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#1
This might be a dumb question but... what makes a expensive guitar worth?, couldn't I just take an average guitar made with good wood and replace the pickups with some seymour and have an amazing guitar?
Last edited by frusciante.ve at Sep 17, 2006,
#2
well take into account the best woods go into high end guitars... and with this better wood you can replace it with a pickup and get a good tone

other tahn that playibilty, durability and cosmetics
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#4
The craftsmanship, for one. On a high end guitar, the craftsmanship will be of a much higher quality and precision than on a low end one, no matter how good the wood is. Also, quality of the hardware, pickups, wiring, inlays, binding etc. are usually lower on the cheaper models.
So in short; putting kick-ass pickups on a low-end guitar, even one with tremendously good wood, would make a differnce, but it's still a low-end guitar. A guitar is more than just wood and pickups.
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#5
yeah, a guitar isn't just about pickups. its the type of wood, frets, neck, truss rod, hardware, and like the guy above said cosmetics. if you take a guitar that was just thrown together in a factory in taiwan and put good pickups in it you still wont get the same quality.
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#6
- brand
- professionally selected wood from the best side of trees
- crafted accurately
- technique of the woods are sawn from the trees (quartersaw technique)
- wedged neck pieces so that could range from 3pc. to 10pc.
- combined wood pieces to add tonal character to the body
- painted, cared with uttermost respect to the guitar
- top notch hardwares
- may range from handcrafted/ handcraft+machinecraft/ custom machinecraft
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#7
The biggest difference is the neck. Then electronics, wood, and finish. Hardware doesn't usually change all that much.
#8
Quote by Lost Hippie
The biggest difference is the neck. Then electronics, wood, and finish. Hardware doesn't usually change all that much.

Yes it does, locking tuners would do a good job holding a vintage style trem, a brass trem block floyd rose is much better than a normal zinc trem block in terms of sustain, good pickups direct from manufacturers are way better than "designed in collaboration" pickups, solid metal built Floyd Rose holds tuning much better than a softer based LFRs.
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#9
And for the brand name too
The word gibson on the headstock costs like...500 in cheap ones
5000 in expensive ones.
#10
but how does the wood ...affect.....the tone ...
i mean in an electric it is only the pickup which take up the the sound....so how does the body wood affect ...it ....??
n as far as neck wood is concerned isnt it for the comfort i mean some guitarist like mahogany n some maple...??

correct me if me wrong !!!
#11
Quote by d_jinn
but how does the wood ...affect.....the tone ...
i mean in an electric it is only the pickup which take up the the sound....so how does the body wood affect ...it ....??
n as far as neck wood is concerned isnt it for the comfort i mean some guitarist like mahogany n some maple...??

correct me if me wrong !!!

When you pluck the string, or strum a chord, you can feel the whole of the guitar is vibrating. This vibration later on creates a characteristics, bends and curves to the string's vibration. You have to know that pickups dont just recieve the string's vibration, even if you lightly tap it using your finger, it'll act almost like a mic. Wood types also affect sustain a bit coz the partice inside the wood itself will vibrate too.
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#12
try out any ESP guitar from the Standard Series only then try it next to a LTD from the 50 series only. now why to demonstrate to you the difference between two different low end guitars. now how does an ESP Standard Series qualify for low end well because it is the lowest you can get from the ESP workshop and thats not a joke.
#13
A good instrument is better balanced as well.
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#14
the difference ... labour costs & brand marking. The hardware itself is bought in bulk and isn't really a concern, the wood is also bought in bulk (though better grades of wood demand higher values).

American made guitars are going to command american wages for labour - and as we all know the difference between an american slave worker getting 6 dollars an hour and an indonesian getting 6 dollars a month is pretty big. so there's a lot of the guitars cost right there! and then of course there's that big fancy sticker that is your passport to the bigboys club, because we all know that zakk wouldn't exist without gibson, or that jaymz wouldn exist without ESP - it's all good propoganda and marketting. necessary evils.
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#15
Expensive isn't always necessarily better; i got a no-name guitar for $100 australian at a second hand shop, and it's just as good as guitars i've tried that are a LOT more expensive. IMO paying anything more than about $1500 is ripping yourself off. . .
#16
Quote by madpickin03
When you pluck the string, or strum a chord, you can feel the whole of the guitar is vibrating. This vibration later on creates a characteristics, bends and curves to the string's vibration. You have to know that pickups dont just recieve the string's vibration, even if you lightly tap it using your finger, it'll act almost like a mic. Wood types also affect sustain a bit coz the partice inside the wood itself will vibrate too.


hmmm thnx ...for the ....info........
does the neck ...also affect the sound the same way ...or ...?
#17
Quote by d_jinn
hmmm thnx ...for the ....info........
does the neck ...also affect the sound the same way ...or ...?

