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Old 12-22-2017, 09:17 AM
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JeffreyAK JeffreyAK is offline
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Should go play some and see. A lot of acoustic guitar guys pooh-pooh electric guitars as slabs of wood with pickups on them, but that's not true and you won't see that until you play a bunch - particularly unplugged. What you hear is what you start with in the pickup/amp chain, you can modify the sound from there (more than you can with an unamplified acoustic, obviously), but that's where it starts. Two guitars put through the same amp with the same settings can sound very different.

Sound is subjective, and price reflects a lot more than sound including brand name, country of origin and "coolness", just as it does with acoustics. Relic'd guitars, well, I never understood the appeal, but the hand work involved is reflected in the price increase. But in my experience what does track price, generally, is quality and consistency of the components and assembly, and feel and playability, just as it does with acoustics. Usually feel and playability matter more with electrics, because action is typically lower and you're using more techniques.
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Old 12-22-2017, 11:28 AM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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There are great examples of electric guitars these days from the lower cost Chinese made Classic Vibe Fenders, Korean made Gretsch Electromatics and PRS Se guitars, all the way up to the custom shop level of quality like USA built: Gibson Historics, PRS 10 tops, Fender and Gretsch Masterbuilts etc. At each level of price, you can find some outstanding great sounding guitars. But as the price goes up, so does the amount of attention to detail, and the quality of the wood, hardware and electrical components. Also in many of the higher price instruments, you will see lacquer finishes which many feel, because of the thin way it's applied, can add to great tone, but more importantly it looks great, ages with a great patina, and is easy to repair, not so with the cheaper poly finishes. I already mentioned wood, but as the price goes up, not only to you find better looking wood, but in many cases, the wood gets lighter in weight! Also the amount of pieces on the solid bodies goes down. In made in Mexico Fender bodies for instance, you will see bodies made butcher block style with up to nine pieces of wood glued together.

I have two Telecasters...

One is made in Mexico and has been heavily upgraded by me, with new pickups $160, new hardware $200, new electronics $75 and new case $150. I also rounded the fingerboard edges, and dressed the frets. So total cost to me was $1300. And I have a four or five hours of labor that I put into it to get it where I like.

Here's the model I started with...

and here's what it looks like now...

I have another Telecaster from the custom shop which brand new cost around $4000, although I bought it on a close out from a store for $2300. It has a ridiculously light body, a AAAA quilted maple top, a custom shop set of Twisted Tele pickups with high end electric components, great hardware, and the setup and feel of the instrument was PERFECT when I got it. Also it has a very high quality case. Is it worth the extra money I spent??? Well it sounded great out of the box, where the other one took me a while to dial in, and it also played fantastically with it's rounded fret edges and ridiculously good fret work and super smooth rosewood fingerboard. So yes, to me it was worth it. But if I made a recording with either Tele, I seriously doubt anybody would say one Tele sounds better than the other. They both sound great! And we are talking about a $2700 difference in cost if I bought the custom shop at it's original selling price!!!

Here's the exact guitar that I bought....

and here it is at a gig of mine...

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Old 12-22-2017, 11:46 AM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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Cheap junk is cheap junk.

Not all less expensive guitars are cheap junk. The price difference between "high end" and non high end guitars can only justified by the buyer.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:03 PM
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Ed-in-Ohio Ed-in-Ohio is offline
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Originally Posted by dbradfie View Post
...snip...What is the appeal of a high end electric guitar? Say a fender masterbuilt heavy relic Stratocaster vs the basic american made stratocaster that costs thousands of $ less?...snip...
Fender and Gibson make the "reproduction vintage" models so they sound, feel, and look very, very much like the vintage instruments. Many named performing players (Warren Haynes [Les Paul], and Eric Clapton & John Mayer [Strat]) have stated that they like these vintage reproduction models because it allows them to get most of the benefits of the vintage instrument when touring without the risk and hassle of taking a true vintage instrument on the road.

So, to answer your question, the appeal is that you can almost get all the benefits of a true vintage instrument when touring, without the risks of touring with a vintage instrument.

BTW, it does seem to be harder to "fake" a vintage acoustic, though Martinís Golden Era series of acoustics in designed to pretty much do the same thing with a touring acoustic guitar (Jason Isbell's D-18 is a good example).
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:03 PM
beninma beninma is offline
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Wow that quilted maple CS Tele is very cool!

