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#964288 - 06/14/12 04:12 PM Cheap guitars  
Joined: Sep 2004
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Rick Heenan Offline
Rick Heenan  Offline

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I've been seeing a multitude of chinese made guitars and other instruments out there that look really good, play well and are also not very cheap. The question is, do they hold up to the rigor of every day use. What kind of shape are the older ones in? What are the failures?

I have a friend who buys the cool looking guitars and swaps out the machines and other parts to beef up the cheap guitar. Anyone else have experience with this?

#964291 - 06/14/12 04:39 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rick Heenan]  
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Mackie H. Offline
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Rick--

YES, the Chinese are improving--I have two BOULDER CREEK GUITARS (ACOUSTICS)--BOTH ARE KEEPERS--SOME OF THE CHEAPER ELECTRICS, DON'T HAVE THE HARDWARE AND FINISH--I HAVE ONE WITH CHINESE P-90 PICKUPS, THAT'S PRETTY GOOD!--BUYER BEWARE!

Mackie

Last edited by Mackie H.; 06/14/12 04:40 PM.
#964313 - 06/14/12 06:49 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mackie H.]  
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Colin Ward Online content
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I keep pretty close eye on on acoustics and electrics. There is not much to choose between a good Chinese guitar and a good North American guitar except price. I suspect there are still some badly made ones to be had, but if it has a major name brand on it, I think you are pretty safe with Chinese. Epiphone for instance owns their own factory in China and a lot of the other well known brands manage their imports closely. You may find the electronics are not quite as good as a premium US made guitar, or maybe the fretwork is a little rougher, but the woodwork is fine and they don't fall apart. I actually played a Yamaha APX500 recently that played and sounded great plugged in - about $300.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#964317 - 06/14/12 07:19 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rick Heenan]  
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joro Offline
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joro  Offline
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A recording forum I belong to had a thread regarding Xaviere guitars....very good bang for the buck....not great craftsmanship but, good playable electrics with decent hardware....
check them out at guitarfetish.com

For electric basses I think the best bang for the buck is an SX....
I have had my P-bass clone for over ten years and everyone who has ever played (which are many)have raved about the playability and tone....it has held up well...no issues.


#964320 - 06/14/12 09:02 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: joro]  
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John Voorpostel Offline
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I'm a huge SX fan. I have two acoustic electrics, an acoustic bass, and an electric. They're knockoffs, ie the acoustics are "Taylors" and the electric is a "Les Paul"

Awesome value for money.

Theyre made by http://www.teamintlco.com/

and sold in the USA by http://www.rondomusic.com/index.html



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#975267 - 09/04/12 07:55 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Jim Colyer Offline
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Jim Colyer  Offline
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I bought a Yamaha APX500 made in Indonesia. I like it.

#975360 - 09/05/12 10:52 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Jim Colyer]  
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December X Offline
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I usually dont bother with anything but fender, so I cant attest to other brands, but there IS a dinstinct difference between a japanase strat or tele, than a us one.

about 400-500 dollars in price for starters. But I havent found a japanese one that could fool me yet. Sometimes salesmen will try to get you to try out the jap one thinking you wont know the difference and will buy faster.

Not that the Jap starts or teles are bad, but there is a reason why us ones are double the price. They are made better, play better and sound better.

But that may just be my taste, so if you are happy with one, you will be the one playing it.

Acoustics I lean towards taylor, but I dont play acoustic as much.

#975403 - 09/05/12 05:29 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
As much as I adore and respect the craftsmanship and tone that a top quality guitar delivers, I have come to regard them as unnecessary luxuries...because the only thing that really matters is the player. I would rather hear a good player with a crappy guitar than a crappy player with a good guitar.

#975412 - 09/05/12 07:24 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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December X Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
As much as I adore and respect the craftsmanship and tone that a top quality guitar delivers, I have come to regard them as unnecessary luxuries...because the only thing that really matters is the player. I would rather hear a good player with a crappy guitar than a crappy player with a good guitar.


Well, I'd be willing to listen to stevie ray or clapton play a jap strat, or keith richards or roy buchanon playing a jap tele, but im never going to hear/see that.

I think just the professionalism of it all. If one is the real deal, it kind of washes when they use a fake strat.

For most regualr folks like myself, it shouldnt matter recording at home.


Last edited by December Rock Star; 09/05/12 07:24 PM.
#975556 - 09/06/12 03:06 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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I prefer better guitars too. But what will determine the quality of your recording or performance weighs much more heavily on your playing than on your instrument. The sound is mainly in your fingers. If you want to pay another grand to get an American Les Paul instead of an Agile, go for it...but I doubt you'd get $1000 of better sound.

