I guess for me it's always been a case of 'I don't have the money to buy the Custom Classic so I'll just buy a cheap one and mod it' but that, to me at least, has been part of the adventure of playing guitar.
If everything was easy and I could just throw money at it until I got what I wanted, where would the fun be? It's taught me so much more about how a guitar works and how to alter my tone (it's also taught me to not open up a valve amps and poke around... that was a fun trip across the room, backwards, with no recollection as to how I got there or why all the lights are off).
You also have to bear in mind that just because something is expensive it doesn't necessarily make it worth the money.
The Fender Road Worn series for example, they look great, no two ways about it, but they are effectively a USA Strat which has been battered about a bit, I don't know about you but I'm perfectly capable of battering the crap out of my guitars on my own, and if I do it, it won't look like anyone else's.
Whilst I was in MusikMesse I was waiting at the Fender booth and I noticed the line of Road Worn series hanging on a wall and (I really wish I'd gotten a photo of this now) realized how they are ALL worn in the same place. Yea, ok, fair enough guitars do wear out in the same spots but it's hard to describe how identical the damage on these things was.
It's tricky, if someone was to give me £1800 to buy a guitar then I would probably scour the UK trying out as many as I could before settling on one to buy.
But if someone gave me £1000 to do the same thing I'd play a couple that I liked the look of and then mod the crap out of them.
People get this image in their heads of a modded guitar looking really oddball and strange, every time I've changed something on a guitar it's never been cosmetically detrimental, I love the look of the Fender Strat, I think it's a really pretty guitar but for me they do have their drawbacks, I like having a humbucker in the bridge and yet I can't stand the look of them on Strats HSS are just not right in my head for some reason.
So a simple solution is to add a preamp instead of one of the tone pots (that I never use anyway). There are so many mods for guitars that replace existing parts that you may not even use or can be added without anyone realising they are there.
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