We each have our financial priorities. I put less into a car than most people and generally live at a much lower cost similarly. However, guitar has always been an important part of my life, so I enjoy having higher quality. That said, thee is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying lower cost instruments and, compared to when I was younger, the quality of lower cost instruments has risen substantially.
I have had many guitars, mostly cheap, fair few middle range, and the one thing I have noticed with every one of the guitars is, they all play the same tunes and songs.
Similar to a person who pays $30,000 for a car and a person who pays $5,000 for a car - they both get you from point A to point B. However, for the person for whom a new and/or more luxurious car is important, the $30,000 will be that person's choice, while for somebody who just wants something to get it done, the $5,000 car is the obvious choice.
For me, it is the $5,000 car, and I have had mine for 16 years and it is still going strong.
On the other hand, for me, a couple of higher end guitars are something I can just appreciate for what they are. Maybe it would be a waste if I was just strumming simple chords to accompany myself bellowing away. But for more intricate chord voicings and solo instrumental playing, such a guitar comes into its own.
Just as with a more expensive car, or camera, or whatever is important to a given person, the "good stuff" does have subtleties as well as more obvious aspects that make it worthwhile to the person who can appreciate those things.
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2020 16:49:12 GMT -5 by tbeltrans
Yes, another one. Another one of my hobbies was fly fishing (and I never caught a fly), I had quite a cheap fly rod about £70, my fishing friend had a nice fly rod that he payed about £350, on average we caught the same amount of Trout of the same size, on the few occasions we swapped rods,we could cast about the same distance. And a very similar story, when I used to play golf, I had a cheap basic set of clubs, my golfing friends payed quite a large amount of cash for there equipment, on average i won the same amount of games, and could hit the ball on average, the same distance. The moral of the story is i suppose, is we don't need expensive cars, guitars,fishing rods, golf clubs, or anything else for that matter, but it's part of human nature to want the best we can afford, for quality generally, and status, one-upmanship, bragging rights, etc.
For me it isn't status, bragging rights, etc. I don't take my guitars anywhere and show them off or have people come over and play them. I have owned quite a number of cheap guitars years ago. When I played some really nice instruments, the difference was obvious to me. It may not be that obvious to others, so our respective perspectives will be colored by our own experiences.
Edit: The rest of my original post was way too harsh and judgmental, so I deleted it and wrote this instead.
I can honestly say that having my Taylor K14ce Builder's Edition is very well worth what I paid for it. I just last week took it to the authorized factory warranty shop in our area for an outside the warranty (since it is within factory specs) complete set up for a very low action. In the case of Taylor, certified factory trained guitar techs IS for real because the Taylor neck system is different.
You shouldn't lower the action by filing down the saddle. I took my former Taylor 914ce to my long trusted repair guy to lower the action, and he did it the way one does on most guitars. I was never satisfied with the results and couldn't improve on it. Eventually, I sold the guitar.
This time, I took it to the warranty shop (which didn't exist when I had my earlier Taylor) and their approach was completely different. Taylor uses shims to change the neck angle as a first step in lowering the action, and the order in which a complete set up is done is different too. Who knew? Anyway, the shims are apparently only available to authorized warranty people to minimize the number of warranty service claims for users messing up since you have to take the neck off to do the work.
Considering that a neck reset costs in the neighborhood of $450 and a complete setup (which includes setting the neck angle) at an authorized Taylor warranty shop only costs $75 and takes far less time, there is something to the Taylor design.
Anyway, my Taylor now plays better than ANY acoustic guitar I have ever owned. I can play material on it that prior to this, I could only play on my archtop because that plays like a Telecaster.
I much prefer playing an acoustic and much prefer not having to need ANY electronics when I want to pick up my guitar and play it. To me, archtops remind me of those old cars from the 50s with tons of chrome on them, where an acoustic guitar is just pure unadulterated guitar that sounds beautiful by itself. Of course, stating the obvious, that is just my personal preference and anybody else is certainly free to feel otherwise.
From what I understand (i.e. I can't prove this as fact, but have been told this by guitar techs), most manufacturers ship guitars with a setup that is a compromise between fingerstyle players and flat pickers and strummers. Typically, those whose playing style requires them to play harder will want a higher action. My style is fingerstyle with a light touch and I play complex chords all over the fretboard. I want as low an action as possible without sacrificing sound or introducing annoying noises such as string buzzes. So it is not at all uncommon for a person to have a complete setup done on a new guitar soon after purchase. Also McPherson ships each guitar (wood or carbon fiber) with two saddles of two different heights to accommodate those differences in players.
When Steven King (the fingerstyle player) came to town to give seminars some years ago, he said that his style requires an extremely low action or you could hurt your hands and wrists. He said that of the various acoustic guitars he tried, Taylor could be set up lower than any other for him. He developed his style on an archtop and then moved to acoustic when he discovered Taylor. That doesn't mean that Taylor is better than any other guitar, but just that it could be set up lower than most without incurring problems.
I have played various models of Taylor guitar across their price range and, for me, only the higher end were attractive for me even though their overall quality is quite consistent across the products. There is extra care taken in wood selection and overall construction on the higher end and I can readily feel the difference. For something I intend to own for many years, that difference is worth it for me. To others, that may not at all be true, we don't have to all be the same or like the same things or have the same priorities in life.
So in my case, the extra cost for a fine Taylor was well worth it without expecting to brag or show off the guitar. All I have said here is my reasoning for spending that extra money, and not that mine is bigger than yours or any of that stuff. All I wanted is a guitar that plays the way I want it too without compromises. If it costs extra money to get that, so be it. The guitar keeps me sane. My wife says that playing the guitar just tips my world back the way it is supposed to be. People pay a lot for meditation and yoga classes to get their world set right, and I play my guitar.
This subject about cheap vs expensive guitars seems to pop up with some regularity around here, so I hope all this typing puts my part of the discussion to bed once and for all. I have given all my reasons for owning such a guitar, and nowhere in all that typing have I bragged about mine being bigger, longer, and uncut or better than anybody else's instruments. I will likely choose to bow out of such discussions in the future.
If anything, I am like the "millionaire next door" book. Nobody would be able to determine that we have money because we don't show off and we live in one of the "lower rent" areas of town, so no, we don't have the "right" address or any of that sort of thing in our lives. For us, having money means that my wife gets the medical care she needs, we can weather the various economic upheavals that seem to be happening more and more frequently as of late, and we get to have SOME nice things, none of which are things on display for all to see. The only reason we have some money is that we live well below our means, stay out of debt, and I took the time and effort to go to college later in life to get a degree that afforded me a career that was interesting and paid well instead of always struggling with low paying jobs to make ends meet. I never stepped on anybody to get there. In fact, I tutored many people along the way to help them get through college, since we were all adults returning to school later in life. So whoever these folks who buy expensive stuff for bragging rights and all that are, I am not one of them just because I choose to own a few expensive guitars.
Last Edit: Jul 11, 2020 19:13:27 GMT -5 by tbeltrans