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Unread 12-18-2003, 02:55 PM   #61
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If I may interject more of a question than a statement so much...

Taylors (acoustic) are CNC'd. After that, the work is done by hand. There's likely a bit more of machine work done on the cheaper models, but beyond that (this info is gathered from Taylor's website, btw) the only "machine" work done to my 614 is the actual CNC.

In looking at a distance and up close at my guitar, there's the absolute highest attention to detail that I have seen on any guitar. I'm not going to say that Martins, Gibsons, other acoustics are poorly made in the least, but rather that my CNC'd Taylor is one of the absolute cleanest most attention-to-detail" paid guitars I have ever played or seen.

If there's such a huge difference between CNC and strict "hand-made", what flaws am I supposed to have in my guitar? If CNC is lower-quality, I should in theory have a lower-quality guitar, as well, right? Now, I want to first issue the disclaimer that I think that last statement is a bunch o' hooey, but assuming that anyone on this thread will say that my 614ce is lower quality, I'd be interested to hear "why"...

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Unread 12-18-2003, 03:39 PM   #62
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Short answer: world of difference between electrics and acoustics.

On a purely logistical level, acoustics are way, way, way more intricate that electrics. Compared to acoustics, electrics are a no-brainer.

More later . . . [i.e. longer post forthcoming]

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Unread 12-18-2003, 06:04 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom
1495 base price - solid mahogany body/maple neck with tung oil finish
75 for mahogany neck
200 laminate charge ( I am assuming that is to laminate a bookmatched maple cap onto the body)
400 for a bookmatched flame maple top
450 for a stained / glossy finish
250 body binding
150 neck binding (I can't remember do the PRS have this?)
45 locking tuners
300 for neck inlays (lighning bolts)
And don't forget the PRS pickups... And I don't believe PRS's have neck binding.

Quote:
Total for Quicksilver with "PRS" style aesthetic options = $3365.00
That is less than I would have expected for a Luthier-shop made guitar, but still more than a comparable PRS. I am sure they are wonderful guitars - they certainly look great in the pictures, but the bottom line to me is that both being made of the same type of wood, and comparable in design, etc., the end products would be very similar. If I had the dough and the desire to buy one or the other, unless one really knocked me over in a certain way, resale value notwithstanding, I would go with the lower priced one.
Well, I guess now we have to have someone do a side by side comparison now to find out. Until then, we really don't know which one is preferable.

Quote:
I do, however, like the idea of getting what I want on there - if I had specific pickups I wanted, neck width/profile and other options that I was set on, it might be better to go with the QS than the PRS and sink extra $$ into it, but then, if I order a guitar, and receive it after a month or two, it might not have the "magic" of the one I tried and liked. So maybe being in stock locally so I can pick one out that "does it" for me might be worth a certain $$ amount too...
Yeah, custom made guitars have that advantage.

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Products and services in our world aren't sold for their intrinsic worth, but what the market will bear. PRS and Gibson guitars sell for what they do because people buy 'em. I can't fault them for that, nor do I know what their real costs are - the bigger the company and more employees, etc, means bigger office payroll - accounting dept, managers, supervisors, etc. A lot of overhead costs that a small shop does not have, costs that don't add value to the product per se, but are real nonetheless, and do keep people employed and the economy moving.
Supply and demand. Business works like that. No offense Chesh, but I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to call them corporate a-holes. They want to make money just like everyone else, even if they rediculously overcharge for their products. (I'm not saying it is right either. In fact, I think they should lower prices.)

PS- That flaming section was getting me kinda worried back there...
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Unread 12-18-2003, 06:53 PM   #64
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I think there is something being misunderstood here. I think I speak for both Chesh and I when I say that we never said that CNC machines are of lesser quality then handmade guitars. What is being said is that companies are using CNC machines, then charging handmade prices for them. Though I actually think that handmade costs more.
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Unread 12-18-2003, 07:20 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheshireCat
On a purely logistical level, acoustics are way, way, way more intricate that electrics. Compared to acoustics, electrics are a no-brainer.
Yes, electric guitars are what big kids get in a kit, then bolt and screw together in their spare weekend time, only to smash them onstage at their next show. Acoustics take much more love and care.

Quote:
I think there is something being misunderstood here. I think I speak for both Chesh and I when I say that we never said that CNC machines are of lesser quality then handmade guitars. What is being said is that companies are using CNC machines, then charging handmade prices for them. Though I actually think that handmade costs more.
I agree with you, but now we've thrown in another factor: the acoustic guitar. Of course, I'm no genius about acoustic guitars. Check the forum... I usually leave the acoustic guitar threads alone...
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Unread 12-18-2003, 08:33 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoMan
I think there is something being misunderstood here. I think I speak for both Chesh and I when I say that we never said that CNC machines are of lesser quality then handmade guitars. What is being said is that companies are using CNC machines, then charging handmade prices for them. Though I actually think that handmade costs more.
Gotcha. In that case, I most certainly agree. Based on the idea of CNC being crappola though as some people have mentioned, I couldn't disagree more. Charging extra for them? All it ends up being is more and more money lining the pockets of the manufacturers. Ultimately, it makes no real difference to me whether my Taylor (or any guitar) is initially cut by a machine or handtools though. That's where I thought the discussion was heading with this...
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Unread 12-19-2003, 01:13 AM   #67
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RESPONSE TO WEBE123

Quote:
WEBE123: Are YOU so freakin IGNORANT that you have to believe that YOUR CONCEPT IS THE ONLY ONE?? Where do you get off telling me or others what we should think? And WHY is your opinion SO IMPORTANT? To me, you are nothing but a guitar snob that likes to put down other peoples INSTRUIMENTS!
Okay, that's basically a bunch of vitriol from someone who's feather's I've inadvertantly ruffled, best as I can tell. I wasn't slamming any particular instrument. I was slamming the corporate cost-cutting policies of some companies who have been capitalizing on the general ignorance of the buying public.

