Automobile industry has its ranking of the fastest cars. There are numerous international competitions for the best wines. Samsung Galaxy S8 is currently considered the no. 1 smartphone device globally. * And what about guitars?
The answer is complex. Unlike a car (to a certain extent), not all of us need a guitar. Compared to a mobile phone, not everybody knows how to use it, either. And when you’re not into music, you can’t care less about the industry. Can a guitar brand success be measured at all then?
Let’s start with history. Undoubtedly, companies making guitars since the 19th century, like Yamaha, for instance, have mastered their craft. But experience alone is not enough.
It turns out the country of origin matters. The most recognisable brands are either Japanese (ESP) or American (Rickenbacker). And it does make sense. Japan means Asian precision and reliability whilst the US is one of the meccas of the music industry.
Your favourite genre will impact your choice, too. Not every sound is suitable for jazz. Not every model has the special effects you’re after. If you’re pure heavy metal, try a Schecter **. If you want an acoustic masterpiece, go for a Gretsch***.
Accessibility of spare parts is equally important. Although the original company was established in 1883, modern Washburn guitars are produced by outsourced partners. Since there are not many dealers nowadays, additional gear is quite hard to come by ****.
There is probably no famous guitarist in the world that doesn’t have a Gibson or Fender in their collection. Both companies spend a fortune on marketing campaigns, employing only the best musicians to be their brand ambassadors. And we know that everyone wants to be Flea.
Lastly, the state of your wallet will determine your purchase. Very few people can splash USD 2,000,000 on Jimi Hendrix’s Fender Strat. But you can’t expect to get away with USD 100, either. Reportedly Ibanez manufactures guitars with the best price/quality relation*****. And this is a rather long-term commitment, so it’s worth investing an extra buck.
Overall, choosing the right guitar requires good market research, knowing yourself and having a flexible budget. Despite the reviews and professional advice, it all comes down to personal preferences. After all, the beauty of the guitar industry lies in its diversity.
So, which guitar brand do you think is best?