GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Here you can discuss details about instruments, equipment and all those other bits that non-musicians won't understand !

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Oldbones
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GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Oldbones » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:25 pm

It's all too easy and quite natural to want to discuss your own guitars, especially when they're really nice instruments. I've done it several times in this forum. But let's not forget that there will always be both young and mature folks who want to learn guitar or want to find out if the guitar is right for them. What they will probably be looking for is advice and recommendations for nylon and steel-strung instruments, whether acoustic or electric. Too often you see budget guitars with actions so high you would risk not only pain and awful intonation, but severe disappointment. Other instruments are made to a budget and, let's be honest, they look and play as if they're both cheap and nasty. What newbies need are pointers towards good instrument models and makes which won't break their bank or the bank of anyone looking to buy as a present.

So what thoughts do forum members have along the lines I've just outlined? I'm happy to kick things off with a guitar that has really surprised and pleased me ...

At the time of starting this thread the Chord CSC35 costs £87 on Amazon uk. I was finding the Viator increasingly a little dissastifying in some areas, although I still rate it as a good guitar and it is one I'll keep. However, I took a punt on the Chord not just for me but also because my eldest granddaughter (6 and a bit) is showing interest in wanting to learn guitar or uke. What a surprise the Chord proved to be. There were a few negatives but for the money it astonished me. I won't write a review here, but can point you towards the listing on Amazon. One of the reviews there is mine and that provides all the detail and information anyone is likely to need.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Guitars-Gear ... B004CYS7VY

If that listing eventually disappears and the link fails to work, then I'll happily upload a brief summary of the key points to here.

Now over to anyone else in the forum to see what others can suggest in the way of good value, sub £100 instruments.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Roger
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Roger » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:08 pm

Oldbones,

I have a Harrier Mistral, which cost £39.99 from ebay. It's a Tele copy. Although this guitar isn't perfect by any means, what it has done has made me appreciate the Tele as a guitar - very simple design, comfortable to play and some great tones too!

I have fitted a Trev Wilkinson bridge and tuners and (with help!) done a fair bit of work on the neck and frets. At first I thought it would need a replacement neck, but things seemed to have settled down and I'm reasonably happy with it now. As the guitar was £40 (they usually sell for about £100), with the bridge and tuners coming in at about £35, even with a new sets of strings I'm still well under £100! I'd still like a decent Tele, but I see the Harrier as a "project" guitar which I would like to get to a reasonable standard and then keep for a few years (I've had it over 6 already!).

Best to you Oldbones,

Roger
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Oldbones » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:40 pm

Roger wrote:I have a Harrier Mistral, which cost £39.99 from ebay. It's a Tele copy.

Not easily available now by the looks of it and I doubt a 'project' guitar would be right for someone just starting out or buying as a gift for someone to learn. It does look as if this make of guitar IS bought by people who want a modding project - there's an LP copy on Ebay which has had Seymour Duncan pickups fitted and other mods.

I wonder if other forum members have ideas for affordable, sub £100 guitars of any type which could help someone searching for such info?

The REAL question, of course Roger, is --- do you lean towards Jerry Donahue or Roy Buchanan in your fondness for the Tele .... or do you chuck one string in the bin and do a 'Keef'?
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Roger » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:33 pm

Oldbones,

Very true - my Tele copy was bought as a project guitar and I'd have been pleased if for £39 I'd just had a useable body and pick ups!

As regards the Chord this video might interest you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64JWNC72ZiA

There is a guitar shop in Warwick where the owner has been stocking Chord guitars for ages and speaks very highly of them.

I'm aware that Epiphone have launched the Les Paul SL which retails for $99 in the US:

http://www.epiphone.com/Products/Electr ... ul-SL.aspx

Also, Reidys are selling the Epiphone Les Paul Express, which is short scale guitar for £99:

https://www.reidys.com/pr/electric-guit ... rst-19043/

Gear4Music have some 3/4 size acoustic/electroacoustic travel guitars for less than £100. Don't know very much about these, but there are video demonstrations on their website.

Also, don't forget the s/h market. I love my Vintage LH-VTG100N travel guitar (as played by Gordon). It cost £169 new, but I've just seen a s/h right hand version on ebay with a starting bid of £80:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Travel-guitar ... SwfkxZby~Y

Oldbones as regards Tele players for me it's the late Mick Green, Wilko, Phil Manzanera, Jeff Beck, Will Sergeant, Andy Summers and Chris Spedding. Nice to see a young player choosing a Tele too - Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice.

Roger
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Oldbones » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:05 am

Ahhh - Phil Manzanera. I'd forgotten his link to the Tele. I've recently been culling my LP collection but one past favourite I've hung onto is his original '801' release.

Good list of guitars that should help anyone looking for such info - and useful to have acoustic and electric possibilities. Many thanks for that.

