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So an American, Mexican, Korean, and Chinese...

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,797
....guitar were all hanging out, arguing who was best.... a bit of a comparative narrative related to country of manufacture.

The American, a '13 Custom Lite...

The thing only weighs 7.7 lbs--- is lighter than my Telecaster.

Yeah, it is a bit thinner than a regular LP, and has a belly cut.


Quality is good-- not quite perfect.


We will see how well the gold hardware holds up.

You can see a line under the binding between the nut and the first fret. That is the biggest quality issue I have noticed.

No complaints about the fretwork.

Looks decent enough..... I paid about $900 used-- a great price for buying it here.




So now we jump to the opposite end of the world--- A Chinese made Ibanez 105. I purchased this in Boston on a trip, through Craigslist--- the seller delivered it to my hotel. Price was incredible- $400 with a case, and it looked newer than anything you might find at Guitar Center.


It is ridiculously glossy.

I have tried to find flaws....

But there just aren't any visible manufacturing issues.

Yes, the wood is gawdy.

But the binding and everything is perfection.

It plays quite nicely. I'm not much of a hollow body player, but it is a fun guitar to fool around with.

From Mexico we have this thing- a '72 Deluxe Reissue- purchased new here in Norway for about $400 on a blowout.... excellent price for Norway.


I love this guitar- like the LP (an LP for those who don't like LPs), this is a Tele for those who don't like Teles....


The paint job is an experience....

Comfortable? At 8.4 lbs, this is a beast of a Tele.

Not sure I would buy a US Fender. The quality if quite decent as is.

And from Korea:

An LTD MH 400. I bought it new-- 50% off-- overpaid by US standards, but I was just getting back into guitars and wanted something modern. It was around $700-- a very good price for a new guitar like this-- here. Higher end models just have crazier bling and binding, which I don't like. These are no longer made in Korea.

This is quite flawless in its build.


If I ignore the head stocks and countries of manufacture, the Gibson, LTD, and Ibanez are all quite similar. The Chinese Ibanez and Korean LTD actually have the best fit and finish-- with the binding, and all the details. Gibson has the best feel-- and nicest actual finish-- not so glossy. A Fender is a Fender. I'm not a big fan of the three bolt design, as the neck can be laterally flexed rather easily.

The electronics in all of these guitars are quite fine. The Chinese is quite minimal, the EMGs are EMGs. The Fender WRHBs are what they are-- love 'em or hate 'em. I like the brightness and snap that they have--- that the Gibson lacks. But the Gibson have a silkier quality.

I like the Gibson brand, most of all. Not necessarily because they were made in the US. Fender probably does itself a disservice by kindly placing the MIM on the back of the head stock- unlike the old days.

Country of manufacture? I don't believe it really matters that much from a practical standpoint. Of course if I try to resell.... then again, cost is lower for Asian guitars. I sold two instantly a few months back. Buyers can afford them. I see Gibsons ads lingering around for months before they sell. I don't live in the US, so I don't have some nationalistic pride. But brand is something that still matters to me, to a degree.
 
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Turi

Member
Messages
9,485
You got some nice guitars and dig Gibson - cool.

Same boat here - country of manufacture means nothing to me, its all just made outside Aus to me.
Brand name means a whole lot purely because its ****ing impossible to sell anything without one of the big names on the headstock.

I dont believe they are better guitars than their copies or counterparts though.
 

geek-mo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,745
I have an American STD Stratocaster and two MiM Fenders, a Nashville Deluxe Telecaster and a Classic Player Jazzmaster. In some ways, I prefer the ones made in Mexico. They just seem to feel better in my hands and they sound great. The quality is certainly good enough, though I swapped the wiring harnesses and pickups in all three guitars in a fit of cork-sniffery (and I'm glad I did).

This isn't just confined to my guitars either. I was in a store and played a number of American STD Telecasters that were all quite nice. The one I really wanted, though, was a MiM Baja Tele. That thing just spoke to me. I still plan to buy one in the near future.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,797
I have an American STD Stratocaster and two MiM Fenders, a Nashville Deluxe Telecaster and a Classic Player Jazzmaster. In some ways, I prefer the ones made in Mexico. They just seem to feel better in my hands and they sound great. The quality is certainly good enough, though I swapped the wiring harnesses and pickups in all three guitars in a fit of cork-sniffery (and I'm glad I did).

