Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Non Mesa Boogie amp discussion

Moderators: Grandor, ned, Guitarzan

Scott Rolf
Mark I
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:02 pm

Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Scott Rolf » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:38 pm

This term has so completely saturated the amp market today that I have quite literally forgotten it's meaning.
Just what defines a Boutique Amplifier Manufacturer? Is it based on production quantity runs? Components? A combination of both? I used to think of Mesa as being boutique while they were in their infancy. Is my newly acquired Bogner Custom Shop KT88 Shiva boutique? Or is it all marketing and smoke & mirrors?

User avatar
screamingdaisy
Donating Member
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:57 pm
Location: South of Heaven

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by screamingdaisy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:10 pm

The point of boutique is to create a barrier of exclusiveness around what you have.

If all you've ever owned is Crate and Peavey... then Mesa seems pretty boutique.

If you've spent the money on a Soldano SLO... well, Mesa ain't so boutique anymore.

If you've spent the money on a Diezel... you're going to point out that you can buy the SLO at GC.

Basically, the whole idea is to one-up the next dude.
Ignore the hype and trust your ears. Play more, buy less = better tone.

Heritage Softail
Mark IV
Posts: 942
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:51 am
Location: Atlanta Ga

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Heritage Softail » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:23 pm

Good quality. Call it what you want. If you can plug in and fine the sound in your head.... That is all I need. As time goes by you may end up with a few amps. Hopefully good ones.

Marketing is hype. After all, according to Fender, they are the Soul Of Tone...
Mesa MK IIC, DSL100, Dr Z Maz 38 NR, Bogner Uberschall Twin Jet purple mod, 5153, Rectoverb S2

JP6, LP, SG, Anderson Pro-Am, Suhr, PRS, Strat, Tele, assorted victims of pentatonic hacking.

Gone - MKV, Single Rectifier, Rivera K-Tre

18 year chip.

Scott Rolf
Mark I
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Scott Rolf » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:34 pm

Well, this is how the dictionary defines it. So I guess it's all subjective as to how "small" the company is and how "highly specialized" the product is.

"A small company that offers highly specialized services or products"

BaldPaul
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:30 am

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by BaldPaul » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:57 pm

My own personal definition of boutique as it applies to amps or music gear is this.
It is made by an individual person. Not a crew of employees.
This means they made the board, populated it, wired it into the chassis etc.
I can see having shells outsourced for an amp maker but not much else.
With guitars its simple as well. Did they make the neck from a raw piece of lumber or did it come from allparts?

Mesa is no longer Boutique IMO. This makes me like them not the least bit less.

Scott Rolf
Mark I
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Scott Rolf » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:21 pm

BaldPaul wrote:My own personal definition of boutique as it applies to amps or music gear is this.
It is made by an individual person. Not a crew of employees.
This means they made the board, populated it, wired it into the chassis etc.
I can see having shells outsourced for an amp maker but not much else.
With guitars its simple as well. Did they make the neck from a raw piece of lumber or did it come from allparts?

Mesa is no longer Boutique IMO. This makes me like them not the least bit less.
Fair enough.

MrMarkIII
Dual Recto
Posts: 2828
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:01 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by MrMarkIII » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:25 pm

If you can buy it at Guitar Center, it ain't boo-teek. :D

talltxguy
Donating Member
Posts: 641
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:48 am
Location: Central Texas

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by talltxguy » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:41 pm

Yeah, I see that word tossed around quite a bit. Boutique always conjures up images of money. But truth be told, there are some great boutique amp makers, and there are some sorry ones. Just because you charge $4,000 for an amp doesn't mean it's got tone.

Frenzel is one of the more down-to-Earth boutique amp makers. If I was to stray into the boutique market, I'd go with them. They have a nice selection of classic amps that won't cost you a second mortgage.
YOUTUBE: mesafanintexas

User avatar
screamingdaisy
Donating Member
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:57 pm
Location: South of Heaven

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by screamingdaisy » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:34 am

BaldPaul wrote:My own personal definition of boutique as it applies to amps or music gear is this.
It is made by an individual person. Not a crew of employees.
This means they made the board, populated it, wired it into the chassis etc.
I can see having shells outsourced for an amp maker but not much else.
With guitars its simple as well. Did they make the neck from a raw piece of lumber or did it come from allparts?

Mesa is no longer Boutique IMO. This makes me like them not the least bit less.
A Soldano SLO is assembled by one person from start to finish.
MrMarkIII wrote:If you can buy it at Guitar Center, it ain't boo-teek. :D
And you can buy a SLO at GC.


Personally, I think the problem is that the standards are arbitrary. On one end of the spectrum you have something like a Fender 5E3 (Tweed Deluxe), which any idiot could assemble... and because it can be easily built in someone's garage using something as basic as a turret board it's frequently considered boutique. On the other end of the spectrum you have something like an Ecstasy, SLO, Two Rock or Mark V... all amps with channel switching and complex circuitry that require specialist skills and equipment, and because people come up with arbitrary standards in regards to assembly methods and place of purchase they get excluded.

