Fuel review by First Act

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 2.6 (11 votes)
First Act: Fuel

Price paid: C$ 100

Purchased from: Walmart

Sound — 8
I'm a lefty so I can't really play it. I bought it because I wanted to learn to play right-handed, but didn't realize how tough that would be. Simple plucking revealed a tone that is relatively neutral. There is less difference between the neck and bridge pick-ups than on my Telecaster. I have lent this guitar to some accomplished players who got some wonderful sounds out of it. A very nice feature on this guitar is that the pick-up positions are easily adjustable using a screw-driver. This allows the sound to be quickly and easily tailored: if the guitar doesn't sound right, try adjusting the pick-ups. One weird feature of the pick-ups is that they appear to be spring mounted with a crude sort of suspension. Is this to reduce feedback? Not sure...

Overall Impression — 10
Since I've given up on playing right-handed, I'm actually trying to get rid of this guitar. But if I could actually play it, I think it would be my main electric. I think First Act has produced a real winner here - a cheap guitar of high quality and original design that can compete with guitars costing many times the price. My favourite feature is the adjustable pick-ups. No more pulling the strings off, pulling the pick-guard off and messing around with shims... Bottom line: if you are a beginning guitarist, or even an experienced one on a severely limited budget, this is the guitar to buy.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Seeing as how I can't really play it, and the guitar hasn't been used much, I'm not certain the long-term durability. One issue is the sharp angle of the headstock. Because the body is very thin, the headstock juts out quite far and could potentially produce a breakage if the guitar is left on it's back.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Out of the box the action was perfect. I just tensioned the strings and it was good to go. The same cannot be said of the pick-ups, which were not adjusted. Fortunately the mounts are designed to be easily adjustable with nothing but a screwdriver and without disassembling anything. If the sound coming out of your amp isn't right, just pick up a screwdriver, twiddle a few screws and try it again. To date, I haven't noticed any major flaws on the guitar. The only complaint is that the rosewood on the fretboard is not very consistent in quality - the grain and colour are quite uneven, but then, what can you expect for $100? On the other hand, the maple on the necks seems just the opposite - very straight, even grain, consistent, light colour.

Features — 9
The guitar has a solid wood body plastic-covered with a pleasing black and white flame design. Neck is maple with a rosewood fretboard and Traditional bent-back headstock design. Has two fully-adjustable hum-bucking pick-ups, three way switch and volume and tone controls made of transparent plastic. Overall the design is both pleasing and original which is nice to see in a guitar this price. Unlike other low-end guitars, most of which simply ape more expensive models, First Act decided to try something completely different with this model and the result is pure magic. First the body: it's a double-cutaway, somewhat similar to a Stratocaster, but with its own, unique style. Second, there's the headstock which has two tuners on one side and four on the other. Doesn't serve any purpose but it sure looks cool. Then there are those funky transparent knobs! Obviously the hardware isn't the greatest, but everything seems to work, tuners do their job etc. Strings are junk and should be changed immediately.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    OK, you said it's wood body cover in plastic?? Well, what kind of wood? Never mind, it's covered in plastic so even if it's maple of the highest quality, the plastic coating would kill it.
    Who cares? It's not like the material in the body has much effect on the sound--the piece is simply too stiff to make a difference. I doubt it's particularly high-quality stuff. The important thing is that they've used high-quality tone-woods in the neck, where it counts.
    The wood used in the body of a guitar does not have much effect on the sound of a guitar?? Blasphemy!
    8.6 for a Wal-mart guitar is perfectly acceptable giving the rating system. The reviewer isn't basing it against a 3000 dollar Les Paul. The goods and bads were brought out in the review and TOTALLY outlines that it IS in fact a beginner guitar.
    I'm starting to wonder how many people here are covertly working for high-end guitar manufacturers since just about any review that praises cheap equipment gets consistently downgraded and the reviewers consistently belittled. It's not the cost of your equipment, it's what's in your heart and in your fingers...