Overpriced Guitars Buyer Beware

Common Pricing Scam:

Watch out for corporate guitar brands "custom shop" models. They are only slightly better than their low end imported counterparts. Yet the pricing can sometimes be more than triple. When I worked for Gibson in the early 90's the rule of thumb on pricing was overprice the guitar so the customer will assume it's better than the competition. Many companies are catching on to that scam today.


Collectors Make Sure You Read This,  It's Important!
Basic Autograph Intelligence !!!
We get asked for this stuff all the time!!!!
We will warn you before you buy it !!!     

Hello Kiddies, This Is A $119.00 Squire Guitar
No matter what you do to it it's still just a $119.00 Squire
Wholesale in China approximately $28.00
Look at the price on the bottom right  $4,295.00 "Holy Frickin Shit Batman"
See Below For A Close Up !!!!

I took these pictures in a popular memorabilia shop In Los Angeles.

People actually buy this type of crap !!!!!
If you do you have more money than brains  !!!!!
The guitar has been autographed so maybe the guitar is worth $400.00
The frame is worth $200.00 but who wants to frame a $99.00 Guitar.
You can find this crap at Hollywood Blvd rip-off tourist traps etc etc.



Medium & Upper quality USA made guitars, minimum $800.00 & up will appreciate in value, maybe they will never get as high as   $4,295.00 but at least you would not be ashamed to hang it in your office or rec room. The rule of thumb here is'

The higher priced the guitar is !!!    The higher the value of the autograph !!!!

If the guitar actually belonged to the person who signs it then your investment is much safer. and the value will surely escalate depending on the fan base of the celebrity.         See Investment Grade Guitars

Here is an example,  I have in my vault 2 guitars signed by BB King, Both of them are Lucille models and both of them are in perfect condition. Most of the time, The Epiphone will never be really valuable except for about 2 to 3 weeks right after BB King passes away. 

I don't mean to sound like a ghoul, I am just relating facts. During the aftermath of BB's death some foolish investor will probably pay way too much for it. Several years later he may try to sell it and discover that he will be lucky to get 10% of his money back, Ouch !!!!

The other one I have is a $5,000.00 "Super Lucille" from Gibson. It has been signed and numbered. This will surely escalate because BB King is a very big star, He is a very well known guitarist.  So it's a pretty safe bet that the Super Lucille is a good investment.
OK,  yeah I know !!!   You can't afford the more expensive one.

That is the basic reason the rich get richer,  and the poor always stay poor !!!!!

Either buy something good or don't buy anything at all !!!!   There are always exceptions to every rule,  I am certainly not infallible,  even though I have been accused of thinking I am!!!  LOL

I am usually right and you would be playing a good hand if you follow this simple advice.
I repeat !!!

Either buy something good or don't buy anything at all !!!!

Currently I have a $1,000.00 Fender Guitar that has been signed by Eric Clapton
The price is about half what the Squire above is selling for.

The guitar below is a $3,000.00 Gibson 61 reissue exactly like Clapton's Original
There are over 60 hours of hand paint work in 88 colors invested in this guitar
The frame is a far better frame than the one above
This is selling for $5,900.00
This guitar is a real conversation piece,
it is as high quality as Gibson makes and it screams Eric Clapton
The original 1968 copy of Disraeli Gears is signed by Clapton Bruce & Baker
Still an expensive instrument but not a bad investment !!!!!

We supply these to numerous Hard Rock Casinos Around The World
We Do Player Models, Exhibition Models & We Will Even Paint Yours If You Like !!!


Group Of Gibson SG's
 Are You A Les Paul Lover  Read This & Weep,   Gibson Dirty Blonde Guitar

Expensive Versus Overpriced


Expensive Guitars: An expensive guitar would be like a JET , TurnerCenturion or even an Abstract.  These are guitars that cost a fair amount of money. You must understand that they are worth every penny,  because they are totally hand made by a talented Luthier from start to finish.

There are new engineering ideas incorporated,  extremely high end tone woods, all the finest components available & no expense is spared to make sure these are the finest guitars available on the planet. The Luthiers, that build all of the guitars that we choose to call expensive guitars, are driven by the goal of absolute perfection.  (click here)

These guitars are supposed to make you a better player.  That's what you are paying the extra money for.  One of my pet peeves is that occasionally a chain store like Guitar Center will have something in stock that is cool and competes with some of the above. The problem is the setup is usually so bad, the strings are rusty and corroded  and there is never anyone there who knows about it. So the poor customer gets screwed by virtue of the fact that he can go into a Guitar Center anywhere and then he thinks he has checked out the guitar. In reality he hasn't checked out the guitar, but from his point of view that guitar might not be that great. 

