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.