Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Bill B
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Bill B » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:17 pm

omlove wrote: Martin 000-15M $1459
Taylor 314ce $1799 214ce $1199
Blueridge BR-180 $1104
Fender PM-1 $1199
Gibson J-15 $1499
Guild M-20 $1279
Takamine Pro3 $1099
I don't think any professionals play anything lower quality than these and I would also think $500 can not get an as decent sounding and playing acoustic the same satisfaction as that may be get from a classical guitar at that price level.
J. J. Cale, Elmore James, Jack White, And Jimmy Page have made some pretty impressive music with "lesser Guitars"
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

omlove

Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by omlove » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:23 am

markodarko wrote: Poppycock.
Bill B wrote: J. J. Cale, Elmore James, Jack White, And Jimmy Page have made some pretty impressive music with "lesser Guitars"
Thank you all. I certainly did not want to start a debate and I truly agree with you that a good player can make great music on a "lesser" guitar, nylon or steel. I heard BBKing used some copper wire from his back yard for string and it plays just fine.

I may have been used to seeing performers with high end guitars - like last time I saw Bryan Sutton, he was playing a 1940 D-28; Jackson Browne, he was playing many nice Gibsons and Martins; Julian Lage, 1938 000-18; Joan Baez with her signature 0-45; Tommy Emmanuel's Maton; Richard Smith's custom Kirk Sand; Chris Thile and Michael Daves... The list goes on and on and while certainly they are more than capable of producing their sound with a $500 guitar, I think they could achieve better with more quality guitar. And again in Martin world, a standard D-28 or 000-18 is good enough but they are well in the $2000 ballpark.

Meanwhile I have many friends who think paying more than a grand on a guitar or even $500 is totally nonsense. But they don't play guitar and are certainly not knowing all the expensive woods, finish, electronics, etc.

I agree very much that focus more on practice than gear. And I truly appreciate this forum is very much down to earth, unlike many guitar forums which are essentially gear talks.

Thank you.

Bill B
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Bill B » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:26 pm

Jimmy Page recorded the acoustic bits of stairway to heaven on a Harmony sovereign. Just for giggles, I googled "Most famous rock songs of all time." You guessed it. no 1, Stairway to heaven. with a harmony sovereign of all things.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

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bear
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by bear » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:43 pm

I had an Ibanez steel string acoustic that I bought new for around $50.00. It was a decent guitar. I don't think I could buy a new cg for the same money and be as happy. I'd give the lower end to the steel.
The higher end may be comparable in price but I think cg's might be more expensive. Of course, my judgement is influenced by what I might be interested in (i.e. Ramirez 1A vs. Gibson ES335).
2019 Gretsch G9126 432mm
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2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
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MessyTendon
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by MessyTendon » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:35 pm

Vintage classical guitars are a great value compared to vintage steel strings. Mainly the fact vintage steel guitars almost always need neck re-set. Classical guitars 20-30 years old can be playable.

Bill B
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Bill B » Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:20 pm

Messy you make a great point. I just checked, and you can get a 60s harmony sovereign right now that has had its neck reset, and is claimed by the well known on line dealer to be in excellent condition with low action for under 600 us dollars. Maybe cheaper if you spend more than the .5 minutes searching that I just did.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

dilettante1000
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by dilettante1000 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:30 am

omlove wrote:dilettante1000, thanks for chiming in. One thing I do notice after joining the forum and reading a lot of threads is that there are perhaps a lot of difference between US and Europe. In US we don't have access to a lot of good luthiers in Europe and vise versa. Also there are different attitudes towards brand names - for instance Australians may be more in favor of Maton while Americans may be more in favor of Martin. A $1000-2000 (dollar, not pound) steel string guitar in US is just the starting point, also factory only - as I don't think I can find any American luthier to build a custom with $2000 as baseline. I do not recall seeing any Collings at $2000 either even though it's certainly "factory guitar". Things may be different in Europe and since classical guitar is "Spanish" guitar in a way, I think it could be more popular there therefore more affordable.
It seems clear that there is a big difference in CG when it comes to what is well-known, or available in the average urban guitar shop, comparing the USA to Europe. This is mainly down to who controls the market as a distributor. It's a bit more varied when it comes to steel strings, but not much - the same familiar names still dominate.

But I'd hazard to argue that demand for specialist, luthier-made instruments of either category is relatively small, and so the availability is equally restricted. There just aren't that many top-end guitar shops in the USA, or the UK, or wherever; 90% of music shops sell the common brands, because most of their sourcing goes through one or two distributors, and the biggest demand is for the best-known names.

Remember, Martin and Gibson count their production per year in hundreds of thousands. As far as I know, no CG manufacturer even comes close to this, with the possible exception of Yamaha. Most 'names' in CG sell a few thousand, or hundreds, dozens or, in the case of the top luthiers, probably no more than a dozen or so a year.

So, thank goodness for the internet. This opens up the market on an international scale and makes almost any brand available almost anywhere. Though it is nice ( 'better?' ) to be able to go in to a store and try dozens of guitars, the nearest place I can go to for this in my part of the UK is at least a two hour drive away. An hour or so will get me to some very good steel strings. I have successfully bought on the internet and have yet to be disappointed with my choices.

A proper luthier-built steel string in the USA can't realistically be made for $2000 and be worth the seller's while: allowing 120 hours for production, and 20 guitars a year, it wouldn't pay the maker to bother. Then you have to add distribution costs.

