The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Nevets » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:04 am

So in an irony-iey twist one on my list I've been pining for for a long time just popped up on Craigslist yesterday at a really good deal. This was one of the ones that got away from me. Nothing really special but I loved it. A lake placid blue 50's Squier Classic Vibe, one of the rarer colours. I had one loved it, but gave it away to a friend of my wife's kid, who was beginning guitar and couldn't afford anything decent. Gave her quite a bit actually but I've always regretted giving up the guitar. I figured I would move up to a "better" Stratocaster, and I have a better one. Have had a couple but none I like as much as that Squier.

But as much as it pains me, and it really does pain me, I think I'm going to give it a miss. Even though I agreed to buy it today. Couple of reasons. One, yeah I want it, and a lake placid blue strat is my grail guitar at the moment, but is this "really" the right one? Will it "really" make me happy? Or am I spending a couple hundred bucks on a GAS therapy session? Like a visit to chiropractor. You feel better for a while but nothing is fixed. And that will bring me up to 9 guitars. Do I really want to sell my current strat, which I really love aside from the colour (and weight but that doesn't bug me too much)?

And then the final kicker. Woke up with a cough yesterday went for a Covid test. Waiting for the results but I now have to self isolate for 10 days. So going out to pick up this guitar would be irresponsible on a whole bunch of levels. So I gotta let it go. Just don't really understand why giving up on a mass produced guitar, that I do not in any way need, that isn't as nice as the one I currently have, is still giving me huge anxiety.

Plus a Squier mustang bass popped up for $200 yesterday too. That was also hard to pass up, but hopefully it went to someone who will love it, and not just flip it. Not the right colour for me though :)

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:10 am

Maybe they would deliver it to your porch or something? You could also PayPal them as you pull up and take the guitar from their porch.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Nevets » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:17 am

I told him I could do it if he could drop it off and I'd interac him the money plus an extra $20 for the hassle but we'll see if he goes for it. He's pretty close to me. Not getting a great vibe from the seller. I'm not going to drive myself, I don't think I should go any further than the front gate or taking the cat litter out to the garbage in the garage for the next little while! I don't want to risk it for a guitar, even an authentic Squier strat! :)

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by postchrist » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:24 am

@larry - i think you might have us all mixed up a bit. i don’t have any love for epiphone or eastman or whoever, or the gear market in general, and while i think it’s a bit hopeful to imagine that buying us-made gear from big brands is helping workers out much, i do admire and appreciate your hard stance on that. for me it’s not really a “fuck gibson for underpaying their workers” thing, more of a “fuck anyone underpaying their workers”.

in all honesty, i think the only way to get a new guitar without contributing to the problems we’re discussing are to buy used, or go straight to luthiers, or companies of the sort that you mention, where workers are actually paid fairly - but then, we’re all getting fucked and those of us that can honestly afford/justify that are few and far between. i’ll also clarify that i’m not trying to ride some moral high horse of ethical consumption(can’t afford to), if i could get something cheaper brand new from guitar center or sweetwater than i could get it used i absolutely would.

all that just to say, when you factor in labor costs and whatever else, i am entirely convinced that gibson’s prices are far from justifiable, and my own firsthand experiences with their costs, quality, and qc have led me to believe that, while spec’d nicely, they’re charging a lot of money for some pretty mediocre guitars. i think there are much more efficient ways in which to spend your money, but i recognize that emotional draw to something often outrides that(and that’s fine). ymmv.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by seenoevil II » Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:11 am

Yeah, I'm not gleefully consuming imported goods. I bought my sheraton when I was 15. It was birthday and driveway shoveling money. I mean, I like my Sheraton. It's got sentimental value and it's one of two guitars that I know inside and out. But I'm not saying epiphone is a better brand than gibson. They're the same brand.

What I find very interesting about the Epiphone Sheraton II however (and a point that kinda steers us back on target) is that for an Epiphone guitar, it gets a pass into the big-boy, professional musician space. Yes, historically big names played the Kalamazoo version back in the day, but rather recently the guitar has been sported by:

Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, like, it's literally the only guitar he's ever used.
Joe Walsh
Mark Mulcahy of Polaris/ Miracle Legion
Jon Auer- Touring guitarist for Big Star reunions
Alabama Shakes dude
Kings of Leon guy
The National man
The dude from that band, with that song "Lazy Eye" or something- I forget

It's a $600-ish guitar, made in the same places by the same people as the Epiphone Dot.

Yet the Sheraton is a totally acceptable professional guitar while the Dot maybe comes out as a back up on the odd occasion. Both models are obviously versions of an Es-335.

Nerdy side note:
((I've owned both, and recently shot them out side by side, and their physical dimensions are identical. Though, the dot is much more a 335 with a mahogany neck and maple center block as opposed to the sheraton's laminated maple neck and mahogany center block. I'm not a huge tone-wood guy, but after readjusting the pickups and pole pieces to identical heights, there was still a difference in tone between the two with the Dot having less mid saturation and more presence than the Sheraton. Anyway. ))

My explanations for this:

There is no direct Gibson equivalent. The headstock shape, inlays/binding, maple neck all give the a unique appearance and character for which there is no more prestigious Gibson version.

