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p90jr

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I was just amused by a couple of side by side articles on another guitar magazine's site.

 

In one, Jol Dantzig (Hamer guitars) kind of criticized the modern habit of accumulating a bunch of cheap but serviceable "mediocre guitars" instead of owning one great (expensive) guitar.

 

In the other, a guy raved about the $80 Epiphone Les Paul P-90 Special he just snagged, which is a great value and rocks.

 

Just funny...

 

I admire Dantzig and love his creations, his article didn't make much sense to me. No serious musician doesn't want "fine" instruments, and eventually they get them when they can (and have determined what represents a fine instrument for themselves). In the meantime, those players make incredibly good use out of whatever they can afford. A lot of the great, classic recordings of rock and roll were made with guitars that probably aren't considered top shelf. Also, if Brian May - to name one - had focused on getting the classic guitar everyone else considered a must-have fine instrument when he got the money, rock and roll would be missing a unique voice.

 

The fact that I read the article as I strummed a Chinese Hamer Echotone ES335 that I scored for $200 made me laugh a bit...

 

I appreciate the "appreciate the finer things in life" attitude, but rock and roll is not some rarified genre. It's working class music at heart, and it often gets the attitude better on cheap, working class gear.

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I've also been playing this disc a lot for my daughter, who seems to love that they use the same toy piano she has...

 

(Note the band's producer - dB's leader and one-time R.E.M.-sideman Peter Holsapple - on second toy guitar).

 

[video:youtube]

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Beware of cheap Chinese Epi 335's. A buddy just bought one and the frets are turning his fingers black. Others on guitar forums are complaining of this problem as well. He has 30 days to return it or he will have to have it re-fretted. Nice looking guitar, but I would send it back...
Take care, Larryz
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weird... and how does he play touching the frets? Are they maybe poorly dying some type of wood to use as a rosewood substitute on the finger board?

 

While I don't doubt that the Hamer I have was made in the same factory as some of the Epiphones, someone told me Hamer was much pickier about wood and what left the factory with its name on the headstock, which is why I picked up one of those instead of the Epiphone. I know a few people with the Epis and those particular guitars (which they knew what to look for when picking them out) are just fine. I do see TONS of the Epis with headstocks broken off in shipping being sold on eBay as salvage, and that unsettles me a bit.

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It seems to be what I initially expected...

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/62469-black-fingers/

 

Epiphone and a lot of other manufacturers use a darkening dye on their fretboards. The dye has a tendency to rub off on your fingers when the guitar is new. This phenonemon has been discussed a bunch here and it's definitely the dye, not the strings or frets as some have suggested.

 

In any case, you can reduce this problem to almost nothing by cleaning the fretboard with Naptha, a common and inexpensive mild solvent available at hardware stores. Naptha is used in most repair and manufacturing shops and is safe to use anywhere on the body or fretboard. If you don't want to use a petroleum-based product, other commercially available fretboard cleaning products will work equally as well.

 

That's still a shoddy production approach... at least figure out how to seal the dye or something. Geesh...

 

ETA -> some people insist it's the strings that ship on the guitars, and cheap batches of strings in general... hmmmm? Weird.

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There's something to be said for a FUN, cheap, worry-free guitar, especially when playing Rock or Blues or Country on one.

 

The classic Broadcaster/Nocaster/Telecaster certainly fit that description. Originally, anyway... Same can be said of Gibson Les Paul Juniors and Specials.

 

ALL of the classic '50s and '60s vintage electric guitars were production gitars of their eras...

 

I loved the Godin Radiator and PRS SE One axes that I got my hands on; Rock machines! I should have bought several of each...

 

 

I have to wonder, in Mr. Dantzig's eyes, which category my Gibson Les Paul Classic would fall into... ? A "cheap but serviceable mediocre guitar", or a "great (expensive) guitar"... ?

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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It seems to be what I initially expected...

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/62469-black-fingers/

 

Epiphone and a lot of other manufacturers use a darkening dye on their fretboards. The dye has a tendency to rub off on your fingers when the guitar is new. This phenonemon has been discussed a bunch here and it's definitely the dye, not the strings or frets as some have suggested.

