I played an expensive guitar today

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ricorico Frets: 825
I went down to Andertons today to take advantage of they 4 for 3 on strings and fancied trying out a Victory V30 and the chap said choose whatever guitar you like. I wanted a LP with a chunky neck and the chap picked out a Custom Shop VOS model at just £5k. 

Plugged it in and cranked up the V30 and was, well, underwhelmed. 

Aside from being told to turn down (how else are you meant to find out what an amp really sounds like) it was a pretty average experience. The V30 had very little clean headroom even into a 100db speaker and was very bass heavy on both channels. 

The guitar was certainly a good one but was it £3.5k better than my 17 year old Standard? No bloody way. 

It was the most expensive guitar I have played and maybe I was expecting something special. The neck was nice and chunky at least. 

Anyone had a similar experience? 
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1640
    Most guitars that you pick up in a box shifting shop are not well setup at all and this includes £5k Gibson’s and PRS’s etc
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  • ricorico Frets: 825
    sweepy said:
    Most guitars that you pick up in a box shifting shop are not well setup at all and this includes £5k Gibson’s and PRS’s etc
    It was set up halfway decently but intrinsically it just didn’t feel like a guitar worth £5k. 
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  • antifashantifash Frets: 597
    Yes, many times. But then there’s the odd occasion where you play something truly outstanding. ;)
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3531
    I'm tight when it comes to guitars but I have friends who are collectors,in particular 2 of them own in excess of 160 Gibson's, PRS's, Fenders, Taylors, Martins, Duesenbergs, Guilds and some some appointed guitars.  I've gig'ed pretty much everything from basic USA Strats to Gibson and Fender Custom Shop anniversary models heading well into the 10K territory.

    In all the above the best setup guitars in terms of fit and finish and sheer perfection were Duesenburg's .... a bit too bling for me but the attention to detail and ease of playibiity on those guitars is something else !

    My actual favourite guitar to gig is a friends bog standard blonde Fender USA Tele ...... which cost about £700 second hand 

    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • MayneheadMaynehead Frets: 1169
    At the end of the day, it’s a plank of wood with strings on it, no matter how much you pay.

    Some people think (not you OP) that if a guitar is worth so much money it should almost play itself, sadly it is not the case...

    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3790
    I’ve never been in the market for an expensive guitar. However I have had a chance to play a few when buying pedals, amps, etc and generally I’ve been underwhelmed. The only exception was a CS Strat at Coda in Stevenage which was exceptional. 
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • ricorico Frets: 825
    I’ve never played a CS Tele actually, when I need to stock up on strings again...
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  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 841
    Well it was that feeling I got when test driving high-end Les Pauls at Andertons and other stores around the South East.  I could really not find one that had that something. They were all nice enough but for some reason, I could not get out the wallet. 

    Hence I went back to  old Japanese after clearing my little collection 5 years ago. Now looking for more ha ha. 

    Ultimately I am sure there is stuff in the Authentic level that is very good but I could just not find the magic. 
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  • Maynehead said:
    At the end of the day, it’s a plank of wood with strings on it, no matter how much you pay.

    Some people think (not you OP) that if a guitar is worth so much money it should almost play itself, sadly it is not the case...

    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.

    Pretty much.

    I do think there's merit in some high end acoustics though. Solid body guitars seem to become nostalgia or aesthetics beyond an earlier point.
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  • gordijigordiji Frets: 172
    Maynehead said:


    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.
    In fact the gods have already drank their nectar, while it's maturing the majority of the alcohol evapourates and is called 'la part des anges' or the angels part !
    Over valued guitars will always leave a bitter taste however.
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  • LesbianWithAGunLesbianWithAGun Frets: 496
    edited January 11
    I opened up a 2009 issue of Total Guitar magazine and the price of my guitar/Gibson R7 I spent £3, 995.00 on depressed me since 9 years ago it was £1, 999.00 or something...

    On the flip side, this trend, I'm glad I got them if ever they suddenly cost more than what I paid.

