I want quality, but can't afford a good Gibson or Fender

The idea here is to give people some pointers on what mid-range, mid-priced guitars they should check out if looking to buy new.

Often a lot of folks are familiar with the Gibson and Fender models available to them, but I'd like to see a list of guitars from some of the less prolific (I can't find a better word) companies ... such as Ibanez/Peavey/Jackson/Schecter/Dean/ESP/Gretsch/DaisyRock/Line 6/Godin etc etc ... that should be tried out.

Only requirement is it must cost around $500 - $1200 USD. Include a link (and a picture would be great if your up to it) :)

Electric/Acoustic/Bass/Banjo/Whatever is your cup of tea, all suggestions welcome.

I'll start with a couple.


Cort M600
Price: $600USD'ish

Link: http://www.cort.co.kr/english/products/common/view.asp?product_id=125

Washburn X50Pro
Price: $600USD'ish

Link: http://www.washburn.com/products/electrics/x/x50.aspx

Price: $800USD'ish

Link: http://www.guitar.com.au/guitars/electric/esp/guitars_ec.htm

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

The used market is fraught, but Japanese-made Squiers and Tokais are still underpriced and under-appreciated in the US. Very occasionally, one might be offered to you personally in Britain (grab it) but eBayUK auctions tend to go high, as well they should.

Bass is a real problem (and a nightmare for a lefty like me). So often, there's a big jump from budget models (Stagg, Rondo's SX, Johnson etc) to the higher priced known names with little mid-range in between. Without specifying particular models, I'd consider Washburn and Cort along with Yamaha and Ibanez. The Corts and Washburns can lose their value more quickly, though. I'm not that keen on Mexican Fenders that I've seen but the Epiphone version of the Thunderbird is a decent example of the type:

and I'd have a go with the Warwick Corvette Rockbass Basic:

Not made in Germany, but still decent.

Firstly I would like to know what people think constitutes the difference in quality between cheap and expensive instruments? I have a very varied range of guitars, from just under a hundred quid to just under 2k.

Going back about six years, really cheap guitars were nasty and unquestionably poorly constructed. Things have changed dramatically over the past 36 months and there appears to be a real battle down at the sub 300 quid end - manufacturers striving to get excellent quality affordable instruments out into the marketplace.

I do find it strange how much perspective can influence opinion and by this I mean that I know several guitarists who hate Squier guitars and have only bad words to say about them. On the other hand, I love Squiers and have about a dozen. I recently purchased the new Vintage Modified Telecaster (2 x single coils/1 x humbucker). I paid just 200 quid and it is easily as good as any of my higher end Fenders.

There are many makes and models that simply never get a look-in or mention. Fernandes for example; my local supplier had a rack on the wall of assorted guitars that collapsed overnight and the owner was selling off a few that got chipped in the process. I bought a Vertigo X for £125 that is quite beautiful, wonderfully balanced although only a single humbucker that is nothing much to write home about.

I also picked up a Traveler Speedster. This is basically a reverse strung full scale electric guitar (it had a nick in the fretboard as the result of falling off the display), with a detachable teardrop arm support. I got that for just £145. This may appear like a toy, but having taken it on holiday, it became my weapon of choice for the next two years. I saw them new in this month's Guitarist mag for £199. Really stonking instrument - you don't need to spend over the odds for quality.


This prompts a question, do photobucket links only work when you have posted over a certain number?

First off in regards to PhotoBucket links, I've never had a problem just copying the code they provide under each image once uploaded. Maybe they changed?

As for what constitutes quality? It aint easy and of course it's going to come down to opinion. What I think is a quality guitar at a reasonable price, you and Tim might think is an ugly, worthless, chalkboard.

I guess the main factors I weighed in:

- would the guitar be giggable
- would a new guitarist still be happy with it in 3 or so years time
- and would a guitarist whose been playing for many years get use out of it
- would it provide reasonable sound with little mod
- Decent resale value (or hopefully want to keep it because you enjoy it so much and selling a 500 buck guitar for 200 probably aint worth it)

People don't assume all Epi's to be lesser quality than Gibsons. However, many people do assume Squire comes from Fender's reject bin. It isn't right I know, but are Squire/Fender to blame? It comes across as ultra budget and some people think that means ultra shite, because it does in many cases.

