expensive stock or upgraded cheap guitar?


New member
heya guys, just looking for opinions here...
when buying new guitar would you guys rather:

a) spend your money on a good guitar, and keep all the electronics stock... or
b) buy a cheaper (but obviously not of disastrous quality) guitar and mod from there?

so letsay for example between a Fender MIM and an upgraded Smash guitar, which would you go for?
Big decision factor is your future intentions, and so, the instrument's resale value.

No intentions to sell? Either way is fine, but b) gives you much more flexibility to customise everything exactly how you want it.

Might upgrade in the future? Any modifications at all, however slight, will severely cut the resale value. Stick with a).
Spend my money on a good guitar and mod from there if I don’t like stock parts :) But then I will not buy a guitar if I don't like major stock parts e.g bridge :)
Definitely a.
A heavily modded cheapie is NOT play like a great guitar.
Expensive-~1.2k and if it has to go, you can get maybe 800-1k, depending on condition and urgency of sale...
Cheap-150 bucks. Hardware swap-200 bucks. Electronics overhaul-250 bucks (using RS stuff with installation and shipping fee). Pickup swap- with good pickups can easily set you back 400 bucks... Total around 1 grand +/-, and you can barely get half of what you spent on resale. Project gutiars don't really sell well, not in this market.
Plus all the time and effort(either to do yourself or keep bringing to shop)? Not worth it. I do modding, but it's a hobby of mine and most eqiupment is at home. So unless you enjoy it, and have quite some spare time and patience, just get the expensive one. It's two different breeds. Really.
It's not expensive and high-end.
Well actually depends on your view on musical equipment, your willingness to spend, and your overall income as opposed to consumption.

To some a MIA strat is acceptable, while a Suhr is expensive, for others a MIA strat is expensive, while a Rally/Epiphone/Squier/etc would do.
If you can justify your spending anything can be cheap yet expensive at the same time.
most people have the misconception that more expensive = better guitar. there's some truth in that when we equate expensive / well known = better quality of QC, however, that doesn't mean cheap guitars or good buys are all inferior. cheaper guitars might have worse QC at the factory, so the remaining part of QC has to come from us, the consumers. we may find some gems as well as lemons in a batch of cheap guitars, that is why there are mixed reviews on these range of gear, some got gems and some got lemons of the same make / model.
That's true. Tried a Stagg tele that blew my mind. Piece was sold as I walked around Penin and come back to the place.
But generally those really expensive guitars are handmade by luthiers who make sure their work is given the 100% attention it deserves, and that's why you get what you pay for.
Geez, I went down this path before, and I made some silly decisions. Okey, the first rule of thumb is - if you intend to sell your guitar sometime later....don't mod....period. Because you will be wasting lots of money, not forgetting your time and effort. Buyers of your used guitar don't care about your mods. In fact, some may be put off by it. And don't even think of pricing your guitar higher because you think it's an upgrade. Buyers don't care, and your upgrades may be another person's downgrades. But if you die die have to mod, then make sure it's reversible and always keep the original components.

For me, I will mod and upgrade my guitars regardless of the price tag. Because of itchy backside, I even did an extensive upgrading on my Gibson LP Custom....which is sacrilegious for some!

IMO....if budget is not a factor, it's best to start off with a mid-level guitar (at least $400 and above) to mod or upgrade. Spending too much money to upgrade a cheap crappy guitar is just not worth it - ie. guitar that comes with low quality wood, dead sounding wood, bad fret job with sharp edges, lousy hardware or poorly drilled holes.

You can only improve your guitar to a certain extent (in terms of tone, versatility and playability), and a cheapo guitar usually has its limitations. That means....would you spend your money to improve on a poor quality instrument, so it can play decent and sound average? For me, it's not worth it.

However, the upside of modding/upgrading is....the sense of satisfaction and achievement you get when you transform a good guitar to a great one (to you at least). It's something an expensive stock guitar can't give you! And a modded guitar also has your personal flavour and touch all over it.