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View Diary: Buying an American-made guitar (286 comments)

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  •  What Happened To The Prices? (41+ / 0-)

    Electric guitars and basses (and I mean the big names) used to be affordable to teens and don't-quit-your-day-job musicians. I walk into a music store and I can't believe the prices. All someone wants is something they can afford because otherwise they'll have nothing. American made? Good. Make me something that sounds good and costs a couple hundred bucks. I can afford that.

    •  They exist! (14+ / 0-)

      I really think prices have come DOWN relatively speaking, and I've been playing for 40 (count em) years.

      My kid has a $150 Squier Strat. I have a pre-CBS fender Tele worth thousands of dollars.

      I find her axe quite enjoyable to play and it has good tone.

      •  Yeah, (6+ / 0-)

        I always suggested my bass students look long and hard for an exceptional imported Mexican fender. You can find versions of those instrument that play better than American mades that cost thousands more. The trick is, you have to be patient and try hundreds of them before you find the right one.

        My working axe was actually a Mexican Fender that I bought after I got frustrated with an Alembic with a price tag of thousands more. That thing was never balanced right.

        With electric strign instruments it's all about ignoring the label and finding the right instrument.

        •  You are so, so right! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          such sweet thunder

          A friend of mine insisted he just had to have a Rick 4001.  Problem was he couldn't afford it, at least both that and feed the kids.  I finally convinced him to try out a Fender import.  It was lighter, balanced, sounded great, and cost thousands less.  And he likes it!
          He still wishes he could have a 4001, but at least he's got something to play and his kids are fed.

          "It just kills me that we put that idiot in office… twice. But I guess there has never been a shortage of idiots in politics." Helen Philpot writing about GWB, April 25, 2013

          by WSComn on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:30:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Paid $325 for my Guild in 1965. (0+ / 0-)

        14 years old. Lawn mowing. Paper routes.

        But that $325 is like  >>2500<< of today's dollars.  And you can buy a couple good, American guitars for $2500 !

        If anything, American makers are providing better quality at a low price than was conceivable, back in the day.  

    •  Are they really more expensive now? (12+ / 0-)

      Is an American Strat (or Les Paul) really more expensive than it was 30 years ago -- adjusted for inflation?  Or is it the Wal-martization of our economy and the depressed wages that go along with it that have put American guitars seemingly out of reach?

      That being said -- just man (or woman) up and buy an American Strat.  Yes, it will be around $1,000.  But you are talking about something your kid will have for the rest of his/her life.  Some things are just worth the money.  Quality musical instruments are one of those things.

      If you want to get somewhat below the $1,000 mark for a new American Strat -- go used -- and remember that the price on the tag is just the starting point for bargaining.  I have a wonderful (near mint) '87 US Strat that I got for $800 but which was tagged at $950.

      And if the kid loses interest in guitar -- sell it on Ebay.  The true cost will be the difference between buying and selling price -- which probably won't be that much different between an American Strat and the $129 special.

      (And of course it doesn't have to be a Strat -- the point is -- some things are just worth the money -- a quality musical instrument is one of those things.)

      •  Also worth the money: good tools (10+ / 0-)

        Like musical instruments, good tools are a lifelong investment -- and worth the money.

        Unfortunately, finding good (American-made) tools is much harder then finding an American-made guitar.  At least American-made guitars actually exist.  

        These days all you can find is crappy unusable tools sold in big box stores staffed by employees who don't know anything about how to use the tools anyway.  That is, if there even are employees -- Home Depot has gone to self-serve checkout lines.  We've gotten so obsessed with maximizing profit that we've forgotten that the products being bought and sold actually are supposed to have a particular purpose.

        A little off topic -- but I highly recommend the book "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Matthew Crawford.  One particular poignant observation he made is that one of the fundamental tenets of our MBA-driven profit-maximizing society is process over expertise: with process we can build highly complex and sophisticated artifacts with, essentially, unskilled workers.  E.g., an assembly line worker does not have to know anything at all about the thing being made beyond his/her small part in the process -- and, consequently, can be paid less.  Thus begins the death spiral.

        •  Is something wrong with... (0+ / 0-)

          this:

          Home Depot has gone to self-serve checkout lines.
          There's no reason for a human to be doing a job a machine can do as well or better and/or more economically. I'm sure that some people objected to the introduction of the "self-serve" dial telephone because they preferred to talk to the operator to place a call to a friend a half mile away but I doubt many people now would choose that alternative (and be willing to pay extra for it) if it was available.

