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Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by donbroco84, Apr 20, 2019.
Great posts, Andy and Pauloqs!
Guitars are like women. It doesn't matter how "perfect" their bodies are or how well their makeup is applied, what matters is what happens when you hold them in your arms. If they respond to you, and you to them, you've got a match. If they don't respond to you, or you to them, then no matter how beautiful they are, no matter how seemingly perfect, how expensive or cheap, they are not for you. It doesn't matter if they are Chinese or Korean or Indonesian or American. If they respond to you when you hold them, you have a relationship. Some like it rough. Some like it gentle. Find the one(s) that suit your personality, the ones that love you back...There are no "perfect" humans. There are no "perfect" guitars. There are only the ones you love in spite of their flaws, and ones you wouldn't have even though they are pristine. Only you can determine which specific guitar is right for you, there is no rule book. We can have many guitars, but only one wife. You can view them as extensions of your ego, as tools, or as companions. That's up to you. Just find the one(s) that are on the same page...and LISTEN to them. And don't talk to them of technicalities... this is an affair of the heart.
While everyone has the right to disagree with each other, the amount of vitriol has a lot to do with response. No one should expect to say something “sucks” without getting it back. There’s a difference between an opinion that is explained and a pronouncement. Last time I looked no one and nothing were perfect. Let’s discuss the Good and bad and why, not make the playground statements of 6 year olds. It’s called respect and consideration.
And this is why I called PIE
I just received an SE Custom 22 Semi Hollow (Trampas Green Quilted Top from Zzounds). Awesome guitar but there are some issues with how the top was applied. It looks like there are some bubbles underneath the finish. I'll probably keep it because it's not too noticeable from a distance and sort of blends in with the top and I really like the configuration. Would prefer an SE SH CU24 but this is close enough.
It's not ideal, but just about every import guitar I've played has had issues here and there. Well, except my 2017 SE Custom 24 from Korea that I bought at a dealer. But it's also whale blue with a black finish on the neck and back, so it's going to hide most visual flaws well. But I've ordered a couple Epiphone LPs in the last year that I had to send back because of finish cracks in the neck. Plenty of G&L Tributes I've played were in much rougher shape in terms of their playability and finish.
I do think there is a difference between some purely cosmetic flaws that have absolutely no impact on the playability, the tone and function of the instrument. If the nut was cut to deeply, the frets not levelled, the tuners slipping, the pots/switch/PU's not working, the lead dropping out or intermittently working etc - anything that affects the playability, that should be an instant return as it affects the playability and function of the instrument.
I am not saying that any cosmetic only issues should be accepted either - a big scratch on the front, a gouge out of back or obvious damage around the edges - things like that that you don't expect from a 'new' guitar but a bit of dust under the finish that you can't see unless you look very closely, a very small gap at one point in the countersunk backplate and even the 'birds' not 'dead centre' in the frets - as long as they are in the right fret and not half in and half out, then I think that is being a bit over-picky - especially if the instrument plays, feels and sounds great. The birds are still marking the right fret, the backplate is still covering the electronics and the bit of dust under the smooth finish has no impact at all. To 'repair' these would probably cost more than the guitar - having to strip the guitar back down to wood to refinish without a bit of dust, to rip of the fretboard (or neck) to replace the fretboard just to centre the birds, have a custom made one off backplate just to eliminate that half a mm gap at one end etc is, I think, unreasonable.
You can argue all you want about the fact that its only an SE or that you have played Epiphones that are 'perfect' on your eyes, a LOT of the guitar is made by hand - even if the body and neck are 'carved' to a 'rough' shape by CNC machines - the rest is all done by hand. They still have to sand the body/neck to remove the CNC tooling marks, still have to set the neck by hand, still have glue the fretboard on by hand, still have put all the frets in by hand, still have to stain and spray the guitars by hand, still have to sand and respray and sand and buff by hand, still have to radius the fretboard by hand, still have to fit all the parts, the tuners, PU's, Electronics etc by hand, still have to do all the fretwork and set-up by hand and as such, there will be occasional human error.
Human error can be seen on 'custom' shop Les Pauls - guitars that cost much more than a 'core' PRS - even more than a 10-top and some wood-library guitars (at least here and in Canada as I have some friends over there who recently bought an R9 and that cost around the same as it does in the UK based on the current exchange rates). There are 'tooling' marks in the neck binding and the nibs are not 'equal' on every fret. They can feel the edge of the binding where it meets the wood - not sure if the binding is too thick or thin but they can feel the difference - and its not around the whole body - just in one area and a scratch in the binding under the finish by the neck pocket on the top - its visible when they play and look down - less so with a strap. There is also some issue on the top side where the fretboard and body meet - some stain where it shouldn't be because it wasn't taped properly. I could go on and mention other minor issues that show a human, not a 'machine' or a person who takes pride in ensuring that their work is 'perfect' before moving on to the next instrument.