From a GASy, pychic perspective, maybe that means that, for this particular model, the player is off the hook because they've climbed that ladder as high as it goes. Though there are vintage Sheratons, they are nearly as much as vintage 335's, so, like as much as a small house. There are also MIJ Elitist versions, but their specs differ somewhat from the cheap and cheerful version and are more like a 335.

Without the specter of a more expensive, more prestigious version hanging over its head to make the Sheraton inferior by association, the player is free to accept the guitar for what it is. Like a Danelectro or some such. It's just a relatively inexpensive guitar that plays fantastic and sounds pretty dang good. It's not defined by what it isn't.

It's also just very good looking. The proportions might be a little more in balance than a 335 on account of the larger headstock. This is actually making me a little GASy for actual Epiphones.

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by postchrist » Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:30 am

i love my sister’s ‘89 sheraton dearly. late 80s/nineties korean sheratons pop up every once in a while(brian aubert of silversun pickups plays an 89 as well i believe, he’s the “lazy eye” guy). those sell for around what the new ones cost and are stellar instruments in my limited experience. the earlier made in japan ones are supposed to be even better.

also, polaris is like, one of my all time favorite bands. always cool to see them mentioned.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:18 am

I buy virtually all my guitars used, and always have.

I can count on one hand the number of new guitars I've bought new. In fact, for all my talk about supporting the American worker, I have very few guitars new in my life. A Squier 2 Strat that was terrible.

I have later bought two Gibson Firebirds, a Melody Maker, a Les Paul Jr and a Les Paul Jr Special, and a Gibson J-35 and a J-29.

All were excellent. I've never felt I overpaid for a Gibson guitar.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by postchrist » Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:26 pm

that’s fair! the good ones are special instruments. i grew up on an old j-45, and i have not once found a single flattop acoustic i like nearly as much as i liked that one.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:22 pm

postchrist wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:30 am
also, polaris is like, one of my all time favorite bands. always cool to see them mentioned.
Yes!! As someone who grew up with The Adventures Of Pete & Pete, I too love them. I've been wanting to check out Miracle Legion as it's most of the same band, as well as Mark Mulcahy's solo work (I think he's the main songwriter for both Miracle Legion and Polaris, so the difference shouldn't be too great).
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by seenoevil II » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:15 am

Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:22 pm
postchrist wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:30 am
also, polaris is like, one of my all time favorite bands. always cool to see them mentioned.
Yes!! As someone who grew up with The Adventures Of Pete & Pete, I too love them. I've been wanting to check out Miracle Legion as it's most of the same band, as well as Mark Mulcahy's solo work (I think he's the main songwriter for both Miracle Legion and Polaris, so the difference shouldn't be too great).
Good luck. Last time I checked (tbh about 10 years ago), a lot of their material was tied up in a tiny label that folded but retained the copyright making it very hard to track down the affected recordings. Though a decade of internetting may have shook them loose.

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:33 am

I should probably leave this alone, really, but I did get to thinking about the whole psychology of the purchase here.

And the fact is that I don't feel any of this. I've seen someone talk about feeling odd having such an expensive guitar on stage, and I have no feeling about that whatsoever. If I thought the guitar worked for what I was doing I wouldn't care what the guitar was and I sure the fuck wouldn't care what other people thought about my purchase.

I don't buy guitars as an investment, and I don't feel that two thousand dollars is a lot to spend. I would spend more if I thought it would inspire me or help me be a better musician in any way. I don't live obsequiously, for instance I don't own a car. But for what I feel is important I will spend the money.

And again I don't give a shit about what anyone thinks about what I spend on my guitar.

I like the brand Gibson and I like their guitars. I don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about them. I've been the same way since I bought my first Jazzmaster as a young man, everyone assured me that they sucked but I had confidence in myself for knowing what was a good guitar for me no matter what anyone else thought. I was the only one that had to play it, you know?

So as long as I am back to talking about psychology, I'm glad I don't have any psychological hangups about anything other than questions of do I want the guitar, can I afford the guitar, will the guitar work for me in a way that I hope and so on.

I don't buy foreign made knockoffs of American icons just to save a few bucks, but again, that decision doesn't have anything to do with any of you. I don't care what you think about that one way or the other.

My advice will be maybe from a psychological viewpoint, develop your own criteria about whether or not you should buy an instrument and the opinion's of other people shouldn't have anything to do with it.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by seenoevil II » Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:42 am

I think our difference in perspective on this idea is pretty simple to explain. We don't necessarily disagree on the answer to the proverbial question, we disagree on the premise.

It's built on the idea of a large amount of similarity or equivalency existing between a gibson and a not gibson.

You, with your firsthand experience with gibsons, are well acquainted with their characteristics and value them so that you don't really see that much similarity and definitely not any equivalence.

I don't disagree that $2000 isn't that much money in the grand pantheon of musical instruments and equipment. Though, finding a 335 for $2000 isn't that easy. And $2000 is a lot of money to part ways with. I think it's even more now than what inflation calculators would suggest with the weird ways the cost of living have inflated.

