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

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  •  There are nice Korean guitars as well. (8+ / 0-)

    While I play more high end guitars I picked up a Korean made Hamer Sunburst Arch Top model a few years ago (actually a goldtop) which is a very nice guitar for $350. Eventually I changed out the Duncan designed pickups but I compared some of the workmanship to Gibson Les Pauls at the time and the binding on this guitar was better put down than some of those that cost 6 times that much!

    Actually, Gibson has had a lot of inconsistencies over the years even on higher end models. I have a beautiful 1958 VOS Reissue which despite being one that sounded really great has a couple small issues (like a little overspray on the binding on the neck) that I chose to overlook because I liked it so much despite flaws that I shouldn't see in a guitar at that price.

    Still, overall my experience is there are lots of good starter guitars out there, but it's true that they usually come from overseas. The fact is, if someone has stuck with it for a year or so with a cheap guitar you probably will need to spend at least $350 - $500 minimum new or used for the next step up. But then you have a wealth of decent choices. Labor costs make it hard to do in America, even with CNC machines and a lot of mechanical stuff. There is always going to be a fair amount of hand work done on a guitar.

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