Christmas Guitars   Home > Rants

What The Hell Is A Christmas Guitar?


ANSWER: A Christmas guitar is usually, but not necessarily purchased around Christmas. Usually by someone who has no real clue about guitars.  Almost always it will be what we like to call a Corporate Guitar.

NOTE: If you buy a guitar at Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam's Club or any big box mega chain store you might as well just take the money and light it on fire.  These companies only sell corporate guitars.

All year long we take Fenders, Gibsons, PRS & Taylor the big 4 corporate brand guitars in on trade. We generally sell our entire Fender, Gibson, PRS & Taylor inventory at Christmas.  A Christmas buyer is usually a first time buyer. Most of the time it's someone's well meaning mom. They are primarily concerned with surprising Jr.  with the guitar that they think he wants.

In fact 90% of the time Jr. really does not have a clue as to what to buy. Jr. only knows what he reads in the magazines or sees on TV. Of course most of that is paid for hype and false information.  If Jr. was really in the know, he certainly would personally check out the specs and stats. 

                                                                                  Popular Christmas Guitar

When I first wrote this little rant back in 1999,  things were pretty bad for the consumer at Christmas. Nowadays it has escalated to a level that I myself can barely believe. With China in the mix now there are so many crapass pieces of unadulterated pig puke on the market that you really have to go the distance to get educated. The big corporations started a new trend around 2001: It is called BRANDING !!!!

These lowlife escapees from a bowel movement gone wrong, have got the kids so completely hoodwinked that It's almost impossible to deprogram them.

Normally at Ed Roman Guitars we will try to spend the extra time to educate you, as to what the right guitar to buy is.  It generally pays off for us. We then have customers who are eternally grateful which brings them back to us over and over again.

At Christmas we rarely have the time, and of course, we do have to dump all the traded in garbage.  So if you buy a guitar at Christmas the level of guitar you buy will of course probably not be up to our regular standards. Try to imagine how bad a guitar you'll get if you buy something at a chain store.

So send mom down at Christmas, we'll give her a great deal on a new "Corporate Made Guitar" so you can act surprised Christmas morning when you open the box.

We don't particularly like to do this, but if we try to explain to mom about a guitar, she is going to get a worried look on her face, and just buy you a skateboard. Then we lose completely !!!!

I really recommend that you DO NOT let Mom or Dad buy you a guitar as a surprise, a guitar is an intensely personal item. You cradle it in your arms!!!  Do a little extra research and open your mind to some of the newer boutique manufacturers.

Don't be surprised this Christmas. Get down to our store or look at our website and check out some of the new & cool things that are available.


Starter Packages

Never Buy A Starter Package !
Never Buy A Starter Package !
Never Buy A Starter Package !

Starter packages, are in almost every case made up of non-saleable low quality items that no intelligent guitarist would ever want to buy. Occasionally there might be a half decent guitar, but you can be sure there are some ringers thrown in.

Starter packages appeal only to the uninformed part of the public that largely make up the one time hitters or one time buyers. 

The strategy here is to give the poor hapless consumer a real raw deal, Get rid of the junk that has accumulated over the year.  Because more than likely these consumers aren't coming back anyway. 

Every year around March & April we get about 100 or so of these Wal-Mart, Costco starter packages being offered to us by the poor kid who got the guitar and can't play it because the frets are too sharp or the neck is rough or the action is too high or it simply will not stay in tune.

In many cases they have already spent $189.00 on the package itself . Then another $50.00 or $90.00 trying to get it to play right.  They come in trying to get 100.00 for it.  The most we pay is $15.00 to $20.00. A pawn shop pays about $10.00.  The sad part is the kid gets a sour taste on guitars and will never know the joy of making music.

The resale value is atrocious, You won't even be able to sell those crappy guitars unless you sell it at a tag sale for $15.00.


Never Ever, Buy A Starter Package !!!!
Never Ever, Ever, Buy A Starter Package !!!!
Never Ever, Ever, Ever, Buy A Starter Package !!!!

Have I Made My Point ?!?!!

Important Info on "Christmas Guitars"
There is nothing stupid about being misinformed !!!

But if you are misinformed.....
It will be Incredibly stupid of you to not read below and follow several of the links.

An expensive Christmas guitar is the brand that the uninformed rich people buy their kids for their 14th birthday. The kid doesn't know the score, the parents are usually well meaning, but they know even less than the kid does. In the hands of an evil Commissioned Salesman in a Corporately Owned, NASDAQ Traded, Superstore these people are the reason they come to work.   Buyer Beware

Some Good Advice Before Buying A Christmas Turkey.....Oops I Meant Guitar!!!!!

