ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/14/13 11:30 a.m.

Ditchdigger pointed these out to me, and I've been drooling over these ever since.

Similar price point to Fender's Squier stuff, but with the good-but-cheap pickups I'd want to swap in already there...

Anybody had/played one? How was the fit/finish/feel?

RossD
RossD PowerDork
8/14/13 12:21 p.m.

Not a bad price.

Why do lower end guitar companies just copy the classics? Why no new designs? Too expensive to under pay some artist?

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/14/13 12:38 p.m.
RossD wrote: Not a bad price. Why do lower end guitar companies just copy the classics? Why no new designs? Too expensive to under pay some artist?

In general, classic designs sell, new designs don't. Even Gibson and Fender have pretty much given up on producing new styles (Gibson made tons of whacky stuff in the 70's and 80's) and basically stick to the styles created 50+ years ago. Gibson sort of dipped a toe back into the water with the Epiphone Zakk Wylde "coffin" guitar.

The only companies still producing new designs are the ones that have always been known for such things - BC Rich, for example.

Jake
Jake Dork
8/14/13 4:54 p.m.

First let me just say that I’ve never handled one. Prices are cheeeeeeap, amazingly so. Since I have always been the off-brand-guitar-guy (current electrics are an Alvarez frankensuperstrat copy and a Hamer LP Jr. copy), though, this is fascinating to me. In theory, there’s not much to an electric guitar. If the electronics are decent, the body will transmit vibrations OK, and the mechanical parts render the thing capable of being set up well and staying in tune, an electric guitar should be something that can be cranked out in a modern factory with little to no variance in quality – which I would assume is where this company comes in. My coworker built a telefaker out of their parts a few months ago, and after it's been set up (and aside from finish flaws) he loves it.

Their basses are stupid cheap too.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/14/13 5:01 p.m.

In reply to Jake:

My biggest concerns are wood (I recall some of the cheap real-Fenders a while back being green enough they were changing shape; I have no links for that, maybe it was a vicious rumor...), and the fretwork (the Squier version of one of these I checked out recently seemed perfect for sawing the flesh off my hands with the ends of the frets...)

If the rest of the build is reasonably solid and true, I assume some setup can get it in order...

Mr_Estrotica
Mr_Estrotica Reader
8/14/13 5:04 p.m.

I too have been tempted by these. No more love for the Electromatic?

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/14/13 5:13 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Estrotica:

Oh, I love the Electromatic a lot, but I must have ALL TEH GUITARSSSSS!!!

Besides, with my Elvis Costello fanboi streak, nothing could be more appropriate for me than a low-grade Jazzmaster knockoff...

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
8/15/13 12:32 a.m.

In reply to ransom:

I had a custom-order Jazzmaster back around 93-96. I wanted it because of Dinosaur Jr., Swervedriver and a few other cool bands of the time. Bought it sight unseen--white with red tortoise pickguard.

I hated it when I got it. Long scale neck sucked for my short fingers, the tone was super thin and the strings came unseated from the bridge easily. Switches were in the way of my picking stroke and the tremelo bar didn't snap in to stay put.

I got rid of it for $400 but to this day I kick myself for not just sticking it in a closet. At least it would look great on a wall (and be worth way more than the $480 I paid for it new).

ditchdigger
ditchdigger SuperDork
8/15/13 9:36 a.m.

Most of your complaints could have been fixed with a buzz stop

Jazzmaster/jaguars don't take well to heavy right handers. Very little break angle at the bridge. The buzz stop allows guys like me to play them.

As for the scale length you should have gotten the Jaguar instead . They have the shorter scale length but lack the cool P90ish pickups of the JM.

poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/15/13 12:32 p.m.
ransom wrote: Ditchdigger pointed these out to me, and I've been drooling over these ever since. Similar price point to Fender's Squier stuff, but with the good-but-cheap pickups I'd want to swap in already there... Anybody had/played one? How was the fit/finish/feel?

