cheap guitars with good build quality

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cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:43 am

it seems the weak dollar on the international market is really starting to rear its head in the guitar industry. i have a friend that is looking to start playing and i've been out there hunting for a budget electric (and eventually acoustic) for them to learn on. it really bummed me out to see that stuff that was going for $300-400 2 years ago is now more like $600, and that is making it a lot more difficult to score something of decent quality for under $200 on the used market.

i remember a few years ago SX had some really nice instruments for the money (the same company that distributes agile guitars) but while the price has remained the same, it seems they've cheapened the electronics and hardware in order to keep the low price point.

does anyone have any recommendations on some good low-budget instruments out there now (preferably korean made)?
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby NoLifeLeft » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:23 pm

I just bought one of the SGR guitars from Schecter (the China made ones) for less than $200. I had to file a few fret edges and adjust the action that came too low but for <$200 I'm extremely happy with it.

I've had great luck with the lower end Epiphones as well. Some of those are still in the $300-ish range.
Last edited by NoLifeLeft on Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby dgdave » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:32 pm

OLP (officially licenses products) make pretty solid Music Man stuff. My wife has a stingray bass and it's really damn nice for 200
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Jelyman » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:00 am

I know some people that love some of the lower end yamahas. Not sure if they fall into the price range you are looking at but that's off the top of my head.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:04 am

Thanks, Nolifeleft, I will check into those.

DGdave: I had forgotten about OLP, although it seems lately, they aren't the well-kept secret they used to be and go used for almost as much as they were brand new.

jelyman: it depends on the yamaha, and i think they are fine for acoustics, but their low end electrics usually have crappy tuners that won't stay in tune.

it's one of these things where i'm searching for a used $150 guitar that plays like a $400 guitar, either that or it has to be something decent build quality for $120 or less in the new/used market. before christmas i was able to find someone a korean squire master series Les Paul style double cutaway guitar that was pretty solid for $130 (very high build quality and above average hardware)... and at the time I could have picked up a set neck mahogany body w/ flamed maple top korean made Dean les paul copy from the mid 90's that I could have gotten for $100 out the door and was on par with stuff that's going for $400-600 now. i have also picked up a handful of japanese made kramers from the 80's for people for $150 or less.

hoping to find something on par with those.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby bcr123psu » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:49 pm

Probably isn't going to be useful to a new player, but you could always buy Strat parts with different countries of origin (like an American neck, Mexican body, Japanese tuners, etc.) from feebay and build your own Frankenstrat for not a lot of money.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Jelyman » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:50 pm

Blake_T wrote:Thanks, Nolifeleft, I will check into those.

DGdave: I had forgotten about OLP, although it seems lately, they aren't the well-kept secret they used to be and go used for almost as much as they were brand new.

jelyman: it depends on the yamaha, and i think they are fine for acoustics, but their low end electrics usually have crappy tuners that won't stay in tune.

it's one of these things where i'm searching for a used $150 guitar that plays like a $400 guitar, either that or it has to be something decent build quality for $120 or less in the new/used market. before christmas i was able to find someone a korean squire master series Les Paul style double cutaway guitar that was pretty solid for $130 (very high build quality and above average hardware)... and at the time I could have picked up a set neck mahogany body w/ flamed maple top korean made Dean les paul copy from the mid 90's that I could have gotten for $100 out the door and was on par with stuff that's going for $400-600 now. i have also picked up a handful of japanese made kramers from the 80's for people for $150 or less.

hoping to find something on par with those.



Yeah forgot you said electric. I was referring to their accustics.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby AbstractLogic » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:06 pm

Check out the Douglas brand stuff from RondoMusic.com

The Douglas/Agile Brands on there do for ridiculously low prices for the average/above average build quality and consistency. They can be set up reasonably well for a beginner to learn and develop on.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:39 am

abstract:

have you played the douglas stuff lately? i haven't touched any of the rondo stuff that has been made over the past 2 years but i have played a handful of agile les pauls and flying v's and such.

the SX reviews seem to have tanked over the past couple of years in terms of QC. if douglas is significantly better than the SX stuff i'd heavily consider it, especially since there are still 3 douglas style telecasters for $129. i'm noticing that the lower end agile les pauls are no longer being touted "made in korea," and that kind of worries me. the korean made ones are going for $400+ now instead of $300ish (a sign of the bad exchange rate).

on a side note, i did find a couple of nice things locally that are just beyond what she wants to spend... a korean hamer mahogany set neck double-cutaway and i finally found some mexi fender strats that were priced "where they should be." realistically, we're trying to get the absolute best value for $150 or under.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby colombo117 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:17 am

My family bought me a Walden acoustic a few years ago and I love it. I needed to have the action adjusted, but the sound is great. It has great lows and highs. For a low budget, I highly recommend them. I believe I have the 500 series one.

As far as cheap electrics go, I would really recommend being able to play before you buy. I have an old Squire electric that is a sweet playing guitar. But i have played some squire guitars that are garbage. I would be careful buying directly online, but you already know that!
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby AbstractLogic » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:19 am

I picked up a Scope 725 for a 7 string project guitar about a year ago and I didn't find anything unbearably wrong. The truss rod wasn't correctly adjusted and the bridge wasn't properly set up (Then again it's a floating trem being shipped), however after bout an hour I had it set up with reasonable action and it was perfectly playable. If you can, I'd advise to upgrade pickups because they were abysmal but then again I'm used to playing on higher end stuff. If you can, I'd go with that kramer, but if nothing else the Douglas stuff is still decent.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:17 pm

i used to be a guitar tech for a local band, so i'm well acquainted with doing adjustments and such. i'm also a tone whore, so i'm quite experienced with pickups.

most of the low end guitars are made in one of ~5 factories and just have a different label on em. you find good ones and bad ones, but it really comes down to the labelled brand's quality control. e.g. PRS SE's line has generally the best QC of any brand that sells lower end imports. rondo generally has had a good rep for keeping the QC standards high (they don't let the lemons get out there).

this guitar is for someone to learn on that plans on switching over to acoustic after they learn, so having it play well, stay in tune, and feel good are more important than the tone quality.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby NoLifeLeft » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:38 pm

Since you are searching the used market, keep a look out for Brian Moore guitars. They have some Korean made models (i8,i9,i2000) and their quality and features are damn good but they have a TERRIBLE resale value.
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:49 am

Thanks for the heads up. I know 2 struggling local stores that have carried brian moore guitars, one of which still has a bunch of nos ones. I may go check those out
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Re: cheap guitars with good build quality

Postby Blake_T » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:56 am

Also, i found a hofner colorama custom today at a pawn shop and they are willing to do $120 out the door w case. I did some research on them... 2006ish chinese made but with good qc. Mahogany body, set maple neck, grover tuners. Were ~$200 new but nowadays anything like that is more like $300+ w the exception of some of the agile models.

This may end up being all for not.

I have tought over 100 people how to play guitar and i f'n hate it when people who decide they want to play think they know the best way to learn...so this may not happen at all... This guitar is for my friend's girlfriend and he asked me to teach her (for free) which im willing to do but i said i'd only do it if she learned on electric (and her 3 favorite bands she wanted to learn songs from are all electric). She is convinced that she should learn on acoustic and he is convinced she must be right because they are obviously experts :p

/end rant
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