Just Trophy Wives?

Before I present an explanation as to what I mean, here is the basic question and although some detractors will consider it to be ambiguous, it is indeed sincere;

What exactly is an 'entry level/beginner's' guitar?

The most obvious initial distinction with entry level guitars is that they tend to be 'cheaper'. However, does this immediately identify that a raw beginner will automatically be strapped for cash, or simply that it is anticipated that the instrument will be gathering dust in a wardrobe (the British equivalent of a closet) within a couple of months? Potential customers being more likely to gamble a couple of hundred £'s/$'s than 4x times more in case they don't stick with it?

With a very distinct rise in the build quality of entry level guitars, I have been pondering where the distinction actually lies? I have several guitars that cost less than £200 to purchase. With the exception of one (a Dean EVO XM which was abysmal), all are really excellent instruments.
As I stated in my last thread, I highly value a very cheap Squier Affinity Telecaster (although I did replace the pickups) and in the event of a housefire, this would be the one I would rescue. So what exactly is it that adds £1000+ to the price of a guitar, especially with machine crafted production line instruments?

I also have a PRS and I paid £720 for it (a friend got it for me trade price), that should retail at around £1600. Yes it is beautifully made, but to me it doesn't perform or handle vastly better than a £200 instrument.
There are of course the woods used, the pickups, high quality tuners and general hardware and I accept that much of the work is hand done by craftsmen, but if really excellent instruments can be picked up 'cheaply', is it really justified charging such extortionate prices? Amongst other guitars, I also have a Schecter S-1 Elite that is quite exquisitely made, exceptional to play and suits every style I would ever wish to play and it cost me £430 – I have no clue why anyone would want to pay more for a guitar if high quality is very important to the buyer.

There is a great deal of talk about certain woods having better tonal characteristics than others. Well in the case of acoustic instruments, then I will agree there may be subtle differences, but with electric guitars, I have never been able to identify if the sound being produced is from a guitar made of mahogany, swamp ash or chipboard.

For those that claim (and they do/will) that expensive woods/instruments produce ‘better’ tone, there can’t be better tone, just different tone, the ear decides if it is more acceptable. Take the pickups out of a £1500 Gibson and put them in a £150 Yamaha Pacifica, play it to 100 guitar aficionados who can’t see the instrument - how many could identify what was being played?

So perhaps, I have posed the wrong question - how much of owning an expensive guitar is simply the equivalent of a 'trophy wife', meaning just because she looks attractive and is high maintenance does not mean she is a good cook and great in bed?

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Quote:
What exactly is an 'entry level/beginner's' guitar?

The most obvious initial distinction with entry level guitars is that they tend to be 'cheaper'. However, does this immediately identify that a raw beginner will automatically be strapped for cash, or simply that it is anticipated that the instrument will be gathering dust in a wardrobe (the British equivalent of a closet) within a couple of months? Potential customers being more likely to gamble a couple of hundred £'s/$'s than 4x times more in case they don't stick with it?

There are several points here...

..and it depends on the level that you're playing at.

The reason for using certain woods on an electric instrument can be tonal but also can be structural. Woods that are cut for the cheaper guitars are more prone to movement due to humidity, temperature, being left leaning against a wall etc. Cheap cuts of wood will tend to move more than a properly seasoned quater-sawn piece (thinking in terms of necks here).

The expensive guitars are more expensive to make and the makers will be working within much finer tolerances all round and are intended to be used in a professional capacity i.e. they have to be reliable, consistant and stable. They have to behave!

Now the difference in tonal quality might be slight but the feel and tone of the guitar WILL have a noticable effect on the player which WILL have a noticable effect on how that player feels which WILL have an effect on how that player plays which WILL in turn have a noticable effect on the sound that player produces which then goes round again. Unless, of course, said player is at a sufficiently low level where it doesn't matter. The pro-level player has distinctions that the lesser player just doesn't have.

Also, the "market" will determin the price (over and above the cost of production). This is called "perceived value". There is, in reality, no objective value in the universe, only that which is agreed upon.

I live very close to Denmark Street in London and I often see old guitars with price tags of £5000. If no one agrees with this price then it won't sell.

Les Paul himself once said that he thought the price people were paying for the old Gibsons was rediculous as the modern instruments were much better. But there was a time when you couldn't give a Les Paul away and they didn't sell at all when they were first introduced. The English blues and R&B chaps (Clapton et al) caused the revival of the Les Paul and the prices went up.

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