When do you become a "cork sniffer"?

Willmunny

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 22, 2019
2,300
Mcleary Wa
Well my buddy recently asked me if I would buy another Firefly guitar...
I said, "I think am am spoiled about guitar quality"
He just answered "probably right"
I don't know if I am a cork sniffer but I would rather spend some cash if I need to get something I know is good quality rather than save a few bucks on something cheap
Ymmv
 

Green Craig

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 15, 2012
2,295
Michigan
I can only draw on my time at the guitar shop here - there were certain subsets of players/customers that came in; anything from teenagers in bands, to worship groups, to touring musicians, hobbyists/bedroom players, etc.

I don't want to cast any aspersions here...but there were most definitely "cork sniffing" regulars who, put it simply, seemed to have more money than sense. Touring guys (there's not a lot of session work in the area, so I don't actually recall any session musicians) would spend the big bucks on quality equipment that gave them a consistent sound - down to the minutiae of vintage wire or capacitors or whatever. Worship bands sought value. Hobbyists and bedroom guys could appreciate small differences, as they played in a controlled environment, but they didn't spend nearly as much money as touring guys. Our "Cork Sniffers," were the guys who came in, played the most expensive equipment with their greasy fingers, and grilled all of the employees on insane little details of every guitar, pedal, and amp.

When the Corkies had setup or repair work done, they demanded the most expensive components (or the components with the most (or fewest) logos). Corkies are the reason that my namesake Green Craig Strat is wired with milsurp RADAR-grade wires (it had the most tone, so the tech/shop owner bought a bunch to sell to the Corkies). Teen bands knew there was a difference between components, but in stark contrast to the Corkies, teen bands didn't care.

Corkies desired unobtanium - something that rubbed off on me in my early guitar years, TBH. If they could buy a 1 of 10 amplifier, they would...until a 1 of 5 amplifier hit the market. Just the boutique Klone pedal wasn't enough, no sir...the Corkies needed the chrome plated version. Speaking of pedals, the Corkies needed more and more overdrives, the more obscure the better.

And the weirdest one - all the mythology and bro science about guitars. I don't remember if I posted this before, but a Corky was the guy who told me that the reason that Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, and SGs all sound different is because the sound waves travel through the bodies differently and reverberate back through the pickups (with the horns/body shapes causing different reverberations, and therefore, different sounds). Strat pickups and Tele pickups are single-coils; humbuckers are double-coils; but according to the Corkies that were at the shop, P-90s were some sort of weird hybrid, and nobody really knew what made P-90 pickups different.

Key takeaways?
-Corkies desire ALL the overdrives
-Corkies have more money than sense
-Corkies can't see the forest through the trees - you might be able to tell a difference between 2 different components, but your audience sure can't.
-But, the Corky will use bro science to justify the above point.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,648
USA
Can’t express how much I enjoy this thread, it is so saturated.

Above was mentioned furniture, which is an ok comparison. Guitars do have some subjectives/intangibles that don’t apply to furniture (basically tone-related considerations), but otherwise the comparison highlights the important distinction between use value and exchange value. Both of which have basic economic aspects. Handmade is more expensive than machine-made. Labor and environmental regulations usually result in a more expensive product (and a healthier society and environment).

But these values also have “discursive” (aka ideological) aspects, which are very fun to read. The way we imbue objects with meaning is fascinating, and the way we double down on those meanings via argument that much more so.

It’s like the idea of big hats. Imagine a scene where everyone in the room knew it to be true that the bigger one’s hat, the “better” (more important, influential, powerful) one was. How funny it is to watch each character enter the scene with a hat just that much bigger than his/her antecedent! And yet, they’re just hats. And how funny to witness the awkward banter between the hat-wearers.

I was just going to use furniture to make the same point. They both provide the same function, but one was made by hand, and is the work of a skilled artisan.

People who would indulge in such a game of “Big Hat” are absolutely the kind of people who would sniff a cork.

But there’s also a game of “Tiny Hat”, if you will, that far more of us indulge in openly and proudly. Equally cork sniffers, as several of us have pointed out.

And I enjoy the theater of both games.
 
Last edited:

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
1,125
Maine
Since I posted this on TDPRI a half hour ago in a thread that somehow went from tube production to opinions as facts, to hurt feelings, and then to cork sniffing, I thought this was an appropriate thread to beat back to life.

Just to set the record straight for people referring to "cork sniffing." Such a thing has been done, but it's of little purpose.