    It seems £4, 000.00 is today's price.
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 3308
    I would agree about the high end acoustics..........some are just magnificent
    I generally think that once you get over £800 the law of diminishing returns applies to electric guitars because there are so many other factors from boards/effects/cables/amps /volume/headroom etc 
    A lot of these £5k guitars are just marketing bullshit wrapped up in a fancy case with nice decals and certificates
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  • WhitecatWhitecat Frets: 1566
    edited January 11
    “Told to turn down”? While *amp* shopping?

    I’d say “Ok” - hand them back the guitar, switch off the amp and walk out. If they can’t provision for cranked amps they shouldn’t be in the business of selling them. Terrible. 
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  • markblackmarkblack Frets: 501
    when I bought my CS Tele at Coda I asked to try a pricey Les Paul, just because, I was very unimpressed, it was a nice historic something-or-other but it was just nice... my tele on the other hand :)
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 719
    edited January 12
    I'm surprised you were told to turn down at Andertons. How loud were you playing?
    I like to crank an amp when I try it, but I've never been told to turn down at Andertons.

     It's a very subjective experience for me when I try guitars. I just immediately connect with some guitars but not others, even when they're the same model. There's probably some subtlety in the way they're set up. But I suspect that I could probably connect with most guitars once I've had time to get used to them and set them up to my taste, provided the frets aren't too low and the neck isn't too wide, and there isn't a sharp feel to the edge of the neck, and the pickups aren't microphonic and the sound is good etc, etc... :)

    It's not a competition.
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 602
    Some guitars are great, some aren’t is often banded about and I’ve said it myself. We’ve always heard folks mention ‘that one in the batch’ and I think in many ways there is some truth, not that the others are all shit, just that one will stand out to you as an individual and be the ‘great’ one. I think this transcends price. I’ve played £500 guitars that have really impressed me and been a joy to play, several grand custom shops that were ok and once (only once) a vintage instrument that made time standstill (or so it seemed). I think the correlation between price and response was only marginally to do with the guitar and more about how I as the player interacted with it. As such, are expensive guitars worth it -depends on the player.
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  • NeilNeil Frets: 2160
    rico said:
    I went down to Andertons today to take advantage of they 4 for 3 on strings and fancied trying out a Victory V30 and the chap said choose whatever guitar you like. I wanted a LP with a chunky neck and the chap picked out a Custom Shop VOS model at just £5k. 

    Plugged it in and cranked up the V30 and was, well, underwhelmed. 

    Aside from being told to turn down (how else are you meant to find out what an amp really sounds like) it was a pretty average experience. The V30 had very little clean headroom even into a 100db speaker and was very bass heavy on both channels. 

    The guitar was certainly a good one but was it £3.5k better than my 17 year old Standard? No bloody way. 

    It was the most expensive guitar I have played and maybe I was expecting something special. The neck was nice and chunky at least. 

    Anyone had a similar experience? 
    What should £3.5k extra feel like? 

    For every grand extra you pay on a £1000 guitar the differences are minimal at best.
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  • The more experience you have as a player, the more you can judge an instrument on its actual worth ( to you)
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • KiniooKinioo Frets: 15
    Maynehead said:
    At the end of the day, it’s a plank of wood with strings on it, no matter how much you pay.

    Some people think (not you OP) that if a guitar is worth so much money it should almost play itself, sadly it is not the case...

    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.
    Second this.
    (I found it similar with most of the signature models, guitars or amps, when people think they can be/sound like MR XYZ-guitar god only because they have their name written on it...)
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 5403
    Is only one Q to ask when looking at a guitar - will it help me play/sound better?
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • BazPBazP Frets: 274
    edited January 12
    Certainly a law of diminishing returns at play here and as with all CS Fenders and Gibsons, they vary from guitar to guitar

    Equally, a Ferrari shod with remould tyres (nee crappy amp) isn't going to give you the full experience!
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  • ricorico Frets: 825
    Whitecat said:
    “Told to turn down”? While *amp* shopping?

