Price paid: $ 119
Purchased from: Local Shop
Sound — 8
For me, this was the perfect guitar to begin with - I play mostly blues and rock, so the S-S-S configuration of the pickups on this guitar makes this guitar a decent choice if you're not looking to spend a lot of money, but are looking for exceptional sound and stlye. The guitar can be a bit noisy at times, especially the "string talk" that you get when going back and forth on the strings. I eventually replaced those with a set of high-quality strings that I actually got for free through Amazon - (Subscribe to my blog to learn how I did that - it's my next post). The new strings offer almost complete silence other than the sound I'm looking for while playing, suggesting that the guitar's original strings weren't that great to begin with, but still worth the cost. I've used this guitar with a multitude of different amps, and the sound that is produced is pretty grand to say the least - even when using mini-amps such as the Danelectro N10B Honey tone, and the Fender Mini Tone Master. Each of these tiny wonders offers up it's own unique sound, and this guitar is a good compliment to either (I'll be doing individual reviews on both of those amps in the VERY near future). Using this guitar with effects and different settings have proved to be simple, and the sound never suffers a bit - a wide range of sounds are all there at your fingertips. It's a very enjoyable experience to get such great sound at that price - even for the intermediate to advanced user.
Overall Impression — 8
I've only been playing for a year, and even though I own a few guitars now, this one is still one of my favorites - I go back to her often to "force" my sound, which is something that I do to strengthen my fingers - "forcing" the issue of getting a decent sound out of my self-flawed first fret notes, which of course are always useful when playing blues and rock music. I am extremely grateful to my mother-in-law for this awesome gift, and if it were to completely break down or get stolen, I would either look for another just like it, or save a few extra bucks and go straight for the Strat. There is nothing about this guitar that I hate, and I doubt that there ever will be - I just wish It had a "floating" bridge, but I'm not an advanced player by any means, so I don't really need it at this point anyway. There will be more guitars in my life. Theres always room for more guitars. ~Always. Good product here. Buy it for your kid this year, and you'll have a future nutcase on your hands in no time, folks.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I let a buddy of mine use (Emma) during a live performance locally not too long ago, and I was absolutely amazed at the sounds that were emitting from her almost-perfect body... amazed I tell you! I'm certain that she would prove to be durable even on a tour that spanned the globe over the course of a year all while being exposed to constant Jack White style "abuse", even though I honestly wouldn't suggest that type of behavior for anyone who isn't a "Guitarrorist"... I love that word. Guitarrorist. There. I said it again. The guitar is dependable, for sure - and the strab buttons are as durable as can be.. I would suggest that anyone who is using ANY guitar eventually invest in a lockable strap anyway!
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I pulled this guitar out of it's cardboard housing, the factory setup wasn't perfect to be honest with you, but a little tweaking fixed all of that quickly. The action was way too low, and once I got those strings at a decent "hover" level, that issue was fixed. The pickups are perfectly adjusted, and I have no complaints - I've been thinking of upgrading, but as of right now, there's no sense in doing so... One of those situations where I'm leaving "well enough" alone. The bridge on this guitar is one of the best I've dealt with over the last year, which surprises me - I can practically JUMP on the trem bar repeatedly without her falling out of tune - which is a feat that even my Ibanez can't handle! The overall quality is excellent, as the wood is well finished and polished, and it definitely stands out hanging on my wall and serves as a conversation starter. My house guests take one look at (Emma) and immediately assume it's a Stratocaster until closer examination. I have no complaints here - even with a small nick on the back of the neck that isn't noticeable until running your hand back and forth across it while playing. I did manage to drop her once, and as a result, the bow is a little warped, causing a near impossible situation when playing on the first fret, but this problem is easily fixed as well, and THAT problem was bought on by me... So all in all - the Excel Electric Guitar package (mine is sunburst) is the perfect buy for the holidays if you or someone you plan on spending money on this year is looking for an easy-to-use entry level axe.
Features — 7
The Excel Beginner Electric Guitar is an entry-level guitar that resembles a modern Fender - mostly like the Stratocaster. It's stylish design makes it an attractive buy, especially for the holidays, because historically speaking, this item's price as a bundle drops around this time of year, meaning that you can save even more off of this items already low price! There aren't many specs available on this guitar, and it's a pretty straightforward deal. The bundle includes: Guitar - available in sunburst, black, and red. Guitar Strap - Simple nylon strap.. nothing special here. Cable - For attaching to your amp/interface. Gig Bag - An entry-level bag without padding. For the record, I did receive this guitar as a gift, and the bundle was broken up - I assume that the individual who owns the shop that sold it to my mother-in-law is one of the unscrupulous types who dig into their small-town customers for as much money as possible. It came in the box, the box indicated that it was in fact a bundle, but she still ended up paying extra for a safety-orange guitar strap for me at the time of purchase. I ended up buying a guitar bag less than two months later, and thankfully I already owned PLENTY of guitar cables - I collect things like that - my assortment of miscellaneous cords and cables always prove themselves to be useful eventually (WIN for me). It was still the best gift EVER! As far as the specs go, I have a little information. As mentioned above, there isn't much information out there for this guitar - it's as generic as they come, and I no longer have the box that it came in. Features include: 21-fret maple neck Sunburst-Finished body (available in different finishes) Stratocaster-style body Attachable/Detachable tremolo bar Controls include pickup switch, volume, and tone on face S-S-S pickup configuration for an almost true Strat sound. Standard Tuners - Easily upgradeable.