That said, I play an American Strat from the Fullerton plant, a '72 Rickenbacker bass, and an Alvarez Yairi acoustic. I just know that I can make cheaper guitars sound like they're being played by me, rather than having it all come down to build quality. So I'm a fan of well-made cheapos.

#975558 - 09/06/12 03:31 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Colin Ward Online content
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DRS,

I am afraid you are mistaken if you think "Jap Strats" are inferior. There was a time in the early 80s when Fender bought a Japanese manufacturer because the quality of the Japanese copies was better than the US made Fenders. Fender modeled their new factory on the Japanese methods.

Now Strats are made in the US and Mexico. They are still made in Japan too, but Japanese Strats are rarely imported into the US because their costs are too high. Cheap Strats under the Fender Squier name are made in China and Indonesia and many of those are good playable instruments.

You are right that you will not hear Roy Buchanan or Steve Ray Vaughan play a "Jap Strat" because they are both dead.

Eric and Keith are given all the guitars they can stand and have no need to shop for value. But i would venture to say that if they played Chinese Squiers, they would still sound exactly like Eric and Keith.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#975562 - 09/06/12 04:04 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Colin Ward]  
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December X Offline
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
DRS,

I am afraid you are mistaken if you think "Jap Strats" are inferior. There was a time in the early 80s when Fender bought a Japanese manufacturer because the quality of the Japanese copies was better than the US made Fenders. Fender modeled their new factory on the Japanese methods.

Now Strats are made in the US and Mexico. They are still made in Japan too, but Japanese Strats are rarely imported into the US because their costs are too high. Cheap Strats under the Fender Squier name are made in China and Indonesia and many of those are good playable instruments.

You are right that you will not hear Roy Buchanan or Steve Ray Vaughan play a "Jap Strat" because they are both dead.

Eric and Keith are given all the guitars they can stand and have no need to shop for value. But i would venture to say that if they played Chinese Squiers, they would still sound exactly like Eric and Keith.


Thanks for the tip, and thanks for pointing out two guys were dead and missing the point.

They didnt play squiers, end of story.

Bruce Springsteen still plays his favorite tele/esquire neck, that cost him 200 bucks way back when.

Doesnt natter what gear he is given for free, he plays that one cause he likes it.

Kind of annoying that you claim superiority in opinion, on all things in the music biz.

If you can prove that squiers are equal to us strats, even though they are just assembled here, then prove it.

Otherwise we'll call it a matter of opinion.

I know all about the pre cbs changes, Im not sure whyyou think you know everything.

Do you even play guitar?

Last edited by December Rock Star; 09/06/12 04:08 PM.
#975584 - 09/06/12 07:37 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content


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Saint Petersburg. FL
I happen to own a Fender Strat, a Squier Strat made in Japan, a Squier Strat made in Korea and a Squier Tele made in China (I also own Gibsons and a Guild made in the US). You are right - liking a guitar is a matter of opinion.

I am not going to get in a three page pointless debate on this subject with someone who won't even disclose his name.

On this board, I comment on things I know something about and refrain from commenting on subjects I know nothing about (and there are plenty). I am qualified to comment on guitars.



Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#975589 - 09/06/12 07:48 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Colin Ward]  
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December X Offline
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
I happen to own a Fender Strat, a Squier Strat made in Japan, a Squier Strat made in Korea and a Squier Tele made in China (I also own Gibsons and a Guild made in the US). You are right - liking a guitar is a matter of opinion.

I am not going to get in a three page pointless debate on this subject with someone who won't even disclose his name.

On this board, I comment on things I know something about and refrain from commenting on subjects I know nothing about (and there are plenty). I am qualified to comment on guitars.



My name has nothing to do with it, so when I dont agree with you, my name makes me right or wrong?

You were trying to start an argument, with your srv is dead comments.

When i dont agree, then u bring up my not giving my name?

Wrong, dont work that way. Keep in mind, you brought the debate, when you were writing your opinion to me it didnt matter who I was right?

Only matters when I dont agree? Well I know your name, and Im not impressed anyway.

You are a halfway decent musician and songwriter, as I am.

No reason to be looking down on anyone, you're not good enough.

Realize there are ongoing debates on the fender issue. What makes yours right I dont know.

Go practice, do something worthwhile.

Last edited by December Rock Star; 09/06/12 07:52 PM.
#975590 - 09/06/12 07:51 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
Originally Posted by December Rock Star
They didnt play squiers, end of story.


But John Mayall does...
[Linked Image]

And so does Jeff Healey:

[Linked Image]

There is a long tradition of awesome guitarists who like to play cheapies. Paul Westerberg actually plays First Acts.

[Linked Image]

Prince loves his Hohner Tele.