I haven't played one of these, but I can tell you I absolutely have no desire to. I'm just gonna go ahead and ASSume these are makee in chinee. Every Chinese guitar I've played recently has been absolute junk. You can be assured the electronics, frets, fit & finish, pickups, bridges, and tuners will all be berkeleying garbage. However, I HAVE played a LOT of decent Korean guitars lately.

I walked into the music store totally convinced I needed a Squire Affinity tele based solely on all the great reviews they'd gotten. Man. What a total pile of E36 M3. Thinnest sounding guitar I've ever played, and HORRIBLE fit & finish. Makes me wonder if those guys have ever played a halfway decent guitar.

YMMV. I'd be wary of ordering one sight unseen/unplayed. I know it's tempting. They look badass!

For a few more bucks, these get pretty good reviews. I've struggled not to pull the trigger on them. Dunno if P90's are a must-have for you, but check their closeout page often. They put factory seconds on there all the time! The "Liquids" are available with soapbars.

http://www.maldenguitars.com/store.htm

Have you thought about building your own? I just scored a Warmoth Pro with Floyd nut & tuners next-to-new for $200 shipped, and a Charvel Fusion neck with Floyd nut, tuners, and neck plate for $135. A luthier buddy is going to make me 2 bodies at no charge, as I'm providing him with enough wood to do 4 guitars. I should be all in at around $400 for the "nice" one, and about $300 for the barncaster. That's with cream-of-the-crop electronics, duncans, and floyd trems.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/15/13 12:41 p.m.

In reply to poopshovel:

Good points/questions about the Malden/DIY approaches. I hadn't heard of Malden, thanks! I could dig around and assemble something, perhaps, but I'm not taking on a full-fledged project anytime soon. Too many other things ahead in line.

Anyhow, the main reason the Xavieres have my attention is that GFS's pickups are really good for the price, so they're already equipped with the pickups I'd probably put in another cheap guitar... I'm actually planning to put their Retrotrons in my Electromatic Pro Jet when they get the bridge version I want back in stock.

The big question is whether the rest of the guitar approaches the bang-for-buck of their pickups... Well, that and now I have to check out Malden reviews

poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/15/13 12:48 p.m.
ransom wrote: In reply to poopshovel: Good points/questions about the Malden/DIY approaches. I hadn't heard of Malden, thanks! I could dig around and assemble something, perhaps, but I'm not taking on a full-fledged project anytime soon. Too many other things ahead in line. Anyhow, the main reason the Xavieres have my attention is that GFS's pickups are really good for the price, so they're already equipped with the pickups I'd probably put in another cheap guitar... I'm actually planning to put their Retrotrons in my Electromatic Pro Jet when they get the bridge version I want back in stock. The big question is whether the rest of the guitar approaches the bang-for-buck of their pickups... Well, that and now I have to check out Malden reviews

Really, I suppose they can't be THAT BAD for the price. My problem is I go "Wow! $200 Guitar!" then spend another $200 trying to make it "right." New jack, new electronics, new bridge, new nut, new tuners, and usually new pickups + pro setup, and suddenly I'm in to a pawn shop turd for $400 that I'll never get out of it if I go to sell...and it'll still have either a E36 M3ty chinese neck and frets, or in the case of my Aria SG, a beat to hell 40 year old japanese neck.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/15/13 12:54 p.m.

In reply to poopshovel:

Fair enough. Cars, guitars, projects of all sorts; cheap buy in != cheap success.

Really, I should just treat myself to the anticipation, and keep a real Jazzmaster on the list next to the smoke green Gretsch Double Anniversary. That way it'll continue to be awesome for years to come instead of winding up in my hands sooner, where the reality of my crappy playing will ruin it...

poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/15/13 12:55 p.m.
poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/15/13 12:55 p.m.
ransom wrote: In reply to poopshovel: Fair enough. Cars, guitars, projects of all sorts; cheap buy in != cheap success. Really, I should just treat myself to the anticipation, and keep a real Jazzmaster on the list next to the smoke green Gretsch Double Anniversary. That way it'll continue to be awesome for years to come instead of winding up in my hands sooner, where the reality of my crappy playing will ruin it...

