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The best "value for money" electric guitars around?

#1 User is offline   PaulM 

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 01:46 PM

Hi all
Lets debate about this.
We our looking for the best (and cheapest) guitars around today.
I've bought and sold numerous guitars over the years, but now only use my own self made axe, and I have done for many years; so I'm interested in whats out there.
One thing I learnt in the past from personal experience is that expense does'nt always mean that it's good.
I trained as a luthier for a couple of years as a teenager, and I always remember a colleague of mine saying that in reality no guitar was worth more than £200. Anything above this is usually down to "vintage" aspects, or "bullshit".
I feel there is a still a lot of truth in that statement; but then it was almost twenty years ago.

(Discuss)
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#2 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 09:16 PM

View PostPaulM, on Mar 15 2009, 12:46 AM, said:

Hi all
Lets debate about this.
We our looking for the best (and cheapest) guitars around today.
I've bought and sold numerous guitars over the years, but now only use my own self made axe, and I have done for many years; so I'm interested in whats out there.
One thing I learnt in the past from personal experience is that expense does'nt always mean that it's good.
I trained as a luthier for a couple of years as a teenager, and I always remember a colleague of mine saying that in reality no guitar was worth more than £200. Anything above this is usually down to "vintage" aspects, or "bullshit".
I feel there is a still a lot of truth in that statement; but then it was almost twenty years ago.

(Discuss)

Well, I think it really comes down to your specifications. For instance, if you want EMG pickups on your 7 string guitar, like me, then right there that's about $500 US down the tube, then of course you might want an OFR or a Kahler - that's another couple of hundred, don't want you guitar going out of tune every 5 seconds then you might want to spring for Sperzel locking system. Then you might want MIDI capabilities or a piezo pickups on your electric, etc, etc.

And then you have to pay the luthier to make the thing. And that doesn't come cheap, I don't know how many man hours it takes a luthier to make a seven/eight string or how much they charge per hour, but 200 pounds wouldn't go very far, especially if you looking for say, a neck-thru.

I know of one Australian luthier who charges $9,000 AUD for his nylon strung classical guitars and people are happy to pay for it!!!
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#3 User is offline   PaulM 

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 03:45 PM

Fair point. However....
Personally; I feel that most of the gear Ive witnessed so far, (and to be fair, I dont take that much notice anymore), is very overpriced.
One of the best guitars I ever had was a Black bullet Squire wich I bought for £90; while at the other end of the scale, I once bought a 70's Gibson 335 for £650 which I initially loved, but after some time found that it would never stay in tune and had constant feedback problems.
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#4 User is offline   Steeler 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:31 AM

Any Ibanez RG or S made before 1993, if you don't mind buying a used guitar... you can usually get them for under $420 or so (mine was $300 but pretty beat-up), and they've got great necks, pickups, and bridges stock...
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#5 User is offline   G-Black 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 08:04 AM

View PostSteeler, on Mar 20 2009, 03:31 AM, said:

Any Ibanez RG or S made before 1993, if you don't mind buying a used guitar... you can usually get them for under $420 or so (mine was $300 but pretty beat-up), and they've got great necks, pickups, and bridges stock...


New Ibanez RG-s and S-s aren't expensive, and they're fresh from the factory.
Among God's creatures two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all the sizes and all the shapes, in order not be separated from the man” - Andre Segovia

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#6 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 01:55 PM

View PostPaulM, on Mar 17 2009, 02:45 AM, said:

Fair point. However....
Personally; I feel that most of the gear Ive witnessed so far, (and to be fair, I dont take that much notice anymore), is very overpriced.
One of the best guitars I ever had was a Black bullet Squire wich I bought for £90; while at the other end of the scale, I once bought a 70's Gibson 335 for £650 which I initially loved, but after some time found that it would never stay in tune and had constant feedback problems.

Oh I agree. A lot of guitars are just produced on a factory line using CNC machines and whatnot with extremely cheap labour with not much regards for woods used and electronics and substantard pickups to keep costs down. Then they jack up the price to what they think their guitar is worth, put thousands of dollars into advertising so the magazines give them good reviews and we as good little consumers go and buy their guitars.

I remember when I bought my first Ibanez I felt really happy that I was playing a guitar like all the pros and let's face it the pro's get the LA customs, they wouldn't dare play a guitar of the rack, but I didn't know that at the time. Anyway then the reality set in hmm, these pickups aren't that good, better replace them; hmm, the eletronics aren't that good, better get the shop to look at them. Hmm, the trem isn't what Steve Vai uses.

