Normal/commercial brands vs boutique/one offs

Archtop 13

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Nov 13, 2011
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I was not a Pedal guy. Pedals just never met the tonal quality they advertised. I downsized my amp about a year ago but still needed a little more OD. So I started researching pedals. I had a Blues Driver that really never impressed me & had sold it. Had an early RAT that I liked but it just wasn't my style any longer. YT opened me up to this whole new Boutique Pedal thing. Now I'm hooked. I found 4 Pedals I really love, including the Lovepedal Baby Echo (Best Sounding Pedal Delay I've ever heard).
I've never had a current production amp that was really "My Amp". I really like that old Fender tone. I've owned newer Fenders & Never been happy(Too Stale sounding). I just bought a little Boutique Tweed that is miles beyond any modern Fender amp I've heard. I've played through a few Boutique amps & some are amazing, Others ok. I don't stray too far in amp tones but have played other modern amps that weren't terrible, too my ears. Speakers really seem to make an amp & I think many bad tones come from bad speaker selection.
This is where I get serious. Brand Loyalty is just that. We see Slash play a Gibson & everyone wants a Gibson. We see Brain Setzer play a Gretsch & we want a Gretsch. I own & have owned many of these my self of varying quality. I love some of these guitars. But, to be honest, they all have flaws or things that I would have changed if I had the choice. My Les Paul has a horrible neck profile. I can run my fingers around it & feel high spots & low spots. I can look at it from certain angles & see them. There's no wonder it hurts my hands to play sometimes. The Gretsch & Gibson Hollowbodies are another good example & why I began to build in the first place. There are so many great artists out there who play these guitars & made them collectible/ sought after. There a websites devoted to them. I'm even guilty of worshiping these guitars. We all love them! But the top & back plates of these guitars are plywood. Pressed layers of wood joined with glue. There is no way you can get a richness of tone from these guitars that they deserve with a laminated top. There is just no way. Yet they are Icons because they have been worked into this category by people of greatness who have been playing them for decades. Don't get me wrong, they sound good. But they would have & will sound better with a solid carved wood top & back plate. But, back to the real point of the thread. A Boutique guitar can give you everything you want in tone & playability because it is custom tailored your preferences & that builder who is building it for you, John Smith, is staking his reputation on every guitar that he builds, one at a time, in his workshop. The big companies are looking at what to import & how little they can get away with paying the new hire.

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