Price paid: £ 90
Purchased from: Gear4Music
Features: My second review of 3 guitars I bought new in a job lot from Gear4Music's showroom in York. Another very cheap instrument that I liked. Its not going to win any awards but this one, like its brothers, has its merits. This one is a 'looker'. She's pretty and again I payed a very low discounted price for this Asian axe. Lets inspect :) :
Here's the Spec from Gear4's own site:
Model: Electric Guitar
Neck Joint: Set
Body: Basswood with carved flamed maple top
Body Binding: Cream single ply
Pickguard: White 3-Ply
Neck: Maple with cream single ply binding
Fingerboard: Rosewood with trapezoid position inlays
Machine heads: Chrome die-cast
Pick Ups: 2x Chrome closed humbucking pickups
Controls: 2 x Volume, 2 x Tone, 3-Way Pickup Selector Switch
Scale: Full Size 627mm / 22 Frets
This one also came with a free gig bag, strap (too short) and a lead (too short and as thin as a noodle) :D // 5
Sound: Imagine a pencil drawing of the Mona Lisa. You would recognise the form, you would know it was a representation of the famous image because all of the bits would be in the right place. Her silly 'Ive just farted' grin, her chubby fingers, her flat hair, ect. But it wouldn't be the painting would it? Just a representation.
That's what the sound of this guitar is. Its a solid lump of wood with two humbuckers, the right scale length, the right neck and headstock angle and the right sort of bridge and tail stop to be a Les Paul.
So it's sound is 'recognisable' as a Les Paul, but is it a Les Paul? Erm...No. Its a cheap representation of one. It sounds better than its price should reflect though. Perhaps a line drawing done by a first year ART student, rather than a five year old with a crayon.
The sustain is good. She will do a pleasing 'woman' tone and hold a note well. She cries with some conviction but perhaps its all a bit false. She's a B Movie actress.
Output from these Chinese humbuckers is quite high. It crunches up on the bridge fairly early with perhaps a little too much top. This is quite nice at higher gains as it sings with a fairly biting tone. The neck is almost too mellow, mids are a bit lost when clean with an almost rumbling bottom. Higher gains seem to relieve this and it goes more 'Les Paul-ish'. It actually sounds best in the middle position as it is slightly biased towards the bridge giving somewhat more twang than a Les Paul should. I suspect this can all be fiddled with by experimenting with pick-up heights.
So, erm yea. It sounds somewhat like a Les Paul :p // 6
Action, Fit & Finish: The carved maple sunburst top is very pretty. By far the best feature on this guitar. Its almost a shame to have such a stupid logo on the oddly shaped headstock. It spoils the look.
Beyond the Carved maple top, things go from O.K to a bit naff. This is a very cheap guitar so I expect naff bits and it has them. The binding on the body is inconsistent in depth, it changes colour. The fingerboard is a little patchy in staining. On close inspection all of the binding lines have areas of slight untidiness and the pick up surrounds are not perfect.
since It was so cheap though, I can let it off. The overall finish for the price is very good. It is a pretty thing really.
Once again this was the demo in the showroom, so someone had set it up properly. The fingerboard, action and fret profiling are as good as this cheap guitar is going to get. Thats O.K, not fantastic but all right, Its perfectly playable. Very good at this price. // 5
Reliability & Durability: The hardware seems reasonable quality and everything is put on right. There's no crackles from the pots and the electrics are soldered well (I always check)
Perhaps its too early to tell, but as with all of my cheap guitars this beastie will be gigged where I want it's 'sound-a-like' qualities without risking my 'real' instruments. It doesn't seem like its going to collapse or catapult its headstock into the first row of the audience. We shall see. // 6
Overall Impression: A very, very cheap Chinese instrument with the associated flaws. But pretty to look at with a lovely top and shiny hardware. plus it sounds nicer than one might expect and does a reasonable impersonation of a Les Paul.
Overall a playable guitar which hopefully should last a few years and performs better than you would expect for such a low cost. // 6