The point I am making here is that regardless of the cost, there is a LOT of hands on to making a guitar and human errors, those little imperfections that some find 'reassuring' as it shows they were built by a human and not a machine. I have heard people say they don't like PRS guitars because they are 'too perfect', that they lack that 'soul' because they are too clinical - not that I agree at all (obviously as I play PRS exclusively nowadays).
I have said this before and I will say it again - at what point should a 'perfectly' functioning, great sounding and very playable instrument be scrapped because the cost to fix would not be worth doing for just a very minor imperfection? Take into consideration too that those guitars that are built and shipped accrued 'cost' and that cost will not be PRS that pays for these, not PRS that will pay for the work to attend to these 'flaws'. The more work that PRS have to do, the more guitars that have to be scrapped because they don't meet the standards, all of that cost goes into the price the customer pays. You may pay for an hour of a PRS employee to check that the guitar has plays, works, feels and sounds like that PRS should but if PRS had to spend day's stripping a guitar down to refinish, replace a fretboard etc will add more cost than 'scrapping' a fully working instrument scrappage will be factored in to the cost of the instrument too. Someone has to pay at the end of the day and that cost will inevitably end up with the customer.
At the end of the day, the Final Quality Check has to be done by the customer. If those 'minor' imperfections are really affecting you - despite the instrument sound, playing and feeling like a PRS should - are affecting you, then why did you buy it? This is one of the reasons online purchasers are 'better' protected because you haven't seen the item and as such, are given a short length of time to inspect the item and return it in its original condition for a full refund which buying in store (at least a LOT of stores as they don't have to by law - but some good retailers may well offer) don't allow. If you pre-ordered and go to pick it up, you are well within your right to inspect the guitar before finalising the transaction. If you buy 'off the wall', then you only have yourself to blame as you have ample opportunity to inspect the guitar that may of been hanging on the wall for month's, played by everyone who entered the store over that time. You can use that to your advantage too if you want to negotiate a deal...
The TLDR is that guitars are made by humans, not all of whom are highly skilled luthiers who have the luxury of taking time over their role in the production of that instrument. Human Errors can occur and not all flaws are worth addressing and it may not be worth 'scrapping' either. Its up to you as a customer to check the instrument and maybe even negotiate a better deal OR buy an alternative that doesn't have that minor flaw. You could also try and get a partial refund if you order online and speak politely to the store. If you don't get a favourable outcome, a small partial refund for example, you can always return it for a full refund or a direct swap.
RESPECT THE PIE, and the guy that called it. Let this thread die.
On this forum you sometimes have to hold your nose and look past it. Theres a lot of Kool-aid here. I get where your coming from. I choose to find the interesting stuff and forget about the rest.
For the record, if you had bothered to look four posts later, you would have read this:
For the record, I had already read that post before posting my comments. The fact that you pontificate about the economics of guitar making is both humorous and condescending. In a free world market the consumer drives development. If we don’t buy it they have to change it or reduce the price to the point that the consumer is willing to live with certain irregularities. A lot of these poorly produced guitars should have been b-stock. These simplistic econ101 dissertations belittle the group in general as I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, done that.
The economics of Guitar building does play a massive part in the instruments that are sold and their price-point - whether that's materials, labour, factory overheads, shipping or any other 'costs'. A Custom Gibson Les Paul isn't without 'human' error which can be passed of as an indication that a 'human' and not a machine was involved in that part of the building process. These are guitars that cost 10x as much as an SE.
At some point, the cost to put right an 'error' costs more than the value of the guitar - especially if that involves US Staff, factory etc. Either that means the guitar is 'scrapped', adding to the 'wastage' costs after all, it cost money to build and ship to the US, or the imperfections are not worth scrapping a perfectly good instrument, one that functions, plays etc as good as any other instrument and not worth fixing as it has absolutely no impact on the instrument. An $800 MAP SE guitar isn't worth spending $800 to 'fix' something that has absolutely no impact whatsoever but a Guitar that's worth $4000, $800 is worth doing.
If a customer doesn't like a small cosmetic only issue on their SE, then they have the choice to buy one that does meet the standard they want. If that guitar doesn't sell because of that very minor imperfection and at the price the shop has it advertised for, they can reduce the price and sell it as a 'box open', a B Stock, a Demo item etc. Its up to the store to decide. Just like its up to the customer to decide if the guitar is worth purchasing at the price advertised and, if they feel there is a 'imperfection' that reduces the value of the guitar in their eyes, they can either try and negotiate a discount with the store or buy a different guitar.
