Is Your Perfect Guitar Expensive?


Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
The last example I saw of my "perfect" aka holy-grail guitar (1954 LP Custom) was well and truly out of my price range. I do not entertain the idea of ever owning one, even the reissues are 'other worldly' in price (and nothing like the originals all-mahogany construction).

Last price I saw for one in awful condition was over $60K and there's one on reverb now (albeit a '55 once owned by Paul Kossoff) for a shade over USD$170K

So the thought of ever owning one is simply not entertained in any seriousness whatsoever.


Oct 6, 2017
Just 2 guitars on my bucket list

Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse Y2D

and a Martin D-28


That MusicMan is beautiful, I hope you can keep it in a better condition than Morse, all his axes look like something the cat brought in! :D


Mod Admin
Staff member
Sep 13, 2011
I don't think it is "expensive", but I suppose it is worth more than all my others. My 98 Strat Plus has put all my others in cases or on stands. It is just better than the rest. Easy to play, stays in tune, sounds amazing. It would take something special to move this one out of #1. I'm sure if someone dropped off a MB CS or a nice 61-65 Strat... lol


Senior Stratmaster
Oct 5, 2014
Phoenix, AZ
I can't say for sure it would be my perfect guitar but I like just about everything about the Richie Kotzen Telecaster. I think I could probably get away with a Fender Player Series Tele and just change out the PU's to match what's in the RK model and call it done.

Right now I'm spending 95.7% of my time playing my Player Series HH Tele with SD Saturday Night Special pickups. If the neck was just a bit chunkier it would be my perfect guitar.
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Old Enough to Know Better
Gold Supporting Member
Silver Member
If a guitar isn't 'perfect' for me I don't keep it. I've had several guitars over the years that were perfect for me for different reasons, but as my playing changed so did my needs. None of them were super fantastic top of the line gold plated unicorns. My 2 perfect guitars right now are an upper end Strat and a lowest of the low end american guitar from someone else. They play and sound the way I want, don't give me any tuning trouble, I never think "If only it had this or that" while I'm playing them, and they don't break my back. That's about as close to perfect as I need :)


Strat-Talk Member
Dec 30, 2016
Birmingham Alabama
I have a GOTO, but not one claimed perfect, Out of all of my guitars, 16 total, I have a Fender American Elite Strat HSS, a Gibson R58 NOS, a 1998 Gibson SG, a Gibson Doublecut LP 100, a Paul Reed Smith custom 24 20th Anniversary, and a few more of note. But my favorites and go to's are two Epi LP's with P90's that I paid less than $100 each for. One of them I rescued from the burn pile, I took it in and nurtured it back to health and put Seymour Duncan P90 Antiquity pickups and a set of PRS tuners. I play that puppy more than any of the slew I own. Also, I had to repair the neck it had a separation of the fret board.

THis is some of my "slew"..

This is the ole EPI I resecued..

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Strat-Talk Member
Jul 17, 2018
North Carolina
My perfect guitar is and remains the Stratocaster in my avatar, if $799.00 (total for Parts) in 2015 dollars is expensive then yes. There was a time in my life when $5.00 would has emptied my wallet. Two months ago I bought a used PRS Custom 24 without blinking. I prefer now to then. I wouldn't trade either time though.
HSS Stratocaster = 2014 Warmoth Body, 1989 Fender Maple Neck, P-Rail (HB/P90/SC) with triple shot mounting ring, 2 Tex Mex M/N SC, and Toneshaper Electronics.
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Mar 13, 2018
Sand Lake, Michigan
I think our perfect guitars can change with time and abilities. I was very happy with my $600 MIM Strat but my perfect guitar right now was expensive (for me at least). A gift from my wife, a Custom Shop Modern Les Paul Standard flame top in Trans Blue. $3000 floor model at Chicago Music Exchange. I love everything about it from the color, to the action, to the tone of the Bustbuckers.


Senior Stratmaster
May 4, 2014
Yes and no.

I paid the $5000 back in January 1997 for what became the ultimate dream Jackson Rhoads custom and it is still the same feel these days. Worth it without a doubt. I spend some years prior on figuring out what guitar would do and the image of the Jackson original Rhoads burned into my mind so I had to order and then it was love from day 1.

Then my partscaster is the perfect strat it could be and the value is way different but I had the change to make it what I wanted t to be and I got so used to it. A trade that paid of without a doubt.

