#1
-To be clear, this is not a post in response to any one thread, but rather it is inspired by many threads.-

I do not know about you, but I am getting really tired of telling kids "you have the wrong equipment for your goals." I am getting really tired of seeing small practice amps and beginner guitars on the used market. I am getting really tired of seeing some young player's guitar, with the action jacked so high the guitar is practically unplayable. I am tired of seeing discouraged guitarists, held back by their inadequate equipment and knowledge.

I am tired of seeing cheap guitar eqiupment being advertised as the "one stop, jack of all trades" bit of kit that will be ultimately inspiring for any level of player, when in reality the equipment holds the learner back rather than helping them. I am tired of seeing product descriptions that claim the gear is the most ideal solution to all the players' needs. I am tired of hearing stories about salesmen selling some innocent player absolute garbage just because it makes them the quickest buck.

I am tired of seeing students who would, in the end, be great additions to the musical culture, but are ultimately left burned by the guitar equipment market because of guitars that are too hard to play, and amps that are too difficult to work with. And so they sell their equipment and they give up. I get that guitar playing is not for everybody, and that the learning curve is steep- but I imagine that if salesmen would actually do their job properly and meet young players where they are, that if product descriptions were honest, and that if sales reps would tell their customers to get their guitar set up, we'd have a lot less discouraged students, a lot less used beginner equipment on the market, and really a lot less individuals quitting their dreams of being a guitarist.

I think the current business model of most companies is absolutely stupid, dumb, and shoots themselves in the foot- and shoots their customers in the foot. A business model that looks towards making a quick buck off of innocent students to sell them crappy equipment, and then they eventually quit without buying another product. Rather than a business model that sells students what they need, and tells them the steps to get to where they want to go, and ultimately making a returning customer.

I am glad I had a teacher that encouraged me through the hard times. I wish we could do something to help these individuals that do not have someone like that. I am tired of online site reviews being a joke. I am tired of online forums being the only way for young guitarists to get honest information about the products they are interested in.

I know, it is unrealistic. Companies are greedy and jerks- they often do not care about the individual, just the money they have.

What can we do?
#2
First off the musical instrument industry is big bucks these days,  and of course every manufacture wants a piece of the pie, so of course the advertising blitzkrieg continues with the promise of latest and greatest, 
Second, the youth of today want instant gratification and name brand recognition, In which of course the manufactures,advertisers and retailers take full advantage of.   And we know who you are, Or at least us old timers do,  So in other words the problem lies on both sides of the fence,  The kid wants the latest and greatest name brands and the manufacture and retailer is more than happy to accommodate them with cheap Chinese made goods. 
Not that there's anything wrong with Chinese made goods but there's a limit,  If you had to endure some of the old guitars some of us endured back in the 70's you'd understand what I'm saying,   Hell even some of the Gibson's and Fenders back then would have got their asses kicked by a well set up China queen of today, and don't even get me started with the old Silvertone's Harmony's, Supro's and many others,  Meaning yea you can learn to play on a POS, as many of us did,  But instant gratification wasn't an issue back then either,   You bought a book and listened to your favorite songs on a phonograph or if lucky an 8 track and learned to play songs,  Today that doesn't seem to be the way it works,  Now Does It 
As to what we can do, Teach our children a little common sense and starting supporting your local mom and pop shops rather than the big box stores like Guitar Center,  The one I have in my city makes most of its money on guitar lessons, and they wont sell you a guitar that's not properly set up,  Plus they have open mic and jam session nights all the time,  Good community based fun, I took my kid down there all the time,  Basically so he wouldn't learn all my bad habits and be part of something other than an online community, Like real living breating people with similar interests,  
#3
Caveat emptor.  

Whether it is guitars, electronics, cars, houses, or dinner at a local steak joint, it pays to do a little homework first and talk to people who have lots of experience with the object of your desire rather than relying on marketing BS which is mostly just BS.  A good guitar teacher is certainly a valuable resource for guitars.  There are several very experienced players here who regularly offer solid advice.  The trick is knowing who to trust for advice and setting your own ego aside for a moment to learn something new.  Not alway easy to do and that fluffy marketing BS just looks so very tempting...

When I was about 16 an old salt guitarist suggested a vintage Fender Tele and 64 Fender Deluxe Reverb might just be all the guitar and amp I would ever need for the music I played.  I thought "How is that possible, it's only 20w and a 1x12?  I surely need a much bigger amp than that little thing."  

After 40 years of live gigs all over the southwest, the old salt was probably right.   

Choose your information sources wisely.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 8, 2017,
#4
Speaking as a person with degrees in economics, marketing and law, I can say that a big part of what you're complaint about is capitalism. The dark side of it.

Anyone who shops around is going to notice that there's often a disparity- actually almost an inverse relationship in the worst cases- between the knowledge base of the employees and the amount of inventory a store carries.

A lot of starter stuff is marketed towards parents buying gear for their kids- and the occasional industrious kid himself- who may not have a foggy notion what to buy besides what they hear & see in media. And often, they don't care to do research or listen to a more knowledgeable source (if one is available).

Not all companies are greedy jerks. Some do put out less expensive but still decent quality versions of their pricier gear- compare MiM Fenders to any .first Act that doesn't come out of their custom shop, for instance. Others don't compromise quality at all- if you can't afford their stuff, move along, because they're not making "entry level gear". (Whether the prices they charge for their stuff is otherwise fair is a different point.)

