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Old 12-05-2011, 11:56 PM   #1
Church2224
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Do most guitarists really care how big a guitar builder is?

This time last year I was taking guitar lessons at guitar and amp dealer at college and they carried guitars from smaller, high-end builders such as Suhr, Melancon, Gadow, G&L, PRS, Lull, Roscoe and Tuttle, PRS and G&L being the exptions. I managed to play quite a few of them, mainly either a Suhrs and G&Ls. I bought into the idea that you need to buy from a smaller company or builder because it will ultimately be better then anything out there in all aspects.

In reality I never could truly connect with many of the guitars they carried. They just did not seem like the best I ever played. For a while I thought it was just me and I needed a custom guitar with my specs. Then again I bonded with my Carvins, which some people considered as "crap", and they were pretty basic. I just though if I had my own spec'd out guitar these guys then I could understand.

Fast forward to January 2011. I went to visit my Grandparents in Richmond and my Grandfather took me to a few places around there to see, one being a fairly good sized guitar store in town. I got to talk to the owner of the store and he let me play some of his higher end stuff. What stood out were his two ESP M-IIs, three USA Select Jackson Soloists, and a Dean USA Hardtail. Maybe it was my low expectations or I connected with them, but to me they were the best guitars I ever played. I also went to a Guitar Center in Alexandria VA, a week later and played a few Music Man guitars and felt the same way. Since then have bought two USA Jacksons, and hope to get more Jacksons, some ESPs and an EBMM.

Now I notice on here and on other forums that people often praise small companies and builders the most, and for good reason I know. I can understand that most smaller builders appeal to the ERG and Seven string market, which I can completely understand. But often enough it seems people tend to hate on companies simply because of the size of them or the name, and people often call some one else a "tool", "ignorant", or "stupid" for liking what they do (I have experienced this first hand a few times on other forums)

My question is it the fact that guitarists tend to care care about the companies size and make an opinion based on that, or is quality overall number one?

In other areas of interest besides guitar playing I see the opposite thing. People like what is good and personal preference, rather than size of the builder. In the guitar playing business it seems to be all over the place.

Do not get me wrong I have respect for all guitar builders who make quality instruments. For me a good guitar is a good guitar.

So... any thoughts? Sorry for the long post, just trying to make my point.

Guitars: Fender - Jackson - Charvel - ESP - Schecter USA - Ibanez - PRS
Amps: Marshall - Peavey- Line 6
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:09 AM   #2
oremus91
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Talking to another guitarist is a lot like politics. You can both argue until you're blue in the face but at the end of the day it's generally a battle of preference in which there is not a correct answer.

Custom builders appeal more to 7 string/ERG players like you said and that's because the "big" companies aren't willing to make those sorts of instruments and if they have them but you don't like it.. too bad!

Then you have hipsters who need to have the most obscure brand to be cool.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:12 AM   #3
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Imo the only reason to go custom is if no production guitars meets your criteria.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:14 AM   #4
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Both of my electrics are by brands that are no longer what they used to be, with Steinberger only doing the Spirit/Trans-Scale guitars and Parker now doing the Radial Joints and being owned by Washburn, etc... I'd say that constitutes as a no since they should be considered "dead" and that makes ME a hipster guitarist or something (Either way, carbon fiber guitars > *)

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Old 12-06-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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I've never understood the whole "expensive = good" thing. I mean, obviously some companies make some really cheap guitars that aren't worth the money but most of them don't.

Honestly, I've played a bunch of Les Paul's that cost $1200+ and they were pretty nice but for my money, my LTD EC-1000 has a better neck and better pick ups for half the price. Obviously some companies make high priced but amazing instruments. Any of the JP models are the best guitars you'll ever play. Same with PRS and Ibanez.

