Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for? - Jemsite
All Other Guitars (including Prestige) Discussion about other Ibanez Guitars not covered in the above topics. Includes J-Custom, USA-Custom, Prestige subforum.

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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

At some point over the last 15 years, people decided they wanted to spend large amounts of money on new solid-body electric guitars and the guitar companies were happy to oblige. In order for this to work, the guitar companies had to make guitars that were worth the large amounts of money people were willing to spend. (Fender could not just sell a MIM Strat for $5000.) The biggest difference in quality comes mostly from the time spent building the guitar. However, after a certain point, more time stops making a difference. At some point, a better electric guitar cannot be made if we consider the electric guitar to be a musical instrument. The problem is people still had more money to spend and this is where I think guitar companies should have explained to buyers what they were actually paying for.

The PRS Dragon Series were more like pieces of visual art and the guitar was the backdrop and the people that bought them knew what they were buying. Guitars like that are different and nobody thinks otherwise. I do not know where quality tops out but I it is well before the $10,000 mark and I'm being extremely generous with that number. I would argue there is no such thing as a $10,000 solid-body electric guitar, just $10,000+ art projects. $10,000 guitars are not very common, but there are enough of them available that you can find them if you want. Personally, some of the EBMM JP models are getting awfully close to $4000 and there may be good as to why, but as a JP owner, I would like to hear those reasons. If one of the reasons is "art project," I would be fine with that. (His "Nomac" guitar was an art project in the most literal sense of the term.)

Ideally, playing these guitars is the best way to understand them and I have been fortunate enough to play new guitars passed the $10,000 mark and I cannot explain why they were not half the price. There might be a good reason, but it isn't because they were built better. In comparison, there are $500 guitar pedals made by Strymon, Eventide, and EHX. There is nothing less expensive that can do what these pedals can do equally well. You are paying for higher quality which makes sense. Mesa/Boogie and Bogner have made some really great amps in the recent past and, while expensive, they do not design new amps often enough for any price increase to seem out of the ordinary.

This is not a critique of the buyer. If a guitar is 1% better and costs twice as much, I would not question it. I am questioning what manufacturers are doing to certain guitars to justify the purchase price in a way that remotely makes sense. I have other questions such as "why ship a guitar without a hardshell case" and "why use a floating bridge that does not stay in tune?" These are things I have observed and thought about and I'm just putting them out there now. Wiser members than I may have good explanations.
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 02:35 AM
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

In figured wood, which most of these very expensive guitars incorporate, every incremental increase in quality brings a far higher price, much like a coin in MS67 is worth sometimes twice what a coin in MS66 is. And I think you seriously underestimate how much these woods can cost.

I'll point you to the Stew Mac Woodstax section, where you can buy the wood for a complete acoustic build for under $100. Or, $6000

https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...ded_-_002.html

Why do they ship guitars without a case? So they can sell you a case as an option, an accessory that has higher margins than the guitar. Ibanez never gave a case away with a guitar for most of it's existence with very rare exception.

Why use a bridge that won't stay in tune? So you'll pay more for one that does? Just as a spitball answer it's probably not that far from truth.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 05:37 AM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

All of the above reasons are why there's a sweet spot for guitar construction if you're a player and want a professional quality instrument at a sensible price.

There is also a reason why players love a particular guitar, it's usually the first proper guitar into which they put the most playing hours because the ergonomics of that instrument will always feel like coming home.

My absolute favourite playing guitars are my 1987 Charvel Model 3 and 1990 RG550, I put a massive amount of playing time into the Charvel and still adore the USA J90C bridge pickup it came with, however the original Edge and 24-fret wizard makes the RG550 a very close second place.

This was the golden era for Japanese guitars in terms of bang-for-your-buck.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 08:24 AM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Why do they ship guitars without a case? So they can sell you a case as an option, an accessory that has higher margins than the guitar. Ibanez never gave a case away with a guitar for most of it's existence with very rare exception.
Most people seem to have forgotten that the "Golden Era" Ibanez guitars that they wax so poetically about had cases as options. I got into an argument with someone recently who seemed really upset that the RG550 didn't include a case and that the pickups were cheap. I invited them to compare the price of an RG550 to the most recent RG655M (MAP vs MAP). They're not just going to cut $200 off the price for nothing.