[Linked Image]

Jimmy Vaughan has his MIM Strat. Chuck Prophet likes a Squier Tele. Jack White and Beck (Hanson) play all manner of cheap Airlines, Silvertones, Danelectros. Leadbelly made beautiful noise on his Stella. Eddie Van Halen had his Frankenstrat, and Brian May had his homemade thingy. Townshend and Page enjoyed cheapies like the Harmony Sovereign and Danelectros.

And one of my favorite all-time guitar tones came from this here Harmony Meteor through a broken Elpico amp:

[Linked Image]

Anyway, sorry to wade into some personal squabble...I just enjoy cool guitarists who play cheap guitars.

#975593 - 09/06/12 08:04 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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December X Offline
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December X  Offline
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Originally Posted by Mark Kaufman
Originally Posted by December Rock Star
They didnt play squiers, end of story.


But John Mayall does...
[Linked Image]

And so does Jeff Healey:

[Linked Image]

There is a long tradition of awesome guitarists who like to play cheapies. Paul Westerberg actually plays First Acts.

[Linked Image]

Prince loves his Hohner Tele.

[Linked Image]

Jimmy Vaughan has his MIM Strat. Chuck Prophet likes a Squier Tele. Jack White and Beck (Hanson) play all manner of cheap Airlines, Silvertones, Danelectros. Leadbelly made beautiful noise on his Stella. Eddie Van Halen had his Frankenstrat, and Brian May had his homemade thingy. Townshend and Page enjoyed cheapies like the Harmony Sovereign and Danelectros.

And one of my favorite all-time guitar tones came from this here Harmony Meteor through a broken Elpico amp:

[Linked Image]

Anyway, sorry to wade into some personal squabble...I just enjoy cool guitarists who play cheap guitars.


CUSTOMS. They didnt walk into to guitar center and buy a squier off the rack.

Anyway, my point to the gentelman who asked the question, if you're happy with it, go for it.

#975594 - 09/06/12 08:04 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Online content
Colin Ward  Online Content


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Saint Petersburg. FL
Been practicing all day. Now it's time to drink beer. I only commented because of your slam about "Jap Strats". I doubt if you could walk into a music store and even find a new "Jap Strat".

Peace.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#975671 - 09/07/12 01:51 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Colin Ward]  
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PopTodd Offline
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PopTodd  Offline
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Western Springs, IL, USA
Originally Posted by Colin Ward
DRS,

I am afraid you are mistaken if you think "Jap Strats" are inferior. There was a time in the early 80s when Fender bought a Japanese manufacturer because the quality of the Japanese copies was better than the US made Fenders. Fender modeled their new factory on the Japanese methods.

Now Strats are made in the US and Mexico. They are still made in Japan too, but Japanese Strats are rarely imported into the US because their costs are too high. Cheap Strats under the Fender Squier name are made in China and Indonesia and many of those are good playable instruments.

You are right that you will not hear Roy Buchanan or Steve Ray Vaughan play a "Jap Strat" because they are both dead.

Eric and Keith are given all the guitars they can stand and have no need to shop for value. But i would venture to say that if they played Chinese Squiers, they would still sound exactly like Eric and Keith.


I play a Jap-built 1988 Squire Strat and that thing is built like a tank.
Bought it new, dragged it along with me to college and back home. Played hundreds of gigs with it and it still plays like a frikkin' dream.
I love that guitar.

#975672 - 09/07/12 02:03 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: PopTodd]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Crozet, VA
DRS: Colin just disagreed with your opinion, nothing more and nothing less. Of course, you had to go personal and attack Colin's guitar work. Why do you have to do that? Please try and turn down that "jerk" knob. It doesn't have to be set at 10 all the time.


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#975674 - 09/07/12 02:36 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: PopTodd]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
Mark Kaufman  Offline

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Minneapolis
Originally Posted by PopTodd
I play a Jap-built 1988 Squire Strat and that thing is built like a tank.


The early Japanese Squiers (JV Squiers) are indeed excellent. The build quality was as good as the newer American Fenders.

Quote
Fender (under the direction of Dan Smith at the Fullerton Plant) started to really get things going prior to 1982 so that
they could release their “vintage” line of reissue guitars, which are still being made today. Since the Japanese were already
so successful, they hired a Fender Japan team (largely made up of Greco’s designers and luthiers) to try to do what they
did best, but by changing the logo to “Fender” and putting Fender USA pickups in them. After a trial period, the USA team
decided to pay the Japanese team a visit and see how things were going. Upon completion of their trip, Dan lamented:
“Everybody came up to inspect them and the guys almost cried, because the Japanese product was so good - it was what
we had been having a hell of a time trying to do."


