Other Guitars

Cheap guitars you love…


My Ibanez AK85 was my main guitar for 5 years when I played in the praise band at church. (Bought it new with hardshell case for $350. Out of production now.) It's a very solid guitar. I still love it!


I have two Squiers (an Affinity Tele and a Jagmaster) that I love. The Tele, in particular, is a lot better than a lot of people give it credit for.


I don't go out looking for cheap Hamers, they just sort of find me.This one cost about £120, is a doddle to play and that P90 is just made for rock'n'roll.

– Dave_K

I love those. I played a nice one last summer at a local guitar show and sale and could have had it cheap. I hesitated and lost.

Still got this one though. Edwards Les Paul Special.


Do we need parameters? Are we talking what we paid back in the day for something that's now much more valuable? And many fellers have mentioned 300.00 - 500.00 guitars they've then modded, so I bet they're well over 500.00 all in. I guess under 500.00 is pretty cheap, and midrange is 500.00 - 1,200.00 or so.

But when I think cheap, I'm thinking toward the bottom of the 0.00 - 500.00 range, where when you get a great one you feel like you stoled it. The kind of good deals that make you giggle. (Admit it, you giggle.) And I'm thinking 21st century money, not the killer deal you got in the 60s to the 90s.

Because I have a near-mint '66-or-so Mustang I paid 25.00 for, and a 1932 National Style N that was 125.00. (35 years ago.) I don't think that counts. By the same token, Japanese guitars that were under 500.00 in the late 70s and 80s - which are of similar quality to today's 1,500.00 guitars - may not really qualify. Or maybe they do: at the time, they were half the cost of the American guitars of the day.

I'm thinking of guitars we might still be able to find at low-end prices - so, used guitars from the last 3 decades, and modern guitars that are way better than they ought to be for the money.

Any way you slice it, I have a raft of them. Parabar and I take a similar approach to appreciating greatness at the low end, brand name bedamned. I suppose that renders most of my decadently excessive pile less than desirable at auction - but it's enabled me to play many more types of guitars than if I'd insisted on The Real Thing every time.

The Most Value for the Money, Like Ever - and Why
- Some guitars just play a bigger role in our lives than others, and that role increases their value.
Stella-Harmony acoustic, 60s; 15.00 in 1967; my first guitar got played a lot, and taught me more
Fujigen FVN4, branded "Crestwood" (60s Japanese 4-pup wonderbox; 39.00, 1969); my first electric, and never was a 15-year-old kid prouder
Wurlitzer Cougar 2512, 1966 (100.00 in 1970): a step up from the Japanese starter guitar to a little-appreciated American gem. LOTS of hours in this one.
Gibson Melody Maker, 1962; 35.00 + 75.00 in parts in 1975; a young feller's first Gibson, even if it had to be built from parts - and still a solid, great player. Maybe more hours of playing than any guitar I've ever had.
Alvarez Yairi DY-77 (Martini Herringboner, 1977; 175.00 in 1982); all the acoustic I even wanted till a couple of years ago
Gibson ES-335TD, 1979; 375.00 in 1980; a great guitar, and my main ride for several years. This price was stupid-low at the time, and it's actually the then-used value of the two middlin' Alvarez acoustics I traded a feller, on the sidewalk in front of a music store.
Fender Mustang, 1966; 25.00 in 1985; I mean, come on. The price was ridiculous even then.
National Style N, 1932; 125.00 in 1987; what a way to learn lap-slidin'
Silvertone Amp-in-Case Mod 1457 dual-pup, 1965; 213.00 in 2004; I always wanted one when the whole kit was 129.00 at Sears. I feel like I did OK 40 years later.

Great Deals
- But really, some of these were just "good" deals at the time.
Fender 1962 Reissue Strat, 1982; 350.00 in 1985
Fender Tele Standard, 1977; 350.00 in 1986
Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, 1975; 350.00 in 1986
Supro lap steel, 1952; 25.00 in 1985

Great Values
- Mostly post-2000 guitars which are better than they ought to be, with an arbitrary maximum of 500.00; all just plain dandy guitars, price aside. All strongly recommended at such prices.
Agile AD-2500 P-90 (LP double-cut; 249.00, 2004)
Agile AD-2500 Heritage (all-mahogany Less Paul; 199.00, 2004)
Carlo Robelli CR-RB1955 "Black Emu" (Black Fauxcon; 450.00, 2003)
Carlo Robelli CR-ES5000 (ES-5-alike; 450.00, 2003)
Dean Evo 60 (LP-ish P90 goldtop; 239.00, 2005)
Electra/Westones (several, all under 500.00, new in the 80s)
Epi MIK Casino (375.00, 2006)
Epi Wildkat (500.00, 2004)
Fender Modern Player Marauder (400.00, 2013)
Squire VM Jag (350.00, 2014)
Squire VM Bass VI (400.00, 2017)
Garrison Tele Thinline (169.00, 2008)
Gretsch Electro Double Jet (350.00, 2005)
• Any Gretsch Streamliner under 500.00
Ibanez AFS75TD-TQ (450.00, 2005)
Jay Turser Cleopatra (offset double-cut thinline centerblocker; 300.00, 2004)
Jay Turser 134DC (14" double-cut thinline centerblocker; 200.00, 2004)
Jay Turser TJ-Res (thinline electric resonator; 239.00, 2003)
Jay Turser Lyrebird (so wack-job you'd have to see it; 139.00, 2004)
Michael Kelly Patriot QH9 (14" deep-body thinline centerblocker, P90s, prototype; 320.00, 2004)
Yamaha SGV800, 2003 (100.00 in 2006)


In 1984 I sold my only electric guitar, a ‘74 (I think) Tele Deluxe for $175. It seemed right at the time. I didn’t buy another guitar until 2006, another (new) Tele for $600. It seemed like a great expense at the time and for most non~pros I imagine it would be.