I'd seen the Youtube demo of the Chord. (Not one of Gi's best uploads. I thought the presenter looked very uncomfortable in front of the camera). The Warwick shop sounds interesting and yes, I must again stress how surprised and impressed I was with the 3/4 size CSC35. Obviously, for so little money you get a fairly generic tone without a great deal of individuality, but you do get a very well made and eminently playable instrument. Even though I have a Viator, I'll still be keeping the Chord.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Roger » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:06 am

Oldbones,

Nice to find another Manzanera fan on the forum. Are you referring to the 801 Live album with Simon Phillips and Brian Eno?

Roger
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Oldbones » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:33 pm

No - my copy is the studio recording. I just looked it out in one of the Really Useful Boxes I bought to store the LPs I'm taking with me when I move house. My copy is titled 'Phil Manzanera / 801 Listen Now'. The cover is superb. It's dated April 1977 and was recorded at Basing Street Studios between '75 and '77 and at The Manor in '77. I think it was the 2nd release by 801. Didn't the live performance and recording come beforehand? I don't recall having heard that.

Phillips and Eno were on it along with others such as Godley & Creme, Ian & Billy MacCormick etc. I was a real fan in those days because inside the sleeve I found a pull-out I'd made with all the lyrics typed out plus a copy of an article titled 'Music for bad dreams' by Ian Birch
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Roger
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Roger » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:55 pm

Oldbones,

The 801 Live album was released in 1976, with Listen Now following in 1977. There was a tour to promote Listen Now with an 801 mark II band. I saw them play at Birmingham Town Hall and Phil Manzanera was superb, his only guitar being a late 50s Les Paul goldtop loaned to him by Lol Creme. Recordings of these gigs were released some years later (801 Live at Manchester and 801 Live at Leeds).
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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby GORDON » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:05 am

As everyone knows,I'm the king of the budget guitar going back years to my APPALACHIAN DREAMING car boot guitar.Recently I bought a no name Strat copy from a local shop for £120.It is well made, has good pickups a great neck,looks great and sounds very good.So good in fact that thus far I have used it for at least three gigs one of which was recorded.

Since that time I have put friends in touch with the shop and they have purchased the remainder of his stock.OK,I admit it's not as good as my custom Paul White Strat,but believe me it is truly fit for purpose.You can find some incredibly good guitars these days,electric and acoustic if you know what you are looking for.At the end if the day to a degree a guitar is what you make it.A friend recently bought off Ebay one of my Vintage 2000 acoustics for a very good price.After spending a couple of hours setting it up for him it plays a dream.Keep seeking out those bargains chaps.Blessings.G.

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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Oldbones » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:54 am

A lot of unfair flak is sometimes directed at Squier guitars, but they can be very affordable and ideal for both beginner and for practise if you just want a guitar to have handy. Years ago I lashed out on a PRS SE but now also have a bog-standard Squier which I'll be tweaking with some Elixir strings and a slight drop in the action - but for just over £100 it's a bargain and even played-as-bought, it plays well. OK, so the tonal range isn't as great, but it's still an excellent buy.

On a slightly different tack, I'm now REALLY getting to love and appreciate my Vintage Viator 6 string. That guitar never gets itself put back in its case. It's always resting in an armchair ready for an instant pick-up. Not expensive either, although I know a few folks have had issues with build problems.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby Peter Lee » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:38 am

I've got a Squier Tele and I love it. I manage to play some nice sounding stuff on it even with my limited playing ability. Is there not a bit of a generalisation that 'more expensive' = 'better'. Ok....the electronics and tuners may be better on more expensive guitars....but I reckon that over the past 10 years or so the lesser known brands quality and playability have improved somewhat. Get a guitar for, say, £100-200....spend £30-50 on a basic set up.....job done.

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Re: GOOD BUDGET GUITARS - sub £100 - let's not overlook them

Postby DaveDexterMusic » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:40 pm

I'm floating to the top end and over the budget, but I have a DeArmond M55. Discontinued, still available for £100-ish - like an LP junior, very unadorned, one HB. It's very good, though must be said I shelled out for a setup that included some fret levelling. Replacing the pickup as I intend to might take it up to 200+ all in, but not needed for a beginner.

Completely over the budget now - I have a Revelation RJT-60M. I got it used for 180, not much more new. It's a superb guitar, matches my Fender American Standard in many ways.

And a Benson 335 copy for about 150. After some setup, plays great.

I can also recommend some of the lower end Burns.

Related note, the cheapest all-valve amp head I've seen is between 85-100 new - the SubZero (or Redwood, or Belcat) H5. Really good. Not especially subtle, but has a dirty cranked Fender feel to it. If linking to examples is ok: https://soundcloud.com/davedextermusic/love-aint-a-love-song-lead-guitar-demo - a bit boxy as I was using 1x10s then, but I could gig with it happily.


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