By the way, not sure if you've noticed this but the pickups in the 550 are not the same as the V Series that were in the 1570 for years. They appear to be subcontracted to whoever makes the Infinity pickups.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 09:22 AM
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly View Post
At some point over the last 15 years, people decided they wanted to spend large amounts of money on new solid-body electric guitars and the guitar companies were happy to oblige. In order for this to work, the guitar companies had to make guitars that were worth the large amounts of money people were willing to spend. (Fender could not just sell a MIM Strat for $5000.) The biggest difference in quality comes mostly from the time spent building the guitar. However, after a certain point, more time stops making a difference. At some point, a better electric guitar cannot be made if we consider the electric guitar to be a musical instrument. The problem is people still had more money to spend and this is where I think guitar companies should have explained to buyers what they were actually paying for.

The PRS Dragon Series were more like pieces of visual art and the guitar was the backdrop and the people that bought them knew what they were buying. Guitars like that are different and nobody thinks otherwise. I do not know where quality tops out but I it is well before the $10,000 mark and I'm being extremely generous with that number. I would argue there is no such thing as a $10,000 solid-body electric guitar, just $10,000+ art projects. $10,000 guitars are not very common, but there are enough of them available that you can find them if you want. Personally, some of the EBMM JP models are getting awfully close to $4000 and there may be good as to why, but as a JP owner, I would like to hear those reasons. If one of the reasons is "art project," I would be fine with that. (His "Nomac" guitar was an art project in the most literal sense of the term.)

Ideally, playing these guitars is the best way to understand them and I have been fortunate enough to play new guitars passed the $10,000 mark and I cannot explain why they were not half the price. There might be a good reason, but it isn't because they were built better. In comparison, there are $500 guitar pedals made by Strymon, Eventide, and EHX. There is nothing less expensive that can do what these pedals can do equally well. You are paying for higher quality which makes sense. Mesa/Boogie and Bogner have made some really great amps in the recent past and, while expensive, they do not design new amps often enough for any price increase to seem out of the ordinary.

This is not a critique of the buyer. If a guitar is 1% better and costs twice as much, I would not question it. I am questioning what manufacturers are doing to certain guitars to justify the purchase price in a way that remotely makes sense. I have other questions such as "why ship a guitar without a hardshell case" and "why use a floating bridge that does not stay in tune?" These are things I have observed and thought about and I'm just putting them out there now. Wiser members than I may have good explanations.
Q. What are we paying for?
A. The max that companies forecast you'll spend based on past purchases.

Your rant is a bit all over the map. You're not criticizing the buyers but in fact you should. They have paid way much for vanity & art projects (and often both) and also paying WAY TOO MUCH for mediocre but pricey slave labor axes (where is the outcry, nowhere of course!). Don't confuse those with axes that use real - actually increasingly rare - tone woods (dried/aged, etc.). Ernie Ball axes are made by company pledge to pay workers a "living wage" and made in a very expensive area of CA (of course grossly overtaxed & overregulated). These workers reside in a free-society & real economy who get health care benefits, have a life outside of work, etc. Amps are different in scope and can be replaced by computers/software, especially in the studio. Comparing guitars to any electronic is not a good comparison imho.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 12:35 PM
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
Most people seem to have forgotten that the "Golden Era" Ibanez guitars that they wax so poetically about had cases as options. I got into an argument with someone recently who seemed really upset that the RG550 didn't include a case and that the pickups were cheap. I invited them to compare the price of an RG550 to the most recent RG655M (MAP vs MAP). They're not just going to cut $200 off the price for nothing.

By the way, not sure if you've noticed this but the pickups in the 550 are not the same as the V Series that were in the 1570 for years. They appear to be subcontracted to whoever makes the Infinity pickups.
Direct comparison

1987 RG550/570 List price - $749.99. Pre MAP, Pre internet, dealers only discounted if they wanted to
2018 RG550/570 List price - $1333.32 - MAP- $999 - and still discounted from there.

Neither included a case.

M100 Case 1987 - $119.95
M100 Case 2017 - $199.99

$749.99 in 1987 → $1,663.75 in 2018
$119.99 in 1987 → $266.18 in 2018

Reality is a bitch to those that live in the past under a rock.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 12:52 PM
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Q. What are we paying for?
A. The max that companies forecast you'll spend based on past purchases.
Completely agree!

