Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by angry_young_poet »

Interesting and timely thread.

I have been away from the GAS for a while and was startled at the cost of things these days.

I remember buying PRS Customs, Fender American Standards and Les Paul Standards from ebay and flogging them on trademe as a side hustle when I was in uni.

Back then the going rates were:
PRS Custom - $2000-$3000 depending on how flamey
Strats - MIM up to $700, MIA up to $1200
Les Pauls - $1200 for a studio and $2500 for a custom

When i started getting back into playing i couldn’t stomach the prices but in the end got a CV strat for $400, about how much i recall paying for MIM strats back in the day.
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by hamo »

foal30 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:22 pm No offense either Hamish but I don’t take my Wife guitar shopping nor do I expect a conversation from her regarding what she does with outdoor furniture, cars, plants or anything related to Christmas

And probably many other things
This was 15 years ago, and it was the first and last time. I think it was more that we were more joined at the hip in those days... :lol:
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by hamo »

jimi wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:59 pm What do CV squiers cost now? I've got a CV tele that was about $5-600 2nd hand, around $1k new?

Its a great guitar. Neck is comfortable, pickups are good enough that I havent run out and replaced them. Nothing I can complain about really, aside from the pickup selector being where I keep bumping it, but thats Tele design issue, not something related to its price point.

It doesn't go toe to toe with my more expensive guitars, but they're LP/335 style guitars so it isnt apples with apples anyway.

Point being, I reckon that $1k - $1300 range gets you a whole lot of guitar now. If you're happy with that its great. Of course, some people are happy with a Nissan Tiida, other people want an Audi, and we all know that being able to drive isn't a requirement for driving a german car.
Is this a neat coincidence, or do you have a good memory for the time I wanted an Audi and ended up getting a Tiida? :lol:
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by Slowy »

foal30 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:12 pm In 30 years and a bit more of playing my grand total of new instruments is 2
You must be a Bass Player.
"We were playing so loud that just one note on the guitar was sufficient".
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by sizzlingbadger »

I have owned quite a few cheap and expensive guitars over the years and price doesn't guarantee anything. I set myself some boundaries a while back to not spend big on guitars anymore.

I have 2 cheap-ish guitars at present, a Gretsch G5220 which I bought new for $1200, and a Sire T7 which I got as B stock from Andertons for even less. Both are really good guitars. I replaced the bridge on the Gretsch which cost me another $60, probably didn't need to but my OCD wanted to get rid of that wire screw holder thing that I hate. I also changed the pickups to Filtertrons, again because I wanted to, not because the BroadTrons were bad in any way.

The Sire is bone stock and will likely stay that way, its the best quality guitar I have ever seen in that $1000 new price range. I had a Squier CV not long before which was also nice, but was not as good as the Sire. The neck on the Sire is glorious.

Both of these guitars play and sound good enough to learn and gig with for the rest of your life.

However...

I recently bought a Gibson LP Special, I have always lusted after these in TV yellow so when the chance came to buy an almost new one for a lot less, I caved in and spent $2500, thats more than sum of the cost of the other 2, and its 2nd hand. This was almost entirely an emotional decision at the time and was in conflict with my earlier boundary setting.

The Gibson has more manufacturing flaws in the finish than either of the cheap guitars, but I'll let that slide because it sounds fucking incredible and I love it. I think the new price for these LP Specials is far too high but I can just about reconcile myself with what I paid. I fully admit I wanted Gibson on the headstock and not Epiphone purely for emotional reasons, I'm sure the Epi is every bit as good in practical terms.

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by Lyle »

foal30 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:12 pm In 30 years and a bit more of playing my grand total of new instruments is 2
I think I'm the same. My first acoustic was new and I got a beginners electric guitar + amp combo for Christmas one year. Everything else I've purchased on the second hand market.

*edit* Forgot about the ASH Customworks strat in my avatar. That was ordered from Adrian.

