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Thursday, April 30, 2009

What makes a cheap guitar, or Bass, cheap?

Current mood: contemplative

Views: 2,113
Comments: 22
I look around a lot here on UG and I see a lot of comments about how this or that guitar or bass is a cheap piece of crapola because of where it was made, what kind of pickups are in it, the wood, the neck, an official floyd rose compared to a licensed one, etc.
Well, I have been playing and buying guitars for 21 years and I have been through some real doozies.
When you are poor and you grew up where I did, where there wasnt much as far as music stores go, you gotta take what you can get. I had this one SG copy. There was no name on the headstock, no serial number and the neck was loose. No matter how much I tried to tighten it, it just would not stay stable, and I was stuck with that for a good year. I didnt know any better back then, I had just started and it looked like Angus's guitar. I did learn a lot on that thing, but it sure did suck.
A good friend of mine had a Harmony. It was black and the action was horrible. The hardware felt like it was hollow and made of tin, really cheap sounding single coils, and the wood was obviously plywood. But that was all he could afford.
We definitly paid our dues on crappy junk trying to pass for guitars.
Fast forward to today.
I have not seen that level of crappyness lately. even the very low end guitars out there, of all Makes, are miles away from those old guitars. Squires may be really cheap, but they are still solid enough to gig with. Epiphone was really crappy in the 80's, but nowadays, they have really stepped up their game and are almost as good as their more expensive counterparts. Hell, one of the most resonant guitars I have had was a Tom Delonge Squire strat. I paid 150 bucks for it and I have YET to play one that could hold a note longer, even a Les Paul. I also had a B.C. Rich Warlock lately that was made out of Agathis and it had killer tone and was a joy to play.
My point is, maybe Epiphone and Squire will never be as good as the more expensive Gibson and Fender, and you CAN tell a difference in them, but they are still solid guitars. And really , its all in the hands of who is playing them. I am sure if Hendriz were still alive today he could make a Squire sound just as good as a Fender. It would still sound like Hendrix, regardless.
A lot of people get hung up on what name is on the headstock, or where it was made. I tell you, no matter where it's made, todays standards are leaps and bounds away from where they used to be, and it's all thanks to the high demands we put on our instruments and the higher number of aspiring musicians coming around who need good quality stuff. So keep it up, people. They dont really make "bad" instruments anymore, just different versions.
Keep rockin' ya'll:headbang:
4:03 pm - 22 comments - 25 Kudos - Report!
Comments
mjerue wrote on May 4th, 2009 8:26am

right on.as long as it stays in tune who cares?lol

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barefootboy wrote on May 4th, 2009 12:38pm

I'll second that. I just bought a used jagmaster because it played so nice.

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woodworth wrote on May 4th, 2009 2:41pm

I agree, A good example would be yamaha's. Because they aren't Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Jackson, etc... you can pick up a top level guitar for 200-300.

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DaphneStrat wrote on May 4th, 2009 3:41pm

What a refreshing blog, Acidious_T! :) I agree with everything you have said in it and you said it so well! I've always held the philosophy that it's 99% the player and 1% the guitar. Also, I own a MIM Fender strat and a Squier Bullet Strat (just got the latter this past December). For 100 dollars, that Squier Bullet is pretty amazing and for certain sounds, I prefer it over my standard strat! Upon hearing my mp3s where I used my Squier, no one can tell if I used my standard or my bullet so it really goes to show that it's the player that makes the guitar and not vice versa :D

Thanks for posting this great blog! :D

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Life Is Brutal wrote on May 4th, 2009 4:43pm

You make a good point though. But There are still guitars that are much better than others, for playability reasons and others.

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justinrobbins7 wrote on May 5th, 2009 2:17am

Very good call.

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Badorphan wrote on May 5th, 2009 4:17am

I am a huge fan of the value of a good cheap guitar. Half my pieces were either free or cheap. To me, any guitar with good action is a great guitar. I had a Les Paul custom and I hated it, but I've got a Penco SG that would knock yer socks off...