 

In any case, you can reduce this problem to almost nothing by cleaning the fretboard with Naptha, a common and inexpensive mild solvent available at hardware stores. Naptha is used in most repair and manufacturing shops and is safe to use anywhere on the body or fretboard. If you don't want to use a petroleum-based product, other commercially available fretboard cleaning products will work equally as well.

 

That's still a shoddy production approach... at least figure out how to seal the dye or something. Geesh...

 

ETA -> some people insist it's the strings that ship on the guitars, and cheap batches of strings in general... hmmmm? Weird.

 

One of the comments on your forum says "I know the problem is not caused by the Fret board (i.e. black hands).

 

http://vintageamps.com/plexiboard/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89484&start=0 <--- here's another forum with the same issue that my buddy found...

 

My buddy knows guitars and here's how he narrowed it down to the frets as opposed to fret board dye...

 

1). He steel wooled the frets and dusted the board

2). He wiped the board down with alcohol and applied axe wax

3. He changed the strings and played for 2 hours and came away with black fingers again

4. He loosened the strings and pulled them aside

5. Rubbed the fret board hard and fast with a finger and it came away clean

6. Rubbed the fret the same way with a clean finger and it came away black

 

I told him that I suspect lead in the fret wire material and I would return the guitar or get it re-fretted. Not saying they haven't had neck dye problems on cheaper guitars too, but I would think that Epiphone would not let this situation go by...

Take care, Larryz
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There's something to be said for a FUN, cheap, worry-free guitar, especially when playing Rock or Blues or Country on one.

 

The classic broadcaster/Nocaster/Telecaster certainly fit that description. Originally, anyways...

 

And Danelectros... and Harmonys and Kays and all that other stuff they're resurrecting due to demand...

 

I'm a bit prejudiced, since I'd rather hear Marc Ribot on a thrift store Teisco than most of the world's vintage masterpiece owners.

 

But I think Dantzig was bemoaning a loss of appreciation for "superb quality," and I don't think that has diminished at all. We may live in a time of cheap mass-production, and the quality of an intro level instrument now is up enough to maybe make some people uninterested in investing any further, but those people aren't the serious and devoted working musicians. He also seemed t be taking aim at the people who just buy a name and not the specs or quality of an instrument. I don't know... here's how the article is described before it starts:

 

It may look like a classicand you know the saying about imitation and flatterybut will a budget guitar stand the test of time? Or is it ultimately a disposable commodity?

 

Congratulations: Youve collected six mediocre-yet-passable guitars instead of one great one. Thats what passes for an acceptable life-philosophy in this day and age.

 

I don't see how you can compare a budget copy to to a timeless classic in the first place? You know you're being utilitarian in your choice. And there's other, personal considerations. I'd love to have a real vintage ES 335, but there's a retirement and investment portfolio to build, a daughter to build a college fund for, a wife who deserves nice things and trips... I'm not that selfish, the Hamer copy makes me just as happy in the big picture. And it's already paid for itself 10 times over in gigs.

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Or maybe he's addressing "collectors," a term I loathe and would not want to included in... someone called me a 'record collector" the other day and I was offended. I'm a music and record lover and I buy things I love to listen to, I don't seek out things for the reasons collectors do (scarcity, material worth, status). Definitely the same with music gear, tools for the gig.
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I'm a bit prejudiced, since I'd rather hear Marc Ribot on a thrift store Teisco than most of the world's vintage masterpiece owners.

 

Ribot seems to be over that approach. Last time I saw him with Zorn's surf band, he was playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman. And he sounded AWESOME. Also saw him playing a Telecaster with Elton John.

Scott Fraser
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I was just amused by a couple of side by side articles on another guitar magazine's site.

 

In one, Jol Dantzig (Hamer guitars) kind of criticized the modern habit of accumulating a bunch of cheap but serviceable "mediocre guitars" instead of owning one great (expensive) guitar.

