$70 Strat - Glarry GST3 // Critical Review


To follow up from the playing samples clip I had posted last week, here is an in-depth, critical review of the Glarry GST3.

Aesthetically, the instrument was in good shape and functionally, the truss rod and all of the other setup adjustment pieces worked well. The guitar was a wreck right out of the box, but with some work I found it to be surprisingly musical and comfortable to play.

The following video walks through examining the issues I found and how I fixed them, as well as playing samples and before/after clips.

My thoughts? The Glarry GST3 is NOT for a beginner. This instrument turns out all right with some work but I think for the money, you're better off saving up a bit more and going for a Squire or Ibanez. HOWEVER if you're someone who is comfortable with guitar repair, you're going to find that you can get some miles out of this. If you're someone who wants a cheap instrument to learn and practice performing setup/repair work on, the Glarry GST is fantastic for that.

If I were going to upgrade the guitar, the first thing I would change are the tuners. Even with the work I've done, the guitar still has some issues staying in tune that are a result of the current tuners. After that, I would probably swap out the bridge pickup. The stock one sounds pretty thin. The neck and middle positions I think are decent.

At the end of the day, it's just a guitar-shaped-object. A toy. I probably wouldn't play it out without a couple upgrades, but I wouldn't suggest putting money into this thing in the first place. For $70, it's okay if all you want to do is fool around at home on a strat-sounding guitar, or use it as a sacrifice for learning guitar repair techniques.
I don't have a problem putting some pickups in it, new tuners maybe steel bridge saddles. Blocking off the bridge, because it is a cheap hardtail metal machine with humbuckers :) Even with a $200 guitar I prefer to replace the pickups anyway. Only thing is basswood is lacking in tone so pick some pickups that can help with that; like either hot pickups, or maybe 57 Alnico 2 HB if you want clean and versatile. The nice part about these guitars is you can have 2-3 guitars with various pickups (pickguards), all sounding different really cheap. Lots of variety in sound for little coin, basically the pickups cost as much as the guitar :)

What I am curious about is how to get it setup good though, is it possible without spending extra money, just to file the nut a bit? I don't know how to so this is perfect for me to learn on like you said. I can't find any $60 Jackson Dinkys lately like back in the day.


As a COVID project, I bought a Glarey semi hollow body tele hoping to learn about setups and minor repairs. It was on sale and blue color... those were motivating factors. However it was a little more problematic than I wanted to get into. The slot for the nut was cut wonky and one side was higher than the other and it wasn’t sitting correctly or flush. Installing a new nut wouldn’t correct the problem. The bridge saddles resulted in the high E being too close to the end of the fretboard. On the plus side, I thought it sounded pretty good and the color was nice. However, it ended up being more than I wanted to deal with and was getting expensive to correct the problems, so I returned it.

However, in a drunken moment of weakness bought a second one (unbranded) from eBay for $56, although in strat form (cherry burst). I installed a precut nut, cheap roller trees, and did a fret level/recrown. I adjusted the truss rod and the intonation. It came out ok but I’m not sure Id do it again unless you like projects and really like to tinker. Be sure to factor in replacement parts and tools in the equation. QC is nonexistent on these so it’s a gamble. It’s a good learning experience I suppose if you want to learn about setups etc, but I’d personally rather spend my time playing. IMO you may want to start with a Squier or Yamaha for a modding platform wIth a little better QC... or I can sell you mine!
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