Richard's been at the YouTubes again.

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Comments

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    Oh there's more to marketing than print and television ads. For example a friend of mine who worked in a big chain told me that they were having a Fender acoustic promo. He said " for the next month, if anyone who comes in looking for an acoustic, I'll tell them the best brand is Fender." And he's one of the good guys.

    Finer details or not, that's a ridiculous markup. Sorry, im not buying it. Literally.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,207Member

    I'm not sure if a really well made guitar can hinder a lesser-skilled player, though. For me, a better instrument inspires me because I know the only hindrances to a great sound is ME! Case in point is my Rickenbacker 360 (a different argument perhaps, but I play electric 95% of the time). My next most expensive guitar is worth about 1/6 the price of my 360! It truly is my dream guitar. Every time I pick it up, it inspires me because playing it is so easy. Everything about it is perfect -the nut width, string gauge, neck shape, finish, sound, even the look.

    I suppose it slightly depends on the definition of "better" - I think we are both equating "better" to what you said above - "Every time I pick it up, it inspires me".
    In your case that is with your most expensive guitar. But in my case ...

    The guitar being too good is something that I've only found to be the case with acoustic guitars rather than electrics, where I never even thought about the possibility of a guitar being too good. I think it's to do with the sort of music I play on acoustic - fingerstyle, solo, and of a style / genre that needs to have notes sustaining in a controlled way and interacting together to provide depth of sound rather than relying on impact from volume and attack of notes.

    The best extreme example I can think of regarding uncontrolled sustain is playing a piano and keeping your foot down all the time on the sustain pedal - what you get is a terrible noise as new notes clash with some of the old ones which keep ringing on. An acoustic with a lot of sustain does this when the style of play / type of music means the attack level on new notes doesn't drown out the old ones - and it requires action by the player to damp notes as well as playing the new ones. If, like me, you're only just about able to cope with playing the notes needed in time, that need for damping puts a dampener (no pun intended) on the music making process. Letting the sustain keep going just buggers up the bloom of the notes and interaction of the sounds. Doing the extra damping buggers up playing the notes.

    It was beautiful on that Lowden just playing a chord or a few notes and hearing the sound bloom then slowly fade! The quality of workmanship was superb. But my difficulties involved in controlling the sound when playing the sort of music I like to play meant it sat in its case and I would pick out a different guitar, despite the Lowden being nearest to my chair. I thought long and hard about the reasons why I wasn't playing it much, and the sustain issue and the relatively neutral sound of the tone of notes where the only issues. BUT when you notice problems with a particular guitar they never go away and they just niggle!

    I have a suspicion that my playing abilities are at a budget level and I have found that for acoustic guitars the better ones in the £300-£600 budget level are a good match for that ability. Anything above that general quality level of instrument brings very little to the table.
  • SmartySmarty Posts: 402Member

    Fascinating, but most is just typical business practise. Everybody wants their slice.
    It's what has been said in above paragraphs - Gibson have to charge more for less due to marketing, and not just big ads in magazines.

    What baffles me is how some small builders charge silly amounts for what we all know is something straightforward. We all want to be paid well for our impeccable craft that has taken us a lifetime to perfect, but we aren't all worth £100/hr, just because we think so! I value a well made instrument as much as anyone, but £3000 for a strat copy that is just made to stricter tolerances and sold direct from the luthier is ridiculous. Sorry chaps, I know you need to eat, but come one!

    Have to disagree with you here. It's so much more than just "stricter tolerances", as anyone who has played a Suhr (for example) will tell you. A Suhr Strat is simply head and shoulders above a (say) US Strat in terms of build quality, sound, materials used, playability etc. And so it should be, to justify it's price.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    Oh I totally agree that Suhr make a fantastic product, but I'm talking about luthiers selling them directly. There are no middle men to pay, no distribution network and they think that price alone puts them in the same realm as someone like Suhr. I'm not going to name names, but a quick Google would show who I'm talking about.
    Mark P said:

    I'm not sure if a really well made guitar can hinder a lesser-skilled player, though. For me, a better instrument inspires me because I know the only hindrances to a great sound is ME! Case in point is my Rickenbacker 360 (a different argument perhaps, but I play electric 95% of the time). My next most expensive guitar is worth about 1/6 the price of my 360! It truly is my dream guitar. Every time I pick it up, it inspires me because playing it is so easy. Everything about it is perfect -the nut width, string gauge, neck shape, finish, sound, even the look.