Next Time You Go Into A Guitar Center ask the salesman what kind of wood the guitar is made of. If you get real lucky he might know. If he happens to know ask him the tonal properties of the woods and why does one type sound better than another. These are basic simple questions.  I highly doubt the salesman will have any idea what you are talking about.

If you walked into a Ferrari dealer and the car looked like crap, the windows were broken and the motor wasn't tuned up properly you might think a Ferrari was a piece of dung.   I can promise you that will probably not happen but a chain store music store is usually run so badly that that scenario would be commonplace.

Overpriced Guitars: Are simply overpriced guitars. Most come from the large mega corporations that mass produce guitars, they are known to flourish by  putting out limited editions or historic reissues of an older model guitar.  They will then proceed to sell these average quality,  average looking, questionable quality guitars for incredibly high prices.  The most amazing thing is that the more they charge, the more value the public perceives they are receiving & consequently more are sold.

Here at Ed Roman's, we will never give up trying to re educate the  public. Lately it seems we are finally  making a lot of progress.  But eventually the big box stores will win, The consumers today are sadly mostly uneducated they don't really know what to look for.  A real shame !!!!!

In all actuality, the usual basic overpriced guitar will incorporate worthless plastic inlays, cheap rosewood fingerboards, plywood or laminate construction, loose neck joints, cheap hardware, fair workmanship, and no new positive enhancements that could possibly make the guitar worth even 1/5th of what it is selling for.  These companies rely solely on the false perception that their advertising represents, without paying celebrities huge sums of money,  These companies would all drop & die.  (Good riddance)

Some companies are better than others. Fender for example will charge more for their anniversary models & artist series guitars. In most cases however there are some definite improvements and they are not charging an arm and a leg more as say for example some other companies do.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with a Japanese or Korean Guitar. In fact some of them are excellent.  I take issue that some of these companies like ESP for example actually have Japanese and or Korean guitars that list in the $4,200.00 range.  That is simply insanity. The guitar should sell for somewhere around $800.00 !  That would allow the company to make a fair markup and be able to function well. These guitars are priced very high and they don't even offer simple premiums like tone pros bridges or ebony fretboards.

Another sure fire way to spot a rip-off is to look at the tremolo system. Don't accept anything with a soft metal bridge plate,  stay away from imported Floyd Rose Licensed trems, Be careful of cheapo rosewood fingerboards.

Frontloading The Collector or Cache Value:
Never ever ever, buy a guitar from any company that is charging up front for possible extra value later.

Unless they are only charging a small token amount more like Fender does.  Gibson will charge you  for almost 10 times the value when they release their Artist, Reissue  & Anniversary models. The dealers who purchase these guitars lose their shirts.  I have bought over 200 of them used at way below dealer cost. This should tell you that the investment was not a good one.  Many dealers are stuck with product that no one will buy. Luckily for the consumer some of these particular campaigns fail miserably but Gibson's overpriced Historic Reissues continue to be a huge source of revenue for them.

These Guitars Appeal To Counterfeiters

If you stop & think about it sensibly for a period of just two minutes, You might then realize, that these reissue guitars are designed solely for the purpose of appealing to a counterfeiter, These people who may be planning on distressing it to give it the appearance of being original. The appeal lies in the fact that the guitar could then be sold to another unsuspecting consumer as an older original model. Consumers have been known to spend insane amounts of money, trying to join the exclusive club of people, who truly own the original vintage guitars. These people are usually long on money & short on self esteem or brains.  Personally,  I am not into joining any of those little cliques, I would rather invest my money in guitars where the workmanship, quality & designs separate them from the rest of the pack.

Ed Roman
July 2006

Examples Of Overpriced Guitars
 If you want to add to this list please contact me


Gibson Doubleneck, Jimi Page $27,500.00 $3,500.00 *
Gibson Joe Perry Boneyard $5,000.00 $1,895.00
Gibson 335, Eric Clapton $12,000.00 $1,995.00 *
Charvel EVH   Frankenstrat Striped $25,000.00 $4,000.00 *
Gibson 59 Historic Reissue $5,900.00 $2,395.00
Gene Simmons Import Punisher Bass $1,900.00 $899.00
Gene Simmons Axe Bass Spencer Gifts $4,000.00 $1,200.00
PRS Dragon $13,500.00 $4,000.00
 Parker Fly $1,500.000.00 Check it Out


Actual value is taking into account the cache value of the artist associated with the Instrument. The EVH guitar I have made it $4,000.00 because Eddie is entitled to make a profit. The actual guitars including the art series of 2006 were all ridiculously overpriced. They didn't even play well. I have it on a good source that Eddie hated them himself.