          There is a transition time for consumers to get used to new technology but people seem to be getting quite used to the self-serve checkout where I am. I always use them when given a choice unless I have something out of the ordinary that isn't well suited to self-serve checkout.

      •  Given the diary prices, yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, Mage11an, 3rdOption

        I bought my American Strat new in 1994 for $569. The inflation calculator I used says that's $894 in 2013 dollars.

        Mark is saying in the diary that American guitars are now over $1200.

        No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by badger on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:16:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  couldn't afford a Fender when Dad worked there! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3rdOption, Dave925

          still can't :>

          but it's ok as I can't play it anyway it turns out...no chords for me, nope.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:09:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Over a different time frame - they're cheap (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jds1978, Dave925, ivy redneck

          1968 Strat with case was $368.50 in 1968.  Cost of living calculator shows that is equivalent to $2,495.81. Quite a lot more than the current price of around $1,000 to $1,200.

          •  A Martin D-28 (0+ / 0-)

            cost $400 new in 1968. (The price went up $25.00 in 1969.) A good case for that guitar cost an extra $100, making the cost $500. A Fender case cost $100, too.
            These days, all American made guitars are shipped in better cases than could be purchased in 1968.

            Interestingly, the American case companies have fared much worse than the guitars. Canada became the premier musical case making nation, and a top quality Canadian case now costs about $280, while the guitar it protects commonly costs around $2,000.

            If the cases had kept up with the same inflation, a new one should cost over $500 or more, following the 1968 prices.

            Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

            by Idaho07 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:15:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  NEVER BUY A NOOB A NEW GUITAR! (12+ / 0-)

          There is no point in buying a child a brand new instrument when you have no idea if they have either the aptitude for, or a genuine interest in playing.

          Unless you have money to throw away, new guitars are for players who have already proven that they have a commitment to playing, and know what style(s) they are pursuing.

          A new guitar should be considered a specialty instrument, and noobs don't specialize. Do the pickups matter if you can't play a song yet? If you're learning to finger chords and memorizing a major scale shape, does it matter if you use humbuckers or active pickups or single coils or which flavor of single coil or... yadda yadda? No.

          A noob needs good action & intonation, not good tone.

          The only things that matters in a guitar for a kid is that it has good action & intonation and that it looks just "cool" enough in their eyes to act as a motivator to practice with it.

          But not too cool. A kid should be a little bit dissatisfied with the guitar they start on. When they complain, you tell them, "Once you get the basics out of the way, we'll try and find you the cool guitar you'll really like." Instant motivation and goal setting.

          The amp should be very basic, with no effects. Effects are toys to a noob, and distract from actually practicing. If a small cheap amp has no distortion, and junior wants to play rock 'n' roll, a distortion pedal is all they should get, and not right away. Distortion masks errors in full chords like G Maj, C Maj, A min, etc. It's only good for power chords and scales for a beginner (and, once again, to act as a lure to keep practicing just because it sounds "cool").

          I suggest starting on an electric, not acoustic, if junior likes any flavor of rock 'n' roll (and if they don't, clearly you're not a good parent). Once again, it's the specialty thing. You are not going to get distortion (thus power chords, etc) out of an acoustic, but you can learn various finger styles on an electric. For a beginner, I believe an electric is more versatile, with the added bonus that it can be played with headphones (caution! volume!).

          (Just think of all the parents who decided their precious snowflake should play the violin, and had to listen to the sound of feral cats being stomped on for five or six years before anything resembling music occurred. Think they ever wished their kid could practice with headphones?)

          Use pawn shops and/or Craig's List, but not eBay. You have to check out the used guitar yourself (or with an accomplished guitarist who knows what a good neck looks like), and you can't do that on the internet.

          The key is not where it's made, or what brand, or how cheap it is, the key is how good is the neck? Is the neck straight (and by that I mean, bowed correctly, and adjustable)? If the neck is good, the intonation and action can be set, then the guitar will be easy to play and will sound in tune and tend to stay in tune.

          After you buy it, you must have the action & intonation set by a professional (or yourself, if you are one). DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.

          A guitar with bad intonation cannot be tuned. Junior will sound crappy enough on his or her own, without hamstringing them with a junk guitar, or a poorly set up guitar, one that an experienced player would go all Pete Townsend on after trying unsuccessfully to tune it for 10 minutes.

          Further, if you use a tuner and you think you've tuned your guitar with bad intonation, the moment you play a chord, the chord is out of tune.