Source


#975780 - 09/08/12 01:13 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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It's the same with basses. Check out the bass forums, Squires get high marks, especially their "Classic Vibe" series. Then there are the Mexican made basses, which are very good. My main bass is a Mexican made Classic Series 50's Precision Bass. It's nearly an exact copy of a '57 precision. The only difference I'm aware of is the finish. A '57 had a nitro finish, the Mexican has a modern finish. It's not a "cheap" bass, it lists for over a thousand bucks. The Mexican bass's finish holds up better than the old nitro finish. My made in Mexico (MIM) Classic Series has the same pickups, neck, body and wiring that the American '57 reissues have. A friend has an original '57 precision, the real thing, and he says mine is just as good, just a different finish. Here's a thread on the difference between them. In it, mostly, it's not the sound that makes people prefer one over than the other:

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/fe...american-vintage-57-a-748229/index2.html

I'll put mine up against any Fender precision, made anywhere, for sound and playability. The neck and fretboard are a thing of beauty.

I also have three other mim fenders, two of which I've modified, putting in different pickups and wiring. I do my own setup and rewiring. The necks feel fine, the only difference in the necks are the lack of a graphite rod. A friend of mine who is an MIA snob points that out often, then I point out to him that his '62 precision doesn't have a graphite rod either. Generally speaking on the run-of-the-mill mim fenders you get the same necks and bodies you'd get on an American standard, assembled in Mexico (about 50 miles from the American plant), the same wiring and often the same pickups. The mia's have better hardware and better fretwork on the edges. For a standard, either mia or mim, I'd change the pickups anyway. The deluxe mim models have better pickups and in the case of my Classic '50s, they are the same as the mia reissue.

For guitars, I really like the Seagull. I've been playing it for a few years now, it has a great tone and a wider than normal neck at the nut, which is good because I'm so used the the bass string spacing. It's made in Canada and is good quality. I've played a lot of Chinese guitars and the acoustics sound surprisingly good. The electrics will often suffer because of the pickups, but I've heard the Squire Classic Vibe series has pretty good pickups.

A lot of session players here will buy Mexican, Japanese, Chinese or whatever instruments and modify them, putting in better pickups, wiring, shielding etc. and maybe only have their main instrument be an old mia. That's what I used to do, until I got that Mexican Classic 50's. Now that's my main squeeze.

Of course, the big stars with the big bucks are given the expensive gear for promo, unless they are collecting vintage stuff.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#975782 - 09/08/12 01:38 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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I wouldn't rely on forums for accurate information, no more then I would reviews at guitar center.

It's all opinion, and an opinion based on your budget. If money is no object, you will opt for usa. If money is tight, you will try to find a rationale as to why the foreign ones are equal.

The Mexican ones are interesting because the same people who work in Mexico also work here in the states in us factories.

It's all about budget. If you want to believe all strats are created equal, then you are going to.

There are many intelligent, well researched guitar players, who buy usa stuff, and they wouldnt do it, if they didnt see value in doing so.

Its funny marks article mentions Pete Townshend using dan electros. Pete Townshend is also the guy who had Marshall build him a stack so big and loud it wasnt even on the market yet.

These guys have all kinds of access to different gear and amps and rooms in studios, and as well as live gear.

Part of their art is creating soundscapes and revolutionary sounds.

In other words their sounds arent based on the guitar they buy alone. With all the outboard gear and processing units and great amps, and sound people helping, as well as thinking uo all sorts of creative ways of micing and positioning speakers, any guitar can sound great.

For most regualr folk looking for a world class sound from a store bought squier may be a strech.

I bet these guys wouldnt use a imitation acoustic, that sound comes as is.


#975785 - 09/08/12 01:45 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Speaking of Danelectros...
I bought my son a $200 Danno reissue. It's the same type that Page played on "Kashmir" in "The Song Remains the Same."
[Linked Image]

Like I said, $200 and it plays like a dream.
If it wasn't his, I would take it right away from him. Sounds good, too.

#975786 - 09/08/12 01:49 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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I wouldn't rely on forums for accurate information either. smile


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#975787 - 09/08/12 01:54 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Precisely why I'm not buying a squier!

#975791 - 09/08/12 02:11 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: PopTodd]  
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Originally Posted by PopTodd
Speaking of Danelectros...
I bought my son a $200 Danno reissue. It's the same type that Page played on "Kashmir" in "The Song Remains the Same."
[Linked Image]

Like I said, $200 and it plays like a dream.
If it wasn't his, I would take it right away from him. Sounds good, too.


Danelectro is not a jap strat, but im sure you dont play through jimis amp.

value electrics are out there, the debate was are all fenders all the same.

#975796 - 09/08/12 02:33 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Originally Posted by December Rock Star
Precisely why I'm not buying a squier!


Please don't misunderstand, I don't have any Squiers either, my mim's are Fenders. Just the Fenders made in Mexico. But the Squier Classic Vibe basses sound pretty decent. Here's a shootout: http://youtu.be/x6Cd98DH__U

He compares two Squiers to Japanese Fenders, the third shootout is between a Squier Jazz bass and a vintage Fender American Jazz bass. The Squire compares surprisingly well.