In this household we're definitely not experts, but we enjoy better wines and have sought education on the topic. We've schooled a bit with some of the best in the world and not one of them sniffed corks or mentioned the practice as part of tasting a wine from corked bottle to a swish in the mouth. Not one sommelier, steward, or server has ever offered us a cork.

If the cork is soft or soaked, it's visually obvious when the bottle is opened. In a good restaurant, the bottle is immediately replaced. In practice, you don't eat the cork, you drink the wine instead, so a bit of it is poured into a glass and you can tell by nose and taste if it's right.

On deaf ears, perhaps, as folks seem to throw around "cork sniffer" as a favorite pejorative for people who have individual tastes and preferences, damn them.
Ive seen restaurant wine stewards (like a waiter but only recommends and sells wine) sniff corks when opening expensive wine for customers; looks like they are confirming that the $100 bottle is legit but its really just theater to boost the confirmation bias for the diners who just overpayed on a $35 bottle.
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
1,125
Maine
I can only draw on my time at the guitar shop here - there were certain subsets of players/customers that came in; anything from teenagers in bands, to worship groups, to touring musicians, hobbyists/bedroom players, etc.

I don't want to cast any aspersions here...but there were most definitely "cork sniffing" regulars who, put it simply, seemed to have more money than sense. Touring guys (there's not a lot of session work in the area, so I don't actually recall any session musicians) would spend the big bucks on quality equipment that gave them a consistent sound - down to the minutiae of vintage wire or capacitors or whatever. Worship bands sought value. Hobbyists and bedroom guys could appreciate small differences, as they played in a controlled environment, but they didn't spend nearly as much money as touring guys. Our "Cork Sniffers," were the guys who came in, played the most expensive equipment with their greasy fingers, and grilled all of the employees on insane little details of every guitar, pedal, and amp.

When the Corkies had setup or repair work done, they demanded the most expensive components (or the components with the most (or fewest) logos). Corkies are the reason that my namesake Green Craig Strat is wired with milsurp RADAR-grade wires (it had the most tone, so the tech/shop owner bought a bunch to sell to the Corkies). Teen bands knew there was a difference between components, but in stark contrast to the Corkies, teen bands didn't care.

Corkies desired unobtanium - something that rubbed off on me in my early guitar years, TBH. If they could buy a 1 of 10 amplifier, they would...until a 1 of 5 amplifier hit the market. Just the boutique Klone pedal wasn't enough, no sir...the Corkies needed the chrome plated version. Speaking of pedals, the Corkies needed more and more overdrives, the more obscure the better.

And the weirdest one - all the mythology and bro science about guitars. I don't remember if I posted this before, but a Corky was the guy who told me that the reason that Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, and SGs all sound different is because the sound waves travel through the bodies differently and reverberate back through the pickups (with the horns/body shapes causing different reverberations, and therefore, different sounds). Strat pickups and Tele pickups are single-coils; humbuckers are double-coils; but according to the Corkies that were at the shop, P-90s were some sort of weird hybrid, and nobody really knew what made P-90 pickups different.

Key takeaways?
-Corkies desire ALL the overdrives
-Corkies have more money than sense
-Corkies can't see the forest through the trees - you might be able to tell a difference between 2 different components, but your audience sure can't.
-But, the Corky will use bro science to justify the above point.
Gnocci?
Yorkie?
 

Seamus OReally

Fading away
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2019
5,786
Santa Rosa, CA
We could change the cars to cuts of beef...or pivot over to the qualities of QLED versus OLED TVs.
Exactly. I have an LG OLED. It looks spectacular. My older son has one, too. Younger son Noah went for The Frame, a QLED set by Samsung. It also looks spectacular.

Guitars, too. Mine is great, awesome, even. So is yours.
 

3bolt79

Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
13,788
Oregon
I suppose that I was a bit of a cork sniffer when it came to my Brian May replica guitar. I have had Burns, Guilds, and BMG’s. None of them were as authentic as the one I got. And they also didn’t cost as much as my RS Custom.

But, I wanted as close an experience as I could get to what Brian May feels in his hands when he plays his home made guitar. It is accurate down to the mismatched screws on the the real one. It is the one that I will take to the grave. The only difference on my replica, is that it isn’t made of junk wood. The neck is awesome. It was a once in a lifetime purchase for me, and is worth more than my car.

It ruined me on my other Brian May guitars, which I sold.
 

sunburst_xxii

Strat-Talker
May 11, 2022
156
R86050
Evening, Gentlemen.

9397cbc039feb4cfc9eb2ca7270ad8bf--funny-hats-its-funny.jpg
 


Top