Blaster E6 review by Encore

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.2 Good
  • Users' score: 3.4 (35 votes)
Encore: Blaster E6

Purchased from: Local Music Store

Sound — 8
I play anything from melodic metal, to folk, to jazz, and it fits them all reasonably - jack of all trades and all that. With distortion, it can sound quite powerful and cut through a mix with a little twiddling. Neck coil is ideal for metal solos. Neck/middle coils together ideal for jazzy soungs or perhaps a softer solo. Middle coil - nice rhythm guitar. Middle/bridge coils - metal, rhythm primarily. I think it could cover most bases of music without too many issues, but isn't exactly going to be a storm at all gigs - for a start humbuckers are better for metal. I play through a 25W amp and/or a Boss ME25 effects pedal, and it sounds okay throughh both - I've done a couple of recordings and they are of acceptable standard. I think the sound could be counted a quite bright, but the pickups are certainly very noisy if you leave up the volume when not playing, otherwise there isnt too much interference.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, please note I've rated the guitar based on what I've paid for it, and my expectations. I'm not trying to say it's anywhere near as good as Gibsons or ESPs, but for the price range it's a fair buy, ideal for a beginner, or perhaps a more advanced player who justs wants something to try out ideas on or perhaps try soldering/tinkering around with. I like the features and variety of it, but I know it's outclassed in the wider spectrum. It it wer lost or stolen, I'd probably instead buy a better guitar second-hand. Giving it an 8 for what it has/does and price!

Reliability & Durability — 6
I doubt the guitar would be suitable for touring - it'd probably warp or keep going out of tune with hard playing or lots of changing tunings, but I'd say it could withstand live gigging. I would always take a back-up, and this is definitely no exception. The finish is good, it's comfortable and light, the cutaways are comfortable. The strap buttons seem fairly solid, but pros might prefer strap-locks.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was too high - I've lowered it a couple of times, and now have it where I want it. Not so good form factory/shop though. I honestly can't remember how the high the pickups were when I got it - I've adjusted them a few times. The Bridge is I think properly routed, but some of the electronic are out (as mentioned previously), although probably not too hard to fix if you know what you are doing. There are no flaws - everything is trim and fits perfectly, there is no cracking or warping, or even finish flaws. In terms of the finish, it's very good actually - it's had many bangs, yet hasn't chipped or even cracked yet, so I'm very pleased.

Features — 7
I don't know much about where it was made, or in what year - I'm presuming Mexico or China/Korea, as it's no great shakes. This was my first guitar though - deep maroon red with a pearloid scratch plate. It features 22 frets - medium to jumbo I believe, on a rosewood fingerboard. I have no idea personally what the body is made of, but a friend suggested knockwood - it is certainly light; however this can be a benefit as it fells like nothing even after a long time playing, and if you are going to carry it for any distance, it's a blessing (I once carried it almost 2 miles in the snow to a friend's house to practice). The body is the ol' Strat variety, and the lower cutaway does provide easy access to the higher frets. The Bridge is a tune-o-matic, which I've adjusted a few times - I had to do this as when I bought it from the shop, the action was quite high, and the intonation was out. I presume that is factory set-up, not the shop. On the upside, at least it's taught me quite a lot about how the guitar works. I've currently lowered the Bridge almost fully to the bottom, as I'm not a big fan of dive-bombing, I prefer tuning stability. In terms of tuning stability, it settled after a few weeks to a couple of months, and is now reasonable, although it goes out fairly easily if you do whammy a lot. The electronics are passive, and fairly poor stock pickups. They are 3 single coils - SSS, conforming to Strat design. There are 2 tone controls (which make a surprising difference considering the price) and a volume control, with a 5-way selector Switch for the pickups. Note - on my guitar the final position (ie, solely the Bridge pickup) has no output - I presume there is a problem with the electronics. However, I have seen this very same problem on 1 or 2 Yamaha Pacificas I've played. The tuners are non-lcoking, non-branded, but are okay I suppose. They are die-cast chrome, and work much better once I tightened them up a little. From where I bought it, the guitar came bundled at an additional price, with a thin soft case/gig bag, a Fender strap, a 2m cable, and allen keys.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm not an expert, just someone who has set up a few different guitars - Squier Affinity, Strat, Bullet Strat, California Strat, Strat Standard, Encore K3, Encore Blaster E6, Vintage Advance and Icons... The E6 IS weirdly plasticky with its glossy Guitar Tech pickups. And it has virtually NO hum (which is quite an achievement). Tuners are OK (way better than the stuff on low-end Squiers) and to my mind the tones from the pickups and electrics is quite sparkly with a lot of presence. I just finished setting one up tonight and had a real problem with string bends choking on the highest frets. I wonder if it has to do with the relatively small (10"?) fingerboard radius limiting how low you can set your action. I don't know. What I have found is that NONE of these guitars are worth a **** straight out of the box. Just about every one I've every come across has a nut with too shallow slots, the wrong neck relief, uneven frets requiring levelling, playing action set too high (to overcome the other faults) and intonation not set. That's how they come out of the factory and the shop. They're pretty unplayable from the start. But all of them, including the Blaster E6, can play and sound pretty good if you do the work to them. Yes, the pickups are one of the areas they save money and as a result they sound cr*p. I have to say I prefer the musicality of the Guitar Tech tones above the nondescript tones of the Squier Bullet Strat or Affinity Strat. Agree in part with the other comments; a guitar that you feel you need to work on and replace most of the parts before you can play it can't really be a 8/10. But as many other people have said over time here, this marking system is nonsense anyway. You can't compare ALL guitars to ALL other guitars but UG doesn't break it down into any meaningful categories, for example "Guitars under £100". I think UG should drop the silly 'pro-forma' review prompt and the the stupid "my guitar is better than your guitar" rating system and just let people (whatever experience they have) talk about what they like and don't like.
    I had one of these as my first guitar. Yes, it is pretty damn appauling. But when your just starting out it's acceptable because you dont know any better. Once you do, and you can play., you get a decent guitar. That said, i'm now playing a Tanglewood TS-58 Les Paul copy in cherry sunburst, which I will no doubt get snubbed for because it's not a Gibson. But i don't have 4,500 for a Gibson so for me, as a bedroom guitarist teaching oneself guitar as a hobby, it's not bad at all and it's my pride and joy. Non - premium branded guitars arent always bad, but the Encore (and any other Encore) definitley is.
    i have played and own several guitar, from korean copy les paul to EVH wolfgang and i played guitar for 25 years...i've seen guitar and amp evolution....from WEM copy cat tape echo until all digital gadget and one of my guitar collection is ENCORE E6 strato type guitar bought at speed music, kingsway centre Newport back in 1998. After changing machine head , tremolo bridge, volume and both tone pots (ernie ball) about $80.00...this guitar is a lot better than squeir affinity that crafted in china..i use my old faithfull 100w marshall without any gadget..the clean sound is soulfull and with the overdrive setting...its sustain for please don't under estimate cheap guitar