Volkswagen GarageMaster Review

manufacturer: First Act date: 06/27/2012 category: Electric Guitars
First Act: Volkswagen GarageMaster
This luscious guitar was made in 2006, as a promotion for Volkswagen to sell more cars.
 Sound: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.3
 Features: 8.3
 Overall rating:
 7.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.3 
 Users rating:
 6.1 
 Votes:
 40 
reviews (3) pictures (2) 53 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.4
Volkswagen GarageMaster Reviewed by: kleptolia, on april 18, 2011
5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Features: Friend of mine gave me this guitar because he bought a new Jetta in 2006 and thought he would learn to play guitar, too, but never did. It has a lot of features. Funniest one is that the VIN of the car that it came with is engraved on a plate on the back of the headstock. Also has two humbuckers, 3 way toggle switch, built in preamp, one volume and one tone knob, and a boost knob, which works with the built in preamp. The preamp is activated by one of three small switches that are located by each of the knobs (volume, tone, preamp boost). If you activate the preamp, a blue LED will light up. If you flip the select Switch for the volume knob, you will overdrive the pickup and get that sweet, solid-state distortion that tone fiends rave about so often. ;-) If you flip the tone switch, it will boost the tone signal and give the sound a punchier, squealy tone. I only ever use the preamp to boost the tone switch. Interestingly, if you only turn on the preamp and leave the switches for the volume and tone in the off position, you get a sound that is sort of like a coil-tapped humbucker, which is actually pretty cool. The humbuckers are no-names that are probably made in China for First Act. The neck pickup has a noticeable hum. The Bridge pickup is silent and surprisignly HOT on it's own. When it's boosted, you can get some ridiculous pinch harmonic squeals. // 8

Sound: I play blues and rock music, with some jazz influence. Mark Knopfler is the reason that I started playing guitar so you can probably deduce what kind of sound I go for. This guitar can do it. The hum in the neck pickup is the only problem that I have with it. The pickups on their own aren't very punchy or clear, but the preamp really ends that problem when you figure out the configuration you want. It's not very noisy, unless you crank it too high or select the volume Switch and,... Why did you do that? I explained earlier about how the distortion is solid-state instead of tube. Leave the switches alone. They can't fit a tube preamp into a guitar like this and that means that the distorion is not going to be pleasant. Now, please just leave my guitar alone. The sound is great as long as you A) know what you are doing and B) never over Drive the volume control. I just got a Fender Vibro Champ XD and this guitar sounds great through it. Still, I have to drop it a couple of points because of the hum on the neck pickup and because I work in a music store and I know what a real Les Paul Standard and Fender Stratocaster sound like. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Fit and finish was pretty good. I had to drop the action a bit, which was no big deal. I also did a tension rod adjustment (Did I mention the truss rod in the features section? No? Well, it has one.)because the guitar had been lying on its back under my friend's bed for about 2 years before he gave it to me so there was a bit more cupping in the neck than I wanted. The frets were okay, but the 21st and 22nd frets were just a bit prominent, so I filed them ever so slightly. After that, the guitar played like a champ. The neck feels a bit wide, like a Gibson neck. Maple with a rosewood fretboard. Seriously, it's a fairly well-crafted neck, much better than what I would have expected from a free, Chinese-made guitar given out by a Nazi-founded automotive company. It's a bolt on, by the way, and the joint seems very solid. There is a bit of finish on it, but not much. That seems like a corner that was cut for cost purposes. The pickups were even aligned properly. Moreover, I pulled the pickups out and took the covers off of them and found out that they had actually been WAX SHIELDED! Honestly, I would have been impressed if they had simply wrapped them in electrical tape and stapled them haphazardly somewhere on the front of the guitar. Some guitar makers don't even put THAT much effort into their product these days. I was a bit shocked when I saw that these guys had waxed the pickups. It makes me want to find out what factory these guitars were made at. The design of the pick guard is cool, and the parts, while obviously not of the highest quality, seem reasonably durable and fully functional. It has a VW symbol at the 12th fret and the truss rod cover has two hands, one in front of the other, arranged to spell VW. It's like a gang sign for anti-corporation, Macbook owning, Volkswagon-driving suburban thirty-somethings with underwater mortgages and wives who secretly hate them and daydream about the poolboy. In a word: Scrumtralescent. However, I will not rate it too highly, due to the fret filing I had to do and because the neck finish was a bit on the thin side. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I would use this guitar without a backup. In a covert military operation in a small foreign nation. With a detonator, or, if I was out of ammunition, with a bayonet. It's a weapon. The only (minor) annoyance with it was that the front strap button wouldn't stay in because the hole that was drilled for it was too big. I fixed that and now all is well. If America had dropped these guitars on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2, the explosions would not have been as epic, but damage would have been done and without all of that radioactive guilt. The guitars probably would have survived. I am only half joking. // 9

Overall Impression: I really like this guitar. I am a gear trader. For years I have been looking for a guitar that I could stick with. I am also poor, so I cannot afford one of your Paul Reed Smiths or your Vintage Fender Tremolomatic Swinging Fixed Bridge Perfect Intonational Tone Tranparency '57 Reissue Special Deluxe Music Making Guitar Machines for $37,999.95 plus a kidney, Richie Rich. And don't try to tell me that I write a lot of run-on sentences. And don't tell me not to begin sentences with "and". I am sticking with this guitar. It's awesome. It was free. You can find them for around $150 on ebay but I would say they are worth twice that. I know, it's a First Act. I would have shunned this guitar like a tuberculosis-ridden leper back in my younger, not-so-wise days but what a miss that would have been. This guitar is closer in quality to their Custom shop quality than it is to their floor-level-display-at-Wal-Mart quality. I get the tone I want at no expense to myself and this guitar will last me for quite a while, unless it gets lost or stolen. If it gets lost or stolen, I will give up on life and begin a series of increasingly dangerous and self-destructive behaviors (vigilanteism, exhibitionism, philatelism) until I make the news in some sort of fiery, cataclysmic showdown with local and maybe even federal law enforcement. Laugh if you will. Deride me. I turn my head and chortle quietly to myself as I muse over your small-minded, logo-blinded ignorance. Chortle. // 10