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Webe123: OKAY I will answer that if you answer THIS, who do you think you are? and why should I bow down before YOUR great knowledge? Do you think you are some kind of KNOWLEDE GOD?? I only know ONE and it AIN'T YOU!! Get that through your head!
The God of Knowledge!?! Alright, that sounds clever, but I have no idea what that means. I am the God of only my Opinion. And that's all I offer. Nothing more; nothing less. I hold it strongly, but am always open to seeing things in different ways if presented to me in insightful, respectful, thoughtful ways. My Fiefdom is made up of all the Facts that I have gained, Experiences I have had, and direction I have received from Lutherie mentors over the last 12 years. That's all I offer. My opinions were hard won for 12 years, so I am adament in them, but I am no Knowledge God, nor ever claimed to be. I just know what I know. And, quite frankly, the answer to your next question of "Well, who asked you!?!", the answer is "several people" in the context of discussing and posting in this, and other, threads.

Now, you might say in all fairness that "well, I never asked for your opinion!!" That would be true. That is the reason the post you so vehemently responded to, both guns blazing, attacking me from out of the blue, was in fact a response to other people. Not you. It was never about you. I'm sorry if you thought it was, or somehow thought I was attacking you.

To date, I have never started a thread or post with the thought, either internal or expressed, of "Hey Everyone! Doesn't WEBE123's PRS totally suck!?! Isn't it awful!?!" I've never said that. I've never thought that. Sorry if you thought I operated from that place, but I didn't.

What I did say was that I think that several major guitar companies, like PRS, Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez, are all pursuing a false economy by cost-cutting the quality of their guitars to an unsuspecting, largely uneducated buying public, and then insinuating that their guitars are up to their former standards.

That is what the Major Car Manufacturers in Detroit did decades ago. The Traded on the Allegiance of the American car buying public and the Goodwill fostered by the early Founders of those companies. Well, after one too many trips to the garage, the American car buying public got the hint. At the same time, Japan was cranking out quality cars, looking to rebuild their industries after the war, and they were going for zero defects. Total Quality Management.

Detroit - Trading on past glories and built-in obsolesence.
Japan - Looking for a fresh start and total focus on zero defects and Total Quality Management.

Now, did they ever attain zero defects? Well, frankly, yes. In several instances, they hit pitch perfection. However, lots of times, they didn't. As a norm, they didn't. However, that's not the point. Point is, they have had the fewest defects than any Detroit car of the same era.

In a nutshell, Detroit never knew what hit them! And then they paid dearly for it.

Now, having gotten a royal clue, Detroit is coming back, but it took a lot of digging out of some pretty hienous self-dug holes. They have had to totally reinvent themselves, and truth is they may never completely come back to the position they first held, being the world leaders in car production.

The short version of this is that Detroit took their Goodwill assets for granted, lost grip of the proverbial steering wheel, and got kicked in the 9's for it by a Croaching Tiger and Hiding Dragon from the East.


Who am I? 1) Someone who knows his stuff backwards and forwards. 2) Someone who is a member of these boards and posts his opinion and discusses matters of public interest, i.e. they having been posted on this forum, and publishes facts to the best of his knowledge. 3) Someone who cares more about the needs of the members of this board, and is committed to seeing them get exactly what they want at the absolute best value they can afford - be that a hot-rodded MIM Strat (et al) or a Handmade Guitar to their spec, and all points in between. 4) Someone who knows what he knows, and claims nothing more.

Quote:
webe123: YES you said that.... and then downed fender and other manufacturers (PRS heel from hell . . . . remember??) because they were not hand made!
No, I didn't down the guitars for not being Handmade, I downed the company for insinuating that the guitars are Handmade when they are not. The two most grevious offenses of PRS are that HFH which most people I know don't like (tho, if you do, that's fine) and that one piece wraparound bridge which makes intonating the strings individually impossible. Why do they get away with it? Because most people don't know any better.

BTW, PRS, to the best of my knowledge, always had a one-piece wraparound bridge, even during their Handmade days. But here's the difference. The pre-95's had an excellent wraparound that hand individual saddle pieces like a T-O-M and could intonate the strings individually. Not my cup of tea, but an excellent brigde none-the-less. So it's not the one-piece thing or the wraparound thing that bothers me. It's the fact that you can't intonate the strings, which is kind of important if you want the guitar to play in tune with itself.

Now, the next logical question is, "well, if the PRS can't play in tune with itself, then why do they even have that bridge. They wouldn't have it if it doesn't totally work." That's a very good question. A very good answer I already posted earlier on, and will probably revisit if I can find it.