In a way, Gibson have helped make their own bed here by having epiphones cost sooo much less than Gibsons. But they had to in a way, because imports were coming to dilute the market either way, and they may as well profit from it.

And of course that equivalency is supposed by the firms themselves when they just straight up call the models the same thing.

Fender copies including Squiers further support the idea of equivaleny because there's genuinely very little air between the copy and the original.

In fact, the uneven inflation of Epiphone and Gibson I think demonstrates the uneven nature of inflation in general. Relatively cheap things don't cost that much more than 20 years ago. 600 year 2000 bucks bought you a Sheraton and 650 year 2020 bucks do the same. Where $2400 year 2000 bucks got you a 335 v. $4000 in 2020 (both figured). Everyday things are a little more expensive, durable goods (homes, cars, Gibsons) are way more.

It's a mess. And equivalency or no, having so many options dilutes the satisfaction of whatever choice you do make.

For the consumer, when there is a week's-wages option that is a functioning, pleasurable instrument in a vacuum, just by itself, it's that much harder to convince yourself that the two-months'-rent option is a wise choice. They are in different leagues of cost. Different kinds of decision making schemes have to be deployed when trying to decide. It really strains the impartiality of our judgements of their merits as guitars when there are such vastly different sums of value given to them. We can try to remain cognizant of the various factors at play- globalism, materials, labor etc. But that much value activates our simian brains.

An interesting thought experiment might be to imagine a world without Gibson, then a world without Epiphone.

What if Epiphone was a Japanese firm that invented the les paul, SG, 335 etc. and had been importing them to the US for decades. How would we feel about these sub 1000, poly finished guitars? No doubt better than we feel about them now. Nobody would compare them to Gibsons .

Like we feel about Honda maybe.

What if, for some reason, no foreign companies ever imitated Gibson designs ever. And Gibson just carried on as they always have from the start as a high end American instrument firm. They'd be expensive, but there would be no substitute. How would we feel about these very old fashioned, opulent guitars? I bet we'd feel better about them.

Like we feel about Rolls-Royce maybe.

Similarly, imagine RR owned Honda and used them to make affordable versions of their luxury cars. Imagine the forum debates dissecting the metaphysics between the Honda phantom and the RR phantom. The inherent quality of squirrel fur pin striping v. a vinyl decal. The exact alloy of steel used for the frame.


As for what other people think. While a agree that they can all go to hell and etc. Being a musician is almost entirely about what other people think. Obviously, there's artistic impulse and fulfillment, which sort of acts as the counter balance to people pleasing. Too much one side and you have pop music so generic and featureless that you've never heard of it. Too much the other and you have the countless Daniel Johnstons who weren't discovered that you'll never hear of. Point is, the musician has to care somewhat about the impressions of others.

If the guitar market was small, arcane and simple, I'd agree we should just use whatever tool we come upon and enjoy. But with this such meaning and value being ascribed to such a large, complicated, stratified market where savvy is collated in magazines, blogs, vlogs, and forums- the decision of what guitar to play is like what shoes to wear, or what hairstyle to sport. It communicates information about us.

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:10 pm

I guess I'm just curious where we are getting this $4000 figure from?

This is a full gloss ES-335 that is only $3000 brand new.

And there is a satin finish option for $2500 which some might prefer.

But I had to look that up, because I'd never pay that. I got my ES-330 gently used for about $2100, and I can find ES-335s all day long for $2000.

I almost bought one a little while ago NOS for $1700. The deals are out there.

Still, I'm not saying you should do that... buyer's remorse is a real thing and I'd hate to be responsible for that.
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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by Nevets » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:44 pm

It's cool and all to have the confidence to just play what you want and who cares what people think. But I remember back when I was young being mocked and made fun of for my shitty gear, which was all I could afford not what I wanted. And that still stings to this day. I would have given my left nut for a Squier strat (they were the JV models back then). A Jazzmaster would have been a dream guitar. Having a quality instrument with the right looks bought a lot of credibility in those circles.

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Re: The Psychology of GASing for a Gibson (es-335)

Post by seenoevil II » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:38 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:10 pm
I guess I'm just curious where we are getting this $4000 figure from?

This is a full gloss ES-335 that is only $3000 brand new.

And there is a satin finish option for $2500 which some might prefer.

But I had to look that up, because I'd never pay that. I got my ES-330 gently used for about $2100, and I can find ES-335s all day long for $2000.

I almost bought one a little while ago NOS for $1700. The deals are out there.

Still, I'm not saying you should do that... buyer's remorse is a real thing and I'd hate to be responsible for that.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... d-iced-tea

So, I'm getting my 2000 price from an ancient musicians friend catalog I have. The $2400 listing is for the figured version. The 2020 figured 335 is $3700. So, I was off by a bit.

And you must be more plugged in than me, man. Maybe I'm looking in wrong places, but on reverb, 335s typically start around $2300 with occasionally a real dog will go for sub $2000.

I just want to add some food for thought on your 330 v casino experience. Your 330 has the long neck while casinos have the shorter neck. This changes the point where the bridge sits on the top and I imagine other things to do with the neck block and bracing etc. Not saying it accounts for all of the difference between the two, but maybe some?

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