Another major Rip-off is the corporate slime that provides Guitar Center with exclusive Crap-ola guitars that sell for STUPID money simply because they have a monopoly on the unit. I think this borders on the illegal and it is certainly unethical. Witness the Jimi Page Doubleneck and The Eric Clapton plywood constructed 335.

What can you do to protect yourself

Common sense is the only way.   Use your head man !!!!!  When I sell a J. Frog, George Lynch Skull N' Bones for $4,400.00 you must take into account that it takes a skilled carver the better part of a week to hand carve all those bones. By these numbers a company like Gibson would have to charge $40,000.00 to realize the same percentage of profit that they would make on the Jimi Page & Eric Clapton Models.

Currently there is a guy on the internet selling horribly incorrect J Frog copies for under $2,000.00. They are even worse than those cheap copies ESP made back in 1998. Of course he is not paying any royalties like we do and of course he is using a CNC machine. He doesn't even have the headstock right. What a Putz.

I repeat COMMON SENSE is your best friend. look at the instrument carefully. Is it made from real wood, are the inlays made from real Mother of Pearl or are they Mother of Toilet Seat. The famous Gibson 1959 1958 Reissues are all inlaid with  Real Jenuewhine Latrinium. Unbelievable but 100% true!!!

Latrinium is an affectionate name for "Mother of Toilet Seat"  AKA  " MOTO"

On this page I  have assembled a couple of pertinent articles, you may find interest in.  I realize the above article will probably piss off more than just a few people. I also assume these are people who either have real, or think, they have real vintage guitars, I am sure I will piss off the counterfeiters & manufacturers that knowingly take part in  these scams.  I welcome your comments and letters, I will print any and all of them. If you disagree with me please try to refrain from calling me names and stick to the issues at hand. I present these articles in the spirit of educating the customers and I mean no direct insult to the people who may or may not have already spent a ton of money on what they thought was an exceptionally good guitar.

I'm Just The Messenger,  Please Don't Kill The Messenger !!!!

Read On & Please Send In Those Comments !!!!!



People Write Me

 Even One More Unhappy Gibson Guy

Hello Ed..;);)
   Greetings from Norway..
been looking at your website for a few hours now and I am impressed, especially the rants section
as I have some bad experience myself with Gibson guitars.
   first I owned a Les Paul studio that had several glips between the fretboard and neck, think they tried to paint over it or something, didn't work..;);)cost me 12000 kr.(1800 dollars) some 16 years ago ..a lot of money when you are 14..
now the reason for buying my Les Paul was of course slash of guns n roses, my hero..   (See Ghostbuilders,  Ed)
and your section on brand loyalty is also very interesting and very true, as I have been there myself, buying all of Gibsons B.S. about their "hand crafted" instruments.. I have found no such thing in my Gibsons..;);)
    my second guitar was an Explorer, brand new 2007 model, and the same damn thing was wrong with the
neck on this one as well. Only the glips was bigger, it looked like they hadn't even tried to fit the fretboard right.. it stood out a couple of millimeters from the neck all the way from 5.fret up to the 12.fret..
poor craftsmanship at best.. I mean even the cheapest of models from brands like Ibanez  etc. you will not find major flaws like this..
    how the hell can they go on making their crappy instr..??and people are still buying..??
I have now gotten rid of both my gibsons and be sure: there will never be one in my house again...ever!!!
I am now a proud owner of an Ibanez universe 7 string.. and it works and sounds better than I could ever imagine..
will not trade that one for any other guitar, the build is excellent and so far beyond gibson`s sad attempts..
   by the way.. any views up`s or down`s regarding Ibanez guitars..??just curious..;);)
oh and I have to mention the Les Paul slash signature model, here in Norway the list price is 65.000 kroner.
that should be about $9.500 !!!!!...what does Gibson do that can justify that kind of prices..??ghost build like you have mentioned..?? Slash probably gets his share I reckon..;);)
Well thats all from me, Use this if you can/want to on your website, be sure I will do my bit to convert people into thinking for and by themselves, not believing all the commercial stuff they read from major corps. like gibson..
     Hans E. Beddari

Thanks Hans for your letter,  

Who knows, Maybe it might convince some other 14 year old not to make the mistake that you and I both made when we were young.