Yes, it does too
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#19
Quote by d_jinn
and so does the shape ...right ??

Ummm, not really...Shape is mainly for cosmetics purpose and comfortability wise.
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Thats what she said...
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#20
Quote by d_jinn
and so does the shape ...right ??


hmmm well wood = tone so generally yeh but really shape is probably more personal preference and the price of a guitar doesnt affect the shape of it
#21
This is a question that's really hard to put an answer to words with.

I have played SO many expensive guitars that qualitatively play, feel and sound,
when compared to an ordinary inexpensive guitar, the difference is hardly worth
mentioning. Since they generally run pretty expensive I would put Les Pauls, SGs
and PRS's as examples of this category. They are nice guitars. You might even
think those are the best guitars you've ever tried. That is, until, you try one of
those hard to find, much rarer guitars, that when you pick them up and play them
you KNOW you have something really special in your hands.

Those guitars generally you won't find hanging in the usual shops. You play them
and your jaw drops and you absolutely know for sure you're holding a really
special INSTRUMENT. It's how it all feel when you fret a note and strike the string.

I am fortunate in that I believe I have several in this category. If you ever find
one like this and play it, you realize that most of what is out there and "expensive"
is really pretty ordinary.

I think it's also something that transcends preference. While of course that's
always a factor, it's the type of guitar the pretty much anyone who tries it will
say, that's an amazing guitar.
#22
I have to agree. I was gaga over PRS guitars before I actually had a chance to play one....sad. It just didn't live up to the hype and the 6 guitars I played at the time didn't sound or feel any better than my MIA stratocaster. I'm not really a huge strat fan either, but I just couldn't justify paying $1600 - $2200 for a guitar that just didn't impress me. What did impress me was Quicksilver and Warrior. These guitars are incredible in terms of tone...the Quicksilver guitar does the PRS thing better than any PRS built since 1987 (I've played an 86 model PRS and I'm wondering why they don't make them like that anymore).

With something like a Gibson and a PRS, you're paying for a name. PRS is now made mostly by CNC machines, and I've seen several models come out in the last few years that just didn't strike me as >$1500 instruments (poor fretwork, binding flaws, finish flaws, etc). In reality, a good luthier could build you a better instrument for the same price, but it won't have the "now famous on MTV" logo on the headstock. Makes me think back to the Ibanez lawsuit days...they were doing producing better Les Pauls than Gibson had ever made.

The only expensive guitars that justify their price IMO are the instruments produced by Benedetto and companies of the like.
#23
you see man, the low priced guitars are slapped together in Indoneisia or somewhere like that. the expensive ones are actually checked and monitored by americans to make sure they are high quality. If u put good pickups on a bad guitar, it usually doesnt do much. Its like dumping caviar on a can of Spam. Might make it a little better, but no the best.

sincerely,

the guy with the weird guitar
#24
but wont the reduced n straight wood area aroud the pickup in flying v .....n the curved wood area on sides in strat or lp affect the vibrations ...??
#25
Quote by d_jinn
but wont the reduced n straight wood area aroud the pickup in flying v .....n the curved wood area on sides in strat or lp affect the vibrations ...??

I dunno, woods manipulate sound, different added woods also produce an added character to it. I've found that those shapes just sounds alike with a normal ones. If the wood is vibrating it'd vibrate in the same grain as it would've on the, lets say V with the same type of wood. Probably affect sustain a little.
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#26
Quote by madpickin03
Ummm, not really...Shape is mainly for cosmetics purpose and comfortability wise.


Does shape (depending on what type) affect sustain? e.g. Les Paul is heavier than a Strat and I*read* that they hold sustain better than a Strat cus it's so large?
#27
Quote by Mwoit
Does shape (depending on what type) affect sustain? e.g. Les Paul is heavier than a Strat and I*read* that they hold sustain better than a Strat cus it's so large?


actually a) the wood choice. alder vs. mahogany. b) the bridge. hardtail vs tremolo. the hardtail would have point on contact with the body then the tremolo.
#28
Quote by azn_guitarist25
actually a) the wood choice. alder vs. mahogany. b) the bridge. hardtail vs tremolo. the hardtail would have point on contact with the body then the tremolo.

aye~
"Play with your ears" - Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert
Thats what she said...
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#29
ok .......
n how abt the pickguard....
pickguard plastic vs metal...or mother of pearl..'coz i am sure they have differents vibrations properties n all thoses physics things ....so ..it will affect the vibration of grain juss beneath it ......whihc in turn will affect the ...tone ...??
rite..?
asking all this 'coz me tinking of reshaping my squier strat n also putting in a metall pickkup....so juss wana confirm b4 doin nething stupid as it is the only electric guitar i have......rite now ...so ...dont wana skrew...it ..
#30
Maan, those dont contribute to sounds at all, even if it does, you cant tell the difference. Dont worry so much about it, its the wood that matters most.
"Play with your ears" - Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert
Thats what she said...
UGmusic
#31
Quote by TwoString

The only expensive guitars that justify their price IMO are the instruments produced by Benedetto and companies of the like.