          If I catch you giving a child a guitar with bad intonation, I will call social services on your ass.

          Jack White can play a crap guitar with terrible intonation and make something good come out of it. Your precious angel is not Jack White.

          Yet.

          Get a fixed bridge. Do not buy a noob a guitar with a Floyd Rose, or other tremolo. There's no way a new player can tune a Floyd Rose guitar. It's hard enough for a noob to tune a fixed bridge guitar, without the confusion of the neck tension changing every time you tweak one string even slightly.

          Ignore the pickups. For a noob, they just don't matter. One. Two. Three. Single coil. Humbuckers. Some of each. It just doesn't matter right now. If the electronics are busted, good. Demand a cheaper price, take the extra money, buy a soldering iron, download the correct schematics off the internet, and fix it yourself. Or have the guy who sets up the action fix it.

          Or even better, teach your kid to solder and have him or her fix it. Nothing like a little sweat equity to create an emotional investment in the instrument, and thus more motivation to practice. Guitarists tend to become gearheads, so starting early is not a bad idea, just don't encourage the gear side to take away from... wait for it... practice.

          Look for parts at Carvin, or maybe Musician's Friend, Guitar Center, or a local shop. And of course Radio Shack for basic wiring stuff.

          Your personal infatuation with only the most awesome and prestigious gear, from either a collector or status perspective, must neither overshadow, nor taint your child's fascination with the vibe of the music itself.

          In other words, your child's musical development is not about you.

          It's about them, their ear, their motivation to make cool sounds. Every decision you make about gear and instructors must be centered around fostering the noob's motivation.

          If your child likes Metallica, and the guitar instructor is teaching them Greensleeves, fire the instructor and find someone to teach him or her Seek and Destroy.

          ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊     ◊

          Finally, a story:

          I was wandering about for no apparent reason in a local pawn shop. I spotted a piece of crap looking Ibanez hanging on the wall, and noticed it was a seven string. I've been wanting to fool around with a seven string, but the good ones are way too expensive for... wait for it... a specialty guitar to experiment with.

          It was black. I hate strongly dislike black guitars. And it was beat to shit. Some fool had put a decal on the front, and scraped it off with a dull razor blade or something. Not to mention all the nicks and dings and scratches on the body.

          Now, Ibanez makes some nice seven strings, but this was a cheapo Chinese one, before it was used as an oar or a door stop or a fly swatter or whatever the idiot that trashed it did with it. It had a junk tremolo, and the back plate was gone. No knob on the pickup selector. The nut on the jack was loose so when you plugged the cord in, it wiggled around and popped and cracked in the amp.

          In short, an ugly piece of shit.

          BUT, the neck was flawless. Straight, with zero dings on the back. Smooth as silk.

          The thing looked like a total turd, and so the guy at the register sold it to me for under $100. New strings, set up the intonation and action, and it plays freakin' great.

          If I ever want to use it to perform, I'll junk the electronics and get new, awesome pickups, sand off the body and have some local car artist do a custom paint job on it, insulate it with foil tape, and my $100 learner guitar will become special, just for me.

          In fact, I think I'll go play it right now...

          •  Good deal! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3rdOption, SherwoodB, Dirtandiron

            .....even if you ditch the body and electronics; having a good replacement neck for $100 is a steal!!

            This space for rent -- Cheap!

            by jds1978 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:53:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Great find...and great advice! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3rdOption

            Another piece of advice--one-on-one lessons are great, but it's amazing what my husband and I have learned on YouTube, free of charge!

            I totally agree on buying used.  I also suggest going to an independent music store, if you have one nearby.  They will provide you good advice on a beginner instrument and they will want your return business when you or your child become more proficient.  

          •  Tremolo can be set up so it's not floating (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3rdOption
            Get a fixed bridge. Do not buy a noob a guitar with a Floyd Rose, or other tremolo. There's no way a new player can tune a Floyd Rose guitar. It's hard enough for a noob to tune a fixed bridge guitar, without the confusion of the neck tension changing every time you tweak one string even slightly.
            I have four guitars with tremolos, two of them Floyd Rose, and two standard Fender Strat tremolos. If any tremolo is set up to "float", that is, you can pull the bar up as well as down, tuning will be difficult!  But all mine are set up so you can only push the bar down. So if one string breaks, all the others don't go out.  This is simple to do with regular trems, and even with Floyds like mine that are not recessed into the body.  Even the ones that are recessed into the body, any guitar tech who has worked on a tremolo should be able to set it up that way for you.

            Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

            by Dirtandiron on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:35:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The KISS Principle. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              No, not:

              Fireworks + Makeup > Talent

              But all mine are set up so you can only push the bar down... This is simple to do with regular trems...
              It is, and because, to me, most non-Floyd tremolos suck (won't stay in tune once you touch them), I've tightened the springs to lock the tremolo to the body on both that cheap Ibanez 7 string I mentioned, and on my Strat. The Strat's bar never even leaves the case, and I don't even remember if the Ibanez had a bar with it, I'll never use that tremolo anyway.

              The Floyd problem, for the purposes of buying a guitar for a noob, or giving advice to someone who is, is just too complicated. Which is why I advised to just not get one for a beginner.

              ...Floyds like mine that are not recessed into the body.
              IMO, there is no point to a Floyd Rose if the body's not routed out so it floats.

              And noobs don't need any of this.

              Even the ones that are recessed into the body, any guitar tech who has worked on a tremolo should be able to set it up that way for you.
              This is actually a bigger problem than it seems. Unlike other, regular tremolos, the fulcrum point on a Floyd is much further forward of the place where the string bends on the bridge, the point where, for the purposes of vibration, the string ends. So when you tighten the springs on the Floyd to lock it back against the body, that drops the action way low at the bridge, and significantly alters the intonation. It may also hide the ends of the bolts that are used to tighten the blocks that clamp each string to the bridge, to a place where the Allen wrench can't get to them.

              Now you have introduced a bunch of unnecessary technical problems. Is there enough adjustment left so that the intonation and action can be correctly set?

              The work-around to that problem is to put a small wooden block in the recess under the butt of the Floyd Rose, but if you don't screw or glue that block down, you can't depress the Floyd because it will release the block and now the guitar is unplayable until you put it back.

              Now, lets suppose you or your guitar tech resolves those issues, a noob still has to cope with stringing a Floyd Rose, and tuning it, and using the clamping nut (or leaving the clamps off, which completely eliminates the advantage of the Floyd staying in tune after you dive bomb with it, which noobs don't need to be doing anyway...), yadda yadda.

              So back to my point:

              Don't buy a noob a guitar with a Floyd Rose on it. It's a can of worms best left unopened, and it violates my "specialty" rule.

              HOWEVER, please don't misinterpret my anti-Floyd rant as being anti-Floyd. I'm anti-noob+Floyd, not anti-Floyd. I ordered my primary guitar, the one I've played live with the most, with a Floyd. I've used it so much I've had to replace worn pieces and parts on it.

              First, once a new set of strings are broken in, that guitar almost CANNOT go out of tune. I've tuned it at home, put it in its soft case, drove hours to a club, pulled it out and let is set on a stand, and it was perfectly in tune. Play it set after set, still in tune.

              Now I let that guitar sit on a stand for months and it will not go out of tune. The only exception is when the season changes and I either start or stop using the swamp cooler. The humidity will change the tension on the neck, and all my guitars have to be significantly retuned (if I was being anal about it, I'd adjust the necks every Spring and Fall...).

              Further, that Floyd saved tons of money on strings when I was playing out. On my Strat I used a new set of strings every night that I played. For this reason, I don't buy strings in packs, I buy them in bulk. On the guitar with the Floyd, I leave the ball ends on the strings and feed them down through the tuners and then to the clamps on the Floyd. I don't cut off the extra, I just tie it up so it doesn't flop around so much. I leave the ball ends on so I don't poke myself or someone else in the eye with them.

              Each day, before I played that night, I'd just loosen the nut clamps, and one by one, cut the first 1/2 to 1 inch off of each string and re-clamp it to the Floyd. On a Floyd, that's where the wear occurs that breaks the string. Strings don't break at the nut, and they don't break in the middle, they break where they bend over the saddle on the bridge. So I just feed more string through the tuners and cut off the 1/2 inch or so of worn string, and I could perform with one set of strings on that guitar for four to six weeks. (I use Finger Ease, which keeps the strings clean and slippery.)

              That saved me around ten bucks a weekend, plus saving me some during practices, and for a bar band musician, that adds up.

              And that guitar with the Floyd still stays in tune better than any guitar I've ever played.

              Ironically, since I ordered that guitar with the Floyd Rose specifically for the radical tricks it can do, I found that I almost never use the Floyd for that. I use it primarily for chord vibrato, which it does beautifully.

