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Buy an expensive guitar or mod a lower / mid range model?.

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by thomo5150, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    set up is everything
  2. Chasy

    Chasy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 7, 2018
    Danbury CT
    The law of diminishing returns seems to go flat to inverted after about 800.00 or so on strats I think. I doubt if I would ever buy a new one. But I can appreciate the desire to have a custom though. In my house it would live in its case cause well CATS. I enjoy my beaters.
    rich724, abnormaltoy and amstratnut like this.
  3. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Ive done both, up to a point. I think getting a guitar that doesnt need to be modded seems to be a better way to go.
    Biddlin, Davey77, Sarnodude and 9 others like this.
  4. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 14, 2015
    In a house
    Just an MIA standard/ pro does the trick and will hold value better than a modded guitar in my opinion.
    Also no need to buy a custom shop either
  5. Grux

    Grux Strat-Talker

    May 17, 2018
    Clarksville, TN
    Always cheap and modded! You get exactly what you want everytime!
  6. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    I'm a big fan of modding the crap out of supposedly cheap low end model.

    Of course part of that is that I don't have the cash to drop a grand or 2 on an excellent guitar out of the box (BTW, anyone else have a problem with him describing that '77 as "out of the box"?).

    And FWIW, I liked the '77 better than the Squier.
    abnormaltoy likes this.
  7. maqcatt

    maqcatt Strat-O-Master

    Sep 25, 2008
    silverdale wa
    I mod the crap out of high end guitars too; what ever it takes to make it perform for my tastes.

    S Mac
  8. ChatNoir

    ChatNoir Strat-O-Master

    Dec 11, 2010
    Peabody, MA
    Cheap is the way to go. Even with the mods, you still come out on top. I would never pay for a high end guitar. My 2016 MIA was expensive, true, but not what they cost now and nowhere near the custom shop guitars. My builds are every bit as good and way less. Don't buy into the hype...
    skypeace, rich724, Grux and 4 others like this.
  9. anderz

    anderz Senior Stratmaster

    May 4, 2014
    Good God that is hard to say.

    I just got the trade offer for partscaster Blackie for my Gibson Explorer back in 1995 and the quality + main influences made me go for it.

    So as the years have passed Blackie has been updated 3 times to suit my needs but it still rules my interest enough to not explore other stratocasters.

    It had a setup once by a Fender service guy came by the local store. To see a EC signature neck on a wrong body he hesitated a little but did the setup.

    Somehow maybe I try to look for something I am used to and that clouds my judgement on stock stratocasters.

    It is the sum of the parts that makes it in my mind. However you get there is the question and stock, cheap versus custom shop is not really the case.

    As long as feels right it should sound right. Money is the irrelevant thing.

    I have had 2 $5000 guitars as a minimum and only one had reasons enough to feel right.

    That was back in 1996 I ordered my dream guitar and feeling right from the moment I opened the case to trying it out the first time and it still feels fantastic.

    So whatever floats your boat for your guitar to feel right.
    thomo5150 likes this.
  10. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    If I had a lot of disposable cash, I'd buy whatever I wanted, be it expensive or not.
    If I was on hard times, I'd buy whatever I could afford.

    I like expensive guitars for sure, but I don't have a ton of disposable cash. Lol.

    I have a few "higher end guitars" that I bought when I was young, and managed to hold onto. I had many that I sold.
    I have a couple low end guitars also.

    But with a family, I cannot justify buying another expensive guitar. There are more important things to spend it on, for me.
    Like if I was walking down the street and someone handed me 5 thousand dollars..... yeah I'd want to buy a guitar with it...... but it would go into our savings account instead.
    Grux, Stratbats and thomo5150 like this.
  11. jeff h

    jeff h Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 13, 2017
    Mid price to upper mid will get you the best return on your investment if you decide to sell.

    Case in point:
    I don't care how much you invest in your Squire, no one is paying that for it.
    Your Mega buck Custom shop isn't going to sell for what you want it to, there just aren't that many buyers.

    Standard MIMs and MIAs will get the best return from what I've seen.
    thomo5150 and Nadnitram like this.
  12. artgtr

    artgtr Artgtr Strat-Talk Supporter

    Aug 18, 2013
    I would buy the best guitar you can afford! I’m sure you won’t be sorry you did. You don’t usually hear guitar players say oh man I bought too good of a guitar, should have bought cheaper model. Good luck.
    Oddly- I recently received a small inheritance as a gifting & put this on lay a way awaiting the check. View attachment 289325
    These were just quick pics taken @ the counter. 1955 CS Heavy relic.
    It will be my first heavy relic. OK back on topic! Sorry got a little side tracked, when it as said if I was given some $$!
    For some reason pics uploaded locked, ??
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  13. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    Used MIA Deluxe or Standard . Most value for the dollar, imho
    skypeace and thomo5150 like this.
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    Cheap and mod up! Except ... I don't get along with the Squier skinny carved necks. My cheap preferences are for Spectrum, First Act, or Epiphone Specials. The $35 Spectrum I have does a better feel and tone of an MIA than my MIMs.

    For under $30 any guitar can have the pots/caps/switch/jack of the $2-$5,000 models.

    Fret level and setup gets playability up there.

    Then it's pickups and tuners decision to swap or not.

    Grux likes this.
  15. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 13, 2014
    This - I'm fine with my current guitars but damn I would love to have an MIA Deluxe/Elite. My friend has one and I absolutely love it.

    I have rarely done a mod to a guitar. I did change the pick guard and tuners on my old Strat when I first bought it (mainly as the one I had stolen had the same). But that was the only mod I have ever done to the guitars I have owned over the years (all 8 of them).
    TBH I'm not a DIY guy...
  16. RB522

    RB522 Strat-Talker

    Nov 23, 2017
    I have 3 upper shelf guitars that I bought new. A 1978 Strat, 1976 LP Custom, and a 2003 MIA Telecaster. Three beautiful guitars that cost a lot of money, and probably the only new guitars I will ever buy. Why ? Because I spend more time being careful with them than just playing them. The ones I really enjoy playing are the mid level guitars I bought used at a good price. There's a sense of freedom without worry that I'll ding one.
  17. Sinner1980

    Sinner1980 Strat-Talker

    May 5, 2010
    Hong Kong
    Not a big fan of cheap guitars nor modding. I'd rather spend some more and thankfully am able to find guitars that suit my taste. I would change pickups at most if I had to.

    As far as cheap guitars go, feel is everything to me and for some reason, besides being cheap, they feel cheap as well. I've had my share of MiM strats and teles and would pick my AV's over them any day of the week. Also can't stand poly finishes and prefer a guitar that ages naturally over time so that has something to do with it too.
    Stratoskater and Stratbats like this.
  18. Count Glockula®

    Count Glockula® Strat-O-Master

    Aug 16, 2009
    Fenderland, CA
  19. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana
    I say upper-mid range model. Like a high level used MIM. Doesn’t get a whole lot better than those, really.