I play, or rather slaughter the guitar. I have mentioned previously a particular acoustic guitar made by Taylor which I covert considerably, so good is it, that on the occasions in my life I have been able to purchase it – I didn’t, on the grounds that I just simply did not believe my playing standard could warrant such a wonderful piece of kit.
Now…. I’m not a happy bunny about guitars. I purchased a very weird guitar while living in Saudi Arabia which has turned out to be awesome, it is an Epiphone that looks like a Stratocaster, the body (a laminate) has stood up to some serious beatings and has been almost dragged around the entire world, but the action (the distance of the string from the fret board) is an awesome cigarette paper width!
It now needs a too much doing to it to make it viable, so I thought I’d go and look at what is around at the moment, there is a global recession on – so in theory prices should be good – NOT SO!
I am frankly appalled at what I’ve seen and what I have seen is nothing short of abysmal.
Fender are now seriously over priced, half the time you can’t tell what part of the globe they’re made (apparently this has a bearing on the price – for the exact same model). When they stick just the odd extra item on, the price almost doubles!!
Then there is Gibson… Gibson have been known to make some pretty awesome guitars over there history, but sometimes the consistency of these is frankly all over the place.
A couple of years ago I took my brother to Denmark Street in London (often referred to as Tin Pan Alley) to buy his first Fender Strat (in fact, when there – you can often find me drinking coffee in the 12 Bar Cafe). In the process I tried some variant of Gibson’s Les Paul and was stunned at the quality, the action and the playability. The Guitar’s price was way into the 4 figure mark – but I was seriously impressed (that takes a lot). The following week I decided that I should buy it, but alas upon arrival, it had already been sold. Not to be deterred I trawled all the Gibson dealers trying literally hundreds of Les Pauls and NONE of them came close to the guitar I had tried. But here’s the thing – they were ALL more expensive than the original I tried!
Then there is Gibson’s Dark Fire… Oh please, other than a free software pack, Gibson would have to do a lot to get me to part with such a stupid amount of cash for one of these. Seriously, they have taken the technology forward with guitar automation and this is their 2nd offering in the field – but really, if they’re not going to standardize the technology and have a permanent range of these guitars – then how will I know if I’ll be able to get replacement parts for it in years to come?!
And the price while half the world are losing there jobs – yes Gibson, it’s not discerning, it’s daylight robbery for a guitar with a variety of extras that you could… no, I bet you can get more technically clever ones on kiddies toys – Seriously unimpressed! That said, the software package looks very good indeed. But at inxcess of £2500 – a reality check is in order!!
Actually, Gibson must realise they don’t generally make that much of a great quality instrument any more in any way shape or form. Everyone complains about the Gibson Quality Control – or should I say, lack of it.
This to me is very sad, as it can make you feel that they might simply be living on past glories – Yet Dark Fire is most certainly there attempt at a 21 century guitar. But I have never picked up a Gibson and thought it was worth the money except for that once.
I just can not see at the present time that a manufacturer is doing anything special, that new, or with good value vs quality to be worth splashing out some of the money they’re asking for, and after all – it’s a buyers market. And Gibson – your guitars are simply not worth the money you ask for them and have not been for some time!
Back in the 80’s I owned both a Fender Strat and Tele, The Telecaster I played all the time and rarely touched the Stratocaster. The Strat is a better ‘all round’ guitar, but I loved that Telecaster. Have you seen what kind of money they want for this plank of wood these days? It’s crazy!!
But I have come a long way from my first electric guitar. When I was 15 I owned a HondoII Les Paul copy that had a neck… well I think Robin Hood would have made far better use of than any guitarist. Sadly it didn’t come with arrows though.
But let me just stop for a moment and offer some knowledge – guitar prices are not based on what they cost to produce, think of the hours on personal or public entertainment, what is the value of this personally? Would I pay a buck every time I wanted to play a great guitar? The answer is a resounding yes. The second thing is how often do I play? Daily! and for years – so I get the pricing to a point. But I have not seen anything at all to get me to spend my hard earned cash – and believe me, If the manufactures could possibly convince me, then I will listen. But other than that, I think I would spend the money doing up the guitar I already love.
In all honesty, there is a brand of guitars I would dearly like to try, G&L. The company Leo Fender founded after he sold Fender to CBS. As Leo put it “These are the real ones“.
Finally – Taylor…
Taylor have brought out the ‘Solid Body’ range and I think I would like to try one, but this I’d have to travel some distance to do, so therefore I simply wont!
I’m sure they’ll have got the attributes right – but looking at the prices, they’d have to be very special indeed. That said; Taylor are singularly the most consistently playable guitars and probably the finest selection of woods available from any guitar maker – and why I have wanted to have one made for me since 1995.
I feel that between all the Guitar makers, all of whom make great guitars, Gibson is the worst for consistency and this has been backed up by the grumbles of many a guitar shop owner – it’s sad, but true!
So please someone, somewhere - show me a guitar worth it’s money!!