[Found it]

Quote:
Quote:
Major Tom said:
I do like the wrap around pre-compensated tailpiece though - elegant, simple without rough edges, nooks and crannies to accumulate sweaty dirt and sludge, screws to get rusty, etc. Gibson and others have used those over the years on LP juniors, etc. I used to have a Melody Maker with a similar 1 pc. bridge - they work great and look good too. Just my opinion.
I responded:
Well, romantic notion, but the cost-cutting benefits are profound. Understand, the PRS wraparound has no moving parts, apart from two readily available hex screws. So, in essense, the bridge is only one piece of metal, and is no different than a Gibson stop tailpiece. It's also rather simple (simplistic?) in design - basically just a stop tailpiece with the little string channels milled into the top, and two threaded holes for the hex screws tapped into the ends. A T.O.M. bridge, OTOM (new acronym), has 19 pieces. Same with the Tele and Strat bridges. There's a payoff for the more sophisticated design.

With a PRS wraparound, you cannot individually intonate all six strings. You can only intonate the E strings by virtue of the hex screws, and then hope the middle four strings come close. With a TOM, all strings can be individually intonated.

See, guitars are not well tempered. They are even tempered. The difference being that guitars are not in tune with themselves the same way a piano is after it has been professionally tuned. At best, the guitar's tuning is an approximation. So, when PRS uses a lesser bridge design, that is not as nearly conducive to good, proper intonation as the LP, Strat, and Tele bridges, that loss of accuracy get's lost in the malaise of even temperance.

Some might argue that that approximation, and just being a bit off in tuning is actually characteristic of the guitar, makes up part of the guitars sonic signature, and adds a certain quality of authenticity and charm to the guitars sound and presence. These are the same people who think Strats are supposed to have a 60 cycle hum.
As I mentioned, every little bit counts, and little by little, the quality standards slip.

Quote:
webe123: AND STILL you bashed other guitar manufacturers because you felt they didn't live up to your standards ...GET A LIFE!
No, not my standards, their standards! Their previously set standards that they set years ago, and now no longer live up to.

Quote:
Face it...there are some things you may like in a guitar and others will not, just like I may have my opinions and you have yours about what makes a good guitar! Either way, that does NOT make a guitar good or bad! just different!!
That's fine. I think guitars should be judged on their own merits, but I take umbrage over the cost-cutting practices causing quality to slip, and then spin-doctoring it away in a cloud of double-speak.

Quote:
But don't think FOR A SECOND that you are gonna change my opinion about what I want or need to buy, espically with this "Holier than thou" attitude!
Dude, I never wanted to. Play want you want to play. Understand, I was never attacking you or your PRS, just what has become of PRS in contrast to what they insinuate about themselves. I'll never own a post-95 PRS, so it doesn't impact me, but it does impact all the collectors and investors who still think that PRS's are made by hand. When they realize that that is not the case, they are in for a rude awakening. Much like those who held Enron stock.

Quote:
Webe123: Listen my mind is just fine! But I think YOU have a SCREW LOOSE! I read all of your statements and even though you came off as trying to project that you are just fine with those guitars.....the last few paragraphs sounded like a posterchild for handmade guitars!
Okay. I don't follow, but okay.

Quote:
If you can't handle that then tough!
No, like I said, I would be absolutely honored to hold the title of Poster Child for Handmade Guitars. I would probably put it in my siggy. Now, that would be done with tongue firmly in cheek, but I would be honored none-the-less, as I said.

But that wasn't the point at that point in the post. The more salient point was that Paul was poster child for Handmade for almost two decades running, and that's what his rep was firmly built on.

Quote:
And why are we talking newbies??
1) Because I was referencing that CNC'd guitars at cheap prices for newbies was a good thing, echoed from a last post, and 2) the indocturnation starts with the Newbies and all of the rock star endorsers (endorsies?) that they listen to (read: star worship . . . not a bad thing, I did too). In fact, in another thread, someone hit that nail on the head squarely. He actually said, "well, I see a lot of pros playing [X Brand], so they must be good".

That's where it starts. That's the whole point of celebrity endorsements. If they do it, and you want to be like them, then you should do it to. Forget the fact that those celebs get paid to endorse said products. Not that that is a bad thing if they actually use the product, but often times many celebs don't.

That's especially true of guitars. Most celeb endorsers don't actually play their siggy guitars. They play a cosmetically identical one that it ghostbuilt to their spec. And, on top of that, they don't actually have to play it, but rather, just be seen with it - in concert, in videos, public apperances, clinics (oh!!! especially clinics!). But they can record with whatever gear they want.

Quote:
This was about handmade vs. cnc production . . . . do you really think that a newbie (unless Bill Gates starts playing guitar) is able to AFFORD a HANDMADE instrument??
Depends.

If their parents are going to spring for a PRS or other Christmas Guitar, or if Danny the Doctor, Larry the Lawyer, Denny the Dentist, or Ralph the Realtor want to relive their youth and pick up guitar again after not having touched their old Kay guitar from their youth in 30 years, and the saleskid at GC tells them that PRS is the best, then yes.

If they above is not true, and the newbie in question can only get $100 out of his parents, plus whatever lawnmowing money he can score, then no.

In the first case, I would recommend a basic model Luthier job for the money, i.e. off the rack, like a Heritage, a QS, a Parker, or a JET, and so on, and in the second case, I would recommend what I have been recommending, i.e. a MIM Strat, scheduled for future hot-rods.

Quote:
For most the answer would be NO!
Well, like I said, that depends. However, since, as you accurately pointed out, for the most the answer would be NO!, I usually advocate the hotrodded MIM Strat rout more often than I advocate handmade. This is also the reason why I started the "Worst Advice" thread. I want to creat a method for newbies to get good reliable gear that's foolproof, parentproof, kidproof, and ChristmasGuitarproof.