WoodNString
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by WoodNString » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:14 pm

By far, you get more in the steel string guitar market. Firstly, there's a ton more choices. Besides the bigger names, you have nice all solid instruments made in Asia coming in all solid for $300 or so. Access to such instruments is also easier and more plentiful with retailers like Guitar Center. The in person selection just isn't comparable probably because CG is just a really small market so demand is equally smaller.

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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by WoodNString » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:16 pm

For the higher end stuff, I still think steel string guitars win out.

If you compare two workshop like guitar manufacturers, say Ramirez and Martin, Kenny Hill and Taylor, Cordoba and Larivee, etc I think you'll find the good cg's all start at a price point at or above their comparable steel stringed counterparts. This goes even more so for the higher end though I think there's less data points there.

Let's take the first two from the list. Ramirez and Martin.
Both have a clear flagship guitar and both have guitars above and below their flagship.
For Ramirez, that's clearly the 1A and Martin, that's of course, the D-28.
List prices on both? Well, Ramirez is more expensive by at least a factor of 3-4. ($3300 vs $12,000).

On a side note, the Martin list price was much easier to find and pricing in general for steel string guitars seems more transparent.

For the second pair, Kenny's imports from Asia appear to start at $895 while Taylors imports from Mexico start at $868 (new world player vs 110).

For the start of their "serious" guitars...Kenny Hill's next jump up appears to be their Performance series. There's literally nothing in-between that and the New World.
List is $5500.

You'd have to go to Taylor's Presentation series to even start the comparison. Taking a smaller steel string builder like Santa Cruz or Collings, you'd still be pressed to match things up.

Finally, Cordoba and Larivee.

Larivee doesn't build any lams so difficult to compare. Larivee comes in at 1.1k retail for its D03 and the Cordoba C9 at about $800 retail.

For the higher end of each of their respective lines, Cordoba (e.g. Loriente, Master) goes way higher much more quickly while Larivee stays around the 2k mark.

To conclude, I think with comparisons like this, it's always challenging since there are clear differences in the parties being compared such as size that make drawing any conclusions less reliable.
However, I do believe that the lack of demand for cg's accounts for most of the pricing differences above and the economy of scale (or lack there of) that hurts the cg player.

Whether the luthiers for cg fill in the upper end is another question entirely, but I do think the mid-level priced cg (e.g. 1.5-2.5k) doesn't really exist. Everyone's 1.5-2.5k cg is just an "estudio" or whatever.

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RJVB
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by RJVB » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:02 pm

I think nowadays you get a whole lot of (steel string) guitar for at the 500 XXX price point, sometimes even less, and not always built in China either (Dowina build in Slovakia, Godin/Seagull in Canada).


Steel string just has more name brands to worry about.
Not the impression I get when looking at the signatures of members here. Both here and on the acousticguitarforum where I'm also a member you see the same names popping up.
But I'd hazard to argue that demand for specialist, luthier-made instruments of either category is relatively small, and so the availability is equally restricted.
Well, availability of instruments built by an individual luthier who does the entire instrument will always be limited, no? There's a limit to how many instruments you can build within a given time frame, and there's a limit (probably an even lower one) to the number of instruments you can build to be put on display in a shop in hopes they'll sell.
Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:35 pm

RJVB wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:02 pm
I think nowadays ...
1) You are resurrecting a 3 year-old thread (are you bored?).

2) The original poster is long gone -- names in light-face black type are no longer members.

3) You have cut out the name of whomever you are quoting -- try to do quotes so that the person you are quoting is clear: see how I quoted you? -- You must include everything in the square brackets at the beginning and end of quotes to preserve the name of the person you're quoting.

4) Although this is no fault of yours, I do wish that this forum would return to its former rule of "no steel string guitar" discussions, which apparently has been abandoned because one classical guitarist from the past century used a metal string or two. :roll:

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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Bowie. » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:27 pm

This is actually an interesting topic and I'm glad to see it bumped. I'm coming from the world of high-end steel strings and I've long noticed that classicals are a greater value. Steel strings are just overpriced in comparison. And, the used market... Maybe it's because the playerbase for classicals is smaller but I see so many used instruments, in great shape, selling for about half their new value. In steel strings it's closer to about 1/3 value which is standard.
Even getting certain materials costs more with steel strings, as if there's steel string tax. The up-charge for Brazilian with most steel string builders is insane whereas you have some classical builders still asking reasonable prices.

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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:40 pm

I give up...

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RJVB
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by RJVB » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:12 am

Good, being overly sectarian isn't very enrichening, is it...

2 more from the same channel that I found interesting enough to have bookmarked them:



Gretsch G9240 "Alligator" wood-body resonator converted to non-metal strings (China, 2018?)
Bolink baroque violin (Hilversum, 1982)
Formerly: Brian Cohen baroque violin (London, 1985), Nadegini modern violin (Paris, 1924)

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Classical guitar's relative cheaper price point than steel string?

Post by Lovemyguitar » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:34 pm

RJVB wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:12 am
Good, being overly sectarian isn't very enrichening, is it...
No need to insult me. We are not all "enrichened" [sic] by the same things. I know what I like and what I dislike, and why I feel that way -- it makes me a discerning person.

Have a nice day.

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