 

In the other, a guy raved about the $80 Epiphone Les Paul P-90 Special he just snagged, which is a great value and rocks.

 

Just funny...

 

I admire Dantzig and love his creations, his article didn't make much sense to me. No serious musician doesn't want "fine" instruments, and eventually they get them when they can (and have determined what represents a fine instrument for themselves). In the meantime, those players make incredibly good use out of whatever they can afford. A lot of the great, classic recordings of rock and roll were made with guitars that probably aren't considered top shelf. Also, if Brian May - to name one - had focused on getting the classic guitar everyone else considered a must-have fine instrument when he got the money, rock and roll would be missing a unique voice.

 

Of course Danzig is going to knock cheap guitars he does not sell them. I for one love cheap guitars, easy to replace, they are good instruments (at least the ones I have are) you don't have to worry about anyone stealing them, because you can replace them easily, you don't have to worry about banging them and dings. There is nothing bad about them except for resale value. And you can usually get most of your investment back.

 

I just sold two Gibson Guitars, an 80's Les Paul and a 2003 Faded SG, both excellent instruments but I don't miss them a single bit. My $272 Ibanez RG 321 does all they did and more..... Plus it has jumbo frets, and I can reach the 24th fret without contortions.

 

As for the "No serious musician doesn't want "fine" instruments" comment, I disagree. I used to want a fine instrument until I got them then I had to care for them like they were my children, worry about them being stolen, and furthermore my 2 Gibson's were not any "finer" than my Agile ST 1000 ($300 purchase price) And in fact no Fender guitar was as good out of the box as that Agile. I have fine instruments I just did not pay fine instrument prices and I will never do so.

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I'm a bit prejudiced, since I'd rather hear Marc Ribot on a thrift store Teisco than most of the world's vintage masterpiece owners.

 

Ribot seems to be over that approach. Last time I saw him with Zorn's surf band, he was playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman. And he sounded AWESOME. Also saw him playing a Telecaster with Elton John.

 

Yeah... when I first caught on to him in the 80s he was playing Teles, and Strats with different pickups. I still treasure some of those clips with him making wonderful sounds with the cheapos in his solo gigs.

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seconding desertbluesman: I've never spent more than $800 for any guitar, and it hasn't slowed me down a bit; I make the music happen, not the guitar. I'd much rather have 6 $800 guitars than one $4800 guitar...because if one of them gets stolen or broken, I still have 5 to fall back on.

 

I'm definitely with you two on that...

 

though I think he was aiming more at the $300 guitars (what I bought a '65 SG Special for...).

 

Or, really, it seems like he's ranting at the modern state of America... and the diminishing of "hand crafted" stuff or whatever... and, well, I can appreciate that to an extant... but what can you do (cue discussion on income inequality we're not allowed to have here).

 

I agree with him about most MP3s (and rock cds have come to be mastered awfully as a trend, so they probably get a bad rap). That's why I spin vinyl when I can... for stuff that's high enough fidelity for it to matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It seems to be what I initially expected...

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/62469-black-fingers/

 

Epiphone and a lot of other manufacturers use a darkening dye on their fretboards. The dye has a tendency to rub off on your fingers when the guitar is new. This phenonemon has been discussed a bunch here and it's definitely the dye, not the strings or frets as some have suggested.

 

In any case, you can reduce this problem to almost nothing by cleaning the fretboard with Naptha, a common and inexpensive mild solvent available at hardware stores. Naptha is used in most repair and manufacturing shops and is safe to use anywhere on the body or fretboard. If you don't want to use a petroleum-based product, other commercially available fretboard cleaning products will work equally as well.

 

That's still a shoddy production approach... at least figure out how to seal the dye or something. Geesh...

 

ETA -> some people insist it's the strings that ship on the guitars, and cheap batches of strings in general... hmmmm? Weird.

 

One of the comments on your forum says "I know the problem is not caused by the Fret board (i.e. black hands).

 

http://vintageamps.com/plexiboard/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89484&start=0 <--- here's another forum with the same issue that my buddy found...

