Which To Buy Cheap Copies Vs Expensive Brand Names

In the market for a guitar? Don't know which one to buy? A cheap copy or an expensive brand name? Help is on its way!

Ultimate Guitar
Disclaimer The names of the Fender Stratocaster copies are the guitars I have come across in my time playing guitar, have heard or own. I am not promoting or advertising them. This article assumes you are a player on a budget and not one with lots of money available to them. Note This is my first article guys....constructive criticism is always welcome. *** For this article I will be focusing on one of the most copied guitars ever -the Fender Stratocaster. Because of the huge popularity of the strat it has been copied innumerable times. Most copies are quite cheap (AUS $100 to $200) but may be more expensive for brand name copies, such as the Yamaha Pacifica. The quality of these can range from bad to good, depending on your price range/budget. Branding Many people like to advertise they have a brand name guitar and they pay for this. For example a Fender logo on a strat will jack up the prices vs a no-name strat. Some Strat copies are of considerable value to the real deal or even better, but are in a considerably lower price range. budget/cost vs sound The Fullerton strat is dirt cheap and is comparable with the Yamaha Pacifica, (taking into account the low price of the Fullerton vs the Yamaha). Overall the Fender Standard Stratocaster has superior sound. As many people are on tight budgets and cannot afford to spend a whole grand on a guitar, a cheap guitar like the Fullerton would be an acceptable purchase, because of its low price of $45. For an extra few hundred dollars the Yamaha Pacifica becomes accessible, but is the increase in sound quality really worth a few hundred dollars? This is decision can only come down to personal preference. Cost Yamaha Pacifica 012 (AUS approx $300 - $450) Fullerton Strat Copy (AUS approx $45) Fender Stratocaster Standard series (AUS approx $800 - $1100) Sound Quality The Yamaha Pacifica 012 A Fullerton Strat copy Compared to the Fender Stratocaster Standard series (AUS approx $800 - $1100) Aesthetics/sound and Personal Preference What a player likes about the aesthetics of a guitar comes down to their personal preference. Someone might like the rough worn look/sound of a new/used strat copy or the shiny/clean look/sound of a Fender Stratocaster. Pros and Cons of cheap copies (strat copies) Pros Cheap and inexpensive, suits the player on a budget. Can provide a platform for upgrading/learning about the anatomy of a guitar/luthiering. Can have a comparable sound to a genuine Fender Stratocaster. Are easily found used. Are found about anywhere. Are usually very robust. Accessible to the beginner market. Cons Sound can be of poor quality. Usually poorly set up. Are usually heavy. Are usually made of poor quality woods, materials, etc. Pros and Cons of expensive brand name guitars (genuine Fenders) Pros Sound is of higher quality. Are usually well set up. Made of better quality woods, materials, etc. Cons Expensive. Not very accessible to the beginner market. Cheap copies can be upgraded to have better pick ups, necks, tuners, etc, for usually less than what the genuine Fender Stratocaster is worth. In this article I have explained and detailed which guitar would be a better choice to own a cheap copy or an expensive brand named guitar? by using the Fender Stratocaster as an example. Overall it's up to you, what do you prefer? and What do you like to see in a guitar? Hope this helped you. Cheers By Lithium Battery

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I feel sorry for beginning players who's first guitar is a guitar with a poor setup and feeling.
    constructive criticism: It might be comfortable for the non-Australian reader to have the prices in US$ or so they can make easy references. Maybe search for the guitar's prices on EU / USA sites to do this.
    Comparison samples would be more useful if they were made by the same player, on the same amp, playing the same song. Also, the setup doesn't matter much since if you're buying an expensive guitar from a good store, they should set up the way you want it. And if you're buying a cheap guitar, then you can either learn how to set it up yourself, or even if you spend as much (or) more than the guitar cost to get it set up, you still paid 75% less than what you'd pay for an MIA Fender. Also, don't forget you can get a lot more guitar for your money going used--same goes for amps, especially tube amps. Nice job for a first article.
    Skiilz Mitchell
    Great article - I'd like to add though... If there's anything that I've learned from Jack White, it's that even a "cheapie" can accomplish great feats... It's all in the user. I'm not gonna lie tho... I've been DYING for a RG3550MZ... That thing SCREAMS!!
    lithium battery
    Comparison samples would be more useful if they were made by the same player, on the same amp, playing the same song.
    Thankyou jetwash, i was aware of this but it is nearly immposible to do what you stated as i dont have all the gear. I just got the examples i thought represented them the best.
    I'm not sure what the point of this article is. It would make more sense to compare Fender Squire to a Yamaha Pacifica considering they are in the same price range.