Could be, it's useless to try and fight the corporate machine that is Gibson !!!!!  I get lot's of negativity slung at me because I choose to call it the way I see it...

Occasionally when someone tells me they didn't fall for the corporate BS,  I am elated,

Today in the USA most people are brainwashed and programmed before they are out of 3rd grade.  I guess we can thank the American Advertising Council for turning our country into a 3rd world. Of course all the wonderful American businessmen who only care about making money for themselves that sends all our wonderful designs to China so they can put all their employees out of work.

Don't those idiotic morons realize that no one can afford to buy anything if they don't have a job...  Duh !!!!

Maybe someday our American culture will mature enough to realize what is actually happening to us !!!!

I know that my customers in Norway are all doing quite well because I sell a lot of very expensive guitars there.

Thanks again for your letter !!!

Ed Roman


 Mr Roman

I must apologize to you, I was one of those people who spoke badly of you for your negative comments on Gibson Guitars. I was foolishly parroting other people who advised me not to deal with you. Three plus years ago, I did not buy my Gibson L5S from you even though your price was $400.00 less than anyone else. My local dealer told me that I would be unwise to deal with you.
I'm am now kicking myself for not buying it from you. The one I ended up with was the biggest piece of Shit I have ever owned. Perhaps the one I would have gotten from you might have been better.
The guitar I bought was a 3 year nightmare till I finally got completely disgusted and traded it in at a huge loss at my local guitar center,
Did I learn from my first experience? NO like a stupid stupid STUPID fool I let them talk me into a Gibson 335 which proceeded to give me the same exact problems that I had with the first Gibson.  (Luckily they felt sorry for me and took it back) but because I traded my other guitar in they gave me credit instead of cash.
I ended up losing over $11.000.00 and here I sit with a $2,200.00 credit from a store that I don't want to do business with. I really painted myself into a corner on this deal. Plus I paid freight 4 times to send the guitar back to Gibson and I cannot remember one single minute of joy in three years that lemon guitar ever provided me with.

My first guitar went back to Gibson 4 times in 3 years, Each time it was there for longer than 3 months, One time they misplaced it and they almost had to give me another guitar but woe is me they found it at the last minute.

The binding came off the body the fingerboard delaminated, 2 of the inlays popped out and one broke. The replacement ones did not even closely match and when I got the guitar back the first time the fingerboard had a 13" crack from the third fret right up the neck.  The replacement binding was again coming loose because they did not re-spray a clear finish over the binding and the body wood shrank.

The wiring looked like a monkey had done it, they were supposed to redo it and they never even touched it. plus when it came back the first time there were big gouge marks in the finish at the neck where presumably someone had hung it on a hook that the rubber was missing from.  This was the first of four times the guitar had gone back.  When I first took the guitar out of the case in the store the varitone switch was loose. So when I tried to turn it all the wiring got buggered up because it wiring wrapped around the base of the varitone. What a mess.

I sent the guitar back again with careful instructions for them to repair each item, I expected them to replace the fingerboard, instead they glued it and filled the crack with ebony dust.  I paid $12,000.00 plus tax for this POS guitar and I was getting pretty upset.

If I had bought the guitar from you I would have saved the sales tax which was over $1,000.00 dollars.  My final receipt was $13,020.00 from the dealer I bought it from. Your full price delivered was $11,600.00.  I feel like a real idiot. I don't remember your salesman's name because this happened close to 4 years ago but he might remember me because we spoke 3 or 4 times. He was very nice and very patient with me. I really wish I had bought it from you.  Cest La Vie'

I have been reading your website quite a bit, I think I understand now why people say what they say. You tell it like it is, You are right,  you would make a bad politician, it seems you are too straight forward and often you will take an unpopular view and run with it.
Based on my further research, I am sure you would have helped me with my problems. I am not going to mention the dealer I bought from because I don't hold him responsible. He just delivered the guitar, I realize it was my fault that I bought it from him. I feel like you would not have abandoned me 60 days into the deal and told me I would have to deal directly with Gibson myself.

When I saw your R5S by RVC for $6,500.00 I almost had a heart attack !  What a beautiful guitar !  How can you handmake it for that price? I am pretty certain I made a colossal mistake by not having you just build me a guitar in the first place.