An SE has more costs than just the manufacturing and materials - it has shipping costs to PRS, a US labourer to check, set-up and pass the guitar as 'good enough' to sell, distribution costs to the store, store overheads and mark-up. Again, if you don't think a Guitar, even if its 'perfect' isn't worth the asking price, you have a choice to try and negotiate a better deal or buy a different instrument that you are happy to pay the price for. There are People that don't think a Core PRS is worth the price, its not 4/5x better than an SE that the 4/5x price difference would indicate in their eyes.
PRS have determined that the only way they can make a Guitar at an SE price point is to have an overseas manufacturer making PRS branded guitars under Licence making the necessary compromises so that it can be sold at the prices advertised - inc all the additional charges of shipping, distribution US employee time etc. All of that factors in to everything!! As a customer you have to decide whether the product, regardless of where its made, regardless of what imperfections may exist, regardless of brand etc is worth the money being asked and if not, you have a choice to buy as is, negotiate a discount or buy something else instead. People are deciding that a Gibson R9 Custom Re-issue, with minor imperfections is worth spending more than a Core PRS which may well be flawless - they are selling!
I can't believe this argument is still going on. You will never ever ever find a guitar that is utter perfection (unless it's opinion only). If you want to be more assured of an acceptable guitar (to you) then go to the store personally and play it before you buy. Have a more realistic approach to the instrument and the level of "perfection" that you expect. On my last vacation I went to a local guitar store with my wife. She picks out a guitar off the wall that was literally $50. I thought it was a POS, but she loved it.
"Utter perfection" is a bit grandiose IMHO. I bought an SE CU24 last year on the internet from GC and it arrived in perfect condition. By "perfect" I just mean there were no obvious blemishes, it was setup well and all the switches worked properly. I had what I feel were reasonable expectations and the guitar met them. I do agree that it's best to find guitars in local stores and test drive them before buying so there are no surprises.
Exactly! I'm excited to eventually get a Core and that excitement is predicated on the fact that my SE is amazing. I can only imagine what a Core will give to me!
That's absolutely hilarious!
I don't think the actual argument is still going on. At this point it's all just petty B.S....some of my posts included.
Just so long as it's not about me.
Whilst I only have Core guitars, I still don't think you can expect a 4x better guitar than your SE. I don't like to say that an SE is 90% for 25% of the price as I see others may say, but to a degree, I understand the point. You are paying a lot for that extra 10% although I see it as paying a lot for numerous improvements, numerous upgrades that contribute to a better instrument.
It really depends on whether you prefer to buy a guitar that doesn't 'compromise' to fit a budget or buy knowing that some compromises have been made to make the guitar to sell at a certain price point. Obviously a Core PRS doesn't compromise and all the hardware and electronics are the best that PRS can offer. Regardless of whether the top is determined to be more aesthetically pleasing (10 top or Artist) even Private Stock builds are using all the same quality hardware. Move down a tier and there is 'compromise' - thinner maple, 3 piece neck and bolt on too, moulded Trem bridge (same as S2 and SE) for example. S2 uses the same Pick-ups as an SE as well as other 'compromises' to build to that price point and we know the 'compromise' for SE's with veneer tops and of course made under licence and imported.
None of these 'Compromises' are necessarily bad as ALL of these Guitars are very competitive with all the other guitars in their respective price points and, if you only have $1k to spend, you cannot go far wrong with buying an SE. They are made 'differently' - for example, the fretboard isn't glued to the neck before the neck is fitted to the body - there is a great youtube video showing the stages of an SE build which can be compared to a PRS factory tour and see the stages that US made guitars go through. Its understandable how a fretboard is slightly too high or low when its glued to the guitar so the birds are not dead centre as someone was complaining about.
What you are buying with a Core is a guitar that is better than many custom shop builds and no compromise. Everything is built and on that guitar to make it the best instrument. If it makes an improvement, its on the guitar regardless. Everything feels like quality but whether all of this is worth the asking price to you, only you can decide. Both money and value means something different from person to person. If you only have $100 a month of free income after all your bills are paid, $4000 is a massive investment and all the improvements on a core PRS may not justify the massive price difference. Someone who has over $1k a month free cash, someone who could buy an S2 PRS a month, may feel that a Core is worth it to them - its only a few months of saving compared to someone who may take a year just to get an SE. Point is, people have their own perspective on value.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your core as and when you get one and look forward to your NGD post!
Yep, that extra 10% is always expensive. But, I've done it with Fender, I've don't it with Gibson, I've even done it with Parker. Now I'll do it with PRS.