Quote:
And even if they could, most would advise against it, because they don't really know if they will stick with guitar or not!!
Well, I advise against it too, but not for those reasons. I think the whole "stick with it" argument is utterly absurd, and the very reason why many kids don't. See, their parents often figure that they won't, so they buy them unplayable crap [not like they know about how to get a set-up job done by a Guitar Tech or Luthier] and tell them, "you get good on that, and then we will get your something better." BA-da-DA-da, dun-dun-du, Another one bites the dust . . . . And that's all she wrote. And then the parents smuggly congratulate themselves. "See, I told you he wouldn't stick with it. I'm glad we didn't spring too much for it."

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webe123: YES I READ YOUR POSTS! If you want to take ME on do then, but you have one fight comming! I can promise you that!
Well, not really. I never was taking you on. I was rebutting your attacks and retorting your vitriol. None of that post you responded to was aimed at you, but was a specific response to about 3 other people.

Quote:
webe123: Because not ONE TIME in my posts did I ever suggest that PRS was the one to have!
Nor did I. I was simply comparing to guitars which perfectly illustrated the point of this thread, in response to a specific, insightful, and salient question that Major Tom asked.

True, Quicksilvers are excellent guitars, and are reverred and coveted by everyone I know who has touched one. And I know plenty of these people. But those weren't the only guitars I mentioned. I also gave a shoutout to Alembic, JET, Heritage, and several others.

Quote:
But in most of YOUR posts not ONLY PRS...but Fender and Gibson got it too!
Distinction. The corporate a-holes got it, the guitars themselves didn't. Like I said, all three of them are perfectly fine production guitars. So's Iby. Nothing wrong with that. I just think they are way overpriced.

Quote:
It is true of ANY (including the one you mentioned) guitar that they have faults and flaws, but when you act like it is so bad to own a fender, gibson or PRS then I will take3 that up with you in SPADES!
I never said, nor acted, as if it was bad to own a PRS, Fender, or Gibson. Not my first choice, but if that's your bliss, follow it. I just don't want to see people get taken in by all this marketing BS.

Quote:
here it is...and I have NO trouble with it at all!! This is it on the auction I won at ebay! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...&category=33045
Cool. I look forward to seeing it. Will click there this and post later on it.

Quote:
webe123: Yeah your "ga ga" all right, just somebody who wants attention!
Okay, that's just plain insulting.

Quote:
If it is so bad, then why doesn't PRS shut down and make heels to please YOU?? Gee....I guess that is beacuse they are doing fine WITHOUT YOU!
Doing fine without me? Okay, I have no clue what that is supposed to mine. Obviously you didn't mean to imply that I am so egotistical and narcissistic as to think the world revolves around me, so apart from blurting out some emotional vitriol, I don't really follow.

As to you question about why PRS won't shut down? Simple. They are making money hand over fist selling cost-cut, compromised quality guitars to uneducated, brainwashed consumers at artificially inflated, handmade prices. Not to be pointed about it, but that's how it boils down.

Now, a more appropriate question will be "how long will PRS manage to do this and still stay in business." Good question. That really depends, but I'm thinking, not for long. They are going to have to start raising their standards as soon as consumers raise theirs. Or lower their prices. Right now, guitar consumers standards are low. Very low. They just don't know their stuff, and are easily swayed by marketing hype. As we post more quality info about these issues, that will change. And as more Super-PRS-clones at half the price start coming out, PRS will be forced to return to their roots or lower their prices if they want to stay competitive.

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Quote:
Fine. To each his own.
webe123: my words EXACTLY!!
Cool. We're in agreement.

Of course, that wasn't the original point of the thread.

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webe123: Apparently I have a difference of opinion with you and youy can't STAND THAT!
No, frankly, I don't care.

What I did care about was being vitriolically attacked and flamed in a public forum.

Quote:
webe123: Well I am GLAD you FINALLY realized that HE was the one who started all of this! At least you are not that stupid!
Dude, I've always known that, and was one of his biggest fans! That's why it sucked so much to see him sell-out. Haven't you ever suffered the loss of a hero who sold-out? Not fun, I can tell you.

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Quote:
"Boy, I'm soooooooo glad you said that . . . you are making this sooooo easy for me . . . we continue . . ."
webe123: Great glad I can help
Okay.

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Quote:
First, all these companies did exactly what you said they did. They . . .

. . . just as you've said, by PRODUCING HANDMADE GUITARS!!! Paul, Leo, and Orville all started that way. That's where their reputation came from, not from what the corporate a-holes who bought them out did with them.

Second, I don't hate the guitars themselves. I still think they are perfectly fine guitars, the ravages of cost-cutting not withstanding. What I do hate, and what I have been ranting about, is what the corporate a-holes have done to dramatically compromise quality while keeping the prices artificially inflated.

Paul Reed Smith built his rep on HANDMADE GUITARS. In fact, HE PIONEERED THEM IN THE EARLY 70'S. He was the trendsetter. PAUL REED SMITH WAS A THE POSTER CHILD FOR HANDMADE FOR 2 DECADES!!! Man, don't you even know your history? That all changed in April of '95. Have you even ever seen a pre April '95 PRS? Probably not."
webe123: Yeah and I guess YOU the KNOWLEDGE GOD of all guitars are the one I should bow to?? THINK AGAIN!!
What the heck does that mean?