But that is the more chance of things as it took some guitars that only lasted a while.


Jan 5, 2016
Kansas City MO USA
I have seen several "perfect" guitars for under $200. I have a "Firefly" bright red double-semi-hollow that I purchased on Amazon that plays wonderful blues... and cost me a whole $139.

<--- This guitar I built myself, from base "blank wood" parts. I did some major mods for the electronics, spent about 3 months painting it (about 20 coats total; I was in no hurry), added a hand-built pickup and an internal digital sound card. All in all I think the parts ran me under $150.

I major-modded a Bullet Strat and it plays as well as any guitar I've ever owned. Total cost of parts (including the initial guitar): under $200.

One doesn't have to spend a lotta bucks to acquire a fine guitar. Right place, right time, knowing what to look for, and understanding that price does not always equal quality sound or playing. Plus, every person is different both in chording hand and hearing (sound is subjective), so what's perfect to one person might not be so perfect to another.

Overall though, my "rule of thumb" is that one can acquire a great guitar for under $200. Not that there's anything wrong with paying more. It's not not essential to pay more. : )


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Andrew Wasson

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 6, 2018
Vancouver, Canada
Oh, we’re showing pictures... I have to take some better photos of the two that are perfect for me.

#1 — Ibanez Artist AS100. I’ve had this since new in 1981 and I’m responsible for 99.99% percent of the scrapes, scratches and scruffs. I’ve played the heck out of this guitar. It has ruts in the fretboard like a washboard and some worming on the back. There are cracks in the lacquer around the f-holes and output jack and it just sings. $880 1981 Canadian Dollars including taxes and financing. This isn’t a cheap guitar by any stretch but I’ve seen them advertised for around $2000 and it’s not really expensive for such an insanely good guitar.


#1 (also) — 2012 Eric Johnson Strat. I was recording some stuff the other day that required some speed and finesse in the lead guitar department. I had this Eric Johnson Strat out along with my Ibanez and another 80’s Ibanez Artist solid body. My thoughts were that I’d attempt the solo on the EJ Strat and also try it on the two Ibanez guitars. I figured the shorter scale Ibanez’s might provide an advantage. As it turns out the tracks I did on the EJ Strat were just better. It felt more at home and it came out in my playing. That is the first time any guitar has challenged the #1 spot that my Ibanez holds.

Used these usually fetch $1,300 - $1,400 Canadian dollars. It’s ridiculously cheap for such a high caliber guitar. Flawless Alder 2-piece body, nitro finish that has that unmistakable nitro feel. Quartersawn maple neck with flame to spare and just so darn well put together.



New Member!
Jun 7, 2018
Not necessarily a Strat discussion but it probably is for most so I put it here. I love the fancy, high $$ guitars and have nothing against them at all. Figured wood, binding, inlay, sweet colors, I like it all. That said, my perfect guitar is a black Gibson Les Paul Studio and I even like the stock 490/496 pickups. I'd prefer the model that had an ebony board but it's not super important. I've let a few slip through my fingers but I told my wife once I decide to get back into guitar later this year or early next year that's what I'm getting. Nice used ones can be had for $5-600 no I'm not going to worry about price. Like this.

I've found that just because a guitar is "expensive" doesn't necessarily mean it's a great (or even a good) guitar. I purchased a 2014 Gibson Cherry Red ES-355 and it has been by far one if the worst playing guitars ever. While an older ES-335 I have has just been outstanding. Interestingly - all the Fender guitars I have purchased have been consistently good whatever the price.


Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
I've found that just because a guitar is "expensive" doesn't necessarily mean it's a great (or even a good) guitar. I purchased a 2014 Gibson Cherry Red ES-355 and it has been by far one if the worst playing guitars ever. While an older ES-335 I have has just been outstanding. Interestingly - all the Fender guitars I have purchased have been consistently good whatever the price.


My AS120 Ibanez is still the 'benchmark' by which I judge all guitars I own or wish to.
My 2017 LP studio is a better instrument than my 71 LP custom in every respect.

It's also the reason I will not buy an instrument sight unseen/unplayed.


Strat-Talk Member
Sep 5, 2018
I really miss my first guitar had when I was a kid. It was a Fender Performer in white with the funky double humbuckers. That was my perfect guitar at that time.

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