Here's what a $1.5 million guitar sounds like

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/30/heres-what-a-1-5-million-guitar-sounds-like.html

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I couldn’t watch the video, but I assume he plugged it into a Line 6 Spider 2?

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In before some gear pedant says, “Erm…so…they shouldn’t auction this as an original '54 Strat because Houndog Murphy replaced the pitch nebulizer backstage at the Grease Bone in 1974 after Jeff Beck tripped over Slimjim Johnson and landed on the neck.”

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@ficuswhisperer posted this on another thread. Tldl: sounds like shit.

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FTR, Clapton and his anti-Covid restrictions stance can go get bent, and take this relic with him.

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This is a famous guitar because it was played by a famous musician. But underneath the hype, it’s just a mass produced guitar.

What is the real valuation, minus the covid denying light rock d bag’s provenance, just for the capability of the instrument?

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A 1954 Strat with non-celebrity provenance would probably sell for $100-200K, depending on condition.

You can of course buy a brand new Strat with similar specs for much less money. You can even get pickups that are designed to sound the same as the vintage pickups, though of course ‘sameness’ is the topic of guitar-nerd flame wars. For most practical purposes it would be close enough.

Skill and talent, you still have to provide.

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ok, sure, but what would it sound like if i played it?

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For a more extreme example, vanishingly few violinists have the skill to make the best of a Stradivarius, and none of them can afford to own one. I guess modern instruments aren’t immune to this phenomenon.

A key difference, though, is that Strads were handmade in tiny quantities, while Strats were and are mass-produced. It’s only the celebrity factor that makes this guitar “special.”

Let me guess, it sounds like refusing to disavow your fascist past.

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Even today, most quality instruments are still largely handmade. Good instruments aren’t cheap.

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I ask because I’m a cellist. I’ve never owned, but have played cellos in the $100k range. Some can sound good but are very difficult to play. Some are truly magnificent beasts that meet the musician at least half way, and tempted me to sell everything I own so I could play them all the time. A bow costing tens of thousands can feel like a god-damned magic wand. There is real value there, but quickly diminishing returns with skyrocketing cost. A complete set up around $50k is almost as good. Skill (fuck the racist myth of inborn talent) from rigorous training and sheer number of hours spent on practice are the other half of the equation.

Multi million dollar instrument costs seem driven by speculation. Stradivarii are cool, but should only cost in the in$100ks when the mystique and hype are subtracted.

I just don’t buy the valuation of electric guitars. They’re a slab of solid wood which adds almost nothing to the sound. Pickups can be copied exactly with moderate effort. An acoustic instrument is a complex machine depending on skilled crafting of costly materials. Fine acoustic instruments could be copied and mass produced as well, but the task is vastly more complicated.

I couldn’t care less who made my cello. It’s certainly nice to feel extra fancy, but it’s only the physical properties of the thing that ultimately matter.

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It doesn’t matter how it sounds unless it’s being played by a tasteful guitarist.

I’d rather hear JJ Cale play his piece of crap Harmony acoustic, than hear Joe Bonamassa “shred” on his ultra rare $100k Gibson.

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but markets for things don’t necessarily work according to strict utilitarian value. For one thing, ‘strict utilitarian value’ isn’t even a completely objective concept itself. Either it works for you, or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t what value is it?

I’m a banjo player, and some banjo players make a big fuss over pre-WWII Gibson Mastertone banjos, and are willing to pay huge money for them. There are builders working today who can make an instrument that is for all practical purposes the equal of anything Gibson ever made, that you can buy for a small fraction of that cost. Not cheap, but not $100K either. \

On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting vintage instruments that one can buy for relatively cheap.

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Dude, it’s ERIC CLAPTON’S guitar, of course it’s worth a million bucks. /s
Seriously though, it does look and sound like a pretty sweet instrument. Whoever the new owner is, I hope they at least play the fucking thing, but probably not.

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You mean commodities have some… mystical value over and above their production! /s

Seriously, I guess people just don’t realize this basic marxism 101 point! I think your example of banjos is spot on. It’s not just about a quality banjo, but you’re also paying for the name on it, too. Not to say that there isn’t differences in quality in instruments, because there absolutely are.

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I recently bought a 1957 Fender guitar in its original tweed case for $600. The difference is it is a lap steel guitar. It is nice to have a little bit of history.

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Racist Enoch Powell loving fuckwit. Clapton that is. I don’t know if he was the second best guitarist in Jon Mayalls band, but he was my third favourite member of Cream. I remember years ago someone described High Rise as the Japanese Cream and we were saying “except the drummer is no Ginger Baker and the bass player no Jack Bruce, but the guitar playing is infinitely better”.

And just to make you more angry

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I was never too keen on him anyway, so this is no real skin off of my teeth. That guy considered B.B. King his friend; what a joke.

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He also was incredibly put out when Hendrix shows up in the UK and turned out to be an infinitely better player than Clapton… Meanwhile, Ginger Baker is down in Nigeria working alongside Fela… cause he isn’t a racist fuckwit, but just wants to work with the best!

Clapton can fuck off.

Fucking hell. What a twat, to put it mildly. If someone is a racist asshole, they should have the courage of their convictions and avoiding playing any music that comes from the African diaspora. Which leaves them with… European church music and classical? :thinking: By this point, European folk traditions have become entirely entwined with the African diaspora in America, but I guess they can play some pre-colonial bard-type stuff? Even then, though, on wonders about the musical influence from the Mediterranean region, which is endlessly mixed and remixed during the period of the Roman empire…

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