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$20,000 question

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deadat27
(@deadat27)
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Not that I would ever be crazy or probably ever have the money but I've noticed that the prices of some guitars both electric and acoustic cost upwards of 20 thousand dollars, you could buy 5 early 90's cars for that money.

My question is what makes these guitars cost so much? What do they have that a 200-500 dollar instrument doesn't, besides the designer label ofcourse.


   
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sunsetN!nja
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20k? That's way too much for any guitar in my opinion. The only ways I would think a guitar would cost that much would be if it was owned by a famous person, or had trim involving jewels and precious metals like an art piece. In terms of sound, once you go past the 3k$ mark, you can't really buy better sound by throwing more money into the guitar.


   
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greybeard
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A lot of guitars that cost that kind of money do so because they are rare and collectable, such as a '54 Les Paul or a Strat from the same year - find a genuine '53 Strat and you'll never need to work again.
Mostly they are collectable because of the quality of craftsmanship and materials (plus 50 years of aging). They are "rare" because of the restricted numbers available in comparison to the number of potential buyers.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Nick Torres
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Yep, you really don't see that kind of number unless you are in the collectible area.

Ryan, Olson and Manzer will all be selling in the approximately $10k range, but I haven't seen any going much higher than that new.

Martin guitars will fetch a pretty penny when they are older.

What makes them cost so much?

Well Olson makes about 50 a year and stopped taking orders for new guitars 2 years ago. The woods are unique, the craftsmanship impeccable, and the value will only go up as an investment. It won't make you a better player though.

I have a hard time telling the difference once you get to the $5k range. They are all way beyond my ability to play at that point.

What kinds of acoustics are you looking at?


   
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NoteBoat
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Most of the guitars in that price range will be because of the collector's value, that's true... but there will be a few that are simply worth that much. It's like a Stradavarius - it sounds so much better, it's worth the price (Stradavarius also has the name cachet, but the violins of Guarnerius command a premium for the same reason, and the name's not such a factor)

A good example would be the Kohno classical guitars. A high end Kohno uses the finest materials and workmanship... if he could make only 10 of those a year, each one represents 10% of the luthier's wage, plus the materials and shop overhead. A top-end Sakai Kohno sells new for 960,000 yen - about $9000 - and a vintage one that's proved its worth is easily in the $20K+ range. These are not highly decorated guitars...

Kohno Maestro

Although the construction and sound is brilliant, the older ones - those signed by Masaru Kohno - are even more valuable, as he died some years ago, so there's a limited number available.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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greybeard
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My local luthier builds quality instruments and prices start at about €8000, because of the time put into it - he builds every one himself and uses selected materials - they really are beauties.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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Terminator
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As far as i know, a guitar doen't have to be expensive to be good. My acoustic as Lorenzo steel string for 70£. It's AMAZING! It sounds very unique!

"No pain No gain!"- The Scorpions


   
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Nick Torres
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I agree, a guitar doesn't have to be expensive to be good. And a guitar is only as good as it's player. So if you aren't a $10,000 player why bother? But, the question is, what makes expensive guitars expensive?

It's an interesting point that Sunset Ninja brings up. He has a $3000 threshold for sound getting better. I happen to have a $5000 threshold. I can hear the difference in quality between a Taylor 912, an excellent $3000 guitar, and either of my two guitars, (WARNING! unabashed pride in ownership ahead), a Collings OM1AC and my Breedlove Northwest. Which are $4k+ guitars.

I wonder if the ability to hear differences grows with experience or with your ability to pay for them? Maybe I only think I hear the difference to justify my insatiable desire for guitars.


   
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undercat
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59 Les Paul, unmodified, reasonable condition: $200,000. Most expensive guitar I could think of...

You'd be amazed at how many people think it's worth it too.

I heard recently that a Stradavarius went for 2 million... You have to be smoking something to go there, I think.

Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life...


   
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NoteBoat
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The trend for the last 20 years or so with concert instruments (like Stradavarius violins) is for corporations to buy them... one reason the price keeps mounting - they have really deep pockets.

Somebody like AT&T will buy an instrument, then loan it to a symphony musician, usually with a bunch of requirements on the artist (like performing at a certain number of corporate events each year). That way the corporation gets the asset on its books, essentially free world-class entertainment, and the ability to advertise how they promote the arts.

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Mike
 Mike
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Maybe I only think I hear the difference to justify my insatiable desire for guitars.

If you ask me, I think that statement says it all. Atleast it does to me.

I bought a Dodge Intrepid (used for $15,000). Gave that to my wife and bought a GMC Envoy (used for $25,000). They both get us where we want to go. Is one better than the other......not really because they both do the job. But, like Nick said you have to justify the means. I like my Envoy better because it's newer and it's rear wheel drive, unless I kick in the four-wheel drive. :wink:


   
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Nick Torres
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The truth hurts sometimes...unless you are in denial.


   
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oldiron
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Check this one out
http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/45U-948.htm
$43.000 for the first Gibson Super 400

I may be going to hell in a bucket but at least I'm enjoying the ride. (Jerry Garcea)


   
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pcparrothead
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or you can get this one for a cool $100k
http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/10U-3506.htm


   
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tonedeaf
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or you can get this one for a cool $100k
http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/10U-3506.htm
are the strings included?


   
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