Personally, if I connect with an instrument and it inspires me, it's worth whatever the price tag is. I'm just lucky that my taste isn't very expensive...except for a PRS CU24...need me one of those
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:30 AM   #6
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Holy crap, I totally agree with every post in this thread.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:30 AM   #7
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There are always going to be gear snobs, but it's impossible to really generalize something that's so tied to preference. My drummer friend thinks that Dean and BC Rich are the greatest guitar builders on the planet and spending over $500 on a non-signature guitar is a waste of money, and a guitarist I know thinks that EMG 81-85s are the best pick-ups on the market and won't use anything but spikey guitars, but different strokes are for different folks.

Company size goes both ways, unfortunately, and even if you get a guitar that you truly bond with that happens to appeal to the people who worship boutique custom guitars, you'll have people who judge you for being a hipster or not playing a "real brand" because you're not good enough to be sponsored or something! Egotism really is an unfortunate thing in the world of professional performance, but you'll see less and less of it when you start to exceed the local club scene and start associating with people who have been around the block a few times.

Overall, the most important thing is how it feels, how it sounds, and how it looks to you. If you love it in every aspect and it achieves sufficient means to an end, who cares what the price tag, brand name, luthier, woods, whatever are used?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:39 AM   #8
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There is no accounting for taste.

/thread
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -42- View Post
There is no accounting for taste.

/thread
Wait till you guys see my custom I ordered in bright pink with skittles inlays
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:02 AM   #10
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I think an important thing to consider is that there are people who seek out guitars that fit a preconceived role, and people who find guitars they like and then create roles for them. The former would be much more predisposed towards seeking out customs or highly specialized small builders, whereas the latter might just go to a store, play a guitar they like, and then find a use for it.

Iono. I'm drunk and that all made sense in my head.

EDIT: To elaborate, considering the type of guitarist that generally finds himself on SSO, I'd think we might expect there to be more of the former here than the latter. That might have something to do with the mindset 'round these parts.

Walter Winchel was wrong. People are terrible.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:32 AM   #11
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It's getting to a point for me where I have to either build or buy custom, or customize something existing, that due to being lefty and extremely picky.

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Old 12-06-2011, 04:46 AM   #12
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I think that guitarists are like all other people. You get some who feel that the name is the important thing about a product, and some find things which just call out to them, or jeans which don't have a fancy label but are the most comfortable things on the planet, or they want everyone to hear them order a bottle of fine Cristal in a fancy restaurant.

If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

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Old 12-06-2011, 06:03 AM   #13
snowblind56
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It really all just snobbery, but not only for the high priced guitars. Some people only play boutique. Some only play Gibsons. Some will only play 60's pawn shop garbage guitars.

Right or wrong, it all comes down to the fact that people bond with their guitars for many different reasons.

I had a Bernie Rico Jr 7 string that I never really bonded with. It was the best playing guitar that I have ever played, but i just didn't feel right playing it. Ibanez 7's fit me better, so I traded it off. Same with a PRS Singlecut that I had, amazing guitar, but it just didn't feel right. That got traded for a Les Paul, which got traded for an American Standard Strat, an ESP LTD EC1000t, and a Fernandes Tele. Of all of them, I have bonded with the Strat the most. Just a simple sunburst Strat with an H-S-H pickup setup. Weird, but I just go with it and keep searching for guitars that I bond with better.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthdjentstic View Post
Imo the only reason to go custom is if no production guitars meets your criteria.
THIS!!! I'll only go custom if I can't find something that I want in ther market (except for pickups, that's an easy mod)
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church2224 View Post

My question is it the fact that guitarists tend to care care about the companies size and make an opinion based on that, or is quality overall number one?

Kev,

75% of guitarists are following the popular bandwagon. They play a name, not a guitar. It is a just in keeping with the popular crowd. I have picked up my buddy's guitars that are your standard Fenders/Gibsons etc, and been apalled at how ....ty and unplayable it is. However, they have a Gibson! So they must be cool.