 

My buddy knows guitars and here's how he narrowed it down to the frets as opposed to fret board dye...

 

1). He steel wooled the frets and dusted the board

2). He wiped the board down with alcohol and applied axe wax

3. He changed the strings and played for 2 hours and came away with black fingers again

4. He loosened the strings and pulled them aside

5. Rubbed the fret board hard and fast with a finger and it came away clean

6. Rubbed the fret the same way with a clean finger and it came away black

 

I told him that I suspect lead in the fret wire material and I would return the guitar or get it re-fretted. Not saying they haven't had neck dye problems on cheaper guitars too, but I would think that Epiphone would not let this situation go by...

 

weird...

 

I don't know what to think of Epiphone... they seem to put a lot of attention into some models and then let some just be cranked out by subcontractors with no quality control (though with a QC sticker on them).

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Getting back to the OP, I'd been accumulating cheap guitars for the last few years, and wound up with a couple of Squier SE Strats, an Epi SG, and a Squier Mini, all used. The SG is very playable, just as it is, and the Squiers were all in decent shape, and with some mods and after-market parts, they all had the potential to be decent guitars, though not great guitars.

 

That's the real issue, for me. You can spend $100 or less for a playable instrument, and it seems like a great deal. OTOH, if you wind up putting a lot of money and time into your bargain guitar, you'd better love what you wind up with, because out in the world, it's still a cheap Squier/Epi or whatever it says on the headstock. I decided that I couldn't really afford to upgrade all my bargain guitars, and get something better at the same time, and I have to thank Dannyalcatraz for that insight.

 

I finally went the opposite route. I started trading away the real cheap-o's, and got myself a used Godin Freeway SA and another Gibson SG Special. I hung on to the white Epi SG, as my beater guitar. I have fewer guitars, but better guitars, at this point.

 

Re: Epi DOTs, and dye. I have an Epi DOT (MIK), and I haven't run into any issues with dye or darkening from the frets or fretboard. I'll see if I notice anything with the Epi SG (MIC).

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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It's not really a "loss of appreciation for superb quality" as much as it is an economic thing. There are many "serious" musicians out there who simply CAN'T AFFORD spending tow or more G's on a guitar. And many just starting out simply can't front the bread either.

 

Lest he forgot, many of the long held "guitar heroes" we discuss here and elsewhere started out picking on the likes of Harmony, Kay and Silvertone instruments. And the Teisco Del Rey was the king of garage band axes!

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Lest he forgot, many of the long held "guitar heroes" we discuss here and elsewhere started out picking on the likes of Harmony, Kay and Silvertone instruments. And the Teisco Del Rey was the king of garage band axes!

Whitefang

 

And we've all seen the pics of Page playing a Danelectro, the cheesiest of cheese guitars, with Zeppelin for "Kashmir" in DADGAD. Cheesy as it may be, in Page's hands it sounds awesome.

Scott Fraser
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I have to wonder if Mr. Dantzig has ever had a guitar stolen.

Anyway my brother and I talked music over the winter break (had a rare mini-jam too). I feel pretty vindicated, he had bought several expensive guitars, with the idea of flipping them later for big bucks-and their value basically went nowhere. Now he`s playing a beautiful Carvin that he had built, very nice but not a collector`s guitar. I told him, there are a very small number of true `vintage` instruments at the top of the market pyramid-for almost everything else you`re better off choosing something you love to play. Ergo the flaw in Mr. Dantzig`s, argument-just because a guitar is expensive and craft-built, doesn`t mean it is the guitar for you. It`s the flip side of my brother`s former contention, that there are three or four worthwhile guitar brands, and everything else is a `knockoff`. Nonsense. I haven`t played too many expensive guitars that felt cheap, but I`ve certainly played some that felt wrong. If I had the money I would not buy them.