And then we Aussie consumers pay more than double that our US counterparts for reasons I can't understand. Case in point Fryette Sig:X retail price $1,995 USD over here $4,516 AUD. Why God, why? :sad0147:

Sorry about the rant, I have no idea what I am talking about. I'll go and take my medication and have a good lie down.
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#7 User is offline   jak888 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:22 PM

The best value for money guitar is definitely not an ESP. 1500 Euro for wet wood that starts twisting after 4 months even if you keep the humidity exactly at 55%, which I think is unbearable...

If you want a good guitar for money I highly recommend a fender strat. Thats the most durable guitar I've ever come across. Great! The only drawback for me is that you have to put some extra time and money in. E.g. mine has a floating trem (not a floyd rose though) that readjusts itself everytime you put thicker strings on it or tune it down. to really work with the guitar you have to fix the bridge. Plus: if you want innovative stuff like locking mechanics you have to buy them...
But in terms of playability it's just grate.

another brand I learned to adore is BC Rich. I left it in the rehearsal room for 4 months (dammit) and I thought it would be twisted as hell when I pick it up again.
But the neck is the same it always has been.
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#8 User is offline   Steeler 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 04:06 PM

View PostG-Black, on Mar 20 2009, 03:04 AM, said:

New Ibanez RG-s and S-s aren't expensive, and they're fresh from the factory.
Yes, but the old ones have more sustain, better pickups, better bridges, thinner necks, and half the cost.

Quote

And then we Aussie consumers pay more than double that our US counterparts for reasons I can't understand.
It seems everything is much cheaper over here... but if the price difference is in thousands of dollars, couldn't you just get one shipped from here with insured shipping for $150 or so, and save a lot?
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#9 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 05:36 PM

View PostSteeler, on Mar 21 2009, 03:06 AM, said:

It seems everything is much cheaper over here... but if the price difference is in thousands of dollars, couldn't you just get one shipped from here with insured shipping for $150 or so, and save a lot?

For guitars and musical instruments yes, providing the store will sell overseas. A lot of the big retailers in the US like Musicians Friend, Guitar Centre and Music 123, are not allowed by contract to sell to any foreign country, unless they are members of the US military serving there.

For electrical/motorised equipment it can be extremely tricky the US and the rest of the known world use different voltage mains. Europe uses 220V, Australia uses 240V and can use a lot of European produced goods, but goods made in the US well that a different kettle of fish. Not only do they use 110,115 or 120V but they run on a different Hz. In Australia/Asia/Europe we use 50hz whereas in America they use only 60Hz. Running 60 Hz devices on 50 Hz is a really good way of ruining/killing a device. Not only that in amplifiers and such it can produce an audible hum that cannot be eliminated.

The only amplifier that is cheaper from Oz is the Diezel amps by a couple hundred $$$ but they start at $6,500 AUD that's sort of out of my price range :lol:.
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#10 User is offline   Steeler 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 07:37 PM

View PostVercingetorix, on Mar 20 2009, 12:36 PM, said:

For guitars and musical instruments yes, providing the store will sell overseas. A lot of the big retailers in the US like Musicians Friend, Guitar Centre and Music 123, are not allowed by contract to sell to any foreign country, unless they are members of the US military serving there.

For electrical/motorised equipment it can be extremely tricky the US and the rest of the known world use different voltage mains. Europe uses 220V, Australia uses 240V and can use a lot of European produced goods, but goods made in the US well that a different kettle of fish. Not only do they use 110,115 or 120V but they run on a different Hz. In Australia/Asia/Europe we use 50hz whereas in America they use only 60Hz. Running 60 Hz devices on 50 Hz is a really good way of ruining/killing a device. Not only that in amplifiers and such it can produce an audible hum that cannot be eliminated.

The only amplifier that is cheaper from Oz is the Diezel amps by a couple hundred $$$ but they start at $6,500 AUD that's sort of out of my price range :lol:.
The electrical power differences don't affect the guitars themselves though, do they?

Also, you don't know anyone in the U.S. that could buy it for you and then ship it?
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#11 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 08:52 PM

View PostSteeler, on Mar 21 2009, 06:37 AM, said:

The electrical power differences don't affect the guitars themselves though, do they?

Also, you don't know anyone in the U.S. that could buy it for you and then ship it?

You are quite correct the electrical differences don't affect the guitars themselves. And active pickups run on 9 volt batteries, they are the same all over the world, thank goodness.

The answer to the other question is yes, I do know quite a few people in the good 'ol USA but knowing and trusting them are two very definite things :P.

However, I do know someone over there whom I trust greatly and would have no hesitation asking him to get a guitar for me if I were in the market for one. I am planning to get a genuine "Fender Strat" later in the year - quite a change for me after playing seven string guitars for so long.

