Miscellaneous Rumbles

Is it better to have one really good quality guitar than several me…

26

Tone is in the ear, and that goes for what "quality" represents.

I'd rather have several guitars, because "mediocrity" can still sound dang good through a decent amp.

Mediocrity may not really be mediocre. It's all in the ear!

Addendum: The music played, the sounds, the melodies, those are the art. The guitars and amps are just the tools, like paintbrushes and canvases.

...!

– indianation65

So true about "mediocrity" sounding great through a decent amp. My 60's Japanese trashy guitars with their gold foil pickup copies sound amazing through a good amp.

27

Great guitars come at all prices. So do mediocre ones.

You have to play them to know - and sometimes you have to buy them to play them. But life's too short to play mediocre guitars - so you get rid of those as soon as you identify them, no matter how much they cost.

Then you keep the great ones - no matter what they cost.

28

Great guitars come at all prices. So do mediocre ones.

You have to play them to know - and sometimes you have to buy them to play them. But life's too short to play mediocre guitars - so you get rid of those as soon as you identify them, no matter how much they cost.

Then you keep the great ones - no matter what they cost.

– Proteus

Great observation! Price and reputation (IMO) don't make a guitar a good one, I had distain for my 96 Gibson CG. I guess it just didn't fit me, the Lady I traded it to didn't keep it long either! Wouldn't trade my Penguin for it's weight in gold, well perhaps at THAT price I would. I have a Douglas that fits, the Dixon gets better by the day. Your insight is usually 20/20 Thanks for that!

29

It's all relative I guess. "Better" is such subjective term.

I think the pendulum could swing for a lot of us, collect many, divest many, collect many, divest many.

(I'm collect many, divest a few)

Many of my guitars are not high dollar but are a lot of fun to play and I get something out of each of them. Two of them are super high quality and OK to play, I keep meaning to cut them loose.

30

Do what ever it takes to get your pro line. Then keep an eye out for low buck beaters or a Tele to help ya keep some of the the miles off your #1. Problem solved....

31

Life is too short for mediocre guitars. Period. Save your money, and time, until you find the one, or ones, that fits you best. The prices of my guitars are all over the place, but they are all fine instruments.

32

One great guitar - and as others said, maybe add if you can an inexpensive one to keep on the couch or kick around with.

33

After careful consideration I've concluded that it is better to have several really good guitars than one mediocre one. (Oooooo --- controversy!!)

34

The collective input of this group is a wonderful thing, and I can't thank you all enough - you've helped me to make a decision that is very important to me. It'll take a concerted effort to raise the cash, but I shall seek out another Pro-Line Gretsch. Life is too short to play mediocre guitars.

35

It’s likely been said... The quality of “price point” guitars has gone up tremendously. You CAN get a good sound and feel from an inexpensive instrument. You can adjust action, strings, etc. and make it all the more fit to your liking. I’ve played major money guitars I did not like the feel of. Find something you like to play. That’s the most important. I believe it’s in the hands of the player. I knew a guy who was a BEAST player that only used a goofy colored affinity telecaster. It sounded fantastic! It was an axe he got for $75 or so. He made it sound killer.

36

At least one gretsch and one M75T.

K

37

Having at least one pro-line is well worth it. The newer (2003 and up) Tennesee Rose models can be had for stupid cheap, and are great out of the box. You WILL hear and feel the difference. From that point, you can add to your collection: there are so many great player guitars that are crazy good for the money.

38

i'm in opposition to almost everybody here on this one. what a lot of folks call "mediocre guitars" are actually guitars that will do 90-95% of what a $2000+ guitar can do. unless you're the kind of player who's satisfied with a single sound/voice, it'd be silly to spend elephant dollars to get 5% more performance than you'd get for shrew dollars. and as Proteus notes, there are great guitars in all price ranges...my current faves are a red Special Jet which was $350 and a 22.75" scale parts-o-Duo Sonic with Duncans and a Squier Mini Strat neck that i bought off Reverb which IIRC was like $250, both of which inspire me in a way that e.g. my Rickenbacker 360 just doesn't. not that i wouldn't buy a White Falcon if i could, but then, there isn't anything affordable that gets close to that exact sound. for me to buy a Gibson Les Paul, an SG, or a Fender Jazzmaster off the rack it would have to absolutely pin my ears to the wall. otherwise i'm going with the perfectly playable, less expensive off-brand option. i don't have the luxury of even affording one $2000 guitar.