And at the end of the day the goal of boutique is to be exclusive. It has nothing to do with the quality of the actual product (although quality is frequently a benefit)... only that I have something that you either can't afford or don't have access to.
Ignore the hype and trust your ears. Play more, buy less = better tone.

Heritage Softail
Mark IV
Posts: 942
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:51 am
Location: Atlanta Ga

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Heritage Softail » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:40 am

Boutique guitar lessons are where the most improved sound comes from.

As time has passed and I have started to like some of the newer country rock type players, think Urban and Paisley. That style is soooo much in the technique. A basic tele, fenderish clean, and a compressor get you close. The difference in pulling it off well becomes more in the fingers not the gear.

I have collected a few amps over the years. Played quite a few boutique amps. A simple cleanish amp seems somewhat eBay to make. There were many out there in the new country fenderish family. Funny thing is, the IIC I most luckily stumbled across play that kind of edge of breakup best.

Since it is going back to Mike for IIC+, a thorough going over, and a smoother MV pot change... Maybe it is all boo-teek and junk now.

My opinion: Mesa has changed the tone of guitar rock twice. Once with the Mark series, thanks in part to the explosion of Metallica. Second time with the Rectifier. The mass produce amps but in the spirit of boutique builders, with the game changing results the boutique guys never even dream of.
Mesa MK IIC, DSL100, Dr Z Maz 38 NR, Bogner Uberschall Twin Jet purple mod, 5153, Rectoverb S2

JP6, LP, SG, Anderson Pro-Am, Suhr, PRS, Strat, Tele, assorted victims of pentatonic hacking.

Gone - MKV, Single Rectifier, Rivera K-Tre

18 year chip.

User avatar
lesterpaul
Donating Member
Posts: 1459
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:06 am
Location: Badlands-North Alabama C+ Mafia-hitman

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by lesterpaul » Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:40 pm

the boooteek craze is certainly connected to...being connected
the internet(messageboards) and youtube have driven the craze..hell, it IS the MARKET ,I guess
-nothing wrong with it, and I have been impressed with the stuff I have sniped up over the yrs, but...as always...caveat emptor..
good thing is..if you churn out sh*t, you will be hammered by the "new market"-
I have become concerned with how this affects local ma/pa guitar shops,just like the corporate whores...as has been stated here already
we can spend more time online than actually going to put our hands/ears on something/some of us have no choice
-I know this: if you have a genuine mom/pop guitar shop in your town with a crusty, knowledgeable owner...cherish it...
-I got to watch the finishing touches put on a Hamer refinish this morning, and go behind the scenes on one unique tele build-hellyeah....backyard boooteek is best
support your local "dinosaur" 8)
"major scales...whats that??"-Doug Aldrich
C+ DRG,B+DGX,C+KRG(Twocious Maximus)
TA-15,Bray, SLO, Glaswerks SOD
-black cat bone for good luck

Scott Rolf
Mark I
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by Scott Rolf » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:41 pm

lesterpaul wrote:the boooteek craze is certainly connected to...being connected
the internet(messageboards) and youtube have driven the craze..hell, it IS the MARKET ,I guess
-nothing wrong with it, and I have been impressed with the stuff I have sniped up over the yrs, but...as always...caveat emptor..
good thing is..if you churn out sh*t, you will be hammered by the "new market"-
I have become concerned with how this affects local ma/pa guitar shops,just like the corporate whores...as has been stated here already
we can spend more time online than actually going to put our hands/ears on something/some of us have no choice
-I know this: if you have a genuine mom/pop guitar shop in your town with a crusty, knowledgeable owner...cherish it...
-I got to watch the finishing touches put on a Hamer refinish this morning, and go behind the scenes on one unique tele build-hellyeah....backyard boooteek is best
support your local "dinosaur" 8)
I guess my recent purchase has elements of both corporate and ma & pa characteristics. I purchased a Bogner 20th Anniversary Shiva through Sweetwater online who in turn called the order into Bogner in Los Angeles. Since I took advantage of the no sales tax benefit, Bogner had to ship it to Sweetwater in Ft Wayne, IN then back to me here in southern California. I made it a point to visit the Bogner Custom Shop where mine was built. The reason for this visit was to have them change out the head shell for the newer style covering to match my new Bogner cab. The building was very old, didn't have any kind of identification on it and appeared to be almost abandon judging by the condition of it. I opened the front door, stuck my head in and said "Is this Bogner?" The man (Charley) behind a small table near the front door said yes and welcomed me in. I had made an appointment so he was expecting me. After the trade-out was done I asked if he could show me around. There were two work benches where the assemblers were stationed. Three women were putting together the combo amps and one guy on the other work bench putting together the heads. This was the guy who put together my Shiva from start to finish so I was happy to talk with him for a bit and told him how much I am enjoying my new amp. There were racks and racks of parts every where and no real flow to the place. There were racks with completed heads without shells and another rack with head shells only. All the combos were on the ground. There was one head that had Steve Vai's name on it. Interesting. Next door across the alley way was another building where one guy was assembling the cabinets and working on other amp brands that needed "The Bogner touch." The folks were all super friendly and extended me every courtesy. I was allowed to ask all the questions I wanted. I went away feeling like I had just visited a true Boutique amplifier maker. One question I had was how the quality control tests were done. Charley said "You're looking at him. I play test every one."