 

My ideal setup is to have both-a really good guitar-the best I can pay for and still eat-to use in a studio or for special occasions, and a cheapo or two that I could take places where I may have to use it as a weapon. Still looking for the right cheapo and as long as I live in Japan there`s no hurry. Guitars rarely get stolen here, the main hazard is accidents.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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cheap guitars are not as cheap as they once were. quality control and modern machinery make it hard to construct a truly crappy axe.

 

someone commented on broken Epiphone headstocks, both Gibson and Epiphone have the same headstock design with a weak point due to the channel for the trussrod removing wood in an already weak area. not really a design flaw but a potential area for breakage if the guitar falls. a lot of modern builders combat this by adding a volute.

 

unfortunately traditionalists hated the volutes on 70's Gibsons.

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Ergo the flaw in Mr. Dantzig`s, argument-just because a guitar is expensive and craft-built, doesn`t mean it is the guitar for you.

 

I agree that a player must find the instrument that's right for them- ideally one that "speaks" to them, and allows and even helps them play their best, their way, on their terms.

 

Now, to be fair, I would expect that Mr. Dantzig would heartily concur; I doubt that he would ever think that a given guitar, regardless of any justifiably high price and undeniable high quality, would or should be automatically assumed to be better for anyone and everyone than another less expensive, generally more mundane guitar, based solely on perceived value and sophistication.

 

Epiphone have the same headstock design with a weak point due to the channel for the trussrod removing wood, in an already weak area. not really a design flaw but a potential area for breakage if the guitar falls. a lot of modern builders combat this by adding a volute.

 

"God is in the details." "The Devil is in the details."

 

;):crazy:

 

I'm gonna really run with a tangent here! Arguably topically related, but definitely veering sideways at a bit of an angle... :D

 

Gibson adheres to (usually- if not always) using wood for their one-piece necks- such as on their Les Pauls and ES-335's- that is not quarter-sawn, but is made in such a way that its wood-grain is running at approximately a 14° angle-orientation of the wood-grain relative to the plain of the face of the neck, so as to effectively 'split the difference' between the neck and the pitched-back headstock, making them stronger in that transitional neck-to-headstock area.

 

Quarter-sawn wood would probably be stiffer; its strength may or may not be better- I don't know- but some of the singing resonant qualities that these guitars are known for may be diminished somewhat- especially when you factor in amplification. (More on this follows.)

 

unfortunately traditionalists hated the volutes on 70's Gibsons.

 

And enter the volute.

 

Further stiffening and mass at the headstock-end.

 

I've fooled around with musical acoustic feedback, both subtle and extreme, and both from sheer volume and/or gain and compression, and feedback induced by a vibrating transducer that mounts on the headstock, the (Maniac Music) Sustainiac Model C "Electro-Acoustic Sustainer", which takes the signal from the guitar (plugged-in like a pedal) and amplifies it through the transducer, vibrating the guitar at the headstock much like a loud amplifier and speaker would.

 

The stiffer a neck and the more mass at the headstock, the less consistently responsive the given guitar is to acoustic feedback.

 

This affects the pleasing harmonic-overtones that sometimes result while playing at medium to loud volume levels particularly when near the speaker or in an acoustic "sweet spot" (note that prior to a performance, Carlos Santana marks the stage floor in various feedback "sweet-spots" according to given room acoustics), and/or playing with medium to high gain, even with a "clean" tone. A guitar like an SG, a Parker Fly, or a '60 style "slim-taper" necked Les Paul "standard" or ES-335 stylee (as opposed to a fuller-necked '58 or '59 style, or a Custom or ES-355 with a larger, stiffer headstock with more extensive inlays) will often be just a little more responsive to feedback this way over a broader range of the fretboard, be it pleasing, rich overtones, singing feedback, or out-and-out squalls and screams.

 

Stiffness and mass at the neck and headstock can and do contribute to sustain and fullness of tone, but in a different way, before the vibrations of the strings and wood affect the pickups and are amplified. There is a trade-off point where that goes from enhancing the amplified tone and the enriching effect of amplified acoustic feedback, to restricting it to a narrower range of frequencies, and thus, harmonic-overtones before and after feedback.