However, at the moment I am in the market for an amp and I only found out about the electrical differences a week ago, so the range of available amps just shrunk considerably.
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#12 User is offline   Steeler 

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:23 PM

View PostVercingetorix, on Mar 20 2009, 03:52 PM, said:

However, at the moment I am in the market for an amp and I only found out about the electrical differences a week ago, so the range of available amps just shrunk considerably.
I'm almost sure somebody makes a converter...
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#13 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 03:31 AM

View PostSteeler, on Mar 21 2009, 08:23 AM, said:

I'm almost sure somebody makes a converter...

As far as I'm aware the only way to convert the voltage is to use a step-down transformer. I emailed a company that supplies these transformers and they said that because the device from the US runs on 60Hz and we use use 50Hz that it would be "detrimental" to both the device and the sound produced.

True 50Hz -> 60Hz convertors or vice-versa are very expensive and designed for use in factories.

I really hope I'm wrong but I can't find anything to the contary. Are there any electronic whizzes out there reading this who can illuminate this matter?
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#14 User is offline   Stuz719 

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 06:42 PM

View PostVercingetorix, on Mar 20 2009, 02:55 PM, said:

Oh I agree. A lot of guitars are just produced on a factory line using CNC machines and whatnot with extremely cheap labour with not much regards for woods used and electronics and substantard pickups to keep costs down.


Whoah!

I think you're in danger of conflating two things here:

Cheap parts and pickups and wood - fair enough, knock it when the guitar is rubbish.

CNC - there is nothing wrong with CNC/factory line production - on the contrary it gives a consistency that no amount of "hand crafting" could ever achieve.

I remember reading an interview with Hartley Peavey (of Peavey fame, naturally) in which he basically exploded the myth of vintage Fenders - truth of the matter is that they were made by unskilled/semi-skilled labour who didn't give a damn about how good or otherwise the guitars they were making were - so if they had a heavy night the night before, you got a Jeff Beck style neck - if not, a thinner one.

What Peavey did was look at how shotguns were made - with copy lathes and later CNC machinery, which meant that tolerances could be that much tighter, and consistency of quality that much higher. It also meant you could mass produce, lowering the end cost to consumers.

The problem is that parts of the guitar media (I can think of one UK magazine in particular) has started hyping the idea of "luthier crafted" guitars, and certain dealers have started hopping onto the "pre-factory" tag to excuse overinflated prices on guitars that are good, yes, but by their very nature inconsistent.

Back on topic, the Vintage guitars are very good for the money, and eminently upgradeable as and when required (although in my experience they're pretty good stock for a while, especially for less experienced players still finding their own style and voice).
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#15 User is offline   Vercingetorix 

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 01:44 AM

View PostStuz719, on Mar 31 2009, 05:42 AM, said:

Whoah!

CNC - there is nothing wrong with CNC/factory line production - on the contrary it gives a consistency that no amount of "hand crafting" could ever achieve.

Woah dude,

I don't think I am in danger of confusing two things here nor I am knocking CNC machines, indeed they do produce a consistent quality once they are programmed right. All I was saying that after the inital outlay this should make producing guitars much cheaper.

Skilled human labour is being used less thereby the costs per guitar should be cheaper, unless the machines comsume vast amounts of electricity. Cheaper less skilled labour with cheaper quality woods, electronics and pickups = cheaper guitars.

Maybe I have a very wrong idea about how CNC machines operate if I do then I apologize.
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#16 User is offline   PaulM 

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 11:27 AM

Vercingetorix - "Woah dude,

I don't think I am in danger of confusing two things here nor I am knocking CNC machines, indeed they do produce a consistent quality once they are programmed right. All I was saying that after the inital outlay this should make producing guitars much cheaper.

Skilled human labour is being used less thereby the costs per guitar should be cheaper, unless the machines comsume vast amounts of electricity. Cheaper less skilled labour with cheaper quality woods, electronics and pickups = cheaper guitars.


I totally agree...

Stuz719 - [i][b]"Back on topic, the Vintage guitars are very good for the money, and eminently upgradeable as and when required (although in my experience they're pretty good stock for a while, especially for less experienced players still finding their own style and voice)".


I've never tried Vintage guitars myself, so cant comment. (I have heard a lot of good things from others though). Personally, I instantly took a dislike to them firstly because they are yet another "copying brand" and secondly for the brand name. "Vintage"; that has got to be the worst brand name in history. My nephew came to visit the other day and excited, he tells me his dad (who is'nt short of money) has agreed to buy him a vintage Les Paul. Then after nearly choking on my coffee, I gradually realised what he was telling me.
I just dont like the look of them, and cant bring myself to try one in case I actually do like it.
The logo design is awfull too.
My opinion is that if your going to make guitars (either by hand, or machine etc), at least be original.
Furthermore, I also agree that inconsistancy exists in any line of guitars wether hand made or machine.
A guitar is only good if it "works"

.....and what's going to happen to those Vintage guitars when they've been around for a long time?; our we going to have vintage "Vintage" guitars?.
:unsure: :blink: :s
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