regarding customizability of theme front-pages (vs page-builder pages)

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QuestionsCategory: WordPress Themesregarding customizability of theme front-pages (vs page-builder pages)
Gerald Ryan asked 8 months ago

Hi all, first post. Love the amazing tutorial videos on youtube! WordPress is also amazing but sometimes frustrating. I could spend hours playing with it though as it's so fun and most of my stress comes from my limited time as my day job gets in the way, but I digress.
This is kind of a broad question, so I'll try be concise. I started using wordpress, building sites for myself and (pseudo) clients, like friends with businesses, and then I discover some pretty cool themes (Responsive, Hestia). I found how to make a cool front pages in the WordPress customizer with these themes. That was an evolutionary jump for me and I felt powerful. I realized it all came down to theme selection, and I thought, how could I get my clients to pay for a better theme, but the problem there was both getting them to buy it and choosing the right one. Besides, I am not afraid to shell out, but only after I know what's what, and I liked the challenge of doing everything free or low budget while learning.
Then I discovered page builders, and got familiar with Elementor. I already had some nice front pages built up with the two themes I mentioned earlier. I still like how they look actually, but I wanted to make some very simple changes and tweaks that would be a piece of cake to do in Elementor. I didn't want to recreate a whole new front page in Elementor because I like what I currently have, though I know I could make something very similar if not identical if I decided I wanted to. I just wanted to make some tweaks to what the theme allows, and I started searching for buttons and questioning why they don't exist when you need them. So I wanted to do this to the theme's customizer page without having to go into php and all that (though it is something I want to learn).
It struck me that it seems like everything showing on the themes custom front page, which I know how to turn on and off and replace with a static page (three steps required if you count setting it as full width no sidebar and checking a critical box in the customizer to relinquish control to wordpress core) I could replicate in Elementor by design but the opposite does not seem to be the case. Themes are limited. They lock and control you, and page builders are unlimited, am I right or not? 
So I guess my question is two-part: 
First, can you customize the themes pre-built custom front page features? All I really want to do is tweak some things, like with images, add link functionality in a few sections, etc?
Second, if I understand it right, given what Page Builders can do, do we even need themes and do they really control you or don't they get you up a crick when you relied on their features too heavily and want to go a different direction down the road? They seem kind of wordpress.com-ish. Woudn't it make sense just to use a nice page builder like elementor, where you can even add built out page templates, or blocks, but using the section, column and widget features is easy enough. Why rely on things which might lock you in the more built up your site gets, when you can have more control and freedom, and why not just use a plain basic theme to begin with, or use any theme, but just not use its features? I chose wordpress.org over wordpress.com for freedom and possibility and maybe I need to choose not to use themes for the same reason but I'll be the first to admit I have a lot to learn, so let me know what you all think below. Sorry I get long winded trying to express myself but let me know what you think below!
ps that's the thing I'm finding with WP and such- it's so powerful and so intuitive and easy- until it's not and until the simplest thing gets you stuck! Like I said I like it all but just a question of time because this is an addiction.