 

There are MANY, MANY other factors, but this does figure in to the perceived personalities of various given guitars.

 

I firmly believe that this all factors largely into the way that '50s and early '60s vintage Gibsons, Fenders, Gretsches, Guilds, and even Martins made prior to the '60s (minus the feedback; strictly acoustic response) are so often regarded as being so much better than the instruments made under those marques when Norlin, CBS, and economic and business-model factors brought things like stiffer, denser (and often CHEAPER) woods, volutes, laminates, "pancake bodies", thicker and different finishes, three-bolt neck-joints, and larger headstocks (for better brand-name recognition) to the guitars. Plug a stiffer, denser, less responsive, more sterile guitar like that into a '60s Solid-State Fender amp and HOLY CRAP, THIS DOESN'T SOUND LIKE BUDDY HOLLY, CHUCK BERRY, FREDDIE KING, MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD, ERIC CLAPTON, PETER GREEN, JIMI HENDRIX, etc. etc. etc.... THIS SUCKS! :eek::D;)

 

Such details, all in the total sum of a given guitars design, materials, and construction, are part of the merits of at least some more costly, high-end guitars, if not most of them. The most important ingredient is ALWAYS the cook- ehr, the luthier. ;):thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Ergo the flaw in Mr. Dantzig`s, argument-just because a guitar is expensive and craft-built, doesn`t mean it is the guitar for you.

 

I agree that a player must find the instrument that's right for them- ideally one that "speaks" to them, and allows and even helps them play their best, their way, on their terms.

 

Now, to be fair, I would expect that Mr. Dantzig would heartily concur; I doubt that he would ever think that a given guitar, regardless of any justifiably high price and undeniable high quality, would or should be automatically assumed to be better for anyone and everyone than another less expensive, generally more mundane guitar, based solely on perceived value and sophistication.

 

Epiphone have the same headstock design with a weak point due to the channel for the trussrod removing wood, in an already weak area. not really a design flaw but a potential area for breakage if the guitar falls. a lot of modern builders combat this by adding a volute.

 

"God is in the details." "The Devil is in the details."

 

;):crazy:

 

I'm gonna really run with a tangent here! Arguably topically related, but definitely veering sideways at a bit of an angle... :D

 

Gibson adheres to (usually- if not always) using wood for their one-piece necks- such as on their Les Pauls and ES-335's- that is not quarter-sawn, but is made in such a way that its wood-grain is running at approximately a 14° angle-orientation of the wood-grain relative to the plain of the face of the neck, so as to effectively 'split the difference' between the neck and the pitched-back headstock, making them stronger in that transitional neck-to-headstock area.

 

Quarter-sawn wood would probably be stiffer; its strength may or may not be better- I don't know- but some of the singing resonant qualities that these guitars are known for may be diminished somewhat- especially when you factor in amplification. (More on this follows.)

 

unfortunately traditionalists hated the volutes on 70's Gibsons.

 

And enter the volute.

 

Further stiffening and mass at the headstock-end.

 

I've fooled around with musical acoustic feedback, both subtle and extreme, and both from sheer volume and/or gain and compression, and feedback induced by a vibrating transducer that mounts on the headstock, the (Maniac Music) Sustainiac Model C "Electro-Acoustic Sustainer", which takes the signal from the guitar (plugged-in like a pedal) and amplifies it through the transducer, vibrating the guitar at the headstock much like a loud amplifier and speaker would.

 

The stiffer a neck and the more mass at the headstock, the less consistently responsive the given guitar is to acoustic feedback.

 

This affects the pleasing harmonic-overtones that sometimes result while playing at medium to loud volume levels particularly when near the speaker or in an acoustic "sweet spot" (note that prior to a performance, Carlos Santana marks the stage floor in various feedback "sweet-spots" according to given room acoustics), and/or playing with medium to high gain, even with a "clean" tone. A guitar like an SG, a Parker Fly, or a '60 style "slim-taper" necked Les Paul "standard" or ES-335 stylee (as opposed to a fuller-necked '58 or '59 style, or a Custom or ES-355 with a larger, stiffer headstock with more extensive inlays) will often be just a little more responsive to feedback this way over a broader range of the fretboard, be it pleasing, rich overtones, singing feedback, or out-and-out squalls and screams.