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overall: 8.4
Volkswagen GarageMaster Reviewed by: Dimefromhell12, on april 28, 2010
1 of 20 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 30

Purchased from: a Friend

Features: This luscious guitar was made in 2006, as a promotion for volkswagon to sell more cars. It has a medium-c shaped 22 fret maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard. Its a solid top and has a beautiful pearloid pickguard. The finish is like a flat alpine white:) it is shaped like a lp junior. Its a string thru body. I think the pups are passive. Its got 3 knobs with a vw symbol on them, 1 volume, 1 tone, 1 idk. Its got a 3-way switch, and a built I'm preamp with pup boost, treble cut/boost, and a distortion switch. Its got 2 humbuckers. Idk bout the tunes, but they seem solid:) it came witha cool gig bag, a seatbelt style strap, picks, a cable, and the original amplifier was the car lol. // 10

Sound: I haven't played it through an amp yet, so idk. (I just bought it yesterday, and the input jack is nonexistent I'm gonna change the pups though, so it'll sound good. I'll give a 7 for courtesy. It will suit my music style, which is everything. I'll be using a little ibby amp or a Vox something. With a Rocktron distortion, Boss blues driver, and a Zoom modulator. Its prolly got a bright sound, but idk yet. And its prolly best row low distortion stuff lol. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Since I got it from a buddy who rules at guitar, everything was set up perfectly. The only problem is he had to take out the input jack to put it in his washburn... _... But it would be perfect otherwise. Its action is perfect, its fit I guess, and the finish is again atah beautiful white. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I've been playing this guitar constantly the past day, and it hasn't went out of tune, no sharp frets or anything, nice and good for playing chunky chords, and pretty loud unplugged. Everything seems well above standard, and I would definately gig w/o a backup. // 8

Overall Impression: Ill play anything with a guitar, and I'm sure it'll do christian music well. I've been playing 2.5 years, and have 4 other guitars, including a Dean dime from hell, and a little Ibanez amp and like 3 pedals. I would totally buy it again, and pay up to $100 lol. I love the fact that it is white, ivbe wanted a white guitar since I started playing, and I absolutely love vws, I also like the preamp, although I have yet to use it lol. I wish it had more picks, and it would be cooler if the strap actually buckled like a seatbelt. But I found a godsend for 30$ and can't wait to get it fixed later this week:))) I also wished I could plug it in... Lol // 9

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overall: 8.2
Volkswagen GarageMaster Reviewed by: ACT4life, on june 27, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 89.99

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: Got this guitar a few weeks ago used on eBay it came with Special edition carrying bag, First Act noiseless guitar cable (<----- fairly decent cables BTW), and new strings on it upon my request. It has 22 medium jumbo frets at a scale length of 24.75". It has a bolt on neck made from maple with a rosewood neck. The pearl pickguard looks good with the white body. The tuners suck it is very hard to do fine tuning on this guitar with it's tuners but I manage. The cool thing about this guitar are the Volume, Tone, and 12th fret are custom and have VW markings on them. Now for the important part of the review: The bridge is a First Act tune-o-matic style bridge providing great sustain. The neck pickup had a high pitched hum so I had switched it out for a First Act pickup from a different model guitar now I sounds good, the bridge pickup plays just as good as my Seymour Duncans. When the secret weapon of this guitar is turned on the pre amp switch it sends the pickups into a very nice shred mode that gives awesome artificial and natural harmonics boost. Given crappy tuners and a noisy neck pickup it deserves a rating of 7. // 7

Sound: With my playing style of hard rock E.G. A7X, Linkin Park, Hollywood Undead the "boost mode" gives me more than enough to play that style. Although it can be played through *ANY* car with an AUX jack when boosted with a special 1/4 to aux cable (which wasn't sent to me SAD FACE), Through my Line 6 HD150 and 4 x 12 half stack this thing has a very nice heavy distortion and a very good clean sound, when played on an acoustic sound it is very weak. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The neck being bolt on is a real bummer for the quality of it I wish I had a set neck. Minus me having to put a different neck pickup in the pickups were set up right. The intonation was wrong but it could be the factories fault or the previous owner remember I bought used. The fretboard needed a good cleaning and oiling. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I've personally played this guitar live having it tuned to Drop C tuning and during duels with my friend/ Lead guitarist the boost switch makes this guitar a great solo guitar, When the switch is turned off it plays just like I play it as a great rhythm guitar. The strap buttons need to be switched for better ones, or buy a guitar strap that is better than the straps I have on it right now. No I would not use this guitar with out back up on the reasoning that shit happens especially during live shows. // 9

Overall Impression: Playing for 5 years and playing hard rock this is the perfect guitar for my music style. Other gear I use live is a Fender Stratocaster, SX SR1 STD BK, and Synyster Gates Standard. If I lost this guitar I would shoot myself for being that stupid and if someone stole it I would be very sad and contemplate buying a new one or saving money and getting a used Schecter. I like the pre amp booster switch and the Hum-Hum pickup configuration. I dislike the bolt on neck or the crappy tuners but it's a guitar worth learning to deal with. // 8

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