Other Guitars

Why do I want to buy a cheap guitar?

26

Okay, so I picked it up. Pics tomorrow as I need to get it cleaned up. Too many mitts all over it at GC. Got the vintage sunburst. They had a cherry one, but the neck felt like a cactus.

I don’t really play places that I’m nervous about bringing my Gretsch guitars or even the Benedetto, but there has been the occasional outdoor gig in ridiculously extreme weather. So maybe this will fit the bill. Seemed to play as nice as many Gibby 335s I’ve played and I actually seem to like the neck better than many of them. We’ll see if I keep it. Gotta spend some quality time. I’ve got 45 days. I’ve returned many more than I’ve kept...

28

I bought a $150 Epi LesPaul special in November, and spent $110 on the bigsby I installed on it. It’s a pretty nice guitar. The P90’s sound great.

Did I need this thing? Absolutely not. Do I play this thing? Barely. Do I regret buying it and then installing a bigsby that cost almost as much as the guitar? Not at all!

Only other mod I did was file string grooves into the bridge. With the bigsby, it needed them.

29
  1. Everybody should have a beater, something to grab and go, something that won't haunt you if it gets damaged.

  2. Like Calebaaron's Epi above, it's a great bang for the buck guitar.

  3. Lots of great music has been made on cheap guitars.

30

It would be great if you can give us a detailed review - I’m thinking that new production Epiphones are great guitars regardless of the low price, have been reading good reviews following NAMM. I’m curious.

31

I know the feeling. I certainly don’t need another cheap guitar but I get GAS over guitars I don’t need. Recently this guy... Link I can usually talk myself out of it or distract myself until it passes.

– Bob Howard

After 20 years of wanting a (Gibson) Les Paul Special but refusing to pay $2,500 for a lefty (yeah, buddies, Henry J made it that difficult for us), they finally brought the price into a reasonable range, and I got one. I'm effing thrilled with it.

Nowadays, the Epis are hardly a compromise.

Get one, Bob.

Your friendly neighborhood enabler,
Paul/FF909

32

In my experience, new production Epiphones have been superlative for a decade or more. It's just that now they're giving us more choice within their ranges of Gibson knockoffs, and more refinement in the technical and cosmetic details.

The SG has been on my wonder-about-wanting-that list since 1973 or so - but never high enough to drive me to actually get one. With the new Epis, it might be time.

But...P90 or buckers?

33

In the words of the late great Ronnie Dawson, I'm a sucker for a cheap guitar.

35

I wish I liked cheap guitars! I will never buy the inflated price vintage guitars but have found that usually the guitars I really like are for me really expensive. The only time I really liked "cheap" was way back in the '80s when a Matsumoku Epiphone was new and extremely affordable. Fabulous guitars. And I do like my Japanese Fender Precision Bass - it's as good as many US Fenders I have played.

But my most recent guitars have been expensive - the R9 Les Paul (bought used) was crazy expensive for me but the more I play it the more I realise that I have never played anything like it which has been as good - it's remarkable. And my recent '59 Historic 335 is the best 335 I have played - my first 335 was a '65. The new one is better.

Some of the cheap guitars these days are amazing but I wonder how well they will last. Manufacturing is so much better these days but wood is not. And i have to agree with DaveH about the conditions some of the very cheap guitars might be made under.

36

Here's a quick review as well as some pics: Overall construction is very good. Frets seem to be properly leveled and fairly well polished. Fretboard and binding are nicely done. Fit and finish is very good, with the exception of a little bit of black paint on the outside of one f-hole. The fade on the sunburst looks nice. The nut isn't too bad. In fact it is a lot closer from the factory than on many higher end guitars I've purchased, including Gretsch and my Gibson Custom Shop Johnny A. I had to spend a little time filing several string slots on the Johnny A nut to get them right. Playability out of the box is actually pretty good. I will spend some time giving the guitar a proper setup. Intonation is only off a little bit. The input jack was a little loose.

Playability and sound: I like the neck on this guitar. Nice taper and thin. The Alnico Classic pups have a nice sound to them - similar to the 57 classics on the Johnny A. I played a little bit with the coil tapping function. The single coil position doesn't seem to be as pleasing as the hum bucking position. All pots seem to work as advertised. I had a lot of fun playing the guitar for a while.

Overall, especially for $399.00, this seems so far to be a great guitar. Fun to play, sounds very nice, easy look at. I am impressed with the quality that only $399 can get. I have to say that as far as being ready to play out of the box, only my Benedetto Bravo Deluxe, the Power Jet I traded off a few years ago, my American Professional Tele and maybe my Tennessee Rose were better out of the box. Everything else that I've owned or own had needed work on the nut, or in the case of acoustics, on the bridge saddle.

39

One of my all-time, favorite guitars was Squire VM Jag . . .such a fun guitar!

40

Here's a quick review as well as some pics: Overall construction is very good. Frets seem to be properly leveled and fairly well polished. Fretboard and binding are nicely done. Fit and finish is very good, with the exception of a little bit of black paint on the outside of one f-hole. The fade on the sunburst looks nice. The nut isn't too bad. In fact it is a lot closer from the factory than on many higher end guitars I've purchased, including Gretsch and my Gibson Custom Shop Johnny A. I had to spend a little time filing several string slots on the Johnny A nut to get them right. Playability out of the box is actually pretty good. I will spend some time giving the guitar a proper setup. Intonation is only off a little bit. The input jack was a little loose.

