Re: very cheap guitars
- From: Farmer <address@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 08 Jul 2005 08:13:32 -0500
Interested in hearing anyone's experiences with SX (Rondomusic) or Dragonfire (TNTGuitars out of Oregon), especially the tele copies.
Yes, I know a MIM Fender is probably better <ggg>....
All the cheapo copies (including Squiers) are made out of the same set of factories in China and Indonesia...they're built at different quality level specifications, of course, but at that price point, there's not much difference. The Squiers cost more because of the Fender name, that's all.
Originally, I was pretty enthusiastic about the idea...I bought two tele clones (mostly because I wanted to modify the bodies and didn't want to chop up an expensive guitar).
But I'll say this --they're cheap for a reason.
Both clones cost about $100.
First, the pickups bite. No really. Sound like crap. Well, not that bad, but still. Have a look under the cap--the electronics are even worse, they just ooze 'cheap'...don't know how they'll hold up in the long run. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. The switch on one was faulty from day one.
Okay, you can change the pickups and put real Fender stuff in there...I paid $25 for one set of MIM tele pickups plus electronics. I paid $40 for a set of MIA tele pickups.
The bridge was okay, but I'm changing the saddles (those new graph tech IOS saddles, think I paid $30, but I put string savers on any guitar I keep anyway)
Had to change the tuners of course, but I like locking tuners anyway ($43). You just can't get by with the original tuners, they blow chunks. For one thing, they probably don't have real ferrules, just a washer to hide the bare shaft.
While I was at it, I changed the string trees too ($3)
But on each guitar, the main problem is the neck...I had to file and sand the fret ends on both guitars. I also had to polish the frets a bit (because it was like pushing the strings across sandpaper, that's why). They're still not great, they're uneven and sloppily crowned, so getting the action right is pretty near impossible---but I don't have the tools to dress the frets myself, and don't want to spend the bucks to take it to a luthier.
So I'm left with two guitars that just aren't all that pleasant to play.
The other choice, of course, is to replace the necks with real Fender necks (or licensed Fender or Warmoth, etc.). Figure anywhere from $145 for an MIM neck to $250 or more for an MIA --or higher if you want Warmoth.
So at the low end, converting one of my cheapo teles into a PLAYABLE, RELIABLE instrument will cost me about $340.
For comparison, I bought a Fender MIJ strat used for less than $300. I changed the saddles, put my favorite Graph Tech String Savers on there (but like I said, that's a standard mod I make any guitar I keep). I also put on locking tuners (ditto).
Note: I didn't have to make these mods on the strat, the guitar played fine, and it stayed in tune just fine, etc. --but for the clones, at least for the tuners, I had no choice, the stock equipment just wasn't up to snuff. And that still doesn't solve the neck problem.
You getting the picture? In the long run, it costs LESS to buy a Fender MIM (around $300-350 new, much less if used). And the build quality of the Mexican Fenders is supposedly quite nice lately.
Another advantage? It's easy to find Fenders at your local music store, you can try them out, buy the one that feels right to you. Can't do that with SX or another mailorder guitar. So they'll send you any old thing--
the farther away you are, the more likely you are to receive one of their lower-quality guitars (because it's more difficult to return it, that's why)
But like I said, I would have hesitated cutting up the body of a $350 Fender -- I had no qualms about reshaping a $100 guitar and hotrodding it to my specs.
Right now, I'm in the market for a real Fender tele neck...
Thanks Mo for the good info. Since "they all come out of the same factory" would you say that the tele clones would be about the same as, say, a Squier Standard Tele, or does the Squier have some extra effort put into it since it carries the Fender name?
I have a (rented) Squier Standard Strat here, which is a nice enough guitar for me, other than I can't keep the @#$^%& thing in tune more than ten minutes (I think the nut/string trees are sticky, I can hear them clinking)... it seems nicely finished though.
If I had to spend the money on a MIM, I would rather get a Godin SD(Canadian/US made quality unit) which is $140 cheaper than a MIM here in Canada ($385 vs $525).
Basically, I figure my options are:
* if I have to buy something made in China, just get the very cheapest I can find, knowing that I will probably outgrow it in a year or two.
* if I have to spend more, get a Godin, because it's a serious quality guitar without having to pay any extra for the Fender name, and I'm not sending my money to Mexico.
People want such stupid inflated prices for anything used here.... .
- Re: very cheap guitars
- From: Five Guys Named Mo
- Re: very cheap guitars
- very cheap guitars
- From: Farmer
- very cheap guitars
- Prev by Date: Crazy J - Mechanical Guitar Player
- Next by Date: Re: Crazy J - Mechanical Guitar Player
- Previous by thread: Re: very cheap guitars
- Next by thread: Re: very cheap guitars