#1
I was just looking at some guitars that were "for sale" and I had a question come to mind. This isn't the first time so I thought I'd see how the guitar community thinks about this. Question is, Is it really possible to put 3 or 4 thousand dollars worth of actual value into a guitar. Example, Gibson Les Paul, $3999.99. Is it even possible to buy the wood for the body and neck and the hardware, then the time for somebody to cut it out on a machine and glue it together, sand, paint and assemble it and end up spending four thousand dollars in the process. I seriously don't think so. I'd say much over two thousand is highly suspect. I think you are paying a relatively small amount for the actual guitar and a whole lot for the prestige of waving your new guitar around and telling everybody I got a real Gibson Les Paul Custom..look at me!!!
#3
Countless articles on the subject,  And it really goes far deeper than just the guitar manufacture,  The $300 set of pickups may have only cost $100 to make including labor depending where they're made, and of course there's the mark up for each hand they go through by the time they make it to you in the retail market,   Granted Gibson buys in bulk so may only pay $150 for them, but they still charge $300 for them, and that formula follows every component of the guitar,  Now assuming that the CNC machine cutting out the guitar pieces in Indonesia is the exact same make and model doing the same job in Nashville,  That's not a big part of the cost,  However the gal in Indonesia sanding and finishing said guitar is making nowhere near per hour what the guy in Nashville is making,  Let alone using $150 dollar pickups, more like $15 dollar pickups that cost $5 bucks to make,   Now factor in the factory in Indonesia may be pumping out 2000 guitars a day whereas Gibson only 200,   So now it becomes quantity vs quality,   Either way you make money as a business,  Or at least that's the game plan,   Would I pay $4k for a Gibson, No,  Would I build a guitar that cost me $1,500 in materials,  Do it all the time,  Think I'd sell them for $1,500? Not a chance in hell,  I got bills to pay and I don't work for free, 
#4
Value is subjective.


For some people, the name and inlay on the headstock are worth that.

They're idiots, but there are enough of them around to keep the price there.
#5
Quote by Arrawin
I was just looking at some guitars that were "for sale" and I had a question come to mind. This isn't the first time so I thought I'd see how the guitar community thinks about this. 


You're going to field this question often over your lifetime. "Why am I spending $2.6 million for a car that will go 265 mph if I'm never EVER going to go anywhere *near* that fast in it?" 

At one point a few years ago I spent $4K for a Gibson Axcess Custom (nearly spent $5760 for the same guitar with a 4A top). I could have had an equivalent guitar (to the $5760 one) from Carvin / Keisel for $2000. I *did* buy a custom-built Agile that was actually superior to the Axcess, as it turned out, for $1160. 

I have Gibsons that I purchased for under $100 that were a bit over $200 when new that are now worth mid-five figures. 

As slapsymcdougal pointed out, "Value is subjective."
#6
Why does this mainly come up with guitars? I don't see this conversation come up often with other instruments even though they're a lot more expensive. Is it because other instruments don't have a name and design with an associated price in plain sight on them? Is it because guitars are more visible than classical instruments? Is it because the only time you see $10,000+ instruments are in the the hands of actual professionals?
#7
JELIFISH19

I think you're on the right track. My cello was an entry-level pro model, and was $2000...in 1978. That's roughly equivalent to $8000 in buying power today.

But the guitar is the most popular instrument in the world. There are hundreds of makers and all kinds of price points, resulting in millions sold annually. So it may be harder for some to grok the reasons why some cost more than others. And which of those costs involve objective mechanical improvements and which are subjective, aesthetic valuations.

Or, as slapsymcdougal hinted, what is wrapped up in the psychology of brand identity.
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!
#8
This subject has been done to death, and I wish I had the strength of character to ignore it.  

My take on this is that folks often buy on things like mojo and bling, then try to argue it to themselves and/or others on performance, a kinder view than simple braggadocio. However, if an expensive guitar makes you try harder, it's good - your performance is related to price.

It is worth noting that labour cost isn't just about the cost of paying workers to make a guitar, it flows on to every aspect of the manufacturing process - factory rent and rates, power, machinery, transport, the lot, since they all employ people on comparable wages. There is also the cost of greater regulation, eg OHS and pollution control, in high-wage countries.
#9
Quote by Tony Done
This subject has been done to death, and I wish I had the strength of character to ignore it.  


hahahahahahahahahaha ditto
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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#10
once a week. every week. like clockwork. I should just have a notepad where i copy pasta a response.

listen at the end of the day buy whatever you want.