At least with fender you're also paying for getting the options you want.

Squiers have one nut width (kind of narrow)
MIM Fenders have a slightly wider (in the middle)
USA Fenders have a slightly wider still setup (probably the best)

Squiers have a different neck profile, MIM are all "Modern C" most of the time, USA Fenders have tons of different neck options.

Pickups and electronics are quite sloppy in MIM and Squiers.

I rewired my MIM Tele, the stock wiring was a giant mess, to the point some of the wiring failed inside a year. Very sloppy, tons of excess wire, poor solder joint quality. It had unshielded wires to the jack, which was pointless from a "vintage" standpoint because all the wiring in it was plastic coated modern wiring anyway, and the actual circuit design inside was not vintage either. The Pickups were ceramic and were not wax potted. Very high output compared to traditional. Rewiring everything, upgrading the switches/pots, and putting in really nice pickups made a huge difference in the sound + noise level.

Mechanically it was great. The nut had not been setup though. Setup is easier on these guitars IMO than acoustics though, no big deal.

A lot of it is the options. Go for a MIM and your color options are heavily limited compared to a US Fender. Less choices of bridge design, different pickups, different electronics, etc..
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:40 PM
Nama Ensou Nama Ensou is offline
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Originally Posted by dbradfie View Post
What is the appeal of a high end electric guitar...vs the basic...that costs thousands of $ less? Would there be a noticable difference in tone? Aren't they just slabs of wood with electronics added?
One of the answers is in the expense of the materials used, for example a cheap piece of pine compared to a fine slab of alder or mahogany. The grade of electronics will generally differ as well as the expertise and number of man-hours involved in the making.

A customer once asked me why his ring was going to cost so much more than the diamond and gold, to which I replied that he could have it for just that cost alone, if he was willing to make it himself.

Same goes for guitars, that if you want the best in craftsmanship, people capable of delivering are going to need to be paid for it.
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Old 12-22-2017, 02:04 PM
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This is about as traditional as I get. The builder probably only charged me 1/3rd of what Fender might.
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Old 12-22-2017, 02:43 PM
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s2y, beautiful with a B Bender to sweeten the pie! -- Darwin
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:07 PM
Scotso Scotso is offline
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mmmmm...not that much diff from acoustics. My best sounding electrics are a 2014 Heritage 150 wh was expensive-ish and a G&L Legacy Tribute which was not expensive. My best playing elec is a PRS but not the best sounding to my ears. My best sounding acoustic is a 2010 Breedlove low end American model that I cannot recall the model. My best playing is an old Guild D50. If you can correlate anything from this, lemme know. For me, price is only sorta indicative of the quality of playbility and tone.
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Old 12-22-2017, 09:22 PM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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I figure an electric is going through at least an amp before it reaches a listener. However, most acoustics will have to go through some combination of pickup, mic, amp, before reaching a listener other than the player. A lot of a high end acoustic tone is often lost live. And a cheap one can be made to sound pretty darned good in a studio. There's really no need for a high end guitar to make good sounding music.... acoustic or electric.

But that doesn't account for want... Want is all about what makes the player happy, and plenty often that costs a bit more money... acoustic or electric. And then sometimes after want gets satisfied.... it becomes need... at least in our minds.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:46 PM
Russell G Russell G is offline
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My only electric - Vintage Modified Tele Squier that I bought last year. Beautiful action. A lot of guitar for the money.

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Old 12-22-2017, 11:20 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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Even in factory acoustics I don't feel or hear much relationship between price and performance. I've come to view electric guitars as lumps of wood with pickups, targets for modding. My favourite is the cheapest, and my least favourite (too heavy) is the most expensive. In both acoustic and electrics you have to trust your senses, not the make or price tag.

Last edited by Tony Done; 12-23-2017 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 12-23-2017, 12:05 AM
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David MacNeill David MacNeill is offline
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You could save yourself a lot of time and money in this quest by buying either a Collings or a Paul Reed Smith. Itís like wanting ó and finally being able to afford ó a high-end car: youíll end up with a Mercedes or BMW eventually so why wait?
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Old 12-23-2017, 03:57 AM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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I wouldn't buy an expensive electric guitar to play through a bad amplifier.

Your sound really is a combination of fingers, guitar and amp plus fx if you use them.
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:43 AM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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Lots of experience and wisdom are displayed in this thread.
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