Expensive vs Cheap guitar? What makes it better?

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
User avatar
morelia
KVRAF
4762 posts since 16 May, 2002 from Brisbane , Australia

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:09 pm

The Noodlist wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:55 pm
Surely they have the same properties? Species might vary in density.
Timber? That statement is so far from the truth it is hardly worth talking about. But just as a simple example. A tree of the same species can have timber so vastly different it seems like a completely different species. Try hammering a nail into a piece of Eucalyptus propinqua grown in central QLD vs. piece from a coastal area with higher rainfall. Totally different densities. And this type of variation can occur within a single plant and even more diversification across a single plot or block of vegetation. Literally, no 2 pieces of wood are in any way whatsoever the same.
My Music >>> °morelia ° Intel Core i7 8700K, 16gb, Windows 10 Pro, Focusrite Scarlet 6i6

licasto2
KVRist
49 posts since 11 Feb, 2005

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:11 pm

morelia wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:34 pm
licasto2 wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:19 pm
You won't notice a difference or even appreciate the details of an expensive hand made guitar until you have YEARS of practice, playing and gigging under your belt. Since the OP even asked, he/she is not proficient enough yet for the expensive stuff. This is absolutely NOT a dig or disparaging comment toward the OP. I can muck around a bit on a cheap 2 octave midi controller but I'd need to spend a few years of intense practice to appreciate and even be able to tell the difference between that and a full 88 key weighted professional controller.
Maybe, maybe not. Personally I disagree. I bought a Cort with a licensed by FR tremolo for my first electric. It was AU$500. Absolute garbage and it took me about a month to reach the point where I was sick of it. I got lucky and a 70's Les Paul got offered to me at a good price so I bought it. The difference was obvious and undeniable. Maybe your perception says more about you than other people?

(edit) also consider that to know the difference between 2 things you have to have experience with both. I thought it was obvious the OP had little experience with expensive guitars so I'm not sure why you would jump straight to the playing ability/experience as the reason.
I seriously don't know what you are on about??? A new cheap Cort vs a vintage les Paul? So, you are agreeing with me that a new cheap guitar is worse than a vintage instrument worth much more? just because you got a good price on the Paul does not make it a cheap guitar. If you are implying $500 is an expensive guitar you need to add another 0 to the $500 to be in the ballpark of what I'm talking about. Im talking about fine musical instruments and your'e going on about glorified firewood.

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:12 pm

licasto2 wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:30 pm
Is this a question for me? My response was a diplomatic way to say "If you can't tell the difference you are not good enough yet"
what?

Dude do key boards have different height strings...trust me there are some guitars that the second it is in your hands even the first time player will see the differences in...like screaming bloody murder pushing down strings or like my warmoth that plays like butter....even people who dont play say wow those strings are low

so again I say "what"?
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

User avatar
MadDogE134
KVRian
707 posts since 26 Nov, 2007

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:02 pm

kinda goes back to my post earlier.. parts don't mean as much as care in manufacture... and setup actually means more than both sometimes. the black beauty (vintage les paul custom) was worth to a collector far more than the japanese tokai in both parts and care in manufacture but that tokai ran circles around the black beauty being offered in playability when i was done with it. as i recall i had the tokai down to around 1/32 in. at the 12th fret... all you had to do was lay your fingers on it for it to play (ring out)... there was no effort involved in playing it. my cousin once said that tokai could play itself when the wind blew lol. so in my opinion.. value is with the beholder. you can make anything greater than the sum of it's parts with time, effort and knowledge. :) but common sense (which is not so common anymore) dictates that if you start with better quality the outcome will be better in the end. so learn to work on guitars alongside learning to play them. it will save you money and you will enjoy the experience more imo

cheers

a willow tree is strong enough to bend
never like the oak who lives in fear of the wind


User avatar
donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
9254 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:17 pm

If it's got 12 strings it's better. Twice as good.

