IS-300 review by Indiana Guitar Company

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.2 (13 votes)
Indiana Guitar Company: IS-300

Price paid: $ 160

Purchased from: Dillons Music Center

Sound — 8
This guitar has a rather dark sound but one that is very full and warm. The bridge humbucker is unbeatible in this price class for sound and tone. I ran this through a piece of shit XT15R Crate for a while before getting my RFX 120 (Crate 2X12 amplifier, solid state but very tube like). With the small amp the guitar was really held down on the bigger one it's more at home. The bridge pickup has enough sensitivit for finger tapping and other less "loud" techniques. The single coils have a rather thick, almost "croopy" sound to them that I absolutly love with some gental overdrive, however they're very noisy and no amount of adjustment in height seems to be able to change that.

Overall Impression — 8
I play rock from gentle poppy stuff to punk to metal, this guitar serves it up well. The single coils even rip out some nice blues tones with some adjustments to the amplifier settings. I've been playing for between 18 months and 2 years and my other guitar is a hot-rodded Fender Nashville Telecaster (Mex) with a stock single coil int he neck and humbuckers in the mid and bridge. Obviously that Tele makes this my backup guitar but for a full year it was my only electric instrument. I compaired it to many guitars in the $200 or so price range including Ibanez models, Squires, Jacksons and Epiphones. If I wanted to stay under $300 this was king in terms of sound and playiblity. It also feels more solid, expesive and well-built than it's competitors. I wish this thing had locking heads, it really needs them but otherwise is a wonderful instrument. Here soon I plan on making it my project instrument with new tuners (heads) and a Floyd Rose trem-set up. I'll follow that up with replacing all the electronics over the course of a year or two. Like I said for the money it's great but in the pursuit of tone more money must be spent. I highly recommend this guitar over Squire strats and any Epi under $350 because it's simply a better guitar for less money. If it was stolen or lost I'd probably just live without and save up and buy a G&L tribute Tele which wouldn't require any "hot-rodding". As it is now though I'd rather take that money and upgrade the shit out of this guitar until it stops being my backup and comes back to being my main instrument again.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is pretty solid in an of itself. Other than the problems I mentioned in fit and finish I believe this guitar is nearly flawless (though it obviously can't come close to the sound or playibity of say a Gibson). I wouldn't gig it without a backup because I don't trust the strings to hold out for me, nothing to do with the guitar really just who wants to stop to slip a new string in when you're in the middle of a set?

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action from the factory one this was absolutly perfect though that's not the case with all Indiana's so be warned. The pickups were adjusted as best they could be for anti-humming however this resulted in the bridge humbucker being much "louder" than the single coils so I've adjusted it to level out the volume. After playing this guitar hevily for about 8 months I had one of the strap-mounts go out on it and I had to drill and new hole about 1/4 of an inch from the old one and screw the mount back in. The plastic underneith the nobs is annoying when the guitar has gain on it as it makes a "swishing" noise everytime either tone or volume is adjusted (something I plan on changing asap).

Features — 8
The IS-300 is a solid beginner strat-style guitar made in China featuring an adler body bolted to a maple neck with a fast-playing rosewood fret board. The teal-transparent finish/ chrome hardware/ white pickgaurd on mine is beutiful though it's take some damage from my year of dishing out abuse, it's also what first drew me to it for a play. The guitar came with a cable that I gave a away and I purchased it with a gig bag and strap though those costed extra. Everything is very solid other than the tuning heads are apparently pretty weak as it goes out of tune often and I no longer used the strat-style bridge as a result of this.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My friend has this. The pickups are junk and the trem is stiff. There only one word to describe it...shit
    this was the first guitar i bought, and not knowing good tone or action, i purchased it. in retrospect, it wasnt a terrible decision, and for the price it is a pretty good little guitar to start with. the pickups are probably the worst part, they have the tone of a 1970's childrens television show, but with distortion it sounds fine. if you want something of quality, the price tag is usually closely related. just dont expect any SRV hot tones to come from one of these. with a bit of playing with the pickups you can get a hot tone, but it really just sounds washed out.
    heh. I grew to hate the pickups as well. Mine now has Red Lace Sensors in the neck & mid positions with a "powered by Lace" in the bridge. Because the tone woods of this guitar are quite good the difference is night and day. The pots are still noisy (I really need the change those) but the tuning is okay now thanks to Gotoh tuners and 5 springs in the bridge.
    Is this an Indian guitar? made in India? I wonder how it sounds noh??
    Indiana is a state in the US. It was made in China according to the reviews though.