Since when did I command you to kneel before me? I was just challenging your postulate.

Quote:
Quote:
"Also, you obviously haven't read all the posts where I clearly say how much I want to get a PRS!!!! A pre April '95 PRS! Of course, I'll hot-rod it (and no I don't give a freak about resale value - I'm never going to sell it). And speaking of feel and manufacture, that's exactly what Paul was known for. Beautiful, exquisitely built handmade guitars that looked and felt awesome, and played incredibly well. That's what his reputation was built on. Why is that so hard to get?"
webe123: What is so "hard to get" is your Flip flop in this area! NOW you are are saying you would want to own one?? WHY?? I mean if I felt a company "sold out" why would I want one of their guitars?? Same goes for gibson and fender you mentioned!
Flip-flop? Why wouldn't I want a pre-95 PRS? They are excellent guitars, the very guitars that Paul built his rep with. Just because I have no respect for what the corporate a-holes are doing to the company and the direction they are taking it in doesn't mean that the pre-95 PRS's weren't excellent guitars.

I'm not so petty as to somehow retroactively condemn Paul's Life Work just because he's a bit . . . backsliden, let's say.

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Quote:
"Also, how many times have I recommended Strats? How about countless times? Or P-Basses? Try countless times. In fact, I have often said that Strats are one of my favorite guitars, that I love 'em. Correct me if I am wrong, but arent' they Fender instruments? Now, I'm not too big on Gibby, but then I have a had a custom LP in mind for some time, so stay tuned."
webe123: Again if I were you, I wouldn't dirty myself with the likes of these guitars! Why..... THEY SOLD OUT!! Wouldn't you be lowering your standards just a little?? I would HATE to see that! I mean...buy a guitar from a company that you think sold out?? (sarcasim intended!)
Alrighty then. Okay . . . .

Well, assuming there was something remotely rational in there, I'll respond.

PRS - pre-95
Fender - No, I wouldn't. Not when I can make one. I have some custom Strat clone designs on the table that I am working on.
Gibson - That custom LP wasn't a "custom 59 LP" or something, but an LP that I would be making myself, for me, to my spec. I was acknowledging the guitar style itself, and not the company.
Iby - I have some Satch designs in the works, once again that I would be making myself, for me, to my spec. I was acknowledging the guitar style itself, and not the company.

And, in the process of making them, yes, I would be bringing them up to my standards, which, coincidently, are the very same standards that these companies insinuate.

Quote:
Quote:
"Once again, that's all unfounded BS. I've said countless times that they are perfectly fine production guitars. Overpriced as hell, but perfectly fine production guitars nonetheless."
webe123: Really, I don't see what we are arguing about! You have your points and I can come right back with mine! But if I were you and I really felt that PRS, Gibson or Fender for that matter was a terrible company that sold out because they USED TO handmake thier instruments.... I would NEVER and I mean NEVER buy their guitars PERIOD!
And I don't. Not when I can make them myself. I only recommend their production guitars that sell at production prices to newbies who are not in the position to spring $2K, be it actually handmade or simply at handmade prices.

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Quote:
"Well, no, none of what you've tried to throw in my face was actually my opinion, but whatever your opinion is, you are more than welcome to it.

However, what I don't care for is how you are taking me on and you don't know what you are freaking talking about, and you didn't really read anything that I wrote.

My guess would be that I inadvertantly ruffled your feathers and you flew off the handle without actually reading what I wrote. Well, sorry if I ruffled your feathers, but, dude, if you're going to throw down, at least be able to back up what you say."
webe123: Dude I CAN back up what I say!
That's fine. Drop the vitriol, be civil, and debate the issues. Also, first illustrate that you actually understood what I was saying. In most of this post, you didn't. I don't mind repeating myself or clarifying, but that's better handled within the context of discussion, not vitriolic flaming.

Quote:
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PS - Also, another thing. You came out attacking me, both guns blazing. If you attack me, you'll get it back ten fold. If you just express disagreement in a friendly tone, and ask rather than accuse, then I am really mellow and more than happy to discuss something and clarify anything that was maybe confusing and not clear.
webe123: OK, but that GOES TWO WAYS MISTER! If I see you asking me what I am smoking then yes, YOU are going to get it!
And is it totally lost on you that you attacked me first without any provocation whatsoever while I was responding to a specific question that someone else asked? Loosely speaking, you butted into my response to another member and started attacking me straight up. You could have been nice about it and teed up what you said with, "well, Chesh, I disagree with you," or "with all due respect, you're flat wrong" or "some points you want to consider" or something like that. You started flamming me from the get go.

So, my tone was somewhat sarcastic to say the least in response.

In all truth and authenticity, I would have liked to have had this exchange between us in a much different tone and context.

Chesh
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Unread 12-19-2003, 09:17 AM   #68
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webe123: Again, if I have insulted you I apologise, but I do not apologise for being offended when you call people "brainwahsed and uneducated" for buying a production guitar or for beliving an advertisement about their favorite guitar! You see evryone has different opinions, but when you act like they are stupid because they believe an advertisement, you make enemies, not friends! Think before you post...... please!