You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#975797 - 09/08/12 02:41 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
Originally Posted by December Rock Star
Precisely why I'm not buying a squier!


Please don't misunderstand, I don't have any Squiers either, my mim's are Fenders. Just the Fenders made in Mexico. But the Squier Classic Vibe basses sound pretty decent. Here's a shootout: http://youtu.be/x6Cd98DH__U

He compares two Squiers to Japanese Fenders, the third shootout is between a Squier Jazz bass and a vintage Fender American Jazz bass. The Squire compares surprisingly well.



I think bass is a bit different than guitar, but I know jap guitars and others can sound really good. Particulary if the sound is enhanced by a great amp and outboard gear etc.

If the person playing it likes it, thats fine. No one size fits all.


#975798 - 09/08/12 02:42 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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By the way, while I don't rely on forums for accurate information, I do find them to be very helpful in finding trends and opinions. I look for a good sampling to determine which opinion is trending, I also look for opinions that are well articulated with facts to back them up. Then, of course, I check the facts myself.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#975799 - 09/08/12 02:48 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Originally Posted by Mike Dunbar
By the way, while I don't rely on forums for accurate information, I do find them to be very helpful in finding trends and opinions. I look for a good sampling to determine which opinion is trending, I also look for opinions that are well articulated with facts to back them up. Then, of course, I check the facts myself.


That's what I do as well. There are no facts, just opinions with most of it. I got the electrics down, simply cause I narrow it to strat or tele.

Acoustics are harder for me to gauge, the sound is the sound and nothing changes it.


#975802 - 09/08/12 03:11 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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You can do a lot to change the sound of an acoustic guitar. Bone or brass bridge and nut. Different brand or gauge of string. Installing an armrest on the guitar to let the lower bout resonate more. Changing the action on the strings. Using different picks. Shaving the braces.

My old roommate was the Martin warranty repairman for the Midwest U.S. He used to buy old cheap acoustic guitars and modify them to make them sound louder and more balanced. He specialized in the Harmony Sovereign. It was amazing the difference he made.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#975948 - 09/10/12 11:11 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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I was recording an album a few years ago and the engineer offered me the choice of a couple of Teles with which to play a solo.
He handed me first a Mexican-built Tele and it was just wonderful. Awesome!
Then... he handed me an American Standard!


I liked the Mexi better: both for tone and playability.

#975955 - 09/10/12 02:27 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: PopTodd]  
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Just about any top-flight professional electric guitar player will customize pickups, wiring, hardware, no matter the guitar. This is why I find it significant that Jeff Healey and John Mayall chose to play Squiers. It wasn't about endorsement deals, it was simply the guitar they preferred to play. One man's poison is another man's treasure.

Especially if he's into poison.

#976184 - 09/12/12 01:10 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Does anybody see a squier or jap guitar here? LOL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_diKw9F6t3U&feature=fvwrel

The song that wouldnt exist without Townshend!

Great song.

#976191 - 09/12/12 02:48 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rick Heenan]  
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Rek Anthony Offline
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Hey everyone,
I am new to this forum, but it seems to have some pretty cool postings on it, so I will add my two cents for what it is worth.

I used to make guitars for a couple of top of the line guitar companies who also built private label guitars and signature models for several artists.

When an artist would come to the factory with an endorsement for a particular brand, or even their own private label guitars, they would rarely just take one off the shelf. These guitars were custom made for the artist.

As an example: If the off the shelf model came with a *slab cut maple neck, which is usually inferior to a three piece verticle grain neck, (*Depends on the quality of the grain in the slab used)the artist always chose the vertical grain neck. Often, custom pickups were made, and other custom materials were used.

These were not always built exactly the same as the guitars sold in the music stores, but they had the logo. I am not saying that an artist couldn't take an off the shelf guitar and it wouldn't play great, but it depends on the quality of the brand and the materials used. If every guitar is built to the specifications of the guitar the artists uses, then obviously it will not only play well, but it will cost more.

I highly doubt any serious artist will buy a knockoff guitar made in China off Ebay and use it on stage.

A lot of what makes a guitar sound great is the specific pieces of wood used in it's making. All wood is individual, and no two pieces are identical, so even a slab cut neck may have a grain that is tight enough to play as well as a vertical grain neck.

To adress the point regarding Chinese guitars:
You just have to be careful when buying Chinese guitars without authenticating who built them, because the knockoff companies can't be trusted. Many of these guitars sold on ebay are unplayable and look nothing like the photo or description. Some aren't even made wth real wood.

I made the mistake of buying one of these off ebay, after being told it was a Taylor prototype. When I recieved the guitar, it was absolutely unplayable, and definitely not a Taylor.

