F300 review by Stagg

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  • Features: 4
  • Sound: 1
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 1
  • Reliability & Durability: 4
  • Overall Impression: 3
  • Reviewer's score: 2.6 Junky
  • Users' score: 7.6 (51 votes)
Stagg: F300
3

Purchased from: Ebay (used)

Features — 4
So I've finally got around the reviewing this thing having owned it forever. It was my first guitar I ever owned and while it's a piece of sh-t, it served it's purpose of getting me into the hobby. It is (or in my case, was) essentially a generic, very low budget Gibson '68 Flying V copy.

  • Made in China, probably.
  • Alder body (I think)
  • Maple bolt-on neck with a rosewood fretboard
  • 22 frets
  • Chrome hardware all round
  • Generic Stagg die cast tuners
  • 2 generic ceramic magnet humbuckers
  • 2 volumes, 1 tone and a 3-way
  • Came with a hardshell case (A pretty decent one actually)
Overall pretty underwhelming. I'll go into detail as to how these features come together in a moment. I should give it credit that for such a cheap guitar, I shouldn't expect anything great.

It's also worth mentioning that many years after buying this guitar, I bought a real Gibson V '68. So I can actually make comparisons between the Stagg and the guitar it's copying. So this should be very interesting. I think comparing how good the guitar is compared to my Gibson is totally unfair, but I'll mention some differences between how the two guitars feel that are somewhat unexpected outside of how cheap and nasty the copy generally is.

Sound — 1
Well this is the part of the review when I get to have fun with talking about this guitar. It goes without saying that I'm a metal player. I use a Peavey 6505+ these days makes it pretty evident that I desire a modern high-gain tone.

Being overwound ceramic pickups, the cleans are pretty uninspiring. They're sterile and not well balanced with one another. The neck pickup is too bassy and lacks midrange while the bridge pickup sounds brittle. Even after adjusting the pickup heights. Bleh.

It's difficult to say how the pickups sound with gain because right out of the gate, the pickups themselves are microphonic. They squeal horribly when the amp begins to saturate and that is completely unacceptable considering what this guitar is marketed for. The sounds I did manage to get from it when playing over the horrible squealing are flubby, muddy and fizzy. It doesn't have much definition at all. Almost like adding a Boss MT-2 to the signal but not quite as pronounced.

Also because the guitar isn't internally shielded, the guitar is very noisy, but that's the least of it's issues. Generally it sounds pretty awful.

Action, Fit & Finish — 1
Now we get to the REALLY fun part.

The action is very high out of necessity because the frets are so poorly dressed, if at all. That causes the guitar to be very hard to play and causes the intonation of the guitar to be all over the place. A couple of them are even coming out of the fretboard! The fret ends themselves are not too bad so I suppose that's a good thing, not that it redeems itself of the other fret issues though.

This, sadly, is only the beginning of the guitar's problems. So I'll list them out and make a special segment for the last issue.

  • The neck and the fretboard are misaligned. You can feel a ledge between the neck and the fretboard on the treble side of the neck because of this.
  • Some of the dot inlays are misaligned on the fretboard. Doesn't affect playability, but it looks strange.
  • The nut is cut poorly. The treble strings bind up easily and their action is too high, while the bass strings are the exact opposite. The slots are cut too deep, causing lots of buzz on the open strings. Not a big deal to replace a string nut though.
  • The routing of the cavities behind the pickguard are a joke. It's clearly evident that a drill with a spade bit after the guitar was painted tried to chew out the bridge pickup cavity to get it to fit properly. The bare wood left behind is all splintered and chewed up.
The biggest problems with the guitar by far was that the guitar's neck was twisted when I sighted it. To add insult to injury, when I took off the neck, I found a plastic shim somewhat resembling a piece of a pop tart resting on the treble side of the pocket. Why it was there became evident when I put the neck back on and discovered that the neck was sitting in the body crooked! Clearly it was there because whatever hack built the guitar didn't route the cavity out properly. Unbelievable.

Somebody seems to have written 'Hi!' on the end of the neck at the pocket end. The comic relief is needed. To whoever wrote that, hello.:)

Other interesting things of note are that the guitar is very unbalanced on a strap, unlike my Gibson V. The neck is actually heavier than the body itself, which causes the guitar to dive like Felix Baumgartner did that one time.

The neck feel is rather different to the Gibson too. It's C-shaped, a bit like a Fender Strat, rather than D-shaped like how the Gibson is.

So yeah, it's quite possibly the most atrocious guitar I've ever come across in terms of craftsmanship. And I own it.

Reliability & Durability — 4
"Will this guitar withstand live playing?"

I sure hope it doesn't. I'd look a fool if it stayed in one piece after I tried to smash it. But seriously, this just isn't a good guitar at all, so I'm not exactly inclined to play it live.

In terms of the hardware, the guitar's pots are very stiff and the switch is a cheap plastic box toggle one. The switch quickly wore out. The output jack wore out quickly as well. The rest of the hardware works reasonably given my expectations though. Tuners are far from good, but at least they work as intended. The bridge is the same story.

Overall Impression — 3
This guitar, based on my anecdotal experience (YMMV of course) is undeniably terrible. Absolutely do not buy this guitar, it is not worth your time or money whatsoever in my opinion. I don't feel I need to explain why.

However, this guitar did do one thing for me that I very important: It got me started. One of my idols before I played guitar were Metallica, and in a way, they still are. I wanted to be like them, and that's what first got me into guitar playing. Despite all its problems, and if it wasn't for this guitar, I wouldn't have discovered how awesome it is to be a musician.

It deserves a 3/10. Would not bang, but it gave me some experience. One that is so much more valuable than the guitar itself. So if this guitar was stolen, I'd actually feel sad for it, so sad I might even buy another one if I felt particularly sentimental.

I just wish it didn't have so many problems.

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