Last edited by PianoMan; 12-19-2003 at 10:20 AM. Reason: quote was a bit long ;)
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Unread 12-19-2003, 10:25 AM   #69
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I think that when Chesh says "brainwashed and uneducated" he means that most people simply don't know how much some companies cost-cut. Because they are popular brands, they assume automatically that they are the best there is. His (and my) goal to a degree is to increase the public awareness that there ARE other brands out there that are of higher quality. We don't think they are stupid, just uneducated.
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Unread 12-19-2003, 12:42 PM   #70
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I think that when Chesh says "brainwashed and uneducated" he means that most people simply don't know how much some companies cost-cut
You can only judge the final product by its own merits. Sure, a lot of Les Pauls and PRS prices seem high, but they are not cheap guitars to make, automated and semi-automated processes or not. I have no idea how much they cost to make, or what kind of profits if any PRS or Gibson makes. I do know that american labor is very expensive.

I don't understand this mythical quality thing that some have mentioned here - what am I missing? What am I or anyone else uneducated or ignorant about? Its a solid body guitar; its either made out of a nice sounding piece of wood, or it ain't. Are they using wood that was rejected from "quality" guitar makers?

These little custom guitar shops have their niche market, and I'm sure they are fine products, but they don't have the market cornered on all the great sounding wood in the world. Matter of fact, if anybody would have the advantage, it would be PRS and Gibson - they have the big buying power. When I look at a PRS, for example, I don't see any quality issues - they have a nice straight neck with, I assume, plenty of truss rod adjutment, beautiful fit and finish, made out of mahagany with a flamed maple top, glossy finish -I don't see any rough edges or splinters sticking out. How can a guitar made at a small shop be better quality than that? Do these little shops have some process to make the wood sound better? Magic of some sort? Voodoo? What are these quality issues that some of you are referring to?

Where exactly does this "cost-cutting" bugaboo manifest itself on the final product?
And I don't want to hear this garbage about the wrap around bridge - it doesn't need individual string adjustment because it is pre-intonated. Much cleaner. Personally I prefer these for several reasons that I stated before not to mention that it can stay in tune better because it doesn't have the inch and a half of string behind the bridge to "store" a different amount of string tension due to the friction of the string slot, so that when it does finally equalize, throws the string out of tune. This is a matter of design choice by the manufacturer, and a matter of personal preference of the end user, just like the soon-to-be rusty screwed, sweat-residue-encrusted tune-o-matic is the design choice of other mfrs. At an OEM level the price difference would be negligible on a guitar of this caliber. For those that want the Tune-o-matic thing, buy a different guitar, or spend $40 for a replacement. As far as pickups- still a matter of design choice, and taste. PRS humbuckers have their own voicing - if you don't like it, buy one you do.

And what is this advertising or whatever from PRS that some of you say alludes to their products being "hand made"? They do have factory tours, and have had columnists write about their factory visit, so I don't see where they are trying to hide anything. Their website says a virtual factory tour is forthcoming on their website.... If you mean they use terms like "crafted" or whatever, well, I guess that's where we disagree. Using my limited experience of having been a Production Manager at a wood product manufacturer that did employ CNC and other semi-automated processes, I maintain that its still a human process that much more resembles a small guitar shop than say, a toy manufacturer spitting out injection molded toys, or a Hostess bakery spewing out Twinkies. I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but if the PRS virtual tour comes available on the website - we can all check it out.

Quote:
We don't think they are stupid, just uneducated.
No, that's not insulting at all. Good comment. Good thing we have you benevolent egg-spurt guys here to help us out and eddycate us po' ignent fokeses, so's we ken save owrselfs from owrseffs.

I am not directing this at anyone specifically, but I have seen a lot of criticism of PRS on other sites, and usually it refers to this mysterious quality thing that us uneducated masses fail to grasp. Yes they are expensive guitars, always have been. So are a lot of other things in this world. Life is rough, boo hoo. A lot of the expense of these instruments is from the aesthetic stuff -flamed maple, bird inlays, binding, etc. What I have seen of the final product is a great solid body guitar. Realistically, if these were the only guitars made, I would have found a way to own one, not that big of a deal, but as it is, my priorities are such that I consider them to be out of my price range, and I prefer Strat-style guitars for the most part which, by nature are much less expensive (cool!). I am not a huge fan of the fancy aesthetics , but that's my personal preference, and probably in part because of my limited guitar budget. If someone were to give me one some day, I would keep it !! Now I am not a huge supporter of, or expert on any brand of guitars, they all have their good points, some are way more cost effective than others. I will only say that the few PRS guits I have looked at and tried in a store all seemed to be premier, pro-level instruments. One I played recently in a store, a gold top with p90's, was probably the most resonant solid guitar I had ever played. How you could improve on that?

I wonder how much of this PRS criticism is due to "sour grapes"??

Are some people put off by the fact that they are expensive and can't really afford one, so subconsciously find ways to find fault with a product that has been accepted as a premier instrument and embraced by professionals for years? Maybe it was ok for them to be out of financial reach when they were "handmade", but now that they are not "handmade" (gasp), they are still too expensive

"What a travesty! What an injustice!"
"Only ignorant people would buy these over priced things (along with thousands of professional musicians)!!!"
"Their pickups suck!!"
"I am so much smarter than that"
"the guitar I'm gonna buy someday is so much better than that machine made junk"
"those grapes taste sour anyway"

Again I am not suggesting anyone here, at all, but only posing a general question. Just curious.

Sorry for the long post, but I was bored at work

any comments?