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by jeremyb »

I feel the sweet point is buying a moderately priced guitar and then over investing massively in it with upgrades, deciding its not what you want and then selling it for significantly less.... *facepalm*

But repeat that enough times and you end up with a killer strat you've spent too much on but love!
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by foal30 »

Slowy wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 11:25 pm
foal30 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:12 pm In 30 years and a bit more of playing my grand total of new instruments is 2
You must be a Bass Player.
Yep. One was a Yamaha Precision maybe 1987(?) which was like my first real purchase and a Guild Pilot reissue V in maybe 1999 as I wanted a 35”scale

All 8 Bass Guitars I own now had previous owners.
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by foal30 »

hamo wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 12:02 pm

All this got me thinking, what do you guys reckon is the sweet spot price wise for a new guitar? I mean, at what point do you think you stop paying for quality and start paying for brand and marketing? And are there any niches where this shifts? Like brands that belie the big names and give you better bang for buck?
I think my price point for a new Bass is 9K
It would be an MTD

Certainly would be paying for Name/Brand/Exclusivity in that price. Would be better than my L2 Steinberger? Maybe but it would certainly be different enough

Hamish have you read up on the law of diminishing returns
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by Jay »

My sweetspot is determined by how desperately I want it :oops:
When faced with quality, I recognise it every time.

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by jimi »

hamo wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 10:55 pm
Is this a neat coincidence, or do you have a good memory for the time I wanted an Audi and ended up getting a Tiida? :lol:
Haha, that’s perfect!

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by bender »

Jay wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 9:59 am My sweetspot is determined by how desperately I want it :oops:
This.

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by HackSaw »

sizzlingbadger wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 7:28 am I have owned quite a few cheap and expensive guitars over the years and price doesn't guarantee anything. I set myself some boundaries a while back to not spend big on guitars anymore.

I have 2 cheap-ish guitars at present, a Gretsch G5220 which I bought new for $1200, and a Sire T7 which I got as B stock from Andertons for even less. Both are really good guitars. I replaced the bridge on the Gretsch which cost me another $60, probably didn't need to but my OCD wanted to get rid of that wire screw holder thing that I hate. I also changed the pickups to Filtertrons, again because I wanted to, not because the BroadTrons were bad in any way.

The Sire is bone stock and will likely stay that way, its the best quality guitar I have ever seen in that $1000 new price range. I had a Squier CV not long before which was also nice, but was not as good as the Sire. The neck on the Sire is glorious.

Both of these guitars play and sound good enough to learn and gig with for the rest of your life.

However...

I recently bought a Gibson LP Special, I have always lusted after these in TV yellow so when the chance came to buy an almost new one for a lot less, I caved in and spent $2500, thats more than sum of the cost of the other 2, and its 2nd hand. This was almost entirely an emotional decision at the time and was in conflict with my earlier boundary setting.

The Gibson has more manufacturing flaws in the finish than either of the cheap guitars, but I'll let that slide because it sounds fucking incredible and I love it. I think the new price for these LP Specials is far too high but I can just about reconcile myself with what I paid. I fully admit I wanted Gibson on the headstock and not Epiphone purely for emotional reasons, I'm sure the Epi is every bit as good in practical terms.
Your special sounds like my SG special, the binding is full of file marks, and worse it all down the fretboard chunks of rosewood with file grooves in it. My squier Jazzmaster, immaculate fit in finish, Gibson at three times the cost, horrific. But… fuck me it rocks hard, and yeah, it’s says Gibson, not Epiphone. Shouldn’t matter, but does.

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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by hamo »

foal30 wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 9:32 am
hamo wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 12:02 pm

All this got me thinking, what do you guys reckon is the sweet spot price wise for a new guitar? I mean, at what point do you think you stop paying for quality and start paying for brand and marketing? And are there any niches where this shifts? Like brands that belie the big names and give you better bang for buck?
I think my price point for a new Bass is 9K
It would be an MTD

Certainly would be paying for Name/Brand/Exclusivity in that price. Would be better than my L2 Steinberger? Maybe but it would certainly be different enough

Hamish have you read up on the law of diminishing returns
Not lately, but I understand the concept. I guess it underpins my original question, wondering what people think that point is for guitars.
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Re: Guitar prices: what's the sweet spot?

Post by rickenbackerkid »

I've always considered the sweet spot for 'professional' grade instrument to be about $1500. Which would be a Fender MIM, higher end Epi LP, Gretsch Electromatic, PRS SE, that sort of thing.

Cheaper than that level, in my experience, tends to have issues around microphonic pickups, tuning stability or playability that means I wouldn't want to use it on a gig. HOWEVER there are some excellent cheaper guitars, like my secondhand, $500 CV Strat which is just a fabulous guitar, with great action and pickups. In general I think that minimum price point is dropping, I've played some really good cheap guitars, like the Vintage fender copies.

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