39

I've watching the evolution of lower price guitars, over many decades. In the way back, cheap American guitars were just awful. But the Japanese started to get it right. I have a Suzuki LP'ish guitar, that was made in about 1981, it came stock with DiMarzio pickups. It's a stellar instrument, and it has stood the test of time. 39 years later, it's one of my crown jewels.

But for the most part, the gap in quality vs price, remained huge, until about 15 years ago. Suddenly, necks became straighter, frets became level, and pickups became much better. You still had to weed through the bunch, to find the one that was perfect, but now even that has gotten much better.

With a new industrial revolution taking place in Asia, Korea, Indonesia and China are putting out some very consistently good instruments. My 5422, made in Korea, is excellent by all accounts.

IMO, Gretsch was the real game changer, once FMIC took over production and marketing, you'd be hard pressed to find a bad Electromatic. And now, I've heard that the Streamliner series is excellent as well. Gretsch customer service, with Joe Carducci at the helm, has become legendary.

40

IMO Squier and Epiphone were out there in front of Gretsch, but at a lower level of consistency.

41

If I could start over I’d buy one guitar one amp an learn how to get the most out of them.

42

i'm in opposition to almost everybody here on this one. what a lot of folks call "mediocre guitars" are actually guitars that will do 90-95% of what a $2000+ guitar can do. unless you're the kind of player who's satisfied with a single sound/voice, it'd be silly to spend elephant dollars to get 5% more performance than you'd get for shrew dollars. and as Proteus notes, there are great guitars in all price ranges...my current faves are a red Special Jet which was $350 and a 22.75" scale parts-o-Duo Sonic with Duncans and a Squier Mini Strat neck that i bought off Reverb which IIRC was like $250, both of which inspire me in a way that e.g. my Rickenbacker 360 just doesn't. not that i wouldn't buy a White Falcon if i could, but then, there isn't anything affordable that gets close to that exact sound. for me to buy a Gibson Les Paul, an SG, or a Fender Jazzmaster off the rack it would have to absolutely pin my ears to the wall. otherwise i'm going with the perfectly playable, less expensive off-brand option. i don't have the luxury of even affording one $2000 guitar.

– macphisto

I've noticed that most people are saying in this thread that a great guitar does not necessarily mean an expensive guitar. I agree that great guitars come in all price ranges. I have a 2011 Gretsch DSV Duo Jet that was the most expensive musical instrument I have ever bought. I also have a 50th Anniversary Epiphone Casino that I like better than Gibson ES 330s that I have tried. I bought it used for $400. My Parts Strat is an amazing guitar that plays and sounds great.

Recently I was trying out Telecasters at Guitar Center just for fun and the one that really got me was a Squier Classic Vibe Thinline. While price will let you know that the wood, hardware and electronics are top notch it doesn't necessarily mean that you will have a great guitar.

43

This guitar is my go to for Drop D tuning and otherwise back up to my Falcon at gigs. It's equipped with Gretschbuckers. I always get comments about the tone on this guitar unsolicited.

She's pretty heavy. Not any chambering but I blame the tone on the wooden mass behind the pickups. Regardless, every time I see a comment about the Gretschbuckers or read them as dumb-buckers I just smile and wave, sitting on this sack-o-seeds. Besides the weight issue, which really isn't so much, the neck and over all feel of this guitar is 100 % Duo Jet. Just yummy.

Picked her up for $275.00 with Gator case on the Bay @ 15 years ago.

44

Regardless, every time I see a comment about the Gretschbuckers or read them as dumb-buckers I just smile and wave

But then, it must be said that you're using them for a very specific purpose which plays to their strengths. (At least I'm guessing that Drop-D also generally implies a fair load of gain.) I had the same pickups on my Carlo Robelli CR-1955 for years, and while they sounded good, they were the least Gretschy thing about the guitar, which is otherwise a pretty competent Falcon/Country Club knockoff. Replacing them with TV Jones completely transformed the guitar.