              Note that all of this is too freakin' complicated for a noob who's overwhelmed by a barre chord.

              In conclusion, for noobs, the KISS principle:

              Kids,
              Ignore
              Specialty
              Strumm-ables

      •  I bought 3 Fender '51's-originals, not the reissue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3rdOption, suzq

        on eBay a few years ago for $150 or less (they are going up, but still affordable, if you can find one). I have one of each color. Even though I have several American made guitars these still hold up well to most of them - except my '60's era Blackie Strat. My dad bought me that one when I moved up from a Silvertone - my fingers still hurt from that one but I wish I had it back!! NEVER sell an old guitar!! I sold or traded many collectibles over the years in the 60's - 70's - who knew???

        The '51 was a hybrid guitar when Fender moved its manufacturing from Japan (very good workmanship at the time) to China (not so much). They took American / Japan Tele bodies and Strat Necks and very nice pickups and bolted them all together, Then they started dumping them in those plain cheap, cardboard boxes at places like Sam's club and Costco because they didn't sell well at "real" guitar stores plus they were just trying to get rid of the piece parts.

        At one time you could pick them up for less that $99 (I've heard that a some Xmas sales you could pick them up at $69 each). They play extremely well after setting them up properly (most ALL guitars needs a good setup from the store - always worth a good guitar tech to have them setup properly). They are also a popular "hot rodding" base since they have very good components to begin with. Several sites used to sell '51 stuff (they are becoming increasingly rare now as the old '51 has started going up in price). If you hotrod one - keep the original parts.

        The guitar has become so popular that Fender is now making a '51 reissue and selling it for a lot more to cash in on the original '51's cache. I'm not sure how good the new ones are.

        Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

        by Da Rock on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:46:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Many many musicians (10+ / 0-)

      ordered their first guitars & amps from a Sears Catalog.

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 08:28:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Woolworths for me (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rolfyboy6, KenBee, Bluesee, nuthangerfarm

        Wish I still had that bass and the tube amp I bought there. I came home early one morning and it  was laying broken  in the yard with my clothes.

      •  I played in a garage band/bar band (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, Bluesee, 3rdOption, Dave925

        in HS and college in the 60s and 70s. Our lead guitarist had a Sears Silvertone guitar and amplifier. I thought the action on it was pretty crappy, but he was pretty good - good enough he's still making a living playing right now.

        Although he's switched to keyboards mostly and plays vintage semi-acoustic Gibsons now when he does play guitar.

        No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by badger on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:22:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This goes back a long way (here comes a story) (9+ / 0-)

        In fact, around the turn of the previous century the banjo was America's instrument. They had banjo orchestras, banjo virtuosos, banjo teachers, the whole nine yards. Part of that was because of the pride in the banjo being "the" American parlor instrument; part of it was because the banjo was extremely easy to manufacture, which meant it could be sold cheap, which meant lots of people bought them.

        So what does this have to do with guitars?

        Somewhere around 1900 manufacturers started figuring out how to make decent quality guitars inexpensively. The greater playing, tonal and dynamic ranges of the guitar prompted people to started moving from the banjo to the guitar. In fact for a while the banjo all but died out everywhere but in Appalachia until Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs sparked its revival in the 1940s.

        And a large percentage of those guitars (and the banjos before them) were ordered from the Sears, Roebuck or Montgomery Ward catalogs.

        (And on a personal note, I remember plowing through the Wards Christmas catalogs back in the mid-1960s and drooling over the electric guitars they had on sale during the heyday of Beatles wannabees.)

        Steal a trillion, too big to fail. Steal a thousand, go to jail.

        by Omir the Storyteller on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 09:45:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  custom banjos are pretty expensive now (4+ / 0-)

          many makers, long waiting lists, 4 and 5 figure prices.

          And those banjos that were popular back in the early 1900's, priceless.

          Along with guitar makers and banjo makers are the custom makers of cittern, bouzouki, mandolin, fiddle, and on and on into arcania...

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 11:14:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, indeed! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee

            I started on the banjo, and after 50 years of playing, have returned to it as my primary instrument once more.
            My first was a Kay, pretty much a piece of junk, that cost $100. 18 months later I bought my next one, an Ode, made in Boulder. It cost $240, and I eventually spent another $150 on a case and some parts. About $320 or so in total, and I played it for the next 14 years. I still have it.

            My next, an American made Ome (built by the same guys after starting a new company) cost $800 on a steep discount.
            A few years later, I designed 2 banjos for Ibanez, and received the prototypes for both as payment. These 3 banjos became the ones I played for the next 14 years.