    I suppose it slightly depends on the definition of "better" - I think we are both equating "better" to what you said above - "Every time I pick it up, it inspires me".
    In your case that is with your most expensive guitar. But in my case ...
    If I'm super honest, I think that also has to do with the fact that I'm not looking at a guitar I didn't build and being critical of the workmanship, so it's easier to just get on and play the stupid thing! Your problem with the sustain is an interesting one that I've never come across when I played high end acoustics. Since you explained it in detail, I can image that it would be a real pain! Don't get me wrong, I am inspired when I play cheaper guitars (like my own builds), but the Rick is just such a joy to play.
    I'm afraid I'm still not convinced that different playing levels suit different budgets. Buy the best you can afford and enjoy it.

    Now, when it comes to electric, the AMP is the thing. Get a good sound and I just don't know how to stop! If the sound is not making me happy, I spend the entire evening tweaking instead of playing. THAT drives me nuts!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    Nick - What I heard from my local shop owner is that the salesman will come around and say "Right. You're buying X amount of my guitars from me or we're not supplying you anymore." and so my friend has to take out a loan and hold onto the stock at his own expense.

    It isn't marketing, it's bullying - at no cost to the manufacturer. The pressure on my retailer friend is that he might end up cut off from known and desired brands, and this is a mid priced manufacture which is well known and liked and has their magazine adds off to a - shall we say - 'T'.

    So I can see how shops might push certain guitars but I can't say I've ever had any interference from sales staff when I've been trying out or shopping, they have all remained neutral and incomprehensibly patient. Doubtless the instruments are being given preferential wall space and lighting but otherwise no pushiness.

    An 8/10 guitar can be achieved at a reasonable price these days. A 10/10 guitar cannot. That extra push requires something special and people are prepared to pay for it - attested by the price tag and the fact that they are selling.

    A sole trading luthier doesn't have economies of scale on his side and so must charge a lot per unit just to eat. As far as I can see I don't feel big brand buyers are being conned either. They're paying for what the market dictates is authenticity and lineage as well as the time of the most desired maker's top production line and staff.

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    I think i'm just too cynical of marketing, really! But the thing is that someone is ready to pay whatever you charge, really. Like custom shop relics. Ok, that's a can of worms, and a bit of an old chestnut too (am I mixing my metaphors well enough?!) but I still don't get it. Well, I do, I'm just not parting with cash for it.

    I don't think anyone is getting conned, really. Buyers are very well informed these days, and know what they're buying. If you believe a Transylvanian Bubinga fingerboard will make you play better and an extra £1000 on the price tag is worth it, then that's up to you!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    edited March 16
    It's not always about playing or sounding better. If that fingerboard is rare and the right luthier carves it then it becomes a sound investment - like a master's painting.

    I get the custom shop relicking idea too. Where the originals have become so pricey and people yearn for them, there is a market to create replicas. They don't just distress new instruments professionally but go into using the original material, build and paint methods too - and then offer them only on limited runs.

    A judicious collector will make a lot of money in the long term and enjoy a fine collection while he's doing it.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    The key of what I was referring to regarding the fingerboard was that if it's worth it to you, then it's up to you. I know there are lots of reasons to have an expensive fingerboard, and who am I to judge why you would want to spend extra? Personally, I don't want guitars as art, even if they are pretty. What is art is another argument that I won't bore you with :)

    But the relics aren't replicas! Theyre' just new guitars looking aged! For me (again, me only... ) it would be like buying someone elses diary and putting my name on it. My guitars have MY wear and tear, telling my stories.

    But yea, horses/courses.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    I'd dearly love to rewind the clock, buy a Fender Strat when I was ten and wear it in.

    Alas I am too old to do that now, but the main reason I can't is the modern finishings which wear out rather than wear in - it has to be nitrocellulose paint. A ding or a scuff on a modern guitar looks tragic, whereas a ding or a scuff on a vintage guitar looks cool. I like yellowing on scratch plate and pups too, and matted crome work.

    A matter of taste but one which comes with a high auction price attached to it too as a lot of people have that taste. So, to get the vibe, the only way is to have it faked.

    I'm partial to the odd antique around my home too - repos if necessary.

    When I was a karate black belt the temptation was to stonewash my belt to speed up the ageing and make me look more of a veteran. I would not have done that. Primarily because I'd have got a good kicking from the third dans - but also because black belt was enough and I wanted to wear it in honestly. (I didn't last more than a couple of years as it happens - injuries.)

