Chasing perfect

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
7,292
Altered States
IMO perfection in a guitar isn't even something to strive for.

Sometime 15 to 20 years ago Gibson stepped up their manufacturing tolerances game. While that sounds like a good thing IMO it wasn't. Prior to that if you saw a wall of Gibsons in the same model you could play each and find the one that fit you best (as there were tiny differences in necks). Afterwards if you didn't like the first one there was no point to trying the others.

I bought my 98 Gibson Lucille in about 2003. It was the first one I'd ever played and I loved everything about it. Throughout the years I've come across maybe a half dozen others and didn't like them at all. I assumed they simply weren't set up to my preferences. In the fall I sold my Lab Series L5 to another BB King fan and he brought his Lucille. We both agreed that my Lucille was the odd man out by having a smaller neck (something I really like).

These quirks and inconsistencies that some refer to as "flaws" are the secret to perfection if you change your idea of what perfection is.


Gibson used to do a whole lot more neck shaping by hand. It resulted in a lot of variation. These days there is a whole lot more CNC going on unless the guitar is coming out of the custom shop.

So, if you like some neck shape they're producing it's probably fairly consistent now. On the other hand if you're searching for something that isn't exactly on spec, checking out used Gibsons is the way to go.
 

golfnut

Strat-Talker
Feb 14, 2018
269
Canada
This is by no means intended to criticize anyone who has posted asking for opinions about a perceived flaw in their guitar. That said:

Give me five minutes with any new guitar and I’ll find a “flaw.” I bet most here would find some imperfection as well. But we’re dealing with guitars, not diamonds.

It just seems the internet has promoted a culture where we scrutinize every detail of an instrument. That can be great at times. It can help broaden knowledge. But it can also lead to nitpicking. My Strat has battle scars that include serious chips in the finish, scratches, etc. But it plays amazing and sounds fantastic. I love that guitar.

Is it perfect? For me, it is. Cause I spend more time playing it than inspecting it. Just saying. If you enjoy playing a guitar, not much else matters.
This is my philosophy towards guitars. Infact its what made me embrace relic guitars so much. I don't ever worry about the first ding, I don't waste time polishing them to make them shine. I just play the dam things. When I read some of the things that people nit pick, such as less than perfect factory frets, etc, I wonder why I'm not more sensitive to those things. I can play whatever. About the only things that I obsess a bit about is setup with low action and near flat relief and a guitar that stays in tune well.
 

golfnut

Strat-Talker
Feb 14, 2018
269
Canada
Gibson used to do a whole lot more neck shaping by hand. It resulted in a lot of variation. These days there is a whole lot more CNC going on unless the guitar is coming out of the custom shop.

So, if you like some neck shape they're producing it's probably fairly consistent now. On the other hand if you're searching for something that isn't exactly on spec, checking out used Gibsons is the way to go.
I just bought a Les Paul Standard 50's. I had picked up several before I found one with a big fat neck like the R8's. I found a lot of variation in the standard.
 

StratSounds

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 10, 2016
3,536
Rocky Mountain Way
The threads that start out with “Would you let this scratch bother you?”, always crack me up. I think you’ve already answered your own question by posting about it on the internet. Yeah, it’s clearly going to bug the crap out of you.😁
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
7,292
Altered States
I just bought a Les Paul Standard 50's. I had picked up several before I found one with a big fat neck like the R8's. I found a lot of variation in the standard.

I believe the Rn series is still sporting hand finished necks for sure. I don't expect the Standards are. Interesting that they still vary. Must be some hand finishing still left there too.
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
3,848
Here and now
Gibson used to do a whole lot more neck shaping by hand. It resulted in a lot of variation. These days there is a whole lot more CNC going on unless the guitar is coming out of the custom shop.

So, if you like some neck shape they're producing it's probably fairly consistent now. On the other hand if you're searching for something that isn't exactly on spec, checking out used Gibsons is the way to go.
100%
 

zackstexas

New Member!
Jan 16, 2022
5
12801
perfection is either misdefined or is impossible (a fatal flaw) and therefore not perfect.

but every squirrel is perfect.

perfection is either misdefined or is impossible (a fatal flaw) and therefore not perfect.

but every squirrel is perfect. i mean who's ever heard of a flawed squirrel?
I enjoy the many squirrels that hang out in my yard and nest in my trees. I feed them in the brutal NE winters. Sadly though, if they were perfect I wouldn't have to suffer the sight of them squashed in the road.☹
 

Guitar Hobbyist

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 25, 2021
60
Virginia
I have three electric and two acoustic guitars and two basses. Seven wooden children so to speak. Since there are seven days in a week, because I’m retired now I have the luxury of spending at least one day a week personally bonding with each of them. As far as I’m concerned, if they have any imperfections, I’m the one likely to have caused that either by an accidental ding or dent or my imperfect playing ability. They’re still my wooden children however.
 