Scotty
KVRAF
2363 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:24 pm

I've got some expensive electric guitars in here. I've got some cheap guitars. If they are setup right, have nice polished fret ends you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between my $3000 guitars and my $500 clone guitars in terms of sound and the feel on the neck. Too much is made of pick-up differences in my opinion. These originals were hand-wound with lots of room for human error. That didn't stop a revolution from happening. Finish? You get what you pay for but these aren't ornaments to me. There is more of a difference with the sonic quality of acoustics I find which relates more linearly to price but even cheap acoustic guitars have improved tremendously over the years in terms of playability. I love the way the Taylor 814 CE records but I don't enjoy playing on it. Feel is part of the equation too. I don't have much room in my life for gear snobbery. I've got some expensive stuff, much of it comes down to bragging rights and that's a loser's game. If the guitar makes you want to play and express yourself it is a winner.

User avatar
morelia
KVRAF
4762 posts since 16 May, 2002 from Brisbane , Australia

Post Fri Sep 10, 2021 6:21 pm

licasto2 wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:11 pm
morelia wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:34 pm
licasto2 wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:19 pm
You won't notice a difference or even appreciate the details of an expensive hand made guitar until you have YEARS of practice, playing and gigging under your belt. Since the OP even asked, he/she is not proficient enough yet for the expensive stuff. This is absolutely NOT a dig or disparaging comment toward the OP. I can muck around a bit on a cheap 2 octave midi controller but I'd need to spend a few years of intense practice to appreciate and even be able to tell the difference between that and a full 88 key weighted professional controller.
Maybe, maybe not. Personally I disagree. I bought a Cort with a licensed by FR tremolo for my first electric. It was AU$500. Absolute garbage and it took me about a month to reach the point where I was sick of it. I got lucky and a 70's Les Paul got offered to me at a good price so I bought it. The difference was obvious and undeniable. Maybe your perception says more about you than other people?

(edit) also consider that to know the difference between 2 things you have to have experience with both. I thought it was obvious the OP had little experience with expensive guitars so I'm not sure why you would jump straight to the playing ability/experience as the reason.
I seriously don't know what you are on about??? A new cheap Cort vs a vintage les Paul? So, you are agreeing with me that a new cheap guitar is worse than a vintage instrument worth much more? just because you got a good price on the Paul does not make it a cheap guitar. If you are implying $500 is an expensive guitar you need to add another 0 to the $500 to be in the ballpark of what I'm talking about. Im talking about fine musical instruments and your'e going on about glorified firewood.
You should have stopped at "I seriously don't know what you are on about???" because that was the only correct statement you made. I didn't say or suggest the Les Paul was cheap. I said a good price which purely subjective in terms of how much money I have and what condition the LP was in. AU$500 was the cheap guitar example.
My Music >>> °morelia ° Intel Core i7 8700K, 16gb, Windows 10 Pro, Focusrite Scarlet 6i6

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:22 am

Scotty wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:24 pm
I've got some expensive electric guitars in here. I've got some cheap guitars. If they are setup right, have nice polished fret ends you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between my $3000 guitars and my $500 clone guitars in terms of sound and the feel on the neck. Too much is made of pick-up differences in my opinion. These originals were hand-wound with lots of room for human error. That didn't stop a revolution from happening. Finish? You get what you pay for but these aren't ornaments to me. There is more of a difference with the sonic quality of acoustics I find which relates more linearly to price but even cheap acoustic guitars have improved tremendously over the years in terms of playability. I love the way the Taylor 814 CE records but I don't enjoy playing on it. Feel is part of the equation too. I don't have much room in my life for gear snobbery. I've got some expensive stuff, much of it comes down to bragging rights and that's a loser's game. If the guitar makes you want to play and express yourself it is a winner.
Scotty two xmas' ago my son bought me a 200 hundred dollar Ibanez...I had the duncan distortion pair of humbuckers, I got a duncan 1/4 pounder for the single coil, Ibanez makes sweet necks...that guitar is the bomb...it has a stock whammy so basically it's a hardtail and a nice compliment guotar for rhythms to go with my Ibanez prestige...trust me, I am not saddened playing the 200 dollar one and it sounds great :tu:
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