The situation with Gibson got so bad that I went to the consumer protection agency here in Wisconsin and made a 4 page complaint. When and if it finally settles I will send you a copy of the whole mess. The worst part of the whole thing was the people at Gibson were anything but helpful. I would wait on hold for 20 to 25 minutes many times I would just give up and hang up the phone. When I Screw Up I really Screw Up !!!!
I am still hoping for some satisfaction but now that the guitar is gone I doubt I will be able to prove any of this and I will have to settle for giving them a bad review with the better business bureau and consumer protection agency. I still cannot believe what happened to me. I could not even evoke any sympathy for all the grief I was going through from Gibson.  I swear I will never again buy any product that says Gibson on it. I have learned my lesson!

I will be contacting you in September of this year I have decided I want you to build me a guitar. If I have a bad experience with you like I did with Gibson I may just give up playing guitar. I'm 62 years old and I don't have the strength to fight with anyone anymore. This Gibson deal has really demoralized me.

My sincerest apologies for being stupid enough to believe some of this BS I heard about you and your company. When I read it now, I have come to realize that a lot of it looks like it was written by the same person. Nowhere can I find anyone actually who can give an actual instance of someone getting screwed, Its always I heard, I heard. I have seen a lot of great things in print about you also, and most of them seem surprised at the bad reviews.

One thing I have really learned, Never send a guitar back to the manufacturer to repair it. They are not repair people and they don't know how to repair guitars. They are factory workers who build guitars on assembly lines and have not a clue how to fix any kind of serious problem.
Like you say on your website, If you buy a Ford and the air conditioning goes out you simply get it fixed locally by a competent repairman. Sending it back to the factory is a really bad idea.

The dealer I bought the guitar from barely can do set ups in his store, they send all their repair work out.

I'm sorry If I'm rambling but I never even got to tell you about the other 3 times it went back. When this is over I will send you a copy of the 4 page complaint, please print it and maybe someone else might benefit from my loss.

Again I apologize, I hope to be your customer real soon, Been looking at the Blues Deluxe, the Quicksilver looks very interesting. I love the Avanti & The RVC too. You make a lot of interesting points on your comparison pages. I wish I had read your website better a long time ago !   It's obvious to me now that you know what you are talking about !

My Best Regards

Robert A. Woschner




Thank you VERY much for ripping on Gibson. As a former employee of Gibson I know first hand at the lack of quality and craftsmanship. There are so many corners cut at that factory it's disgusting, particularly for a product that costs on the average about as much as a decent used car. We need to spread the word about this shady company. And you're right, most people are misinformed about Gibson and just want the "vanity" of having one. Thanks once again and let's get more rants about Gibson.
Benjamin Unwin
P.S. they treat their employees like shit too.


Hey Ed

I just wanted to let you know that I bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard that was supposedly 100% American made a few months ago at the local Guitar Center. The piece of $hit was maybe 20% made in America, probably just assembled. I took off the tuners because they were locking up and wouldn't even tighten or loosen the string with 30 full turns to swap them with an old SG Reissue. I got the SG's off and they felt much heavier than the LPs (that happened to be glued on) and (here's the surprise) they were made in Asia. For a supposedly quality USA made instrument I would expect much better. To make it even worse, the SG's tuners wouldn't even fit in the holes drilled in the LP. They even had the nerve to put Gibson Deluxe on the back of the crappy import tuners. To make the Les Paul worse, the fingerboard is very crappily sanded down, the bridge pickup went dead after a few weeks and the strap button near the neck fell out of the hole. I did not expect this since I had such a good experience with my SG. To top it all off, when I called the Gibson Warranty Claims office, they basically told me to f**k off. They acted like I had done something wrong and when I hung up on them, I realized that I had. That mistake was that I bought a Gibson from Guitar Center. From the point I got the Les Paul, the only thing I ever bought at GC was a bulk pack of strings. Both Gibson and Guitar Center have lost a customer who has spent thousands of dollars at each company and possibly would have spent several thousand more if his experience had been better. Just thought you might like to hear some support for what you're doing and you could add this to a rant about brand loyalty or the $hitiness of Gibson. Keep doing what you're doing,
Matt Molter


This is a Gibson 100th Anniversary Explorer
The Retail List Price is $10,000.00 as of 1994
That was truly an overpriced guitar!!!

This guitar is in reality a $1,200.00 that should have sold for $849.00 at the absolute highest

  Gibson has preloaded a huge cache to it's price.

Today 13 years later this guitar will bring $3,200.00 if you are lucky.



Just Because !!!

Just because I think they are overpriced & don't stand up to many other brands.
Just because I think the new ones all have very low resale value.
Just because the necks break like toothpicks.
Just because I don't like the neck design

Doesn't Mean I Don't Sell Them.

It just so happens,  I make a buttload of money Repairing Gibson Guitars!

Ed Roman