If a salesman tells you  "It's The Best in the Store" (Click Here)

Large corporations employ cost cuts daily.  Magazines will rarely expose them (Click Here)

Beginner Guitars  Sometimes can be decent if you just do a little homework

Be Careful of Music Yo Guitars,  resale value is very low.

1970 to 1982  Fender Stratocaster was the Christmas guitar (At that time Fenders were pretty decent guitars)

1983 to 1990  Kramer Pacers & Baretta was the Christmas guitar.

1988 to 1996 The Gibson Les Paul was the Christmas guitar.

1997 to  2003  PRS was way out in front with no one licking at their heels.

PRS has recently made the same mistake that Kramer did and they have come out with Cheap Korean Guitars 7 years ago. They did this to cash in on the PRS name with the people who couldn't afford to spend the insane price they are charging (Remember today PRS guitars are no longer Handmade)

2003 to Present     Gibson, Fender, Ltd, Epiphone & Schecter

The big companies have spent the advertising dollars and paid off many rock-stars to play their guitars. So naturally these brands get to be the Christmas guitars today.
Gibson & Epiphone are ridiculously overpriced, LTD & Schecter are less expensive but the quality is just not there. Fender is a safe bet if you buy the lower cost stuff.  You get a lot for your money

We Strongly Recommend the Baker Guitars... Not the original Gene Baker oversized headstock models but the ones that can be bought between $900.00 & $1,300 or so !!  YOU WON'T FIND A BETTER GUITAR ANYWHERE WITHIN $300.00 more than a Baker.   That is a guarantee that we will pay you back if you do !!!!

Mr. Roman:
I thank you for your rants on your website as they have taught me a few things I did not know especially about Christmas guitars. Been playing almost 20 years and your articles have been very helpful, just goes to prove old dogs can learn new tricks!
The reason I am writing is the Christmas guitar for me was a Fender Strat which I still own a 96 model I purchased when I re-entered the Navy 11 years ago. The first thing I did with that guitar was switch the pickups for Seymour Duncans (glad I did that mod). However, was appalled when I took the pickguard off and there was a bath tub carved in the body and knew then why it did not sing like it should and the neck was a bit too wide for me as I have small hands. Fast forward to 2005 and I finally received a Jackson Soloist from their custom shop and have been ripping on that rig ever since ( neck thru design, 24 frets, Floyd Rose trem, Seymour Duncans, etc... ). My point is this, I can't ever go back to playing a mass produced guitar ever again which is why I asked you to build me a Mockingbird ( I think that shape of the body is one of the best ever ). The sad thing about Christmas guitars is some people think or believe a Stratocaster, Les Paul, PRS are the ultimate in guitars which is not true. A friend at work was telling me a few days ago about how his Strat is so awesome and he was mad at me when I told him why it was not. I guess people who do not open their minds will never know the truth on some things. Feel free to post this letter on your website if you wish.
Jotham R. Anderson

Hey Ed,

I just read your "rant" about beginners. I wanted to share my experience with you.

I was about 10 years old (mid-80's), and I wanted to learn the guitar. My mother took me to the local chain merchant (in the local mall, no less) to look at some instruments. The sales geek there took a $79 Harmony Sears catalog piece of shit, plugged it into about $1,500.00 worth of amps and effects, and man, it sounded great! Well, I got the guitar for Christmas, along with the cardboard 2-watt amp, and it sounded like $hit! Of course it ended up in the corner for a few years, until I got a decent Kramer, but it taught me a great lesson, which has served me well for years....


Anyway, have a great day, and keep being the only person I know in the music business that has balls...

Chris Baker

Hi Ed,

I just had to let you know that I am just blown away by what you are doing --- promoting real quality instruments as opposed to mass-produced garbage. I remember when one local guitar store dealt Alembic back in the 80's. I thought they had probably gone belly up, but was pleasantly surprised to see that they are doing quite well.

I have been slowly perusing your website, and have learned a ton. My outlook on guitars has changed radically. I used to think that to get a quality instrument at a price I can afford (professional musician) I would have to settle for something not too attractive, but that has a decent sound. Now I know about all these hungry young companies making axes that blow PRS away for so much less. (I would've bought an 80's Kramer over a PRS because of quality/price, for example.) I used to go to Guitar Center and drool, but I went last week and thought: "all overpriced crap". Most of my friends are also musicians, and I am a totally converted person.  I will be spreading the 'good news'!

Jason from Michigan