Playability and sound: I like the neck on this guitar. Nice taper and thin. The Alnico Classic pups have a nice sound to them - similar to the 57 classics on the Johnny A. I played a little bit with the coil tapping function. The single coil position doesn't seem to be as pleasing as the hum bucking position. All pots seem to work as advertised. I had a lot of fun playing the guitar for a while.

Overall, especially for $399.00, this seems so far to be a great guitar. Fun to play, sounds very nice, easy look at. I am impressed with the quality that only $399 can get. I have to say that as far as being ready to play out of the box, only my Benedetto Bravo Deluxe, the Power Jet I traded off a few years ago, my American Professional Tele and maybe my Tennessee Rose were better out of the box. Everything else that I've owned or own had needed work on the nut, or in the case of acoustics, on the bridge saddle.

– Zigracer

Congratulations on finding good value for the money. From your pics, it’s plenty pleasing to the eye! Sure, sometimes a few adjustments are needed to set it up the way you like it, but you’re going to feel better about the way it plays and feels when you pick it up. Sounds like a win for you any way you slice it.

41

That ugly E will be removed from the pick guard if I keep it.

42

Looks like a winner! Congrats

43

After 20 years of wanting a (Gibson) Les Paul Special but refusing to pay $2,500 for a lefty (yeah, buddies, Henry J made it that difficult for us), they finally brought the price into a reasonable range, and I got one. I'm effing thrilled with it.

Nowadays, the Epis are hardly a compromise.

Get one, Bob.

Your friendly neighborhood enabler,
Paul/FF909

– Frequent Flyer 909

They’re not shipping until March 17. Lord-a-mighty I’m thinking about it.

44

An in-tune, smooth playing, good-looking cheap guitar is like owning a victory. It feels like it’s “yours” very quickly, especially if you customize it a little (new pickups, knobs, add a cheap pickguard, etc.). I just put this together with the idea of simply getting rid of parts I’ve had laying around. A friend named Todd gave me a neck he despised, tuners, and string tree off a $79 Tele copy guitar. I leveled/crowned the frets (my first-ever attempt; don’t be scared!) I bought a GFS factory reject body for $45, a Fleor neck pickup off Amazon for $10 (I’ve had several Duncan Tele neck pups, and this one is way more satisfying than any of them somehow), some GFS pots, jack and 3-way switch, a $10 cream pickguard from Musiclily, and some ferrules. I had the bridge, Graphtec saddles, bridge pickup, neck plate, control plate and knobs sitting in a drawer. I also made a bone nut (my first). This thing is SWEET. I’m in it for about $90 and some time. One day I’ll do the same except I want a Strat-type. AFTER I acquire a Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro!!!!

45

It’s kinda like once you own or have owned your “all-star” guitar (I’ve had a SSLVO, DSW, and currently my forever 6122-1959), you’re free to proudly own and champion whatever the heck guitar you want. Long live guitar freedom! Show me the Epiphone!

46

Having tried (so hard) to make some inexpensive guitars that I just knew could be great with a few upgrades, only to have them fall short just about every damn time, I concluded that you get what you pay for, and that was that. But I've found occasional exceptions. My current one is my Fiesta Red Electromatic Double Jet. I pulled it off the wall at TrueTone to try out some amps one day, and the amps didn't impress, but the guitar came home with me. They're like $549 street price. And once I lubed the nut slots it started staying in tune, and my only other gripe was the master volume was more of an on/off switch, so I replaced that with a better pot and a treble bleed, and it's becoming my go-to with the Lizards. Here it is at last night's gig. I'd be hard-pressed to say there is anything my Jade Green Penguin with the Ray Butts pickups can do better than this little Jet. And the Jet doesn't suffer from neck dive. I'd put the Buttses in the Jet for the total upgrade if it were possible, but that's not do-able (when TVJ says it can't easily be done, and to let him know if you figure out a way to do it, I take that for a sign it wasn't meant to be). And I like the sound of these blacktops in this guitar.

47

I'd put the Buttses in the Jet for the total upgrade if it were possible, but that's not do-able (when TVJ says it can't easily be done, and to let him know if you figure out a way to do it, I take that for a sign it wasn't meant to be). giffinf

I have been covetous of some of the newer Electromatics. The ones I have played are great. Franks comment makes me less so, so thanks for that. I’ve had some great success with the last decade Electromatics. My old 5120, upgraded with T’Armond pups, a TruArc and a B6 is my best playing and sounding guitar. So says I and so says the guitar player in one of my bands. My 5129 (TVJones Himself modified it) is a stellar player and sounds as good. My trusty old gold 5238 (with a Supertron neck and Classic bridge) that many have enjoyed playing at roundups, is at the moment my only non single coil and is how I get my slab on.

48

Ok, you jackweeds just talked me into pulling the trigger on an Epi ES Le Paul for $399. I should have it late this week.

49

I really like what Epiphone are up to.

50

Somehow I seem to have acquired (well you know how it is) a whole bunch of cheap 'grab-n-go' guitars for use in home practice, rehearsals and as gig back-up. For me, cheap means no more than around £150 UK (about US $200) including any upgrades or fettling. IMO I got seriously lucky with this Hamer XT Gold Top, which holds its own with either of my ProJets. It was secondhand but you would never have guessed -- and it cost £149 including a Hiscox case (not the case in the photo). Except for the cupcake knobs (I like cupcake knobs) I've left it totally stock so far. The Hamer tuners do what they're suppose to do, the neck/frettimg is good and the Hamer P90s sound pretty good. Actually I reckon it would be worth a more upmarket bridge pickup.


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