Glyderslead

Strat-Talker
Jul 19, 2017
183
Outside to the left
When I bought my Hofner V3 - as shown in my avatar - in 1963, I thought it was great. After all who could afford to buy a Fender in those days at more than three times the price? Since then I have learnt that a Fender would have been a better investment.

Faults with this guitar? yes there are a couple.

- The stripes used as fret markers make your eyes go funny - always have!!.....So I don't look now!!!

- Another 2/6d's worth of wood used on the body thickness would have been so much better.

I've still got the guitar and guess I'll just have to learn to live with these problems.
 

golfnut

Strat-Talker
Feb 14, 2018
269
Canada
I have three electric and two acoustic guitars and two basses. Seven wooden children so to speak. Since there are seven days in a week, because I’m retired now I have the luxury of spending at least one day a week personally bonding with each of them. As far as I’m concerned, if they have any imperfections, I’m the one likely to have caused that either by an accidental ding or dent or my imperfect playing ability. They’re still my wooden children however.
lol. Thats my plan for retirement. To have 7 guitars, currently 4 electric, 2 acoustics. I've got six. Just one more to add. A buddy of mine has it and has agreed to hold on to it till I'm financially ready, which is early next year. A Gibson Hummingbird Historic.
 

Sparque

Seriously-Stratified
Nov 20, 2019
672
Harvest, AL
That's not what the OP is talking about.

It's what I perceived what he was talking about.

(A lot of threads lately where somebody receives a guitar in the mail, and then wonders, "Should I sent this back?"
All because of some actual or perceived imperfections noticed after the unboxing. )

Do I agree with the OP?
Yes.

Unless the imperfections are egregiously bad (and it is a high dollar purchase), just spend more time playing and less time nit-picking over minor mars and smudges.

And like the OP, some of my favorite guitars have their battle scars.
True work-horses with nicks, scratches and dings.
Great guitars.

:)
 

tanta07

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2019
2,189
Colorado
It's what I perceived what he was talking about.

(A lot of threads lately where somebody receives a guitar in the mail, and then wonders, "Should I sent this back?"
All because of some actual or perceived imperfections noticed after the unboxing. )

Do I agree with the OP?
Yes.

Unless the imperfections are egregiously bad (and it is a high dollar purchase), just spend more time playing and less time nit-picking over minor mars and smudges.

And like the OP, some of my favorite guitars have their battle scars.
True work-horses with nicks, scratches and dings.
Great guitars.

:)

Thank you for eventually getting around to addressing what the OP was talking about.
 

PlayerOne

Strat-Talker
Jan 29, 2022
196
Charlotte, nc
Perfection in a guitar is not what I've ever looked for. I may have stumbled on one or two, I don't know. But all of mine are great players and get the tones that I'm looking for.
It's a lot more fun playing them than inspecting them.
The OP should be glad that he's not in the vintage market.
 

Andmyaxe

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2021
273
USA
Yeah I do see a lot of those unboxing videos too. It sets the bar extremely high for anything else that may be a lesser value instrument. They “know” what to look for prior to even getting the guitar out of the box.

I also see and read all the threads on the GC guitar tests. To be fair I don’t think I’ve ever come across one of this GC guitar reviews that was a positive out come. It’s usually “I tried 10 Strats and they were all junk”.

People on here will give a bad review because of fret sprout and/or the guitar played like trash. So again it’s either in the store trying it out or unboxing and it’s junk. My point was if you’re in the store to actually buy but you come across a poor set up and fret sprout “flaw” ask. “Hey is this normal?” I have the cash to buy but not in this condition. You think the employee with tell you to beat it? Not likely.
Good advice. Much more reasonable and practical than expecting a guitar to show up in tune and set up perfectly after several days in transit.
Perfection in a guitar is not what I've ever looked for. I may have stumbled on one or two, I don't know. But all of mine are great players and get the tones that I'm looking for.
It's a lot more fun playing them than inspecting them.
The OP should be glad that he's not in the vintage market.
Nope, no vintage guitars for me.
 

Old Tone

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 8, 2019
14
Louisville, KY
Perfection in a guitar is not what I've ever looked for. I may have stumbled on one or two, I don't know. But all of mine are great players and get the tones that I'm looking for.
It's a lot more fun playing them than inspecting them.
The OP should be glad that he's not in the vintage market.
I wond
the imperfections are what makes each guitar unique

I doubt we all like our coffee the same way, so I expect there to be plenty of variety in our guitars.

I have guitars that are perfect for me and do exactly what I expect of them, someone else might think they are trash.

I'm OK with that.
I wonder if Hendrix knew his Woodstock Strat had a neck/body gap (on the high e side) big enough to hold spare pic's? This guitar would have been passed up by all those looking for "flaws". Feel, tone and mojo. Like the 80's era Prego spaghetti ad used to say, "It's in there."
1652453806465.png
 


Top