WHEN NOT TO BUY AN EXPENSIVE GUITAR
As purveyors of the world’s finest hand made guitars, we have a great interest in getting as many of these works of art into as many hands as possible. That said, it is equally (if not more) important to us that the instruments are right for the buyer. Here are some situations where we would advise a prospective customer not to buy an expensive guitar.
1. Extreme environments
If you’re planning on bringing a guitar to extreme environments, we would not recommend that you bring something high value and hand made. As an extreme example, if you are heading to the Sahara or the North Pole, we would definitely recommend against buying an expensive guitar to bring with you.
For less extremity, if you work at sea, for example, buying an expensive guitar to bring with you may not be the most practical (though it is possible to do with proper dehumidification, constant cleaning and religiously keeping it in its case when not in use). One solution may be to get a carbon fibre guitar (we don’t deal in those but we think Composite Acoustics is a good place to start looking if you are after that wood-like tone from a CF guitar).
On a related note, If you live in an extremely humid or dry environment, more care must be taken for your guitar. We will be writing an article on guitar maintenance soon so do keep a look out for that!
2. For kids
All parents want the best they can afford for their kids. While we think that exposure to music (especially guitar music ;)) is great, it is probably a step too far to buy your child an expensive instrument straight off the bat. Most kids change interests and there is no way to guarantee that your child will stick with the instrument or even music.
We think that the best route to get a second hand guitar or even borrow one from a friend or relative who gave up the instrument. If your child has shown some degree of dedication, it might then justify looking into buying something really special to reward her or his dedication.
That said, we think that it would be of great help in sustaining your child’s interest if his or her first guitar had good playability. However, this does not mean you have to buy an expensive instrument. Usually, a good set up of the guitar would do the trick, unless the guitar is in a truly irreparable condition.
3. If you can’t afford it
We realise this heading sounds snobbish, but we still think it is important enough to bring up regardless of the social fallout. As we touched on this in a previous article, we DO NOT advocate spending beyond your means to buy guitars.
If you really do want to own an expensive handmade guitar, one possible option is to look for more affordable luthiers who do not compromise on tone. This way you can get the “best of both worlds” without breaking the bank.
4. If it isn’t worth it (expensive doesn’t always equal good)
A good reason not to buy an expensive guitar is when it is just not worth it. Having played hundreds of guitars, our favourites are not necessarily the most expensive (though empirically speaking, we think there is a slight correlation). As mentioned before, an impeccably built handmade guitar is more affordable than you might think.
It may also be outside your purposes. For example, if you are looking for a guitar for recording, you may need one with less overtones. An expensive one characterised with strong overtones is not going to be worth it for this purpose, no matter how good it sounds.
If you enjoyed this article, you may look forward to the upcoming ones where we answer some of the nagging questions about guitars you've had, such as "What is considered as "Good” Tone" and "How many Guitars do you actually need?".
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