Still, with production costs of all kinds of gear dropping, there is going to be increasing pressure to simply stop making crap products just for the beginner's market. At some point, eachncompany will have to re-evaluate whether it makes sense to make a P.O.S. guitar for $X, when they can make a decent one for $X + N, and make a bigger unit profit due to a better markup and a streamlined production process.

What can we do? The same thing we do here- offer to help. Every time I've bought a car, I have always taken another person with me. That gave me one more set of eyes, ears and a butt to analyze a car as it's being pitched to me or on a test drive- and from a passenger's POV, which as the car's owner, I'll likely never have. And whenever a friend goes car shopping, I offer to come along to do likewise.

My barber is toying with the idea of buying a guitar. He has experience playing instruments, but this would be his first stringed one. I told him to talk to me before buying, or if he couldn't, to go to a particular store I've been frequenting since the 1980s. If I can't help him, they can.
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!
#5
Quote by Cajundaddy
Caveat emptor.  

Whether it is guitars, electronics, cars, houses, or dinner at a local steak joint, it pays to do a little homework first and talk to people who have lots of experience with the object of your desire rather than relying on marketing BS which is mostly just BS.

Choose your information sources wisely.


I was told by my parents over and over again to "buy once." IOW, buy something that will last. We really didn't have a lot of choice when it came to a piano or my Hammond B3, but when I bought my first guitar, I bought a Gibson ES-335. Still have it. 

I think there are a lot of people who have a different mentality. I think this is particularly true of some parents who think, "Well, get him a cheap one and see if he sticks to it. If he does, we can get something better." Nevermind that the "cheap one" guitar is nearly unplayable and the AM Radio-sounding amp would never inspire anyone to stick to it. 
#6
dspellman
Yeah.

And I think a lot of that comes from modern parents wanting their kids to do and experience all kinds of activities in the hope of producing well-rounded adults. But too often, they wind up merely indulging Timmy & Tammy's whims- or projecting their desires on their kids- instead of providing focus & structures to help the kids figure out stuff for themselves.*

"The road to hell" and all that.

I mean, it's not like you should NEVER indulge a whim. But you have to be smart about it; know your kid. I asked for and got a pogo stick one year. One bad accident and I gave it up. So when my interests turned to skateboards thanks to visiting relatives in California, the answer was a swift "No!" I got to play soccer for years, but organized tackle football was denied me until I was in high school- I played sports with badger-like intensity, but I wasn't going to be big enough for "collision" sports for any length of time.

My parents "knew" me.

Roundabout-wise, what I'm getting at is that even though understanding music on some level is culturally important, PERFORMING it isn't for everyone. Atonal Timmy may be better off taking music appreciation classes than guitar lessons. Robert Heinlein posited, 'Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.' Same goes for some people.


* I have no kids; find your salt grains.
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!
#7
Welcome to marketing. But there's also a bit of Chevy vs Ford going on. Buy the brand I like or it's probably the wrong decision. I often wonder how many people actually buy peavey vypers. That's probably been the #1 answer here for awhile (maybe classic 30) and for God's sakes don't buy a Spider because I played a crappy one 10 years ago so they are all crap. Or if you buy a modeler you have to have powered speakers. This is the way we do it so you better do it to. All advice can be good for someone doesn't mean it's good for you.
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Last edited by scott58 at Apr 8, 2017,
#8
...for God's sack...


I hope that's a typo!
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!
#9
Quote by Will Lane
What can we do?

Give budding guitarists the best advice we can. Just like we do any other day on this forum.

Companies selling junk products and making empty promises that said junk product is the ideal solution for all their needs is just the reality of marketing. A naive kid that doesn't know any better who wants to start playing has no other information to go off other than what the marketers tell them. It rings very true that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. But inexperienced players lack that sense of knowing. Which is when more experienced players should step in.

Half decent guitars are getting cheaper and cheaper to produce and a disproportionately small margin of that reduction in cost is being passed onto the consumer. I think that while guitars are readily getting cheaper to produce, there will always be that sweat shop in China selling pos Chinese strat copies. Although a lot of processes in mass-produced guitars have become more automated than ever, there is still a degree of hand work that needs to go into building every guitar, as some processes are almost impossible to automate. So while half decent guitars will continually get cheaper to make, I think that it's soon to hit a ceiling, created by labour costs on processes in guitar building that cannot be automated.
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I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#10
No other musical instrument is ad no standardized ad guitar and no other musician is as cheap stingy and conservative as guitarists.

People think you can get good to go for 500 bucks
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#11
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I hope that's a typo!

yeah, I hate kindles auto thing
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
#12
And what can and cannot be automated is becoming a blurrier line each year.

I tell you something I'm considering doing: I have no kids and no expectations of that changing, so I'm contemplating putting my instruments and other gear into a trust for students to use. I haven't figured out the details- who the trustee would be, who would be eligible to use the gear, how long anyone could use it, etc.- soooo many options.

My HS has only recently introduced music lessons, so they'd be a good candidate. OTOH, there is a college just 30 minutes north of here that competes with Juliard & Berklee. And of course, there are all kinds of underprivileged schools in my greater metropolitan area.

....or maybe I'll just have my executor auction it all off for a benefit to Guitars For Vets.
http://guitars4vets.org
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!