 

Stiffness and mass at the neck and headstock can and do contribute to sustain and fullness of tone, but in a different way, before the vibrations of the strings and wood affect the pickups and are amplified. There is a trade-off point where that goes from enhancing the amplified tone and the enriching effect of amplified acoustic feedback, to restricting it to a narrower range of frequencies, and thus, harmonic-overtones before and after feedback.

 

There are MANY, MANY other factors, but this does figure in to the perceived personalities of various given guitars.

 

I firmly believe that this all factors largely into the way that '50s and early '60s vintage Gibsons, Fenders, Gretsches, Guilds, and even Martins made prior to the '60s (minus the feedback; strictly acoustic response) are so often regarded as being so much better than the instruments made under those marques when Norlin, CBS, and economic and business-model factors brought things like stiffer, denser (and often CHEAPER) woods, volutes, laminates, "pancake bodies", thicker and different finishes, three-bolt neck-joints, and larger headstocks (for better brand-name recognition) to the guitars. Plug a stiffer, denser, less responsive, more sterile guitar like that into a '60s Solid-State Fender amp and HOLY CRAP, THIS DOESN'T SOUND LIKE BUDDY HOLLY, CHUCK BERRY, FREDDIE KING, MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD, ERIC CLAPTON, PETER GREEN, JIMI HENDRIX, etc. etc. etc.... THIS SUCKS! :eek::D;)

 

Such details, all in the total sum of a given guitars design, materials, and construction, are part of the merits of at least some more costly, high-end guitars, if not most of them. The most important ingredient is ALWAYS the cook- ehr, the luthier. ;):thu::cool:

 

true. the tone side is a whole other ballgame.

 

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I think it's kinda funny that Dantzig's statement about superb quality versus cheap price is the argument/marketing strategy Gibson used against Fenders when they first came out.

 

Now, I own a USA-made Hamer that was made while Joel was still in charge at the factory, and it's my number 1 axe. But I have a tele that has a Strat neck and a body some dude cut out of an ash body blank that's unfinished, and the rest is all cobbled together from parts I had laying around or picked up cheap obn ebay, and I like it a lot. I also have a P Bass made of parts I got here and there that I love dearly, and play proudly. I have about $150 in it. So, I'm no stranger to the El Cheapo neck of the woods.

 

Having said all that, I got to add that going in on cheap guitars, I always figure they probably won't be as durable or long-lived as their more poshly appointed competition. But, as has already been said, while I'd love to own a custom made exotic wood masterpiece with cutting edge technology and tons of cool guy factor, they cost too freakin' much for me to even consider them. I'll weep all the way to the Rondo Music and Guitar Fetish websites behind that...

 

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Three weeks ago I was looking at used gear at GC online and came across a Epiphone Custom Shop SG - I thought wow that seems like a contradiction in terms.

However, it was a beautiful guitar with really nice maple flame top with the Honey Burst finish, so I took a chance and bought it for $299.

After setting it up properly, this is one of the nicest playing guitars in my arsenal, and I have some really nice ones! Maybe I just got lucky but this has changed my mind forever about "cheap" guitars.

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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@SEHpicker - one of the few 'cheap' guitars I hung onto is my white Epi SG. At this point, some of the higher-end Epis are on a par with, or even better-made than some of the lower-end Gibsons, like that recent Melody Maker series we were discussing a while back. Given a choice between a stripped-down one-pickup plank that says 'Gibson', and my Epi SG, I'll stick with the Epi, thanks.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

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Now, is that an "Epi"? or an "Epiphone"?

 

I used to call Epiphones "Epi" for short until some years back I saw a cheapie in Service Merchandise( remember THEM?) that said "Epi" on the headstock. Actually nowhere NEAR the quality of even the CHEAPEST Epiphone.

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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