    I don't see it the same with guitars. They don't specifically denote ranking and achievement like a black belt. I see it as caretaking an antique for the next generation rather than appropriating a person's identity and achievements. Otherwise this would mean all pre-owned guitars being abandoned or sealed in airtight containers.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    I like that black belt story - very apt! :) I remember a cartoon of a guy walking along a pavement, kicking a camera along, telling his friend "I always do this with a new camera. A battered camera speaks volumes."


    I have actually heard of middle aged players buying relics for that very reason - to have the guitar that they could never afford when they started playing. Hey, if that's your thing, open up your wallet!

    I don't know if I want to see pre-owned guitars locked away! LOL I've had used guitars before, obviously, but I just see the relic thing a bit differently, not the used guitar thing. I suppose I should have said that FAKE relics are more like not having a history of your own and making up your own diary.
    I've actually done that, for fun, on a music site where they asked you to write a bio. Mine is a bit boring so I made up some loose facts about failed singles, radio play and things like that.

    It is a bit of a dichotomy. On one hand, guitars are tools. On the other, they are very personal extensions of your musicality and expression.

    In the meantime, I'll look forward to my guitars getting their age in naturally. It might take a while but then I'm not that rough with them.

    John Bohlinger, one of my favourite reviews, wrote on the subject - https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/19666-last-call-if-you-relic-your-guitar

    He points out a few of his own examples of guitars not really aging THAT quickly! I don't think he's the kind of guy who is precious about his guitars, but I don't think he chucks them around either. Of course it does depend on the finish and most nowadays have bullet-proof poly instead of nicely ageable nitro.
    "Guitars are like the Velveteen Rabbit: If the owner truly loves them and plays them enough, they will come to life. If you want your guitar to look played, play it so much that it seldom sees the inside of a case. After a few months, maybe you’ll find your 4-year-old son joyfully beating it with a drumstick. You’ll be pissed, but in due course, you’ll laugh it off.

    After a year maybe you’ll swap out the pickups, and in doing so your screwdriver will slip and gouge the front. You’ll curse, but in time you won’t care. Maybe on a sweaty, lonely August night the neck will feel sticky and you’ll impulsively sand it down to the wood. It will look rough but eventually your hand grease will leave that neck smooth and buttery. Somebody will spill beer on it, blow smoke on it, airlines will do their best to destroy it, and hundreds of hours of music will vibrate through it. All of this will make your guitar an honest-to-God relic—a historical artifact of your musical journey. You can’t fake that."
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    edited March 21
    "Buttery" now THAT's the word I've been looking for.

    I've been using terms such as "Playing an old guitar is like stepping into a pair of old slippers - someone ELSE's slippers " (Eeeeeuch.) But pretty comfy once you've warmed them up.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    It may have to be relic butter, or someone else's butter... ;-)
  • The23rdmanThe23rdman Posts: 1,560Member
    I guess that makes my Harley Benton Tele "I can't believe it's not butter".
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member

    I guess that makes my Harley Benton Tele "I can't believe it's not butter".

    LOL

    Once I spread Marmite all over it I can't tell the difference.


    (Mmmmmmm I might use that analogy!)

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    You either love it or you hate it.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    ... this is Python all over again.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member
    This is just a partial Monty.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 2,743Member
    ... not the Full Monty...

    oh stop it !
  • SmartySmarty Posts: 402Member
    Loved the latest YouTube video about G&L. Really interesting. Well done Rich! Totally sympathise about how you've been ignored and treated by them - especially as you've championed the brand over Fender etc.
  • Richards GuitarsRichards Guitars Posts: 588Member, Administrator
    Thank you Smarty - appreciated. Its not over till the fat lady sings as they say.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 517Member

    ... not the Full Monty...

    oh stop it !

    Shan't.

    Hehe!

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,207Member
    Smarty said:

    Loved the latest YouTube video about G&L. Really interesting. Well done Rich! Totally sympathise about how you've been ignored and treated by them - especially as you've championed the brand over Fender etc.

    Agreed - it was a very interesting video blog, and I'll second your comments Smarty. A sad way to finish what was a good thing.
    I'd noticed how often different on line shops have exactly the same descriptions for a guitar and I'd just put it down to it being easier to copy and paste than to think up their own wording.
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