So now when I walk away with a great guitar under $500 I feel pretty good about it.


Forgive me, a Mustang was my first good guitar.



Yeah man, tell me! I am forever in the debt of one Dave Spires, whose band I played in. For some reason, he felt like he had to "do me a solid." Maybe it was the way I played "Rub It In," "Ooby Dooby," and "Splish Splash" with a straight face.



Yeah man, tell me! I am forever in the debt of one Dave Spires, whose band I played in. For some reason, he felt like he had to "do me a solid." Maybe it was the way I played "Rub It In," "Ooby Dooby," and "Splish Splash" with a straight face.

– Proteus

My 12 year old self played two gigs with the Mustang. An Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips and a neighborhood pool party. The core of our set was Wipeout, Wild Thing, and Wooly Bully. And some mangled Stones songs.


Westone Concord 1, cost me AU$100 in the early 80’s. My main workhorse for 20 years. Felt like a Jazz, sounded like a Precision. Kinda heavy though.


Squire Mike Dirnt Precision Bass. AU$300, still used a fair bit, when not playing the Ric.


i recently bought an Art & Lutherie dreadnought cutaway. I wanted a cheap backup acoustic.

I've gone crazy over it. Since the purchase I've personalized it with some art work, but I don't have a current photo. This one is similar.

Addendum: It's basically a Seagull guitar, but the next step down. I don't know why, but Godin does some nice work.



Godin does do nice work!

I once also had a squire tele that had the best neck ever. Pickups buzzed like he'll though.



Not sure where we draw the financial line here or if buying new or used matters for this thread. My Epi Maestro is a good, inexpensive guitar as is my Gretsch Corvette.

If going up to $600 new counts, my Gretsch Streamliner 2655TG-P90 should qualify. Being free in my situation as I won it allowed for upgrades at a still reasonable price resulting in a great guitar although it was okay as stock.


At $299 brand new, this MIM Jaguarillo sounds great and does surf to dirt extremely well. It's still bone stock as the day I got it. As a bonus it says Fender on the headstock...I would've expected Squier.


Ah. Fender re-invents the Superstrat as a Superjag, 35 years later. Looks cool. Reminds me of an Eastwood somehow.


I got this Fender Modern Player Marauder for $399 CDN in 2011. Very versatile and easy to play.


Got a 1988 MIJ Fender Tele 62 Custom for £100 used back in 1990,these were selling for 250 new, without a case.

Same day a 1989 Rickenbacker 325V59 for £600,i know,it doesn't really count,but hey,it was half price!

Around the mid 90's i picked up a MIJ candy red 60's Fender Strat for £250.

More recently ,a couple of years ago i got a 58 Epiphone V for £179 used.

The last one i got was used MIM Precision in Lake Placid blue with mirror guard,for £300 off the bay!


Love my Marauder. A modern classic that should have been a much greater success, and a ridiculous amount of guitar for that money.


Jay Turser Lyrebird

24.75 scale, 27 maple-neck frets, tappable bladed neckbucker and rippin' bridgebucker, more-or-less 13" sculpted body, and tons (well, 6 lb 5 oz) of metallic red fun for 139.00, new.


It came with a truly execrable built-in fuzz, powered by 9 volts of futility. A local guy pulled it out and rewired the bladebucker at the neck with a rotary-pot progressive tap. Or maybe it's a tonal contour of some sort: it doesn't get quieter, but the spectrum changes completely. And it's a bit noisier at one end of the travel.

Anyway, funky little beast. Snaps and screams. The dual-point fulcrum tremolo actually kinda works. When you can pay more money for a pickup or a tremolo (or a bridge!) than a whole durn guitar costs, you're kinda obligated.

From China, with fun.


I have a Sterling by Music Man Silhouette. GREAT guitar by any set of standards. I paid 120 bucks for it. Plays great, stock pickup are very nice, heck all the stock hardware is good. I can't find anything to knock on it.


I love my messed up 60s Teisco K2L. Its a surf monster.


Cool guitars--but I gotta hear more about Marauders and Jaguarillios!

What do they compare to? Are they short scale?



The Marauder is the classic 25.5 scale, and I can't say it's directly comparable to anything else. Read reviews here on Reverb for background: https://reverb.com/p/fender...


Love my Marauder. A modern classic that should have been a much greater success, and a ridiculous amount of guitar for that money.

– Proteus

I have been finding myself playing my Marauder (picked up last year for $450) more and more these days. We have a gig coming up, and the Marauder will be plunked on for about a third of the songs. So tasty!


in 1972, I bought a Framus acoustic at the PX in Germany for just less than $30. it was my first acoustic. it was a great knock around guitar. it plays great and I love the neck. I took it everywhere. to say the least, I got my $30 worth out of it.

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