Can an entry-level guitar be high quality?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by JosephAOI, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    Hey guys, I was just browsing the forum like usual and I was reading up on Misha's new Jackson build and he was talking about how different pieces of wood of different density and quality affect a guitar. Obviously I knew this all before but for some reason the thought popped into my head: How good can a super low priced guitar be? I have a $300 Ibanez Gio RGA made of mahogany with stock pickups and I love it. It plays and sounds great. Comparing it to say an EBMM JPXI, theres only a few things I notice about playability (Noticably, a smoother fretboard, better cutaway, lower action on the MM). Maybe it was just chance that I possibly got a sweet piece of mahogany? It just makes me wonder though, is my guitar really possibly in the same league as maybe an Ibanez Premium or $800 Schecter, ESP etc.?
     
  2. MildlyMoist

    MildlyMoist SS.org Regular

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    Of course budget guitars will play fine, only guitar purists and audiophiles would disagree with me.

    I recorded an old beat up ltd m 50, very budget guitar, put through an engl invader 100 it sounded crisp, full tones, no hum or buzz, nothing i didnt want in the mix, absolutely perfect. Probably due to the fact it was well set-up and had some BKP cold sweats in it.

    Depends on how the guitar is set up really, even a £3000 gibson can sound like a squirrel farting through a hula hoop in the wrong hands ;)
     
  3. ibanezRG1527

    ibanezRG1527 Banned

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    of course they can. its a bit more rare (meaning that they didnt look for the finest bits of mahogany for your guitar. you just got lucky and got one) but definitely possible. ive always thought that if it sounds good, you can make it play good. and i mean to ANY guitar. which GRGA do you have? is it the one with the edge III in it? because i bet that if you put an OFR and a good quality nut on that guitar it would stay in tune as good as the $3000 custom guitars with the same trem and nut. then you upgrade the pickups and it will sound almost as good too. and if you hate the neck, reshape it. add new frets if needed. etc.
     
  4. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    a friend of man has a fender starcaster (a very low quality starter guitar from best buy) and he prefers it over his $800 epiphone les paul. in fact it stays in tune better than my standard mim stratocaster from the same era. Sometimes you get a guitar that is kind of the opposite of a lemon i guess.
     
  5. MildlyMoist

    MildlyMoist SS.org Regular

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    Absolutely, it's very rare that you come across a budget guitar that is " unplayable ". only very cheap squier or non branded/brands you never heard before truly are shyte.

    Pay more than 200 nugs from a known brand and your almost guaranteed a certain level of usability ;)
     
  6. JosephAOI

    JosephAOI Thinks Jazz = Metal

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    Thanks for the answers guys! So other things that cross my mind-

    If guitars that are $300 are just as good as $800, why not buy and mod the cheaper if asthetics are practically the same?

    What's the primary inflation factor for more higher priced guitars? (Other than where they're made)?
     
  7. rectifryer

    rectifryer Banned

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    Hardware, neck profile, electronics.
    No guitar should pass QC if it cant be setup properly.



    To the OP:

    Mahogany is an abused term. There are alot of species that vary in sound that "fit" into this categorie. Also, your stock pickups blow balls. That is fact:fawk:. All Ibanez pups suck imho.

    Also, the grade of your mahogany just means its not very aesthetic. It doesnt mean it sounds worse.
     
  8. MildlyMoist

    MildlyMoist SS.org Regular

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    Where they are made is one of the key price points, " american made, by american guitarists " blah blah blah. Higher quality control, you know what you are buying. The rich people buy rich guitars, so the aspiring musicians want guitars like them, ergo, famous brands jack the price, because people will still buy them.

    With a more expensive guitar you get good pickups as standard (usually) higher quality hardware. lots of small Anal difference, that only make a difference to the guitar purists ;)
     
  9. Adari

    Adari Beethoven Pwns All

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    Brand, wood quality and, above all, effort.
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Very good. It's not common, but there's no great rule saying that guitars of a certain price have to be shitty. There's a lot of great guitars in the sub-$1000 range out there. You just have to be willing to pass on a lot of lemons and oranges first.

    There is always a chance of getting a decent cut of wood, but once again it's more the exception than the rule.

    Like I said, you could have gotten an exceptional example of an GRGA. Though, from what I've played, owned, and worked on of the GIO line it's not common at all to find one that good. Maybe a 1/50 chance.

    Fine is all relative and has a lot to do with one's own standards.

    Anyone who disagrees with that is either an invalid or a child. (See what I did there? :lol:)

    It's kinda hard to make a guitar sound too bad if you're a good enough player playing through some high end gear. I'm not gonna try and tell you things about a guitar you own that I've never played, but I doubt it's build is on par with a higher end instrument. Not to say that it's shit, but $300 in pickups and $3000 in amps can go a LONG way. :lol:

    I'll agree with you there 100%. Setups make and break guitars.

    It should stay in tune just fine on it's own. There's nothing about an OFR that makes it stay in tune better. It's all in the setup.

    Of course if you put $1000 in mods and upgrades in you'll get a better instrument.

    Though, to be honest, you can only polish a turd so much before it becomes more economical in the beginning to just buy a higher quality guitar.

    You need to get that Strat a new nut. Trust me. ;)

    I'd go even further to say that even the lower echelon Squires have gotten significantly better over the last decade. The only guitars to come through my bench that were completely unplayable when new were shitty Chinese knock-offs.

    I can agree with this to a point. :agreed:

    Quality Control. That's what makes guitar A cost more than guitar B 90% of the time.

    It's why most cheap guitars are mediocre and why pricier ones are often built better.

