and many do not.."I did it myself." is the reply..."..why should I pay some one x$ when I can do it myself.." I guess they work for free...my projects include my time and my rate factored in to see if I am really saving any money..I calculate my rate at what a professional charges for the task..If the difference becomes minimal..factors such as I don't have the tools to really do what I want/need.. or "If you want it done right..do it yourself.." or my time/labor could be better spent on something else..for me I find the best professionals to work on my cars, guitars etc..I confer with them and let them know exactly what and how I want the job done..the result is usually top shelf quality..if its not they will work in it until it is...and to me worth the price..and they want to keep a satisfied customer..
play well

wolf
#29
Quote by gregs1020
i'm not surprised you are mislead. almost any new (and i'd wager used as well) guitars can be made to play and sound "decent" with as little as a proper set up.

i tend to expect a more expensive guitar to be a better instrument but that's not always the case, not by a long shot.

i recently purchased a $500 new epiphone that played and sounded great. was it a better instrument than a $2,000 model? nope. could you play the hell out of it and get some great tones? absolutely.
Well, it was an Epi which means the switch will die in 2 or 3 years...
#30
I have both very cheap guitars that I paid 150 euros or less for and expensive guitars that come in at more than 2000. I like them all. Sure, my Squier Bullet doesn't play like a dream and could use some work, but it gets me the Strat sound when I want it. My Ibanez RG7321 is ugly as sin and the hardware is pretty shoddy, but it plays well and sounds good.

On the other hand, my more expensive guitars are the guitars that I rely on when I go out to gig. I'm sure no one would care if I played a Squier instead of my CS Fender, but in the end, it matters to me and that's what it's about for me.
#31
wolflen

I agree, cost-effectiveness mostly isn't a good reason, the cheap guitar is expensive if you factor in all the costs. However, in my case modding is a hobby in itself, I'm guessing this is true of many others, and most hobbies have a cost. It's just another expression of creativity.

I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread, bu one reason to go expensive is that it might make the player try harder, to live up to the instrument. There was a good documentary on this a year or two back, about the second violin in the London Chamber Orchestra, not well paid and living in lowly circumstances, but playing a 2million GBP bitsa strad she had on loan. I bet that made her try harder.
#33
Cheaper guitars now are much better than i remember. I've been playing over 15 years, and I don't remember anything as good as the Squier CV for the price. There's also brand like Reverend bringing out fantastic guitars for a good price. Higher end, you should expect better fit and finish, higher quality materials, (depending on brand) stronger residuals/pulling power in trades. Although I do believe some higher end guitars are going stratospheric with price (used Blackmachines) that becomes very, very hard to justify.
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If this even madkes sense... if yhou sig this, Iw ll kill you.
#34
Quote by Tony Done
wolflen

I agree, cost-effectiveness mostly isn't a good reason, the cheap guitar is expensive if you factor in all the costs. However, in my case modding is a hobby in itself, I'm guessing this is true of many others, and most hobbies have a cost. It's just another expression of creativity.

I don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread, bu one reason to go expensive is that it might make the player try harder, to live up to the instrument. There was a good documentary on this a year or two back, about the second violin in the London Chamber Orchestra, not well paid and living in lowly circumstances, but playing a 2million GBP bitsa strad she had on loan. I bet that made her try harder.


I can't buy into the whole "live up to it" thing. your playing comes from you and you should be "inspired" whenever you play. my current main strat is a 95 MIM (despite having a far more expensive strat) simply because it just has a certain feel to it. nothing to do with more expensive. you could hand me a one of a kind Custom Shop strat and I doubt I'd play one bit better than on my MIM or feel that I had to.

upgrades mean little if the foundation of the guitar itself isn't "good". a guitar with crappy feeling neck or one that is dead sounding likely won't improve regardless of how many changes you make to the pickups and hardware. I have no problem sinking money into a less expensive guitar as long as I feel the results will meet my needs (within reason).
#35
monwobobbo

I feel much the same way as you where electrics and factory acoustics are concerned, it is all about performance and nothing to do with (market) price, but I would be hypocritical if I said this applied to my other interests. A good part of the reason I play a lot of acoustic slide and lap steel is because the guitars I play are very good sounding, and this came at a price. While it might be possible to find something just as good at a lot lower price, I wouldn't know where to start looking.
#36
One of the things about taking cheaper guitars and modding them is that you make them to your specs. I recently bought a used hardtail Ibanez S series. It was lively unplugged and a great player. It is a cheaper one. So I made it my shred guitar and got some Satriani Dimarzio pickups put them in there and it sounds great. There are no Satriani models with a hard tail and I loathe floyds but with a bit of ingenuity I made a hardtail Satch model.

The take away here is that you mod guitars to your own spec. you want to put filtrons into a BC Rich Warlock well then you can do that. Plus my work has me soldering a coupe hours a day so that part is actually gonna be done well here. I hate to take a guitar that is worth something and mod it and ruin its value.
#37
A guitarist can make a crap guitar sound beautiful or make a beautiful guitar sound like crap. Its common knowledge guitarist can be the most egocentric musicians, so they like to buy nice gear to fluff their ego, especially if they lack certain skills. Just take reviews with a grain of salt, until you can test them yourself.
#39
I think the $1,000 price point is a sweet spot. This comes from a guy that owns a $2,800 Les Paul. Don't get me wrong, it is a great guitar but my MIA Standard Strat is just as good and $2,000 cheaper. $500 is an excellent entry point as well if you buy second hand. Lot's of MIM Strats/Teles/SGs/LPs there for the money. Would I buy my Les Paul if I had to do it over again??? Yes, because it's a piece of artwork. A $1,000 guitar can play just as good as $2,800 Les Paul but it wont be as pretty. My Les Paul is like a fucking Picasso painting. I feel the same way about PRS guitars, absolutely stunning.
Some see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. Me? I see that the glass is refillable.
#40
The Squier Telecaster Clasic Vibe Custom is a great guitar, incredible for the price. A friend bought this one :


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