I might have a line on a steal for you. Can't remember if it's a Jag or Jazzmaster though. What did Kurt Cobain play?

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
8/15/13 1:04 p.m.

Threads like this make me really want to build a guitar.

And i don't even play.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet SuperDork
8/15/13 1:22 p.m.

Those cheap P-Basses are tempting for that price. I'd like to pick one up to do a "road-worn" build.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
8/15/13 1:40 p.m.

Maybe Korean guitars have gotten better, but I'm still leary. Years ago I bought a Japanese Squire Strat. It was ok, but I never really warmed up to the guitar and sold or traded it a short time later. A few years after that, I tried out a barely used (less than a year old at the time) American Standard Strat (off-white one I posted in the other thread). The difference was incredible. I still have that guitar 19 years later and while I often call myself a "Les Paul guy" that Strat is the guitar I play the most.

I have played a number of Epiphone Les Pauls over the years. Don't ask me to nail down why, but they just don't feel the same as my USA made guitars.

Of course, with 9 high-end guitars already, I need another one like a hole in the head. I already have far too many for my level (or lack) of talent.

alex
alex UberDork
8/15/13 3:04 p.m.

I used a GFS paulownia body for my Tele build. I love it. It's ridiculously light and surprisingly resonant. It's not exactly soft like pine, and I wouldn't call it delicate since I don't baby it and it doesn't really show any dings, but the wood is particularly delicate when threading screws. Take some care or they'll strip. That's my only complaint, and it's a minor one.

Given my experience with the body, I'd give their guitars a shot.

xd
xd Reader
8/15/13 4:59 p.m.

I can tell you that their pickups kick ass. I love them.

poopshovel
poopshovel MegaDork
8/15/13 6:18 p.m.
Ian F wrote: Maybe Korean guitars have gotten better, but I'm still leary. Years ago I bought a Japanese Squire Strat. It was ok, but I never really warmed up to the guitar and sold or traded it a short time later. A few years after that, I tried out a barely used (less than a year old at the time) American Standard Strat (off-white one I posted in the other thread). The difference was incredible. I still have that guitar 19 years later and while I often call myself a "Les Paul guy" that Strat is the guitar I play the most. I have played a number of Epiphone Les Pauls over the years. Don't ask me to nail down why, but they just don't feel the same as my USA made guitars. Of course, with 9 high-end guitars already, I need another one like a hole in the head. I already have far too many for my level (or lack) of talent.

Hit or miss, I suppose. Bottom line, just like cars, they all look good in pictures, and it's easy to get all ramped up about something reading a bunch of glowing reviews, only to find out it's either a total turd, or doesn't suit your taste. I have an MIK 80's Ibanez that I wouldn't trade for the world, and that MIK Dean I had was amazingly well built for the price...though the frets were E36 M3e. All in all, I will say the Korean build quality generally surpasses Chinee dollar for dollar, but man, guitars are a very personal thing. It's so rare for me to put one in my hands and feel like it really belongs there.

Mr_Estrotica
Mr_Estrotica Reader
8/15/13 7:04 p.m.

Just listed a guitar up on CL. If it goes away, I will happily be the guinea pig. It's gonna be hard to chose between Surf Green, Capri Orange (I have always wanted a Capri...), and Vintage Cream.

I figure worst case, I hate it and I hang it on the wall. Then I'd have to finish that damn Stratotone H45 project that's been gathering dust for ages.

alex
alex UberDork
8/15/13 7:22 p.m.

Regarding the Chinese issue: it depends entirely on the parent brand and the level of attention they give to the production facilities. I've played plenty of junk barely worthy of being called instruments, but that's actually pretty rare these days. Hell, I won a Squire Bullet in a charity raffle a couple years ago, and that thing is a damn solid guitar. And I've had a couple Ibanez Artcore jazz boxes that were basically flawless instruments.

ransom
ransom UltraDork
8/15/13 11:47 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Estrotica:

Awesome! I hope the CL forces align in your favor...

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