There are some legit companies like Gibson, making some guitars in China. The problem I have with that is that China also counterfeits Gibson USA guitars (and other USA brands) right down to the logo and packaging. If enough of these flood the market it can destroy the brand as a whole. By buying an American made Gibson directly from Gibson or a reputable dealer I know exactly what I am buying, regardless of the price.

Even when I look at Chinese made Gibson guitars that look and feel just like the USA guitar, I just can't bring myself to jump on that bandwagon.

RE: Japanese guitars.
One of the factories I worked for used to hand build every guitar. It took a lot of work, and we could only make about 1200 guitars each year. When the company decided to have a line built in Japan, we went from 1200 per year to 1000 per month, and couldn't tell the difference in quality.

We were told that Japanese have a sense of pride when they make guitars, and don't like to lose face. They built the guitars to the same standards as we did in the USA, but that does cost a lot more than having the guitar made in China. If given a choice, I would take a Japanese guitar over a Chinese one any day of the week.

China, on the other hand, does not care about losing face. They are currently the highest infringers of U.S. Patent, Trademark, and copyrights in the world. They frequently substitute quality components for poor quality, inferior ones just to save a buck, and ship knock offs out the back door as soon as the USA quality control guy's back is turned. China has absolutely no sense of ethics, even when it comes to manufacturing knockoff prescription drugs, and lead based toys for our kids.

Without jumping on my soap box, it makes me sick to see prices of American made guitars skyrocket because I really want to support American manufacturers. As long as companies like Gibson and Fender continue to manufacture in China, Korea, and Indonesia, U.S. prices will continue to climb, at the expense of their own brands for the sake of profit margins.


#976192 - 09/12/12 03:31 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rek Anthony]  
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Welcome Rek.


Hope this does not sound condescending, but thank you for a well reasoned, clearly articulated contribution to this discussion.


The beauty of cheap foreign guitars is that they make music accessible to many segments of the population who might not otherwise be able to afford the instrument


And they can do so without compromising quality.


I have a Yamaki acoustic, circa 1976 Japan...at this point it sounds just as good if not better than the Martin D18 it is an imitation of....forget the ego, check your incredulity at the door....or just Google Yamaki.


I also refer to the SX line made by Team International. They also private label for others, but their own SX label .... as long as you choose their spruce or cedar solid tops (yes they too make cheap wooded crap) are excellent entry level to intermediate guitars, and I have read that they have also been purchased by the likes of music studios as standbys. As I have several, some stand around for awhile, but they are always still in tune when I pick them up.


Lastly, I have a fully hand made Chinese guitar designed by Canadians and sold via the internet. Great sound and quality, and they are tremendous bargains...out "voicing" models from Collings, Martin, Taylor etc in blindfold test.

http://www.macmarr.com/

Just to underscore the fact that you CAN get good Chinese guitars, but you have to know where to get them from...



If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

iAccountant --- Info L inc --- Taxboard
#976199 - 09/12/12 05:22 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: John Voorpostel]  
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Thanks for a great first post, Rek! Awesome first-hand info.

#976203 - 09/12/12 06:49 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Hey Rek,

Welcome to the forum. Interesting first-hand perspective. Thanks for sharing.


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2017)
#977626 - 09/24/12 05:08 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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I rest my (guitar) case. laugh

[Linked Image]

#978421 - 09/30/12 07:41 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rick Heenan]  
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSvDE9wZXPM

The US is warmer and clearer. At least to my ear, not that the MIM sounds bad.

Someone in this video recommended replacing the bridge of an MIM

But you can clearly hear a difference in my opinion.

#983429 - 11/10/12 03:18 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Like Rek said so much depends on the individual piece of wood that's been used. With cheap guitars they save money by using a lower quality wood. That said there will be some quality pieces of wood included. It's a crap shoot.

I had to put down a bass part and didn't have a bass anymore having sold my P-bass. I saw a Rogue P-style pick-up bass and figured I probably could get a decent sound out of it. It was supposed to be a one shot deal.

Well it didn't sound like a P-bass at all (big suprise---not). Instead it sounded like a really cool blend of the P-bass and the old Danelectro bass. A kind of ballsier Chess records sound (if that makes any sense)

#983434 - 11/10/12 04:02 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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I agree with Mark in the perspective that its the musical talent of the player-not the price or craftmanship of the guitar.......


To say a better instrument makes for a more talented player is like saying a writer's talent increases when he goes from a Quill Pen to modern word processing technology and software..

J.K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book on cafe napkins or whatever scrap of paper was available at the time..She had(and has) more inate talent than all the writers of the world who were trying to write great novels in wood paneled dens with a fireplace etc etc....If you suck with a First Act you will suck with a Fender....