Last edited by Major Tom; 12-20-2003 at 04:56 AM.
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Unread 12-19-2003, 05:48 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webe123
webe123: Again, if I have insulted you I apologise, but I do not apologise for being offended when you call people "brainwahsed and uneducated" for buying a production guitar or for beliving an advertisement about their favorite guitar! You see evryone has different opinions, but when you act like they are stupid because they believe an advertisement, you make enemies, not friends!
A lot of people do buy guitars and are uneducated about them. Do you you see all the horribly cheap guitars floating everywhere? Those were most likely bought by someone who really didn't know much about guitars, wanted to buy one, found a cheapo model, and bought it. I know it because I did it, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoMan
Because they are popular brands, they assume automatically that they are the best there is.
Yes. I remember a post in another thread with a question to the effect of: "A lot the pros use Ibanezes, so they must be pretty good." (Whoever said that, please take no offense. I just needed an example. If you are offended I will gladly edit the post.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom
You can only judge the final product by its own merits. Sure, a lot of Les Pauls and PRS prices seem high, but they are not cheap guitars to make, automated and semi-automated processes or not. I have no idea how much they cost to make, or what kind of profits if any PRS or Gibson makes. I do know that american labor is very expensive.
Will someone, again, post some prices of some hand made guitars and their comparable mass-produced counterparts?

Quote:
These little custom guitar shops have their niche market, and I'm sure they are fine products, but they don't have the market cornered on all the great sounding wood in the world. Matter of fact, if anybody would have the advantage, it would be PRS and Gibson - they have the big buying power. When I look at a PRS, for example, I don't see any quality issues - they have a nice straight neck with, I assume, plenty of truss rod adjutment, beautiful fit and finish, made out of mahagany with a flamed maple top, glossy finish -I don't see any rough edges or splinters sticking out. How can a guitar made at a small shop be better quality than that? Do these little shops have some process to make the wood sound better? Magic of some sort? Voodoo? What are these quality issues that some of you are referring to?
Good point, but I think we've already stated that there aren't any quality issues. Mass produced guitars are great quality guitars!

Quote:
Where exactly does this "cost-cutting" bugaboo manifest itself on the final product?
And I don't want to hear this garbage about the wrap around bridge - it doesn't need individual string adjustment because it is pre-intonated. Much cleaner. Personally I prefer these for several reasons that I stated before not to mention that it can stay in tune better because it doesn't have the inch and a half of string behind the bridge to "store" a different amount of string tension due to the friction of the string slot, so that when it does finally equalize, throws the string out of tune.
What if you decide to do a truss rod adjustment or a string gausge change? How will you adjust the intonation then?

Quote:
This is a matter of design choice by the manufacturer, and a matter of personal preference of the end user, just like the soon-to-be rusty screwed, sweat-residue-encrusted tune-o-matic is the design choice of other mfrs.
You can always replace the bridge.

Quote:
At an OEM level the price difference would be negligible on a guitar of this caliber. For those that want the Tune-o-matic thing, buy a different guitar, or spend $40 for a replacement. As far as pickups- still a matter of design choice, and taste. PRS humbuckers have their own voicing - if you don't like it, buy one you do.
Can you place a Tune-O-Matic onto a PRS guitar? And as far as pickups, I really don't think that is a big deal. Personally, with any guitar, I'd soon replace the pups to ones that I like.

Quote:
Quote:
We don't think they are stupid, just uneducated.
No, that's not insulting at all. Good comment.
Perfect.

Quote:
A lot of the expense of these instruments is from the aesthetic stuff -flamed maple, bird inlays, binding, etc.
Flamed maple is actually not that expensive. I can see your point on the binding and other aesthetics, though. Although, the bird inlays also seem like they wouldn't be that expensive unless it was made of some exotic material...

Quote:
Are some people put off by the fact that they are expensive and can't really afford one, so subconsciously find ways to find fault with a product that has been accepted as a premier instrument and embraced by professionals for years? Maybe it was ok for them to be out of financial reach when they were "handmade", but now that they are not "handmade" (gasp), they are still too expensive
Did PRS ever lower prices 1994-1995?

A lot of questions, but I feel they are important to the disussion.
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Unread 12-19-2003, 06:50 PM   #72
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I think the main problem most people have when grasping Chesh's point is that they don't have an idea why a handmade guitar would merit such a price premium to deserve to be sold at a higher price than Chesh says CNC'd guitars should. When we see no concrete and physical evidence of the handmade advantage, there is no longer any reason for the prices to be different besides physical labor and time. I respect and understand your point, Chesh, but it is sort of only in theory.

However, cost-cutting and shortcuts will cut down a guitar's quality, of course. When the standards of both CNC guitar makers and handmakers are equal... bah, forget it, I can't think.

I think my post made sense.
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Unread 12-19-2003, 07:56 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Major Tom
These little custom guitar shops have their niche market, and I'm sure they are fine products, but they don't have the market cornered on all the great sounding wood in the world. Matter of fact, if anybody would have the advantage, it would be PRS and Gibson - they have the big buying power.
I actually know a bit about this, and actually the smaller people have the better end. The major manufactorers have to buy mass amounts of wood and then take the best of the bunch. Most small handmade guitar makers go out and hand pick the wood they buy. As a result they get only the best.

You might think that the bigger people would buy all the wood before anyone else does, but you have top remember that there are MANY wood companies out there.