Scotty
KVRAF
2363 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:54 pm

I would like to see a picture of that Ibanez. Sounds like a keeper.
Hink wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:22 am
Scotty wrote:
Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:24 pm
I've got some expensive electric guitars in here. I've got some cheap guitars. If they are setup right, have nice polished fret ends you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between my $3000 guitars and my $500 clone guitars in terms of sound and the feel on the neck. Too much is made of pick-up differences in my opinion. These originals were hand-wound with lots of room for human error. That didn't stop a revolution from happening. Finish? You get what you pay for but these aren't ornaments to me. There is more of a difference with the sonic quality of acoustics I find which relates more linearly to price but even cheap acoustic guitars have improved tremendously over the years in terms of playability. I love the way the Taylor 814 CE records but I don't enjoy playing on it. Feel is part of the equation too. I don't have much room in my life for gear snobbery. I've got some expensive stuff, much of it comes down to bragging rights and that's a loser's game. If the guitar makes you want to play and express yourself it is a winner.
Scotty two xmas' ago my son bought me a 200 hundred dollar Ibanez...I had the duncan distortion pair of humbuckers, I got a duncan 1/4 pounder for the single coil, Ibanez makes sweet necks...that guitar is the bomb...it has a stock whammy so basically it's a hardtail and a nice compliment guotar for rhythms to go with my Ibanez prestige...trust me, I am not saddened playing the 200 dollar one and it sounds great :tu:
I

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:31 pm

on the right next to the ltd with a similar paint job

Image

do you still have the skyhawk?
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:32 pm

oh wait thats with original pups
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:36 pm

Image

just now
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

Elbenderman
KVRer
8 posts since 12 Sep, 2021

Post Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:45 am

For me the differences between a moderately priced guitar (ex a Mexi or high end Squire) and the Denser counterpart becomes more apparent down the road. This isn’t always the case but when I worked as a tech, it was a lot more commonly for a mexi to have serious neck or hardware issues five to ten years down the road than the American counterparts. Now this could be from a variety of things (maybe people take better care of the Us guitars vs a mexi) but that was always my experience.

With that said some mid range guitars are just amazing. Your likelihood of a lemon is just higher.

MattiaSanti
KVRer
20 posts since 13 Sep, 2021

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:46 am

I've owned many guitars in my career and I can tell you with certainty that a $2000 guitar, if well built, is an object that will last you for many years.
If you make an investment you know you won't have to take it to the luthier for a long time.
Quality frets, pickups and electronics are just some of the fundamental factors that make you choose an expensive guitar over an average quality one.
Obviously, the choice of woods is also different from a low-end guitar.
I've had many epiphones and none of them are as good as a standard gibson.
Now many brands like ltd-jackson-charvel make good guitars at a medium price so the difference between the guitar you have (100dollars) and a 600-700 dollars guitar is abysmal.
It's not enough to change pickups and electronics to make a $100 guitar sound like a $1000 guitar.
My 2 cents.

User avatar
Hink
Rad Grandad
35018 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:01 am

MattiaSanti wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:46 am

Quality frets, pickups and electronics are just some of the fundamental factors that make you choose an expensive guitar over an average quality one.
I worked as a luthier, have built guitars, (I am a certified tool and die maker) worked in music stores, sold many guitars and I gotta tell you this does not align with my experience...people spend more money on guitars for their ego more than all the other factors combined and doubled.

You want a great example...listen to any guitar player talk about a new guitar purchase...always the same thing...it was a 2000 dollar guitar but I got it for 800 bux...double ego stroke every time, not only does said person get to embellish and brag about the value he comes off as a master negotiator or someone who has close ties in music retail because...well because they are that cool :hihi:

You're not getting that much more value in an electric and frankly at least for me the extended features are worth doing myself because I can...like my Warmoth strat I built even has an Alembic Stratoblaster pre-amp in it (clone) that I built as well (the resale of that amazing guitar, best I have played in 50 years is nill because it has my name on the headstock, no brand to brag about). The Stratoblaster is a really easy project from general guitar gadgets, without a box because it goes in the guitar its cheaper but under 40 bux, it's fun to build and one might learn something...to me there is more value in doing it myself :shrug:
Words are a barrier to help-seeking and a motivator for making discrimination acceptable.
Mad Pride
If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

Return to “Guitars”