Tom

#983491 - 11/10/12 06:15 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: WriterTomYeager]  
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Originally Posted by WriterTomYeager
I agree with Mark in the perspective that its the musical talent of the player-not the price or craftmanship of the guitar.......


To say a better instrument makes for a more talented player is like saying a writer's talent increases when he goes from a Quill Pen to modern word processing technology and software..

J.K Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book on cafe napkins or whatever scrap of paper was available at the time..She had(and has) more inate talent than all the writers of the world who were trying to write great novels in wood paneled dens with a fireplace etc etc....If you suck with a First Act you will suck with a Fender....

Tom


I dont think anybody said the musicians talent didnt matter, and nobody said a better instrument makes a better musician, to say this is to look for an argument.

A great guitarist will have gone through many guitars to become great, and chances are they didnt downgrade as they went along.

your analagy doesnt hold water, a race car driver is still going to lose a race if he drives a volkswagon at the indy 500. regardless of how skilled he is he needs a car that goes 200 mph.

The Op didnt ask for qualifiers, he asked if the cheap guitar was as good as the expensive one, he didnt say "if im a great guitarist will a cheap guitar do me?"

Good try to start an argument though, I play guitar do you?

Why dont you express your joy at the election vote again, it was funny seeing your thread disappear



Last edited by December Rock Star; 11/10/12 06:32 PM.
#1010065 - 05/29/13 08:14 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: December X]  
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Chad Lewis Offline
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At any particular time, I have 10 or 12 cheap guitars/basses at home. The ones I don't like, don't stay long. Can't afford a really nice guitar (4 kids, one just graduated high school), but I have been happy with 3 of 5 Epiphones, a Stagg ES copy, a 61-63 Jennings (I think), Jap Squier Strat, and a $200 no-name thinline copy(which I play all the time). I still have an Ovation Celeb (don't like it, my daughter does), and a Firebird (I don't play anymore). I think that each guitar (regardless of price) needs to be evaluated.

#1011004 - 06/05/13 02:55 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Chad Lewis]  
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My experience with cheap guitars is that they are a waste of money. Invest in an instrument that will serve you well.

#1024447 - 09/25/13 12:36 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Rek Anthony]  
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Originally Posted by Rek Anthony
Hey everyone,
I am new to this forum, but it seems to have some pretty cool postings on it, so I will add my two cents for what it is worth.

I used to make guitars for a couple of top of the line guitar companies who also built private label guitars and signature models for several artists.

When an artist would come to the factory with an endorsement for a particular brand, or even their own private label guitars, they would rarely just take one off the shelf. These guitars were custom made for the artist.

As an example: If the off the shelf model came with a *slab cut maple neck, which is usually inferior to a three piece verticle grain neck, (*Depends on the quality of the grain in the slab used)the artist always chose the vertical grain neck. Often, custom pickups were made, and other custom materials were used.

These were not always built exactly the same as the guitars sold in the music stores, but they had the logo. I am not saying that an artist couldn't take an off the shelf guitar and it wouldn't play great, but it depends on the quality of the brand and the materials used. If every guitar is built to the specifications of the guitar the artists uses, then obviously it will not only play well, but it will cost more.

I highly doubt any serious artist will buy a knockoff guitar made in China off Ebay and use it on stage.

A lot of what makes a guitar sound great is the specific pieces of wood used in it's making. All wood is individual, and no two pieces are identical, so even a slab cut neck may have a grain that is tight enough to play as well as a vertical grain neck.

To adress the point regarding Chinese guitars:
You just have to be careful when buying Chinese guitars without authenticating who built them, because the knockoff companies can't be trusted. Many of these guitars sold on ebay are unplayable and look nothing like the photo or description. Some aren't even made wth real wood.

I made the mistake of buying one of these off ebay, after being told it was a Taylor prototype. When I recieved the guitar, it was absolutely unplayable, and definitely not a Taylor.

There are some legit companies like Gibson, making some guitars in China. The problem I have with that is that China also counterfeits Gibson USA guitars (and other USA brands) right down to the logo and packaging. If enough of these flood the market it can destroy the brand as a whole. By buying an American made Gibson directly from Gibson or a reputable dealer I know exactly what I am buying, regardless of the price.

Even when I look at Chinese made Gibson guitars that look and feel just like the USA guitar, I just can't bring myself to jump on that bandwagon.

RE: Japanese guitars.
One of the factories I worked for used to hand build every guitar. It took a lot of work, and we could only make about 1200 guitars each year. When the company decided to have a line built in Japan, we went from 1200 per year to 1000 per month, and couldn't tell the difference in quality.

We were told that Japanese have a sense of pride when they make guitars, and don't like to lose face. They built the guitars to the same standards as we did in the USA, but that does cost a lot more than having the guitar made in China. If given a choice, I would take a Japanese guitar over a Chinese one any day of the week.