And when I say the original 'buckers sounded "good," I mean that they sounded Gibson-buckery. The guitar had a lush, dark allure - but twang and sparkle were not its forté.


Allowhich is a footnote to the the theme of the thread.

I actually get a lot more excited about a great cheap guitar than a great expensive guitar. It's not that I necessarily feel I've beat the system - for the last 20 years or so, the system has gotten very good at producing excellent guitars at silly low prices - it's just that the value-for-dollar equation is so much more compelling.

You generally buy an expensive guitar expecting it will be at least good, if not great. Some have a hard time living up to that expectation, and have to go a long way to exceed it. I probably have higher standards for expensive guitars, and tend to be quicker to sell them if they don't earn their emotional keep, as it were.

And I don't really cut cheap guitars a lot of slack. I'll forgive a poor nut, eventually replace tuners that prove truly fallible, and maybe swap pickups. But I have the same standards for playability, consistency of response across the neck, and look and feel regardless the price of the guitar. You wouldn't think it would be easy for a cheap guitar to live up to those standards, but they frequently do, and often exceed them.

On the purely financial side, I'm less likely to sell those guitars on because they were such a great value for the money, and they wouldn't bring much if sold anyway. In the nature of things, it's easier (for me) to end up with more great inexpensive guitars than expensive ones - because if the premium model doesn't completely satisfy in every way, I begin to get jealous of the financial (and even physical) space it takes up in my collection, and off it goes. I can safely say I don't own any guitar just for bragging rights, or the "social satisfaction" of owning something considered "aspirational" in the wider guitar community.

I can equally safely say that no one envies my Electra, Westone, Rondo Music, Jay Turser, and other cheapies. But I keep them because, despite the fact that I didn't pay "enough" for them, they're great guitars.

That I have more pro-line Gretschs than I can justify can be attributed to the fact that they do live up to or exceed expectation, even at their price.

And I just have the disease. I love guitars.

45

But then, it must be said that you're using them for a very specific purpose which plays to their strengths.

Fair enough. They do lack sparkle and they Rock like a monster, even without a lot of gain. Like I've said before...just another color from the crayon box but as you state, the playability... is there.

46

It's best to have a good Gretsch Jet with Dynasonics. Anything beyond that is just for looks.

47

Sometimes, you just never know how you're going to bond with an instrument. I was just over on another forum where they are discussing the guitars of the late Glen Campbell, and it came up that his favorite "session" guitar for several years was a ramshackle Tiesco "Monkey Grip" T60. There are any number of pics of Campbell using it on TV, in the studio and onstage in the period between 61 and 67.

With the access he had in those days and the talent he displayed, some folks are surprised that such an entry-level guitar provided the sound on so many of the records Glen appeared on as part of the Wrecking Crew, but the photographic evidence is there.

As I said a while back, I've had three and hated 'em all. Glen?

Not so much, apparently.

48

Awhile back I popped for a few "inexpensive" pieces made in faraway places; I was curious to see what the buzz was all about.Not bad,but (IMO-YMMV) not anything I'd gig. Still got'em and keep them maintained,just because musical instruments deserve respectful treatment,but anything I've gotten since has been first-line,usually brand-new. The good stuff is the good stuff,the cheap stuff isn't.

49

Sometimes, you just never know how you're going to bond with an instrument. I was just over on another forum where they are discussing the guitars of the late Glen Campbell, and it came up that his favorite "session" guitar for several years was a ramshackle Tiesco "Monkey Grip" T60. There are any number of pics of Campbell using it on TV, in the studio and onstage in the period between 61 and 67.

With the access he had in those days and the talent he displayed, some folks are surprised that such an entry-level guitar provided the sound on so many of the records Glen appeared on as part of the Wrecking Crew, but the photographic evidence is there.

As I said a while back, I've had three and hated 'em all. Glen?

Not so much, apparently.

– Kevin Frye

And I thought Steve Vai/Ibanez invented the monkey grip!!!!


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