Then you have 10% Fanboys. People that just jump on a smaller companies bandwagon. .... or not, it must be the greatest thing in the world, or people on a forum that have never even considered being able to afford or come close to owning one would not be talking about it so much. These people hype a brand into existence and may have never even seen one in person. Then they may purchase one and play it for awhile, then learn that God's gift to the guitar world isn't perfect for them, as it was for the people who made the intelligent decision to actually see what they like and not follow popular trends.


Then you have the extra 5% that actually care. That play every guitar they can to find out what they like and what sounds good where. Often times, these people move to smaller, more boutique, handbuilt custom shops, often times for the simple fact that they like little things about different guitars, and this is the best way to get a tailored or semi-tailored guitar for them. Craftsmanship matters, or they would go to a CNC machined Fender.

and the other 10%? just random. THink about it. People randomly stumble across something that just works for them.
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Old 12-06-2011, 07:41 AM   #16
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I think i fit more into your "Random" category engage757. If it feels right and speaks to me in the moment, it's likely coming home with me if i've got the money for it, :P
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:00 AM   #17
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Sorry but all I got out of posts was WHY YOU NO LIKE G&L!?

In all seriousness, there is no accounting for it. Most folks like to really justify to themselves where they put their money, which leads to some snobbery. If you shelled out a tonne on customs, you are going to want to believe they are the best. Where as as Stealth said (probably the only useful thing he has ever said at that ), if you can find what you need in a production guitar, get that.

Guitar techs are for sissies.

Learn some damn music theory, don't complain, and you'll be a better person. -Schecterwhore

Show me a truly awesome guitar for under $1000 and I'll show you hateful lies.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:16 AM   #18
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The times are no longer "Well, I don't agree with you about ______ but I respect your opinion and I hope you'll be happy". It's "YOU PIECE OF DOG.... HOW DARE YOU NOT LIKE WHAT I LIKE!!!!".

When I told the Jemsite cats I was done with Ibby and moving on to Carvin, it felt like they thought I turned traitor. Not everyone mind you but some gave me that stinkeye that happens through forum posts. Just let it roll, brothers. I'm the happiest I've been with my collection (albeit waiting on the three new Carvins). I was a willing victim over quality. I'm not going to go over what I called the "guitar mid-life crisis" again but things are better with 20 guitars from 4 different companies than 55 with one company the majority over the rest and most just bought to say I have one.

Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way.

Play what you like. If someone says you're wrong, flip 'em the bird.

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Old 12-06-2011, 09:27 AM   #19
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I think a lot of what makes a guitar "perfect" for you is the specs; regardless of who makes it.. So from your post, where you say you loved the ESPs, Jacksons and Dean, but dont like the Suhr/Anderson/G&L/etc, I think its safe to assume you clearly prefer the superstrat flat-radius style over the Fender-based stratocaster style (bolt ons, rounder radius, thicker neck profile, etc)

I know when I tried JJ's KxK's, which he thinks are amazing, I found them to be "eh".. Id take a new Carvin over his KxK's anyday (unless I could sell the kxk and buy two carvins with the profit haha) - POint is, it was his specs so I didnt like it. If it was my specs, maybe I would like it more. (I also find them quite ugly, eh)

I think the only way you can really find out if the "boutique" customshops are worth it for you, is to order one with your EXACT specs and then give it a proper A/B.. If you like Jacksons and ESPs chances are you like neckthru and 16" or 20" radius, thin shredder profiles and humbuckers with floyds; you wouldnt find a Suhr, PRS or G&L with those specs in any store lol You'd have to order it with your specs.

Then theres the appearance; Each company has their own "style" in looks, and I personally think a guitar I love the look at, I'll want to pick it up and play a lot more than if I found a guitar ugly as .... even if it played great. If you prefer the looks of Jackson/ESP/etc along with the price and playability.. Just get it and be happy with it. Theres no "absolute best guitar company ever made", just different specs/looks.

