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Author Topic: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650  (Read 11362 times)

Vladan

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Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« on: December 24, 2013, 06:22:45 AM »
...based primarily on build quality and value for money, regardless of stereotyped genre, or sound.
 I already have 2 Squiers, so I'd probably get something else this time. They are quite standard Tele with maple neck, and quite standard hollowbody, so I'd skip those too.

 I want at least one Humbucker. Tremolo bar is an option.

 Are Modern Player Fenders any good? Where they cross the Squier line? Are they up to Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified Squiers, or it's only at Classic Series and Standard where Fenders are better than Squiers?

 So, I found these, I can try locally, to be interesting

 1. Gretsch G5438 Pro Jet (Because Gretch is a trip, and I'll never have the money for the real one)

 2. Gretsch G5245T Double Jet with Bigsby (because Bigsby is another trip, in spite the fact I don't use it, ever)

 3. Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster FMT HH
 (actually this one's at the top of my list at the moment, without even seeing it live, because it has that 80's "hi on cocaine" HM look I always dispised, but want to fight my demons)

 4. Fender Starcaster (Maple Neck) (Because it looks odd, it's hollow and reminds me of Tele De Luxe Custom, one with Strat like head, which is probably the best guitar I've ever played)

 5. Fender Blacktop Telecaster HH (Because It's Tele with humbuckers and I hated Schecter when I tried it some time ago.)

zagatron1

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2013, 09:33:33 AM »
Since Fender Modern Players and Squier Classic Vibes are from China, I would think they are about equal in quality (Good!). I have a Classic Vibe 50s Tele (Blonde) and love it! The Vintage Modified Squiers (made in Indonesia) are of good quality as well. All worth the money. I personally don't care for any lesser models (ie, Affinity, Bullets), but that's just me. Starcasters........well how low can you go? The Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster FMT HH and Fender Blacktop Telecaster HH are some nice choices. It's always best to try out as many as you can. After all, you will be the judge.

Seasons Greetings!!!!!
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 09:35:45 AM by zagatron1 »

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2013, 04:30:14 PM »
Thanks. I think we may be talking about different Starcasters. I speak of this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Starcaster
reissue 2013.

Jestme

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2013, 04:57:34 PM »
Where you have 2 Squires... a Tele and a hollow body... are looking for a humbucker then maybe it would be worth considering an Epiphone Les Paul. They are within your price range.

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2013, 03:06:14 AM »
Couple of years ago, I went shopping for LP copy, Epiphones were obvious choice, but they all felt like piece of plank.
Most likely, that was because I got used to 7.5 radius of the Tele. I may give them another try.

So I moved to 335 copies, no luck. Hollowbodies, they were better, Epiphone Swingster and Ibanezes were really good, but I ended buying Squier X-155.

At that time I tried mentioned Grtetches, they seamed really well built, were nice and easy on the neck, but I could not cope with ergonomy - body is comparatively small, e.g. the neck is protruding "too far", so I was finding 12th fret there where I expected 7th.

creekster52

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2013, 01:41:39 PM »
I don't know what what your personal preferences are. That might be helpful in making a recommendation.

Considering your more recent recordings, I don't see how you could go wrong with the Starcaster.

An Epiphone Sorrento is a little more than your budget, if you buy new, but the package includes a case.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-50th-ann.-1962-sorrento-outfit-electric-guitar

Another guitar you might consider is a vintage Peavey T-60. It is very different from your current inventory. U.S. made, dual humbuckers with a unique coil-split feature. They have a swamp ash body and the body is a bit larger than most solid body guitars. There are several on Ebay, but I do not know if you have access to Ebay/US, or if any currently listed will ship internationally. They often come with case.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0&_nkw=T-60&_sacat=619&_from=R40

If you have any interest in a Les Paul style, you can't go wrong with an Agile (IMO). The AL-2000 models are a little over $200 US and cases are about $60 US. The AL-3000 series cost a little more, but within your budget, and come with ebony fretboard & Alnico pups. Rondo is one of the few suppliers that ships the guitar in the case when you purchase both together. I own 3 of the AL-2000 models, and like every one of them.

http://www.rondomusic.com/cgi-rondomusic/sb/productsearch.cgi?search_field=AL-2000
« Last Edit: December 25, 2013, 01:54:19 PM by creekster52 »

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2013, 02:52:29 PM »
Thank you Creekster.
Just general preferences here.
 
- it should be quiet and resistent to feedback (humbucker covers that)
- stay in tune (this is something I can not know in advance, isn't it),
- as low action as possible
- not too wide, or thick neck
- flatter than 7.5 radius of my Tele, but maybe not 14-15 flat, like Godin I played last night 
- I'd rosewood or ebony fingerboard on Tele type guitar, but whatever on other.

I remember browsing Rondo site in the past. Their prices seamed too low to belive in quality. However, I trust your opinion, so I'll check there again.

I still have to decide wether I shop for quality only, or for quality + brand name.

Jestme

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2013, 04:04:06 PM »
I personally have not played an Agile but I have heard many good reviews of them. A guy at work has one that he is very pleased with.

Good luck.

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2013, 04:19:21 PM »
I'll need more than luck. Shiping cost from Rondo to my place is USD225, so USD300 guitar, imediately becomes USD525 + 10% customs duty (fixed rate for goods comming by post) + 20%VAT on top of it all + local courriering and taxes. Price more than doubles. Still, almost within the limit, but I'm not sure I want to pay 700 for something listed as 300. Bummer. I'll have some sleeples nights over this one.

DetroitBlues

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2013, 09:47:20 PM »
The only difference between a Modern Player and a Squier is $100 and a logo... I don't know why Fender came up with that idea....