We paid 3000 credits for the first special one so the companies knew we’d pay 3500 credits for the next one...

Consumerism tells us that having the rare one makes us special, makes us better, more attractive or at least that we’ll get more Facebook likes. As a result we’re prepared to pay more for the blue one compared to the red one if we’re told there’ll only be 100 of the blue ones compared to 1000 of the red ones.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 09:57 PM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

In my opinion the Suhr Modern Pro I was able to buy new four years ago for $2,200 is close to the top of the players pyramid so to speak. Great craftsmanship. Steel frets. Great Suhr SSV pickups, Gohtoh Floyd Rose. Made in America. Wonderful body styling. Reinforced metal plate on the input jack. Don’t believe stuff plays or sounds better beyond say $2500 or so as it relates to solid body electrics.

Everything beyond that you are paying for art and collectibility.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-28-2018, 02:14 AM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

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Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly View Post
why ship a guitar without a hardshell case
I'm happy not to get the hardshell case that just takes up storage space. Gig bag only user for years and years and years now.



Quote:
why use a floating bridge
Because it's the only way I want my electric guitars. No floating bridge = acoustic guitar.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-28-2018, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The TPS Report View Post
In my opinion the Suhr Modern Pro I was able to buy new four years ago for $2,200 is close to the top of the player's pyramid so to speak. Great craftsmanship. Steel frets. Great Suhr SSV pickups, Gotoh Floyd Rose. Made in America. Wonderful body styling. Reinforced metal plate on the input jack. Don’t believe stuff plays or sounds better beyond say $2500 or so as it relates to solid body electrics.

Everything beyond that you are paying for art and collectibility.
It is hard to pin down a price because of the many variables involved, but overall I think you are right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
I'm happy not to get the hardshell case that just takes up storage space. Gig bag only user for years and years and years now.



Because it's the only way I want my electric guitars. No floating bridge = acoustic guitar.
Yes, hardshell cases take up space.
A good floating bridge stays in tune. Every guitarist needs to play in tune. There are plenty of floating bridges that throw the guitar out of tune. These are not helpful to anyone. Acoustic guitars are great.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 10:10 AM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

I wont play anything without a floating bridge. I tried that route (hardtail or string thru body) and even the slightest little bit of tuning instability drove me insane. Having to retune after a bend just killed me. I LOVED my old roadcore (the pups were great and it played amazingly), but the lack of tuning stability almost gave me a case of roid rage.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 10:45 AM
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

Hendrix & SRV & Blackmore played & abused axes with what people here would not consider "good quality trems". Hmmm.

Sunday I picked up my SG with 008s strobotuned and played (heavy handed) for 90-min staying perfectly in tune. Lets keep it real.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Hendrix & SRV & Blackmore played & abused axes with what people here would not consider "good quality trems". Hmmm.

Sunday I picked up my SG with 008s strobotuned and played (heavy handed) for 90-min staying perfectly in tune. Lets keep it real.
“Hmmm” indeed.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 07:35 PM
 
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Arrow Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

If anyone knows anywhere selling a DoubleNeck 12/6 Ibanez guitars late 70 or early 80 model please have them contact me here.

fishbling @ outlook com
Thanks
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-29-2018, 08:07 PM
 
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Re: Electric Guitar Prices: What are we paying for?

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Hendrix & SRV & Blackmore played & abused axes with what people here would not consider "good quality trems". Hmmm.

Sunday I picked up my SG with 008s strobotuned and played (heavy handed) for 90-min staying perfectly in tune. Lets keep it real.
they also had pro techs (remember Lemmy was one of Jimmy's roadies). Not all of us are that lucky.

I'm speaking to my own experience though. I am not saying those old strat trems weren't reliable, not in the least. I'm also not saying that SGs wont stay in tune. I'm saying, in my own experience with a few different guitars, DT355, RC1720M, BL550 reissue, that I've had trouble getting these guitars to stay in tune to my liking. My RC stayed MOSTLY in tune, but after a big bend would definitely move a little either flat or sharp. Not anything super serious for most people, but for me it drove me absolutely mad.
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