China, on the other hand, does not care about losing face. They are currently the highest infringers of U.S. Patent, Trademark, and copyrights in the world. They frequently substitute quality components for poor quality, inferior ones just to save a buck, and ship knock offs out the back door as soon as the USA quality control guy's back is turned. China has absolutely no sense of ethics, even when it comes to manufacturing knockoff prescription drugs, and lead based toys for our kids.

Without jumping on my soap box, it makes me sick to see prices of American made guitars skyrocket because I really want to support American manufacturers. As long as companies like Gibson and Fender continue to manufacture in China, Korea, and Indonesia, U.S. prices will continue to climb, at the expense of their own brands for the sake of profit margins.



I agree 100% USA Made musical equipment is my choice as well. I also feel the Japanese make quality musical instruments. They use NC control machine and apply SPC, lean manufacturing and the like to build quality into their product. Does it cost more yes most of the time.
I also feel there are quality instruments coming from other parts of the world that are decent and at a low cost. It is everyone choice and right to buy what they want. The level of quality is what the customer perceives.
I have seen on other forums people raving about imported instruments and at the same time complaining about them.
I feel Fender, Gibson and similar USA manufacturers are resting on their laurels and do not see how to reduce manufacturing cost at the domestic level. They basically have no reason to change. It's the same old same old thing.
I do feel the an upstart group could shake things up and use idle of near idle job shops to manufacturer quality instruments in the USA. There are many wood form casting mold shops that could retool for all the wood components in a guitar. Stampers and tool and die shops could be retooled for the many metal components. All this takes planning with the right group in place anything is possible. They do not need CEO's making mega bucks to run the operations. There are many other idle resources that could be retooled for instrument construction.
One more attribute that USA manufactures do have is their concern for the environment, something not necessarily considered in other countries.
this is my humble thoughts on this thread.
Thank you for reading my post.


I can tell you what I am not
I just can't tell you what I am
I am just slippin' down this road
no longer with any plan
stoney rohde

by stoney rohde
#1024672 - 09/26/13 06:06 PM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: stoney_rohde]  
Joined: Jun 2013
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Bugsey Offline
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Bugsey  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 2,528
You know whats a really good cheap guitar?

Yamaha Pacifica PAC112v I picked one up, and I play it more than anything, cause your not afraid of hurting it. I dont think you can find a better guitar for under 300 bucks

#1027954 - 10/31/13 08:19 AM Re: Cheap guitars [Re: Bugsey]  
Joined: Feb 2001
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Two Singers Offline
Two Singers  Offline

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Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 9,571
Usually At Home
I know this is a fairly old thread but wanted to add my nickel's worth anyway (two cents doesn't buy anything anymore...not even a cheap guitar!).

I think most, although not all, of us would prefer an upper end, US made axe if we could afford one. In my opinion, unless your making real decent money with your music, there are several low-end, foreign-made guitars that are worthy of the typical musician. I'm not suggesting they are 100% as good as an American-made, upper end guitar...just that they sound pretty darned good. For years, I played a 1954 model Fender Tele (wish I had it now!). I then played both a Fender Tele HH-FMT (MIM) and a legit Gibson ES-175. No longer have either...thank you divorce court!

Now, I play a Chinese-made Ibanez ART-100 through a Peavey Nashville 112 amp. The guitar (not inckluding the amp), 2 extra sets of strings and a hardshell case cost me $364.00 out the door. It's a knock-off of a Les Paul. Like the LP, it's pretty heavy. But it sounds great for a lot of what I do. Plays great, too, after setting it up (mostly lowering the action). For the Contemporary Country and Rock I play, it's fabulous! The only thing I don't like about it is that the pick-ups are very hot and I have to jump through a lot of hoops to make it "sweet & warm" for my Smooth Jazz and Pop stuff...lot's of readjusting tone on the guitar and amp. But, it is versatile if you are willing rework the settings as needed.

It sounds terrific to me. If interested, here are several totally different styles of music I wrote and recorded using the guitar and amp I described above:

1. "Hurting Inside". I used a cheap $35.00 distortion pedal on this one: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11919236

2. "Dream About You". My wife singing vocals. Lead riff starts at 1:20 if you want to go straight to it: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12524882

3. "One Night In Chi-Town" - Smooth Jazz: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12172927

4. "Don't Come Knockin'". Same cheap distortion pedal I described for "Hurtin' Inside". I used the same guitar and amp (described above) for all three guitar tracks: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11642647

Whether the songs are decent or not isn't the focus here...it's the guitar tracks. For my ear, they sound fine. Like I said... $364.00 out the door at Guitar Center In Nashville. I can live with it quite comfortably. Would I rather have had my Fender Tele and my ES-175? Damn right! But, I'm pretty okay with what I have. Again, as stated above several times, it's a matter of taste for each player and listener.


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