Cheap Guitars That Play Great

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Telewanger, Dec 20, 2009.


  1. Telewanger

    Telewanger Member

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    Have you ever gone out to shop for a really nice brand name guitar and end up coming home with a cheap guitar that sounds and plays as good as your Gibson or favorite Fender guitar.

    I went guitar shopping and was playing American made guitars all day. I normally only buy American stuff. I looked over in one store and saw this Tele copy. Since it was in reach, I grabbed it to see just how awful it was going to be. To my surprise, it plays better than my Les Paul Custom and my Fenders. I looked at the back and it said "Made in Korea". I put it back in the shelf and went to several other music stores. Towards the end of the day, I went back to the pawn shop where the Tele copy guitar was and picked it up again. I couldn't believe that after all of the expensive guitars that I played all day, that I ended up back in that pawn shop.

    The price tag was $180.00. It was brand new. I have had it now for several years and still can't believe how great it is compared to my other guitars.

    Here is a video of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7wFkt6XOwM
     
  2. bog_72

    bog_72 Member

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    Awesome!!

    That sounds really nice.Whatever floats your boat is the way I look at it.

    I tossed up a thread about going Gibson Les Paul shopping,and I came home with the Epi Version of the standard.
    I knew the electronics werent quite as nice,but couldnt see spending the extra grand or more,and now I have a wonderful Epi that I cant take my hands off.

    You feel like its stolen or something,hard to explain,kind of like that episode of Seinfeld years back,where Jerry gets his dad a Tip calculator or something,and tells him its stolen,so hell like it more.

    Its the holy grail to a musician,to get that cheap masterpiece,while the neighbor wrenches on their three thousand dollar lemon.

    Good for you man,enjoy it!!
     
  3. puckhead

    puckhead Member

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    yeah, there's a few threads on this recently.
    Fender Squier's Classic Vibe line has been impressing a heck of a lot of people (me included).
    I originally got the CV Tele, and liked it so much I picked up a CV 60's Strat shortly thereafter.
     
  4. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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    Some of the Korean made stuff is very well made. I recently picked up a Schecter C1+ and Im really impressed with the workmanship. Very high quality for 400 bucks.

    Next up is a CV Tele.. Those look great.

    US mass produced guitars are just overpriced at this point. Fender's new MSRP is ridiculous. Id love a new US made strat or tele but I just cant afford it anymore. Oh well.
     
  5. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Gold Supporting Member

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  6. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    After you know what a pretty good guitar plays and sounds like, and know how to make most sound and play close to your preference, making the big leap to big bux guitars is tough.
    Nothing is perfect for all purposes, so for some of us it is a quantity vs ???? as it is hard to define what the extra cost is buying sometimes. Whereas, a $180 (or less!!) for a 'good enough' guitar that allows you to play as well as you can, and sounds somewhere in the ballpark of expectations seems like a deal.

    Tone is soooo subjective and preference of detail seems to vary between 'I could not care less' and 'perfection or it's junk.' (and TGP=OCD;)...the evidence is in)
     
  7. JMorgan

    JMorgan Member

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    A mid-90s Fernandes TE-2 MIJ Custom Tele copy. It can hang with any Tele I have ever played.
     
  8. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    I handed a relatively inexpensive Korean Knockoff to Gary Brawer recently to have a fret glue and setup with PLEK done. At the time it seemed like a lot of money to spend on what would be considered a "cheap" guitar. Since then I've handed both that guitar and a virtually identical $4400 Gibbie (factory setup) to folks, blindfolded and asked for comments on playability and tone. The knockoff has won each time, and that's directly attributable to its playability (and some fairly decent pickups).

    I'm thinking it was worth the money to do that setup after all...
     
  9. marantz1300

    marantz1300 Member

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    I have an old Peavey Reactor ,73 Tele and MIJ 62 RI. The Peaveys just as nice to play and sounds good too. [​IMG]
     
  10. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

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    Bought one of these of few years back for my kid. It was good enough to use on some recordings. Comfortable straight neck with no buzz low action. Sold it to a friend who now brings it to occasional jam session parties and I still can't get over the playability. Pups are just ok. Btw, my kid quit playin before I sold it. It was just collecting dust.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. epluribus

    epluribus Member

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    The new stuff is indeed intriguing, and often very nice, but I dearly love finding old off-brand guitars as diamonds in the rough. If the wood is good and the neck is on there right, you can build some seriously cool hot rods with those things. I got me some expensive ones, but the stray dogs are just too much fun to miss.

    Btw, I used to trade old Matsumoku solidbodies a lot till the bidders on EBay discovered 'em. Too pricey for the Dr. Phibes workbench now. :)

    --Ray
     
  12. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Several Korean made guitars have impressed me lately. None more than a Gretsch 5120. Just picked one up used. An early one, has a fixed bridge, made at the Peerless factory. Fretwork, setup, feel ... everything is just about perfect. All I had to do was put on heavier strings. Excellent instrument.
    MD
     
  13. jrw32

    jrw32 Supporting Member

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    I was equally as impressed w/ the 5120 when I checked one out a few weeks ago...even stock! I might pick 1 up soon!
     
  14. russiancrowe

    russiancrowe Member

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    My Korean made B.C.Rich Eagle that I bought new for under $500 plays really well and doesn't sound bad. It is neck through which is nice. The pots are cheap, the volume is either off or on full volume which is annoying. Overall it's a great guitar for the price. I have a pair of Duncan pickups that I'm going to install along with better pots and wiring.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

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    I think Korea has matched Japanese and American quality in a great many cases. What PRS (SE), Schecter, Michael Kelly, Indie, Washburn, and Ibanez are offering at the mid level price point MIK is simply outstanding. Chinese made guitars at lower price points still have a ways to go but a few companies which enforce stricter QC are even turning great guitars at affordable price points out of the box such as the Squier CV series and Highland's jazz boxes...
     
  16. puckhead

    puckhead Member

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    I picked up one of those with the drop-tuner. not a bad player at all.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. chaos

    chaos Member

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    I was helping my brother look at amps and when we found one we thought my be the one for him, we started grabbing all kinds of guitars to play through it. Almost as a joke I picked up a Squier Strat to play through it. Just strumming it before I had plugged it in, I was struck by how loud it was acousticly and how comfoprtable the neck was.

    That was at least 18 years ago. I have had lots of oppurtunities to buy a "real" Strat - including some screaming bargains, but I always declined, because if I want to play a strat, thet old Squier is the one I want. A

    And it certainly hasn't been money that has kept that old strat around, I've spent plenty on all other kinds of guitars.

    Now, I have come to realize that it is always worthwhile to pick up a guitar that you like the looks of. There are gems out there and some of them do not have daunting price tags.

    Chaos
     
  18. gregc510

    gregc510 Member

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    I have a bunch of MIK guitars that play really well and sound terrific. None of them cost more than $400. G&L ASAT SH Tribute, Fender Telecaster FMT, ESP EC400AT (great budget Les Paul style guitar), and a Dano DC59. I think the MIK instruments can be a real value.
     
  19. karma1

    karma1 Member

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    I bought a used Jay Turser Les Paul goldtop copy off Craig's List for $80 to use as a backup/beater guitar and have been pleasantly surprised at how much I like it. About a year after I got it, I decided to upgrade it with some parts I had laying around: Duncan Jazz/ Gibson 500T, new pots and wiring, and Sperzel locking tuners. Now it sounds fantastic and plays great - an excellent guitar for the money.
     
  20. natevi

    natevi Member

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    Epiphone Black Beauty, Jackson Dinkey JS20, Baby Taylor, any Schecter, Godin, Any Hamer or BC Rich.
     

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