User avatar
lesterpaul
Donating Member
Posts: 1459
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:06 am
Location: Badlands-North Alabama C+ Mafia-hitman

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by lesterpaul » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:39 am

Scott Rolf wrote:
lesterpaul wrote:the boooteek craze is certainly connected to...being connected
the internet(messageboards) and youtube have driven the craze..hell, it IS the MARKET ,I guess
-nothing wrong with it, and I have been impressed with the stuff I have sniped up over the yrs, but...as always...caveat emptor..
good thing is..if you churn out sh*t, you will be hammered by the "new market"-
I have become concerned with how this affects local ma/pa guitar shops,just like the corporate whores...as has been stated here already
we can spend more time online than actually going to put our hands/ears on something/some of us have no choice
-I know this: if you have a genuine mom/pop guitar shop in your town with a crusty, knowledgeable owner...cherish it...
-I got to watch the finishing touches put on a Hamer refinish this morning, and go behind the scenes on one unique tele build-hellyeah....backyard boooteek is best
support your local "dinosaur" 8)
I guess my recent purchase has elements of both corporate and ma & pa characteristics. I purchased a Bogner 20th Anniversary Shiva through Sweetwater online who in turn called the order into Bogner in Los Angeles. Since I took advantage of the no sales tax benefit, Bogner had to ship it to Sweetwater in Ft Wayne, IN then back to me here in southern California. I made it a point to visit the Bogner Custom Shop where mine was built. The reason for this visit was to have them change out the head shell for the newer style covering to match my new Bogner cab. The building was very old, didn't have any kind of identification on it and appeared to be almost abandon judging by the condition of it. I opened the front door, stuck my head in and said "Is this Bogner?" The man (Charley) behind a small table near the front door said yes and welcomed me in. I had made an appointment so he was expecting me. After the trade-out was done I asked if he could show me around. There were two work benches where the assemblers were stationed. Three women were putting together the combo amps and one guy on the other work bench putting together the heads. This was the guy who put together my Shiva from start to finish so I was happy to talk with him for a bit and told him how much I am enjoying my new amp. There were racks and racks of parts every where and no real flow to the place. There were racks with completed heads without shells and another rack with head shells only. All the combos were on the ground. There was one head that had Steve Vai's name on it. Interesting. Next door across the alley way was another building where one guy was assembling the cabinets and working on other amp brands that needed "The Bogner touch." The folks were all super friendly and extended me every courtesy. I was allowed to ask all the questions I wanted. I went away feeling like I had just visited a true Boutique amplifier maker. One question I had was how the quality control tests were done. Charley said "You're looking at him. I play test every one."
cool 8)
"major scales...whats that??"-Doug Aldrich
C+ DRG,B+DGX,C+KRG(Twocious Maximus)
TA-15,Bray, SLO, Glaswerks SOD
-black cat bone for good luck

rfrakes
Mark II
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:49 am

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by rfrakes » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:34 am

We have to keep our Mom and Pop stores in bus. Sure, you might pay more for 2 for 1 Strings, but if we don't, they will go away never toreturn. My local store keeps an Amp Repair guy, a Luthier, 2 guitar instructors and 1 drum teacher in bus. On Sat mornings, you can go listen to a bunch of Blue Grass guys play. Sometimes you get a real treat in a young singer. I have seen musicians in bands up to 150 miles away at these sessions. Guys tha played at local churches and never thought I would see again. Then to find out that they knew my cousin who was in a band before going to Vietnam.

User avatar
KiwiJoe
Mark III
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:23 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Has Boutique Lost It's Meaning?

Post by KiwiJoe » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:04 pm

To me, boutique is all about exclusivity, so somebody like Dumble is the first that pops into mind. From what I've heard you had to be "somebody" before he would even deal with you. Then, because he really custom tailored the amp for the player, he requested/demanded a demo of your playing. And then there was the price that would literally require a second mortgage to pay for.

I'm a big Larry Carlton fan, and I know he used Mark I's before he switched to Dumble, and now he uses Bludotone, and Santana has added Bludo to his arsenal as well.

For me, owning a Boogie and having "the tone" has been a dream for nearly a quarter century of living with a Music Man RD110-50, so my Mini Recto is boutique enough for me.
My Soundcloud
Mini Rectifier, Epi Dot 335
Once I stopped chasing tone, it stopped running away.

Post Reply