    :agreed:

    Except I'm only 80% agreeing on the Ibanez pickup thing. Old F-Series, DiMarzio/IBZ, and Super 58s are all pretty awesome pickup, maybe not for the br00tlz or djent, but sound pretty good.

    Not quite. While figuring does play a factor, wood can be graded on it's density and the pattern of grain which will effect the sound.

    I can't get behind this. I don't find proper fretwork to be an "anal difference". :2c:
     
  11. Kamikaze7

    Kamikaze7 Banned

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    I agree with Max and his reply. It's not all that uncommon to find that one good one out of the bunch... Hell, all the LTD's I have I am obsessed over just because of how well they play and sound. Yes, all of them have had work done to them (EMG pickup upgrades, scalloped 15th-22nd/24th frets on a few, custom wirings, ect...), but they each are unlike anything else I've ever owned and played. Crazy as some may think I am for it, but I actually traded in my Universe UV7BK for my green LTD Kamikaze-4 7-string due to the tonality and the playability compared to it (needless to say I hate Floyd Rose trems and kept smashing my knuckles off the locking nut...).

    But at the same time, I've gone thru more than enough guitars to find the good ones that I felt are worth keeping and making better. Just in the M107's alone, I've gone thru about 6 different ones before I got the 3 I felt were worth keeping. And also like Max said: "Not to say that it's shit, but $300 in pickups and $3000 in amps can go a LONG way. [​IMG]" So true...

    Not only that, but a huge percent of the time, it's like the old saying goes "You get what you pay for". But there's always those times when you get lucky and find that right guitar that just so happens to be a bottom of the barrel model and it's just the perfect guitar for you. I wonder if I were to spend the $7K to have my Kamkize-4 7-string made from ESP's Custom Shop, that it would be anything near what my LTD is as far as the playability and tone and feel has in comparison. Granted it'll be a much better built, higher quality guitar, but how will it fare to what I've been playing for years and have grown to love - will it be anything even close? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not opposed to higher-end, quality built guitars. But I for one am perfectly intent on making something a little better and one-of-a-kind for a fraction and still being happy with the sound, feel and everything else.

    So the end answer to your question: Yes, it IS possible to get a cheap guitar that gives a good one a run for it's money. :agreed::wavey::yesway::hbang::shred::cool:
     
  12. TRENCHLORD

    TRENCHLORD Banned

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    A good tech can make many cheapo axes shine like diamonds. And an expensive custom can sound and play very average at best with a poor setup and certainly a poor player.

    Both these points have already been made above, I just couldn't help rehashing.
     
  13. book_of_lies777

    book_of_lies777 SS.org Regular

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    not sure how long you've been playing, but those of us who've been around awhile can attest, in recent years - like the last 5 or 6 - lower end guitars have gotten EXPONENTIALLY better... back in 1987 when I first started(not that my playing reflects it :rolleyes:), a $400 guitar was complete SHIT. Nowadays, you can get a VERY good guitar for under a grand easy.
     
  14. idunno

    idunno SS.org Regular

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    Ive got an LTD for 400 bucks a few years ago and it plays nearly as well as my 5300 les paul custom. If i put new pickups in it it would probably sound better! Just gotta find the right one.

    On the other hand i also have a DGN custom that is flat out the best playing and sounding guitar ive ever seen (thats why I bought it) and i can attest that nearly all his guitars are at that level, BUT you gotta pay for that assurance.

    Ive worked on guitars that cost 200 bucks and done 800 dollars worth of work to make them better and they all came out very good. BUT you could have spent 1000 in the first place too haha
     
  15. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    I am very pleased with my Hello Kitty Squire Strat, plays and sounds nice.
     
  16. mesaman000

    mesaman000 SS.org Regular

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    yeah seriously.. its 90% how you use it and 10% your equipment.
     
  17. Cheesebuiscut

    Cheesebuiscut Loves his Q-tuners

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    I go with play-ability over pretty much anything else when it comes to the actual guitar. Certain brands (like ibanez) make you pay a premium to get the "better" neck profiles etc which is where it justifies higher price points. A GIO plays nothing like a premium.

    SO much of the sound / stability comes from the pickups and hardware that *imo* there isn't a ton of sense in dishing out thousands more for a pretty paint job.

    The cost-to-difference ratio is really exaggerated so personally I don't think it worth it unless there are features on an upper end model that you simply can't get at a lower price point.

    For instance before my pendulum I had never spent more than the 350$ I did on my old S prestige, funnily enough I also spent 300+$ on pickups for that guitar because the pickups are to the sound as the guitar is to play-ability.

    The *only* reason I spent the 800?$ I did on the pendulum was because its a multi-scale and I simply can't get that feature at a lower price point. Otherwise I would still be buying stuff probably under the 4-500$ price range. Like that sterling jp stealth that was 400$ that was fking awesome, or the PRS SE's that I pick up and like just as much as the 3000$ ones on the wall.


    Also as per usual: what max said. Especially that last point, fretwork is probably thee most important QC thing on the guitar after having all the hardware put on properly. BUT you can get fretwork done aftermarket for reasonable prices, so Imo its not entirely worth spending thousands for a *chance* that the company took the time to do it right.
     
  18. romali

    romali SS.org Regular

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    hi i was thinking of starting a new thread about the following question that i'll ask here : if an entry level guitar sound nice plugged and unplugged, is it worth it to change the pickups for BKPs ? :scratch:
     
  19. Ckackley

    Ckackley SS.org Regular

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    I've got two Schecters that are my main guitars. Both I paid around $250 for used. Ones a Blackjack 7 and the other is an older model C-7. They out play and out perform my $1200 Gibson Les Paul that sits in the stand collecting dust. If not for huge sentimental value I'd be selling it and buying a higher end Schecter.
     

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