That being said the Gibson is pretty much the worst example to use for this because their value ratio is just horrible. However, they are the only production guitar that will build you a spec replica of those early Gibsons. Anyone else that does it has been sued out of existence or charges even more.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#11
Quote by Arrawin
I was just looking at some guitars that were "for sale" and I had a question come to mind. This isn't the first time so I thought I'd see how the guitar community thinks about this. Question is, Is it really possible to put 3 or 4 thousand dollars worth of actual value into a guitar. Example, Gibson Les Paul, $3999.99. Is it even possible to buy the wood for the body and neck and the hardware, then the time for somebody to cut it out on a machine and glue it together, sand, paint and assemble it and end up spending four thousand dollars in the process. I seriously don't think so. I'd say much over two thousand is highly suspect. I think you are paying a relatively small amount for the actual guitar and a whole lot for the prestige of waving your new guitar around and telling everybody I got a real Gibson Les Paul Custom..look at me!!!

Generally speaking, for an electric guitar over $2000 US, you're paying a luxury tax ( exception for certain model types, archtops, which are inherently more expensive due to design etc.) .  You're not really getting value for your dollar at that point and there is nothing "necessary" as far as getting a professional sound or playability.  

That being said, not every gear purchase is about value and necessity. People who drop $5000 on a custom Gibson or whatever have money to burn and so they do spend it on something they like.  Does it make any financial sense - no.  Does it make any sense musically?  no.  Is it fun - yes! 

Building a guitar with premium parts ( Warmoth for example) ends up costing a lot - a friend of mine built a custom bass using Warmoth parts and it clocked in at like $4500 canadian when all was said and done. It's an amazing Bass, but my American Standard P-Bass holds up fine and was $900 canadian used. 

there is an increasing trend for all guitar Manufacturer's to really play up the expensive custom models.  Some magazines like Guitar Aficionado cater to rich types who spend vast amounts on cars and watches ( is there anything more  useless than a watch in 2017!) , and treat guitars the same way - as a outward sign of wealth to be collected and displayed.   It has to do with the fact that many people who grew up in the guitar era are now in mid-life/late-life crisis mode with money to burn - some spend it on the guitar of their dreams much like a sportscar etc.

 


 


 


 
#12
Quote by reverb66
Generally speaking, for an electric guitar over $2000 US, you're paying a luxury tax ( exception for certain model types, archtops, which are inherently more expensive due to design etc.) .  You're not really getting value for your dollar at that point and there is nothing "necessary" as far as getting a professional sound or playability.  

That being said, not every gear purchase is about value and necessity. People who drop $5000 on a custom Gibson or whatever have money to burn and so they do spend it on something they like.  Does it make any financial sense - no.  Does it make any sense musically?  no.  Is it fun - yes! 

Building a guitar with premium parts ( Warmoth for example) ends up costing a lot - a friend of mine built a custom bass using Warmoth parts and it clocked in at like $4500 canadian when all was said and done. It's an amazing Bass, but my American Standard P-Bass holds up fine and was $900 canadian used. 

there is an increasing trend for all guitar Manufacturer's to really play up the expensive custom models.  Some magazines like Guitar Aficionado cater to rich types who spend vast amounts on cars and watches ( is there anything more  useless than a watch in 2017!) , and treat guitars the same way - as a outward sign of wealth to be collected and displayed.   It has to do with the fact that many people who grew up in the guitar era are now in mid-life/late-life crisis mode with money to burn - some spend it on the guitar of their dreams much like a sportscar etc.

Yes, an Apple Watch.
#13
Quote by JELIFISH19
Why does this mainly come up with guitars? I don't see this conversation come up often with other instruments 


It's mostly due to socio-economic factors including ties to the soundtrack of a whole generation. There's so much nostalgic BS and mythology woven around them that it's going to be another twenty years or so before it fades. Some of the most expensive guitars that Gibson makes these days are not-so-very-close copies of a guitar that was the middle-of-the-line pricewise, and that failed in the market place. Twice. And was resurrected twice. 
#14
Hey, leave watches out of this!
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!
#15
Arrawin

To give you some perspective. I am a tool maker by trade. My labor rate is 175 an hour. This covers machine time, my time, tooling and equipment costs. When you are talking skilled labor, material, and lots of time costs add up very quickly.

Many of the higher end guitars are completely hand fit and finished. That process takes considerable time and know-how, the type of knowledge that doesn't come cheap or overnight. I think a more poignant question would be is there a huge value difference between a 2k dollar guitar and a 3k dollar guitar. In my opinion, no. However between my 400 dollar Ibanez and my 1000 dollar start, yes. Same with my les paul. However the lines between the les Paul at over 500 more than I paid on the strat not so much. I just prefer it more.
Last edited by BeefDrapes at Apr 4, 2017,