Jestme

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2013, 10:33:06 PM »
I'll need more than luck. Shiping cost from Rondo to my place is USD225, so USD300 guitar, imediately becomes USD525 + 10% customs duty (fixed rate for goods comming by post) + 20%VAT on top of it all + local courriering and taxes. Price more than doubles. Still, almost within the limit, but I'm not sure I want to pay 700 for something listed as 300. Bummer. I'll have some sleeples nights over this one.

Yes I can see that makes a big difference WOW! I believe you are in Belgium...? so it sounds like you pretty much want to deal with local guitar shops...?

creekster52

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 02:06:22 AM »
Vladan - Bummer...With the additional expenses involved, I wouldn't go the Rondo route, and you would probably be facing the same expense on anything off of Ebay/US. I believe Shine Guitars are the European distribution equivalent to Agile, if that helps (same factory).

I did buy a Dot (natural) a few months ago, and I like it very much. I also have 2 Dot Deluxe models, and an Epiphone Lucille. All have been excellent quality. I have avoided the models that do not have Grover tuners.

BTW...I just noticed the Epiphone Sorrento has the Wilkinson Vintage tuners, so that one is off my list.

What are they asking for the Starcaster? I assume you are considering a new one since they are currently going for $699 in the US.

Just found this review on the Starcaster:

Comments about Fender Starcaster Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar:

Body and neck are right, but bridge and tailpiece are just regular ones on the reissue---not the real Starcaster bridge. I was a Fender warranty service man for many years. These pickups are not actually the vintage Fender pickups. These are a regular, Gibson-sized humbucker that is inside of the old-style Fender cover. They just fill it up with wax to keep it from moving around and squealing. They sound OK, but the original pickups were trying to sound more "Fendery" and still be a humbucker. The pole pieces on the originals were actually threaded magnets more in keeping with Fender's style. These newer pickups are bottom-loaded magnet regular humbuckers. The originals had all 1 Meg potentiometers and a master volume control. The 1 meg pots  helped keep the highs from bleeding off and thereby keeping it more "Fendery" sounding. These new ones sound more like a Gibson 335 copy because they just have regular humbuckers and controls. Still a very nice guitar and very good-looking, too. Just noting the differences between the real ones and these new ones.

One other review stated there was a lot of birds-eye maple. Must have been on the Natural model. Sounds nice!
 
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 02:21:09 AM by creekster52 »

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2013, 07:38:56 AM »
@Detroit Thank's.
If Modern player is equal in quality to Classic Vibe series, I'd be willing to pay something extra for the brand name, but only in models unavailable as Squier, like this Starcaster reissue. If there'd be Squier Starcaster, I certainly won't buy exactly the same
Fender at 50% higher price.

@Jestme Yes, local shops in Serbia. On SALEs, they sell in EUR at absolute number similar to it's cost in USD, in USA.
On a regular day, another 20% or so higher. So $300 Agile they'd be selling for about EUR350/300 ie. USD450/400.
I've noticed prices in Belgium are even higher slightly, but their per capita average income is several orders of magnitude larger than our (of course, that's nobodies else problem but our).
Another piece of info, on import of Musical instruments as merchandise, for further trafficking, duty is 1%. So you can see how much local shops are stealing, while still being cheaper than I could manage on my own.

@Creekster
1. At the moment, new Starcaster is about USD750, reduced from USD950.
Approx. the same price is for Fender Special Edition Custom Telecaster FMT HH,
while Fender Black Top Tele HH is some $630.

2. Regarding the review, I don't care for correct vintage looks, but I hoped Fender Humbucker is what it appears to be.
On the other hand, if that's Fender's current standard for HUM PU, and if it sound anything like 335, I'm satisfied.

zagatron1

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2013, 03:25:58 PM »
Thanks. I think we may be talking about different Starcasters. I speak of this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Starcaster
reissue 2013.

Yes, I'm afraid you are correct! I didn't even know it ever was a 1976-1982 Starcaster. My bad.

Vladan

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Re: Help me choose, or give an idea, up to USD 600-650
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2013, 09:03:15 AM »
Ok people, you can take it for what it's worth, a post on a internet forum, but here are my impressions.

Note: I did not plug any of these guitars, I've just tried them in terms of fell, playability and quality of build impression.

- Fender Black Top Tele HH - Plank. Plain
- Squiers, including CV - Plank, plain, with exception of one particular piece, all white Cabronita, 2x heavier than all the rest, but neck was not on par with the body.
- Chinese Fenders, telecasters and I don't know what - Plank
- Mexican Fenders - Plank

None of above guitars could touch my '86-7 E series squier in terms of neck and feel. Maybe they have better PUs, or tuning pegs, I don't know. Also, their bodies are so unnaturally light. Maybe new generation likes that.

- Fender special edition HH - not bad, but unnaturally slim and light body.

- Gretches Jet Pro and Jet Club, among the best for the price, but with some looce switches and pots.
- Double Jet as 5. but goes out of tune just like that. Like it was digital, now it's tune, now it's all over the place.
- Charvel Desolation, couple of models, with locking nut and without - all good guitars, almost worth the money.

And now, The Absolute Winner, The Best guitar I tried today, better than any of above (in my opinion of course) ...

!!! Fender Pawn Shop '72 Stratocaster Rosewood Fretboard !!! - Made in Japan.

I'd try it plugged, but salesman pissed me off. I asked if some marks on the finish were the dirt, or it was damaged. It turned out it was dirt, but he started acting as if it was somehow my fault. Also he noted the guitar was down from USD950 to USD700 and I should be happy to get it like that in any condition???!

Obviously, I won't buy guitar, but if You are into "Thinline" Fenders, try this one.