    I’d say “Ok” - hand them back the guitar, switch off the amp and walk out. If they can’t provision for cranked amps they shouldn’t be in the business of selling them. Terrible. 
    I'm surprised you were told to turn down at Andertons. How loud were you playing?
    I like to crank an amp when I try it, but I've never been told to turn down at Andertons.

     It's a very subjective experience for me when I try guitars. I just immediately connect with some guitars but not others, even when they're the same model. There's probably some subtlety in the way they're set up. But I suspect that I could probably connect with most guitars once I've had time to get used to them and set them up to my taste, provided the frets aren't too low and the neck isn't too wide, and there isn't a sharp feel to the edge of the neck, and the pickups aren't microphonic and the sound is good etc, etc... :)

    I was in one of the little booths and had the V30 totally cranked but it wasn't 'that' loud. The cab was aiming at my feet but still. The guy who told me to turn down had actually sold me a few bits previously and fairly recently but didn't recognise me (why should he) and made the excuse that there was someone testing an archtop in the booth adjacent. I had wanted to demo the Sheriff 44 too but I said to the chap that was dealing with me that I wouldn't bother if I couldn't turn it up and to be fair he did agree with me.  

    @Neil it's a fair point you raise. I know it's intangible but I expected to be slightly more blown away - it just didn't feel like anything special. If I was to spend that much on anything (guitar stuff, watches - that kind of scale) then I would expect it to feel like an event, so to speak.
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  • WezVWezV Frets: 8207
    edited January 12
    Maynehead said:


    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.

    I find to get the most out of expensive booze it pays to taste them alongside a cheaper version.   I guarantee you will notice the difference and pick out more flavours if you do this. 


    the same should probably apply to guitar shopping.   If you want the £5k Gibson its probably worth playing a few cheaper and some alternative versions to make sure it is actually what you want.    Unless your are loaded and/or have the disposal income.  Perfectly fine to just buy one because you want to

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  • peteripeteri Frets: 697
    Interesting - and echoes my experience in the more modern Gibson CS stuff.

    I'm sure there are some good ones, and if you've got one - no disrespect, but on the day I got my 1972 Custom (for a lot less money), the ones I tried did not even come close to what I was looking for.
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  • peteripeteri Frets: 697
    Oh and the turn it down is BS!
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  • ricorico Frets: 825
    WezV said:

    f you want the £5k Gibson its probably worth playing a few cheaper and some alternative versions to make sure it is actually what you want.    Unless your are loading and/or have the disposal income.  Perfectly fine to just buy one because you want to :)

    I absolutely agree! I am usually pretty poor at making impulse & 'I want it so I'll buy it' type purchases but when it comes to something I am very passionate about, it must be a considered, researched choice. 
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  • aord43aord43 Frets: 285
    WezV said:
    Maynehead said:


    I bought a £150 bottle of brandy once. I thought it would taste like the nectar of the gods... turned out it just tasted like brandy, albeit a little smoother.

    I find to get the most out of expensive booze it pays to taste them alongside a cheaper version.   I guarantee you will notice the difference and pick out more flavours if you do this. 


    the same should probably apply to guitar shopping.   If you want the £5k Gibson its probably worth playing a few cheaper and some alternative versions to make sure it is actually what you want.    Unless your are loaded and/or have the disposal income.  Perfectly fine to just buy one because you want to

    Ideally it should be a blind test because we are notoriously influenced by the psychology of a nice label, or just knowing that it's expensive.  Easier to do with a drink, but I did see a video (maybe Andertons?) where they did it with guitars.  Very interesting.
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  • BazPBazP Frets: 274
    I know the Physiotherapist next to Andertons very well - occasionally you get bass coming through the wall but never guitar, so who's complaining?

    Whether you get an accurate sound through 30 watts in a room not much bigger than an Iso chamber is a different matter...
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  • ricorico Frets: 825
    BazP said:
    I know the Physiotherapist next to Andertons very well - occasionally you get bass coming through the wall but never guitar, so who's complaining?


    Evidently the guy who was trying out an archtop!
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  • 57Deluxe said:
    Is only one Q to ask when looking at a guitar - will it help me play/sound better?
    Thought it was what does it look like on me in the mirror?
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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