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Author Topic: Where did Quality go?  (Read 1423 times)

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Kim

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Where did Quality go?
« on: Time Format »

A few weeks ago a friend of mine had me go with him to a GC to help him pick out a new acoustic guitar.  We mucked around with about 7-8 different makes and models trying to find the one for him.  It's just amazing how so many of these acoustic guitars can sound so different from one another; some higher-end guitars sounded like absolute :poop: while some of the "lesser quality" guitars sang oh so beautifully with a full, rich tone....  another story though.

For some weird reason there was a Fender American Elite Strat sitting on a stand in that Acoustic Guitar Room.  The price tag was $1949 USD.  "Nice" I thought and picked it up for a unplugged demo.  Right off I noticed all the frets were sharp and slightly sticking out all along the neck and they caught your fingers and hands all the way up and down the neck!  Wow WTF!  It's like they were never finished off.  I was a bit pissed about that; WHY would someone pay that much money for a new guitar and then have to pay MORE to a luthier to correct the stuff that should have been done before it left the damn factory?  A near 2k dollar guitar should need NOTHING but a good home!
 :o
I was reminded of some of the gossip I've been hearing lately about Gibson's quality falling off the map (a few of their endorsed artists have just told them to piss off), and wondered if the same was happening at Fender or if that particular Stratocaster I picked up was just an anomaly.  If it was or wasn't...I sure wouldn't have put crap like that out on a showroom floor.  It seems that Quarterly Sales and Dividends are the only concern today, and if the company has some big laurels to rest on like an iconic name (Gibson, Fender, Marshall, etc...) then piss on the quality.     :(
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van Sinn

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Yeah, it can be such a hit'n'miss with guitars.
I too will cry out my lungs over fairly expensive instruments with unfinished fret work.

A good number of years ago, I was looking for an acoustic nylon semi-classical with a cut-away.
Didn't have much money, but the ones I could afford, around dkk 3500-3800, weren't any good.

Passing by a local guitar and gear shop, I picked a dkk 1745 guitar from the wall, purely because it looked quite good.
Everything looked to made quite well, so I started playing it, and lo and behold, it played well and sounded quite good, much better than the other ones I'd tested at twice the price.
Just a light fret dress, rounding fret ends, trimming saddle and nut, which I'd expect on any inexpensive guitar.

Yup, it was an el-cheapo Samich! 2K total with stand and sleeping bag is what I call a good deal.
Such a guitar obviously isn't a concerto instrument and the deck construction won't take super high tension strings, but one size down will do just fine.
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herbyguitar

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

That's why I won't ever buy another expensive guitar. Lately I've been buying pieces and building and shaping my own guitars.
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rabidgerry

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

That's why I won't ever buy another expensive guitar.

Same for me, and I doubt any of my guitars actually fall under expensive and I have some nice guitars of very good quality.

I had the old "of what kinda guitar have you got there?" happen a few weeks ago playing a gig in Wales.  Before the guy got any closer I said "stop..............it's a Squier so you'll be disappointed".

He then replied "yeah, I am".

Hahaha

The same gig I told another guy about my axe and he was really interested and din't give a shit that it was a Squier (an up market one at that with some modification).

I can't vouch for the quality of $1000+ insturments but I know dam well that half the price guitars can eqaul in build quality fo sure.
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rnolan

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

An aside, the frets move with temperature differently than the neck wood, Alembic even add a speal in their doco about how to smooth off the fret ends should you need to due to the change in environment.  When I bought the Alembic bass I was a bit surprised that they even talked about it in the notes, but they include a section on how to do it if you need to.

However, I agree, if you are paying top $ for a guitar, you shouldn't need to file/sand the fret ends  :facepalm:
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Dante

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

True story; shopping for an acoustic/electric, I went to the local GC to try some out (planning to later order whatever I picked from another local store). I tried some pretty pricey Taylors and Martins, only to keep coming back to a cheap Chinese Ibanez. The acoustic sound wasn't very loud, but it was great. Plugged into an amp, it was amazing, and it played like an electric, so I was sold.

$350 with a case.
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rnolan

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

 :whoohoo!: good score  :thumb-up:
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kawai2g4b

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #7 on: Time Format »

To tell you the truth, this is why I keep coming back to used instruments. Going to a guitar center or Sam Ash is too much of a letdown. Their employees don’t even bother setting up the instruments in their inventory. The used instruments in-store are the best bet.  And about the quality control: ESP LTDs and Schecters are normally set up and finished very well when I play new examples in store. These instruments are made in Japan at its closest and most likely Korea. The climate could be similar at one time or another, but for those instruments to be set up and finished better than their American counterparts, all factors considered, is something to take into account.  The standards here are too low.
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Chucky

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Re: Where did Quality go?
« Reply #8 on: Time Format »

About the frets sticking out of the side of guitars...

It's usually just because the guitar has been sitting too long in a much too dry environment.
The wood shrinks while the metal obviously stay the same.
That condtion would eventually revert to normal if the guitar is put back in a sound environment.

I used to work in a music store that was dry as a bone and warned the owner for months to
address the problem.
We started to have perfectly fine Jackson guitars and Fenders slowly getting that teethed edged
necks.
Kept warning the dude.
He did nothing.   :nono:
When locking the store at night, I would just mop the whole floor and leave all the water there...
Floors soaking wet with puddles at places...
I guess I stretched the life of some of these guitars even though it wasn't part of my official job.

And then one morning...  :dunno: :dunno:

We found 3 acoustic guitars with spliced tops.
All solid wood tops of course!!!   :facepalm:
The veneered tops are far more resistant to dryness.

That taught my boss a good lesson...He called the same day some place to have a whole
humidifier system install in the shop.   :bow:
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