Off on another little rant, this is where I like Parker. For their higher-end guitars, even though they are a fairly big manufactorer, they hand pick their woods. It really adds a lot to the appeal.
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Unread 12-19-2003, 08:01 PM   #74
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Yeah, I love Parker's Fly series guitars.. they really sound amazing. Incredible feel, too.. the carbon fiber is a very very nice addition!
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Unread 12-20-2003, 02:47 AM   #75
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What if you decide to do a truss rod adjustment or a string gausge change? How will you adjust the intonation then?
The whole piece is adjustable from front to back to compensate for different gauges.

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Will someone, again, post some prices of some hand made guitars and their comparable mass-produced counterparts?
The only attempt at this price comparison was a base model Quicksilver at $1495 for a solid mahagony body, maple neck and tung oil finish - no figured maple, no mahogany neck, no stain, no glossy finish, etc., etc. Probably a wonderful instrument, but that guitar would be more analogous to a Gibson Les Paul Studio, or even one of their faded series as far as appointments. Apples to oranges. With comparable options, again , it was over 3 grand. in the same ballpark, yes, but a little more expensive. Even I am educated enough to recognize that. But that was the only one posted, and alas, none available locally for us to check out. They are pretty in the pictures, yes, but so is gilded chicken poop, and without being able to grab one of these handmade guits in a store and see if it withstands the drop-it-on-the-floor test, don't know if I really want one. Anyone on this board own one? What kind of resale value would one of these have?

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Can you place a Tune-O-Matic onto a PRS guitar?
Yes, there are replacements for those with the individual saddle adjustments, they have been made since the 70's as replacements for LP Jr. and other guitars with that style bridge, for those who want them.

Quote:
You can always replace the bridge.
Yes, but I don't know if I could be trusted to do that

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Flamed maple is actually not that expensive.
Well that was certainly more conjecture than fact on my part, since I have never bought any or researched its price. I saw a chunk for a solid body on ebay a few weeks ago, seems like the current bid was over $100.?... but still time left on the auction. Do you have some prices that you can post? As one example, Quicksilver charges $400 for a flame maple top, + $200 to glue it on... ouch. ( I think that's partly where I drew my "expensive" conclusion from) I think Forrest Gump said it best: "expensive is as expensive does".

Quote:
Good point, but I think we've already stated that there aren't any quality issues. Mass produced guitars are great quality guitars!
I must have been dreaming, I thought there was more than one post about how a luthier would inherently make a better instrument than a CNC equipped shop. Matter offact, I thought that's what this thread is about - CNC vs. Handmade, which is better, no? I would certainly equate "better" to higher quality, but then, I'm gettin' educated here.

Who's "we"? There was some reference by someone in this thread that somehow real live luthiers can control the process of cutting out a body or whatever, and make some sort of adjustments in the process, therefore yielding a higher quality product. Someone also postulated that a luthier can do something in the shaping process that would somehow bring out the grain pattern better. I don't know if that was "we" who said that or not. I wasn't really addressing "we" since I wasn't aware there was a "we" I also remember stating that I didn't understand the mythical quality thing that "some" on this board spoke of, not "we".

Quote:
Did PRS ever lower prices 1994-1995?
I doubt it, but It was somebody else's turn to watch their prices in that decade, and he is no longer with us. Did the end product change? I would guess that it did not change enough to warrant a price drop. Did the market for their product change? If PRS made capitol investments in a lot of expensive automated equipment, and larger facilities to house it, training employees, etc. I would guess that they would not have been able to at that time, but again, I don't know. Since the guitars seem to be essentially the same product as before, I would imagine that their plan was to expand production in order to achieve growth and greater profits providing the same product (not a cheaper version) since that is what businesses do. I don't imagine Mr. Smith is so magnanimous that he would put his company into debt for all the expensive tooling, etc. just to be able to lower prices on his products to make them more affordable to the uneducated masses who are already lined up to buy 'em.

A universal principle of business is that if you aren't growing/moving forward, you're slipping backwards. Another universal principle of any successful business is continuous improvement - same thing, if you aren't improving on your processes and product, you're going backwards. There is always competition wanting your market. Those 2 principles are not just my opinion, or conjecture on my part; any shrewd business owner or manager will tell you that. I can also tell you that with very few exceptions (like maybe Goodwill Industries), any manufacturer of any product is always looking for ways to cut costs in any way, shape, or form that does not detract value from the end product. That is what manufacturers do to stay healthy.

PRS is an American success story, just like Fender or Ford Motor Company. I don't understand why some (not "we") want to insinuate they are doing something wrong by charging too much for their products. It is an expensive niche product, if you don't think its worth the money, do something different - get your Mom to buy you something else. (did I type that out loud?) Heck, my brother in law paid almost as much for his big screen TV as a nice PRS costs. He watches network TV sitcoms on it! in another 10 years or so, it will be in a landfill, the PRS won't.

Again, I am not a staunch PRS supporter or champion, and certinly not an expert on them or their guitars, but I do like them, and I got nothin' better to do right now, isn't that kinda sad. ...note to self: get a life.... So excuse the overly long post...

HEY - nobody responded yet to my question about the "sour grapes"....hmmm....maybe I should start a separate thread, no ?

Handmade prices, Handmade prices, Handmade prices, production guitars at Handmade prices. There, I said it for you.

Drat!, my delete key is not working today, I spilled coffee in the keyboard last night

Last edited by Major Tom; 12-20-2003 at 05:41 AM.
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