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randomweirdo wrote on May 5th, 2009 6:24am

ITS TRUE i have asquire and i know its not sucky like u just mentioned with that and it hasnt broken off not at all nothing is wrong wit my guitar. and yeah fender guitars are so rare even thouse made in america only the ones in mexico are starting to cost more that china made ones realy weird why do things from far away cost lest then the thing made close by/ why/

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Dabarro wrote on May 5th, 2009 9:47am

The tone is on the fingers.

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Zuse315 wrote on May 6th, 2009 4:50am

I own a epiphone les paul special II, it was my first guitar and i would give it up for anything i learned basically everything i know on this guitar and the more i play it the better it sounds. It's always been there for me and i paid one hundred and twenty dollars for it.

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dRockstar24 wrote on May 6th, 2009 7:57am

True that, and even though it it way out of my place to say, I think all guitars are equal, also because I only have acoustic, and have never laid a hand on an electric before in my life...

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maxpower17 wrote on May 6th, 2009 5:45pm

i know guys i had a yamaha for 2 years and it was just the worst guitar ever

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Psyxh wrote on May 6th, 2009 11:26pm

You Can Make A Plywood 6 string Sound Like Jimmy Hendrix...So I Think Its More About Talent...Sure,Some Sound Better Than Others...But It Doesn't Matter How Good A Guitar, If You Suck...It Will Still Sound Like Crap

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StringAssassin wrote on May 6th, 2009 11:32pm

My first guitar was a First Act and it sounded decent.

It wasn't as good as a fender or gibson but it had a sound that I liked.

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CloudsofGrass wrote on May 7th, 2009 3:29am

Yeah this guy's right. My guitar's from Zellers and yeah, it sucks, but the frets don't buzz, the action is decent ant it stays in tune for a few songs. Certainly not as bad as the 70's El Degas acoustic I started on. I mean, most people can't say a guitar made their fingers bleed it was so bad, but that was a piece and even a $100 POS Strat that we all have nightmares about is worlds above that.

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ShredMaster5 wrote on May 7th, 2009 4:31am

Yeah Your Right As Long As You Play The Instramet Right, It Dosnt Matter What The Brand Name Is. So Kudos 2 U:)

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@#inyourface#@ wrote on May 7th, 2009 1:26pm

amazing blog, this is very true. i have a $50 guitar, it's very cheap in terms of money but the important thing is it does the job for now. i can't afford yamahas or gibsons yet, still i try to plant my focus on learning more about guitar even though my equipment is not as good as the others.

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Willie Chains wrote on May 7th, 2009 6:53pm

great shoes won't make a great athlete

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3 days grace14 wrote on May 7th, 2009 7:40pm

Right on man I got a no name les paul no serial no name nuthin for 400 and it get me through anything i need it 2 at the moment i will upgrade but for now its decent for my gigs and rehearsal

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mentalrazorback wrote on May 7th, 2009 9:00pm

Great blog man! Really interesting to read. My first guitar was a terrible acoustic that was almost impossible to hold the strings down on. Then after that I moved on to a very cheap electric guitar that I bought second hand and I have yet to discover a guitar that stays in tune better. I now have a great guitar but I still often go back and use that old guitar frequently!

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DanielGibbons wrote on May 9th, 2009 12:30am

woodworth wrote on May 4th, 2009 at 9:41am :


I agree, A good example would be yamaha's. Because they aren't Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Jackson, etc... you can pick up a top level guitar for 200-300.


im someone who agrees:D 2 out of my 3 guitars are yamaha. they rock:) good blog btw

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jasonggabbott wrote on Jul 11th, 2009 11:10pm

I started (for over 3 years) on the crappiest (BUT I LOVE HER) SQUIRE! I think it made me into a better player, having to deal with dead frets and not staying in tune and don't get me started on the action! I just purchased a "CHEAP" Ibanez GIO and I must say "IT ROCKS", I have never played an expensive guitar but MY IBANEZ is as good as one, FOR NOW. I am not sure if having the "BEST" early on is a GREAT idea or not? It's like that kid that gets a PORSCHE and crashes it, NOT knowing what he had. And that kid playing on a "junk" guitar became Kurt Cobain!

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