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abslutlyfibulus's picture
Dec 2006
9 years ago

a lot of people put emphasis on name brand guitars, but i believe that even guitars like squires can sound amazing.

i took a squire jagmaster and replaced everything electronic in it.
i put a seymour duncan sh-4 pickup in the bridge, which can be split by the dimarzio pot in the tone pot. i cut a hole in the pickguard in the middle of the bridge and neck pickups for another
sh-4, which is activated with the dimarzio volume pot. to finsih it of i put a seymour duncan phat cat in the neck position.

the guitar sounds absolutely amazing! i can get any sound i want out of it! throwing that middle pickup in the normal 3-way switch action gets a fully depressed wah sound when combined with the bridge pickup, and a reverse phase sound with the neck.
not what i wanted, but an awesome surprise!

anybody else have this experience? or do name brands rule all of what sounds good?

tubeworks made some damn good amps bitch

gollywog's picture
in a cave, making toast
Jun 2005
6 years ago

more money does not equal better sound.
cheap guitars have been known to sound amazing after pickup swaps.

afterall, you have to ask yourself what makes a cheap guitar cheap.
mostly, the hardware and electronics, both of which are easy to replace.
all you need is a screwdriver and soldering iron and you're set.

now, there is that certain "magic" to brand name guitars.
the mojo of a brand name cannot be ignored.
you're certain to wow a few lesser guitar knowers (people that only know of Fenders, Gibsons and any 3rd maker) in the crowd when you plug in a gold top LP.
however, true geeks will be more wowed when you plug in a $100 guitar made by a 3rd rate manufacturer, and squeeze out tones that clobber any $2000 custom shop X-maker.

cheap guitars are the best friend of geeks on a budget.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

Epiphone Thunderbird V>>>>>Russian Big Pi Muff>>>>>EHX LPB-1 (sometimes slipped in to sound extra trashy)>>>>>1977 70W Fender Bassman (modded with EL-34's)>>>>>Ampeg SVT-15E

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Alecto's picture
The Silent Planet
May 2003
7 years ago

There is a certain element of "you get what you pay for." My fiancée thought she had gotten a great deal on a Washburn bass until she tried to set it up. Basically, she ended up having to take it in to a shop and get a full fret dress. Long story short: she ended up selling the thing and buying a Fender Jazz 5.

Basically, you have to find the bang-for-buck price point. Some companies do sell their guitars for a reasonable price, with decent aftermarket pickups and electronics so you pay a little extra and not have to budget for replacement parts.

Danelectros are a classic example of a cheap guitar that sounds great. I've also heard good things about Eastwood guitars.


Originally posted by Talent?!
Alecto is a smart man.


Originally posted by Skuzze Alecto = retard

General of the Grammar Nazis, 41st Exploding Toad Division.

bob_2's picture
Lille - North of France
May 2003
6 years ago

My main guitar is a set neck Epiphone Les Paul DC (see my rig photos). I put a roller bridge on, and now i've got a pair of DiMarzio DLX pickups (p90-sized humbuckers - the opposite of Duncan Phat Cats, geddit ?) and it sounds awesome !!!!


Gibson Les Paul Special Faded Double Cut / Gibson Les Paul p90 Melody Maker / Gretsch Synchromatic / Squier MIJ Tele-Strat Hybrid > Boss TU2 Tuner > Maxon OD808 > EHX Small Stone > Das Musikding Tremolo > EHX Memory Toy
> Modded Sovtek Mig 60 > Marshall 1965A 4x10 cab

(very old) Rig Photos

nofearfactor's picture
Dec 2005
3 years ago

the differences in my $200 ESP LTD EC50($400 after 3 quick mods) practice room guitar and my near $1000 EC1000 gig only guitar are night and day quality wise,but with a few small mods I did make the lil beater a pretty good sounding guitar.Recorded back to back you cant even tell a difference.

The main differences:WOODS,binding,inlays;set vs bolt-on neck;Earvana compensated nut vs standard plastic;TonePros locking bridge vs standard Tuneomatic;Sperzel locking tuners vs standard chrome;EMG81s vs ESP in house humbuckers;etcetc.