This isn't just confined to my guitars either. I was in a store and played a number of American STD Telecasters that were all quite nice. The one I really wanted, though, was a MiM Baja Tele. That thing just spoke to me. I still plan to buy one in the near future.
I have to say the LP 'feels' the best, and plays the best. The LTD is a close second, but the feel of the neck finish is a bit different... but the LTD plays like a dream. The EMGs don't really sound that great on my rig at the moment. The Tele sounds the best when we record. I don't like playing it as much as the LP, as it puts up a bit more fight, but it sounds really good on my setup. The Ibanez- well there is no comparison.... flat-wound 13s on that thing..... it puts up quite a fight compared to the rest, and low output floating pickup.

I recently passed on a great deal locally-- a MIM Fender Jaguar that had me intrigued. I am resisting the urge to buy an SG, but I don't think it would be tonally different than the thin LP.
 

Doom Man

Member
Messages
581
You got some nice guitars and dig Gibson - cool.

Same boat here - country of manufacture means nothing to me, its all just made outside Aus to me.
Brand name means a whole lot purely because its ****ing impossible to sell anything without one of the big names on the headstock.

I dont believe they are better guitars than their copies or counterparts though.
Pretty much exactly my thoughts on the matter.
I've got a South Korean instrument that's of exceptional quality, but I'm pretty much stuck with it because I stand to lose way too much money on it because the market value just isn't there for a pretty unknown brand in Aus.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,797
Pretty much exactly my thoughts on the matter.
I've got a South Korean instrument that's of exceptional quality, but I'm pretty much stuck with it because I stand to lose way too much money on it because the market value just isn't there for a pretty unknown brand in Aus.
My rule of thumb is to aim for paying half price for things-- unless it would be something quite cheap--- like if I were to pick up something in the US, like a Squire CV or even an Agile (which I don't see myself actually doing). The LTD was new-- but two years on the shelf when I purchased it. I already had a 72 Reissue partscaster when one suddenly turned up at 70% off- and I have never seen one for sale locally. The luxury of having multiple guitars is that I can be patient. I don't NEED anything. I am waiting for a great deal deal on an SG, for example. Most used stuff can move for what I paid for it. I am not really into Epiphone, for example, but they really sit in the same space as LTD or Ibanez.
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,690
Those guitars are really cool.
[love the red glitter w/ tummy cut, and the shapely lightweight LP seems like a great idea!]

One of those white Ibanez jazz gtrs went by here for real cheap too.
Looking at yours; now I'm kicking myself for not grabbing it.
 

Elduderino73

Member
Messages
319
I've had really good luck with Ibanez semi-hollows. The two MIC AS93 guitars I have are very well built and near-flawless overall. They both play amazingly well.

My Epi Swingster was made in Indonesia and is also near-flawless. My Sheraton was made in China and is very well made. Given the choice of an Epi semi-hollow or hollowbody made in China or Indonesia, I'll take the Indonesian made one every time. I've had really good luck with them. The LP Custom Pro I had was made there and was very well built.

Step up a few hundred dollars in the Ibanez Artcore line and you can get a MIC AS153 that is incredibly well made. The price they ask for it is hard to believe for the guitar you get.

Anyway, the point is in my experience I've had really good luck with Chinese and Indonesian made guitars. They certainly have come a long way. For $550-599 new you can pick up a really well made guitar.
 

Custom50

Member
Messages
8,557
It doesn't matter where your guitar is made. At this stage of the game every country is making great stuff and crappy stuff.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,797
I've had really good luck with Ibanez semi-hollows. The two MIC AS93 guitars I have are very well built and near-flawless overall. They both play amazingly well.

My Epi Swingster was made in Indonesia and is also near-flawless. My Sheraton was made in China and is very well made. Given the choice of an Epi semi-hollow or hollowbody made in China or Indonesia, I'll take the Indonesian made one every time. I've had really good luck with them. The LP Custom Pro I had was made there and was very well built.

Step up a few hundred dollars in the Ibanez Artcore line and you can get a MIC AS153 that is incredibly well made. The price they ask for it is hard to believe for the guitar you get.