Youngwasp, I agree with you about Fernandes. The ones I've seen and played have been great guitars. I have a Native Pro which is the second Fernandes I've had now (the first one - a Revolver Pro - I got rid of because I hated the Floyd Rose - not a reflection on the guitar itself). The Native I picked up cheap because it was unsold stock or something. IT's a great guitar and really can't be faulted, other than the silver glitter finish perhaps!

I also have a Traveler guitar, mine is the original Pro Series with the acoustic and electric pickups and the now legendary "stethophones". I like it lots - it's a good soild guitar and very easily portable. Apparently it was made by Fender in the USA.

Some people might not like Squiers out of pure snobbishness, but there are good ones and bad ones. The only Squier I ever had was a 7-string and was a fine guitar but I decided it really wasn't for me and traded it in. This was no reflection on Squier, but more a question of me not being that interested in having that extra 7th string.

I personally would go with the Hohner TB1

read the reviews... this is a Hamer Studio series without the high ticket price..
so much bang for the buck in this guitar..
i have owned Jackson, Hamer, Ibanez, Gibson, and Fender and this is by far in the top 2 of every guitar i have owned... the value for the price is remarkable..

but don't take my word for it...

A very good product,actually available for $350 :
Reviews :
And pictures taken by a friend of mine : that guitar is a beauty!

What do you think about fenders made in Mexico? I owned a very serious "Mex-tele" .

I think that Squier (or rather, Fender) hasn´t helped itself by getting so itinerant. The Japanese ones are rightly prized (for some reason, a lot of Americans don´t know this) and, apart from excellent build, the quality of the woods are just so good. When they moved production to Young Chang in Korea, some of the hardware dipped a little but the catastrophic thing for the guitars was the decision to use plywood bodies. Ply is really naff, although the basses were still alder (probably because there was unused stock shipped over). I´ve mentioned elsewhere that YC´s own brand "Fenix", paritcularly the early 90s ones, are great 2nd hand buys.

It might be just me, but the Indonesian Squiers of today don´t look all that great. The necks in particular don´t impress me with the maple nor the rosewood. I haven´t picked them up and played them, though. I was lent a Mexican Jazz V bass for a while. I really didn´t see what the money got, apart from a Fender logo. Build and components were nothing to write home about and the electrics were every bit as replaceable as Korean models. Worse are the early Mex 4-string Jazz basses. Until 2001, they came with a pair of neck-width pups, not the neck + bridge different widths that US Fenders and even Squiers get. I have no idea why they did this, but it is something to bear in mind when you decide to replace the not-very-inspiring pups. A new Mex Jazz is, AFAIK, standard in the pup department nowadays.

It's funny this subject should pop up. I was in a local music store this past Monday to drop off my Marshall head for some repair work. I wandered around a bit, and picked up a Squier Strat and noodled around on it. I was impressed with the feel, and then I plugged it in, and was impressed with the sound as well. It wasn't as smooth as my Strat, which is just well worn and easy playing, but it wasn't bad. Then I looked at the tag, it was a hundred bucks! I almost bought just because, but I really don't need another Strat. I wish cheap guitars were that good when I was starting out! I think there is a lot of "snob factor" in the US when it comes to a lot of things. Some people just want to pay too much for their toys so they can brag it up later on. Money comes too hard for that as far as I'm concerned.


Yep, as Youngwasp mentioned earlier in the thread, the budget end of the guitar market is light years better than it used to be. I couldn´t understand why 70s Hondos, Columbus and suchlike would get $100+ bids (nostalgia?) when brand new guitars for the same money blow them away. I think people have cottoned on, though, because the old planks deservedly sell for nothing on ebay nowadays. It´s amazing what a hundred gets you, although Squiers are still a bit unreasonably priced here in Britain.


acoustica1 wrote:
What do you think about fenders made in Mexico? I owned a very serious "Mex-tele" .

This is a real conundrum for me;

I own several American Fenders and about the same number of Mex equivalents. Admittedly several of these I haven't played very much at all.

In light of this question, I got all my USA and Mex telecasters in one room and put on a blindfold. My wife then randomly selected instruments and handed them to me and I played the same piece.

Without question, my Fender 50's reissue Esquire came out on top - this is something I only purchased a while ago, mint, secondhand for £280. It has the feel of a real top quality Fender, and although only one single coil, it is capable of producing that shiver up the spine. It is beautifully weighted and balanced and the neck, although something of a handful (full 'C' contour), is sublime.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

Contact | Contents | Privacy Policy | Forum

This site is published by Hitsquad Pty Ltd. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 , All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate Notice: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.