So in other words.. Just buy a Carvin. jk hahah
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #20
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Relevant

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Old 12-06-2011, 11:56 AM   #21
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-The issue with bigger companies can be quality control, where flaws might be allowed in the final product, and in cases where they might use cheaper materials. But I think that ultimately it comes down to that those manufacturers have different lines, and in the cheaper lines they allow this stuff. I've seen some crappy cheap Ibanez, but I've never played a bad JEM!
-One thing smaller companies often do a good job of is making sure that they nut is made well and the guitar ships out with a good setup. That alone can make the guitar feel better to play. But again, when the big shops go to the trouble of doing that, the results are great too!
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:40 PM   #22
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I've played quite a few different guitars and it all comes down to preference. What i may find amazing you may find horrible. Names or brands don't really matter to me. If it looks sick and sounds badass i'm all good. After years of searching for a perfect guitar for myself i found it recently. Pretty stoked!
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:41 PM   #23
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Mmm..... Skittles....
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #24
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Two words: personal preference

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Old 12-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #25
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As someone who's owned over 30 guitars the last few years, and used to sell 'em I drink tele have some views on this.

-There is a big name brand mentality among trendy players, people who play to be in an Indy band and because their friends do, it's just a fashion thing so like with their clothes, the name is basically all that matters. From there you just get the model that suits your image. That's fine, if that's what you care about then great, I wouldn't go into a fashion district and comment because I don't know that. Guitars aren't just for us gear nuts, anyone can do whatever they want with guitars.
-There are the pseudo-knowledgable, semi-gearnut types. These are generally about 16 years old or under (though older ones exist). They look at what all their favourites like and only like that, and tend to just repeat what their favourites have said, everything else is crap and laughable (EMG Pickups? What a crock of ....! You want Seymour Duncan 59's in your xyz guitar - Mark Morton fan). These are normally also genre-nazis (and normally metal fans too for some reason :-S).
-There are the 'everything' players, who know what they want out of a guitar and generally know what guitar they want. They know what they want, they walk into the shop and having poured over specs on the web they just buy/order stuff. Nothing custom generally, And they never seem to sell anything...
-There's the total gearslut, wise at buying, lots of selling. These guys generally tend to have the broadest and most complete knowledge of guitars, and usually have an acceptable set of specs which they prefer, but will break away from them for certain exceptions. These guys enjoy guitars for what they are, and the ones of these that I know usually have quite a broad set of tastes, they also tend to see the good in most guitar related things, rather than bashing genres or types of guitars. Quality is generally the most important factor, and these guys seem to bounce around the top end of the scale when it comes to price range.
-There's the old-timer aka vintage snob. Tends to turn the nose up at anything modern and different to the original dozen odd configurations. There is also an exact opposite of this, see the first line. When these two mix, guitarguments ensue.

Those seem to be the main groups, there are obviously others.

I don't have a problem with any of them, because we all have a common interest in guitars and the scope for guitar music types really isn't that big when you look at how much music there is. Most of it stems from some other type of guitar music, it's just where in the timeline you like to sit. At the end of the day though guitars mean different things to different people.

To come more concisely to the point, I've mid and high end import, high end productions, custom grade guitars, signature guitars. I have to be honest, I only care about name to the extent that I know from my experience with so many brands what kind of thing I can expect. 70's fenders for example are very trendy at the moment because the 60's guitars are too expensive now, so 70's is affordable vintage and coming up to 50 years old. 70's fenders are, however, fairly terrible. All the ones I've tried have sounded thin and wiry, the necks are a bit crap, the machine heads just suck, so to that extent I make a general judgement an font buy this type of guitar.

I will also add that Jackson's USA shop is surprisingly small, and Music Man in the grand scheme of things is small. Compared then to strandberg, Sherman, BRJ and decibel, that kiND of thing, even what you call small like Suhr seem like big established brands.

Got questions about anything I've said, done or do? How about pickups, tech, music production or just anything! Check here and ask away!

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