70's era Gibson Custom L5S's are amazing. I haven't played another Gibson solid
body that comes close.

The Gibson Super 400CES is also amazing. But, big box jazz guitars aren't
everyone's cup of tea.

I've tried 3 Alembics and own 2. I would say they're all in the extra-amazing
category. I would feel pretty safe in saying if you get an Alembic you wouldn't
be disappointed. If you can afford one. They are extra expensive too.
#32
i think there is a difference but if ya low on dosh...buy a cheaper guitar and put a new neck and pickups on it.
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#33
Quote by madpickin03
Maan, those dont contribute to sounds at all, even if it does, you cant tell the difference. Dont worry so much about it, its the wood that matters most.

thnx man
n sorry to annoy u soo much ..
#34
To paraphrase what was said earlier. The difference between "expensive" mass produced guitars and "inexpensive" massed produced guitars is hardly worth mentioning. You can get 90% of a Gibson or Fender MIA feel and tone for 20% to 50% of the price of a Gibson or a Fender MIA. My Fender MIM Player Deluxe is the equal to anything MIA, I've played on and cost me $420.

If I could get twice the guitar for twice the price, sure, I'd pay it.

The incremental difference does exist and is more than justifiable if you don't mind paying the premium for it. A premium that does not all go into the pockets of American workers so much as into the corporate profit pool.

With the CNC machine, almost anybody can put together a decent guitar using decent woods. Tradition makes some of the most incredible guitars at decent prices.

Personally, my perfect (mass-produced) guitar is priced somewhere between $400 and $600. For that money I expect the world and a cup of coffee. For less, I need to pick and choose as I don't like to mod. For those of you who don't mind modding. You can have an ass-kicking guitar for under $500 easily.

When it comes to handcrafted guitars, those rules don't apply. Soloway guitars are beautiful and sound like heaven. I believe his prices are fair for the work he puts into them and if I had the scratch, I'd gladly pay it.

I don't get into the American vs every other countries workers argument either. Everybody has a right to eat. No matter who I buy from, I'm subsidizing some form of corporate profit machine. I might as well get a decent guitar out of it.
#35
buying a guitar is like buying a house.. you can buy a peice of **** hosue and put nice furnature in it, but at the end of the day, its still a peice of ****.
#36
Quote by Metallica_Ðuke
buying a guitar is like buying a house.. you can buy a peice of **** hosue and put nice furnature in it, but at the end of the day, its still a peice of ****.


No... not quite. Particularly, if you are using the same materials, alder, mahogany. CNC-ing a body is CNC-ing a body.

My Tradition tele has a mahogany body. I love the pups but I could upgrade them. The neck is a fabulous piece of maple. The tuners hold through my sets. But if they didn't, I could replace them. I paid $200 for mine. Throw in some pups and tuners if you so desire and it's a killer for under $400.
#37
Buying a guitar for me...is like buying a painting it's an artform if you want to buy a laserprint and pretty it up withh a nice frame, go ahead
#38
It's all about brand recognition. I recently bought a Les Paul standard 60's neck and had to return it. twice!!!! That's right, they both had so many flaws that it was ridiculous. Wood quaility is another thing. Don't be fooled, a lot of this companies use the exact same wood to build their guitars. The difference is that some are made in the USA and therefore the cost of productions is higher than in a 3rd world country. I have seen korean guitars that rival any USA made one. Its all about inspecting the guitar.
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#39
Quote by madpickin03
Ummm, not really...Shape is mainly for cosmetics purpose and comfortability wise.


Shape does have an effect on tone. I find I dont like the tone of Ibanez SZ's, nothing to do with their pickups but that hey have a thin middy quality to them. They sound really buzzy, and generally have an odd character than new pickups cant fix, to me at least.

Pick up an Explorer, then a Les Paul. Huge difference even in unplugged tone.

But otherwise, madpickin, congrats. You've just earned my respect. Alot of people here think pickups are the only important quality in an electric guitar.
#40
Quote by madpickin03
Maan, those dont contribute to sounds at all, even if it does, you cant tell the difference. Dont worry so much about it, its the wood that matters most.


Those do contribute. To tone. I know people who can hear the difference. I can too, barely. Its such a minor difference that unless you're an absolute tone freak (Eric Johnson) You would likely never know the difference. For example, what kind of metal is in the bridge of the tele affects the tone of it. There is a very slight difference if you have pickup brackets or not, and how the pickups are mounted to the guitar.

Everything makes a difference, however tiny.
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