            Then I bought a 1929 Gibson RB3 for $1800. Played that one for the following 8 years and swapped it straight across for an extremely high quality Czech-made banjo that would have cost $4,000 if I had bought it. By then my Gibson was worth the same money. (The Czechs are 5-string fanatics. It's a long story that involves the Soviets and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).

            The bottom fell out of the vintage banjo market during the Great Recession, and I picked up a few excellent banjos for what they cost originally.

            This spring, I just ordered another from the Czech maker. I've come to know him personally, and he is one of the very few makers who manufactures all the parts. His parts are so good all the American makers now use them.
            This one will cost $4,800. it would have cost $1,000 more before the Euro tanked.

            These days, it's common for a professional grade banjo to run around $5,000 from one of the well established companies. Single person banjo shops abound now, and those guys usually sell their banjos for $2500 up. The cost of the parts, and there are many of them on a banjo, have risen steeply over the past decade.
            Gibson, one of the premier and most sought-after banjo brands, has dropped all their banjo production. This has opened the doors to a lot of one-man shops.

            Even though  good banjos are spendy now, they still offer more bang for the buck than guitars, mandolins, and violins.

            Right many are called, and damn few are chosen.

            by Idaho07 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:36:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  parts is parts (0+ / 0-)

              my friend made a brake drum banjo...and it is heavy!

              cute tho, there is also a stove fuel banjo nearby...under the house by now probably..:>

              Long time great person and old time banjo player Jerry Adams recently died, a friend went to his funeral back east.

              This machine kills Fascists.

              by KenBee on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:42:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I started on stringed instruments (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          suzq, Omir the Storyteller

          when I fell in love with a girl in HS. Up until that time I played classical accordion (yes, there is such a thing). For some reason her and her mom played in a ukelele "band" once a week at Guy DeCordova's house (an old uke player in town). So to get some "air time" with her I got a uke and joined Guy and his Uke Orchestra.

          Still have the uke, but lost the girl.

          Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

          by Da Rock on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:02:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I Actually Owned a Bradford... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3rdOption, Dave925

        ...as in, "Bradford House", what they called the diner in Sears, where you get pancakes?

        Wonder where that went... it was a copy of a gs-335, f-hole curved top.

        Wow, there was a time when Americans could compete with other Americans to build a better product, wonder what happened to that also?

        Anyway, yeah, I own a Carvin and a 1961 Hohner hollow-body f-hole bass and an Epiphone 12-string, and a Mexican strat, but made with the original Polish wood!  So my bass player friend tells me.

    •  Gibson makes a lower end Les Paul styled guitar (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lone Apple, jds1978, SherwoodB

      in the States called the Les Paul Studio and can be had for $400-$500 new. As far as I remember you could never buy a truly good guitar for less than that unless you go back several decades.  But if you are looking to spend only a "couple of hundred" dollars, you will be buying a second tier guitar. But honestly, that is probably adequate for most people. Just don't ever spend less than $200-$300 on a guitar or you will be buying a poorly made instrument that will be frustrating and difficult to play.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:25:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not true regarding prices (0+ / 0-)

      When you adjust for inflation, Gibsons and Fenders (the two giants) cost pretty much the same as they ever did - actually, they have more budget instruments available now than they ever had in their early days of the 50's and 60's.

      Other instruments cost way, way more than guitars - violinists and saxophonists laugh at the whining of guitar players who don't want to shell out more than $500 for a quality instrument.

    •  Used Peavey guitars can be an excellent value. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      Prior to about 1995 they were all made in the USA and they will be marked. At some point Peavey went to off shoring budget models.

      They made a Strat clone called the Predator and a Tele clone whose name I forget ... and a number of slightly weirder guitars with Pointy 80s(tm) shapes. And many other 80s models, most of which are quite obscure now.

      I have a Peavey superstrat style which is phenomenally ugly. Bright yellow with multicolor Jackson Pollack finish, humbucker at the bridge and Tele like single at the neck, a traditional Strat style tremolo, bought for about $80.

      I'm embarrassed to say I don't recall the model but I will, I guess, after I finish posting ... Sigh ...

      And it is a pleasure to play. People tend to rave about the necks on old Peavey budget models.

      The old Peavey T series can be found as well, and they are very well made, but on eBay tend to be overpriced. Also, they were designed back in the day when "heavier was better" and they weigh a ton. There is a T15, T30 and T60.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:30:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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