On the EC50 when I first got it before I even played on it I changed the nut to graphic,added a EMG81 to the bridge and wired off the neck pickup,and gave it some Grover tuners.I added another $200 to the $200 it cost original with 3 mods.and it plays pretty badassed.Stays in tune through much abuse.Same scale length.A little lighter hanging on the body.Sustains about the same.Sounds just as good,just doesnt look as good to play before people.But on recordings,no differences at all.The only reason I got the EC1000 was aesthetics and playing live before people.I use the EC50 as its backup.

howitzer's picture
Brooklyn, NYC
Dec 2003
2 years ago

It's all about the player, not the playee. I'm sure Jimmy Page could make an incredible record with the most basic discount guitar.

Gibson '07 Les Paul Standard
Gibson '98 SG Special
Ibanez Artcore

weezy's picture
Aug 2006
5 years ago

Of course cheap guitars can be good. They can be great. A friend who plays in a band in the Twin Cities still has his first big Fender logo, small Squier logo Strat. It's had all the usual electonics and tuner upgrages. The finish was sanded off of the body. Various other personalizations have been made. The most important thing is that you find a guitar that feels good. From there, you can pimp it out as little or as much as you want.

Current rig: Les Paul Classic (Texas BBQ set and fine tuning tailpiece) or Les Paul Studio > SD Pickup Booster > PT-100 > Original Cry Baby > MXR Dynacomp > TS9DX > MT-2 > CH-1 > Stereo Pulsar > NYC Small Stone > Deluxe Memory Man > PDS-1002 > Verbzilla > Ampeg Reverberocket (R12R)

Phrygia80's picture
Dover NH
Nov 2006
6 years ago

I think the answer is twofold:

1. Eventually, after hours and hours of labor and a couple hundred bucks in electronics and parts.

2. It will only sound so good. No matter how much time and money you put into it, youre only gonna get so much out of cheap wood.

My rig:

If tone is all in the fingers, I'm just gonna play a Squier through a Gorilla amp from now on.

Zagree's picture
Nov 2006
6 years ago

Originally posted by Phrygia80
I think the answer is twofold:

1. Eventually, after hours and hours of labor and a couple hundred bucks in electronics and parts.

2. It will only sound so good. No matter how much time and money you put into it, youre only gonna get so much out of cheap wood.

I agree with Phrygia80, They can only sound so good, but for brginers there fine and with 100 bucks put in to them they're okay for more experienced players.

My rig:
Schecter Synyster Gates Custom
Squire Stratocaster

Line 6 Spider III + some pedals

recording Gear
Pro Tools LE 8
Mackie Tracktion 3
Shure PG57
Behringer Ultragain micpre
Fostex PMO-4 monitors
Nearly every free (not craked) plugin ever made

acoustic_frippy's picture
Map Ref 41N 93W
Sep 2005
6 years ago

Originally posted by Phrygia80
It will only sound so good. No matter how much time and money you put into it, youre only gonna get so much out of cheap wood.

I'm going to disagree. First, I think very few people can tell the difference between African and Honduran mahogany (Epi LP Std. Plain Top vs. Gibson LP Std.) or similar tone woods when compared. Second, I think that "cheap" is a relative term. There are plenty of supposedly cheap guitars from the '60s and '70s that are highly sought after and valued today. Third, price does not equal quality. Gibson is a prime example of this: very expensive but quality wise they're terrible compared to several makes of Japanese copies and even the new Epiphone versions.

Double Helix


Originally posted by teleman
*waiting for frippy to find this thread*

GDan's picture
Nov 2002
4 years ago

I think the differences between guitars is mainly in the eyes of the player. To a listener, even an experienced listener. Its ahrd to tell the difference between the Gibson and the tricked out pawn shop guitar. And even if they can tell the difference it doesent really matter as far as the song anyway. Its all about pleasing the player.

I'm a big fan of cheap guitars. I find it immensly satisfying to pick up a guitar that has a worth bigger than its pricetag suggests.

My no1 guitar is a Yamaha Pacifica Telecaster, I prefer it to my ESP which cost twice as much, I took the ESP to an audition the other day because I wanted to make a good impression but I cant play it anymore, it doesent work for me.

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