Anyway, the point is in my experience I've had really good luck with Chinese and Indonesian made guitars. They certainly have come a long way. For $550-599 new you can pick up a really well made guitar.

I had, then sold an AS 73. My gripe was the frets. It was well made for the price. The pickups weren't the greatest, either. After I bought the LP, I knew I wouldn't use it much. I picked it up used for a great price and sold it for what I paid.

When I was looking for a hollow body, I stopped in the Guitar Center in Boston. Everything on the wall was beat up and almost unplayable- bad action, scratched up, etc. The 105 I ended up with looked newer than new, despite being used. At the time, I also tried some Gretsch, wanted to like a 5420. The styling was great, but the details just were not there. It is hard to describe. A Godin lkely would have been a better sounding option- they sound great- but the 105 was used, and a better deal.

Both my Ibanez had that dreadful lightening bolt logo. It is nice they changed it. But that has nothing to do with build quality. The big unknowns are OEM hardware and wood quality. But half the people here swap those parts out anyway.
 

Elduderino73

Member
Messages
319
I had, then sold an AS 73. My gripe was the frets. It was well made for the price. The pickups weren't the greatest, either. After I bought the LP, I knew I wouldn't use it much. I picked it up used for a great price and sold it for what I paid.

When I was looking for a hollow body, I stopped in the Guitar Center in Boston. Everything on the wall was beat up and almost unplayable- bad action, scratched up, etc. The 105 I ended up with looked newer than new, despite being used. At the time, I also tried some Gretsch, wanted to like a 5420. The styling was great, but the details just were not there. It is hard to describe. A Godin lkely would have been a better sounding option- they sound great- but the 105 was used, and a better deal.

Both my Ibanez had that dreadful lightening bolt logo. It is nice they changed it. But that has nothing to do with build quality. The big unknowns are OEM hardware and wood quality. But half the people here swap those parts out anyway.
I never had any problem with the frets on the AS93. It's a great guitar and since it's well made it makes for a great mod platform. And luckily both of mine don't have the lightning bolt...

Before I bought the Swingster I considered a Gretsch and an Ibanez AGR73t. I knew the Swingster was going for the Rockabilly market and in that vein I knew I should have at least wanted to buy a Gretsch. But I just can't see myself playing one. I de-Rockabilly'd the Swingster and after a nut upgrade it is a really nice guitar. Well made and worth the price paid.
 

filtersweep

Member
Messages
4,797
I never had any problem with the frets on the AS93. It's a great guitar and since it's well made it makes for a great mod platform. And luckily both of mine don't have the lightning bolt...

Before I bought the Swingster I considered a Gretsch and an Ibanez AGR73t. I knew the Swingster was going for the Rockabilly market and in that vein I knew I should have at least wanted to buy a Gretsch. But I just can't see myself playing one. I de-Rockabilly'd the Swingster and after a nut upgrade it is a really nice guitar. Well made and worth the price paid.
I think there is quite an upgrade between the 73 and 93. I bought the 73 used-- and the frets were quite worn by the previous owner. But the real issue is the size. I like jumbo-ish frets. I don't do jazzy, slidey chords. I play with a light touch most of the time, and after I had the LP, the 73 just didn't feel right. The 105 frets feel a lot more like the LP. From what I understand, the frets are not really standard on the 73s--- they could come from any number of sources. Don't get me wrong- for the money it was a great guitar, and I had a decent specimen. I sold it to our vocalist, since I didn't really want to get rid of it that bad.

When I purchased the 105, I don't really know what I was thinking. That floating pickup is practically useless for anything other that that jazz sound. It was a great deal, but if it had proper humbuckers, I could do a lot more with it. I sometimes consider selling it. But for what I paid, it is worth to keep it around. Funny thing about Gretsch--- I was traveling another time, and checking out shops on Denmark street, and was looking at whatever that Gretsch solid-body, single-cut LP style guitar that they offer.... as some sort of alternative. It looks cooler than the Asian Ibanez/Schecter/LTD LP styled guitars that mangle the horn, and it isn't an Epi, and it is much cheaper than the real deal. I just could not click with the guitar. It had a cool silver sparkle finish, but it was neither fish nor fowl.... couldn't get the LP sound, and didn't really sound like a Gretsch, and the fit and finish just seemed not quite there. I believe they are basically Chinese Fenders these days.
 




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