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The joy of playing cheap guitars


Snobs give these a miss. I don't.

I recently visited a little hole-in-the-wall place that carried nothing but cheap guitars. Why nothing but the cheap stuff? Because they're not "approved" to carry the more expensive brands (there's a whole process involved for anybody who wants to sell highfalutin brand guitars and it's not fun).

There are three things I know when it comes to the cheap stuff.

First, the low end brands have absolutely caught up to the higher tier stuff, and it's for one reason. CNC machining. Bodies and necks are built just as well as guitars costing quadruple the price, and I'm not kidding.

Second - and this is a weird one but true - lower end guitars have to put in better effort just so people will buy them. You can really see this with things like the neck pocket fit and paint. A lot of cheaper brands do it right. The higher tier brands, on the other hand, do a lot of cost cutting. This is why you will see things like finish blemishes and nasty neck pocket gaps on $1,000+ guitars whereas you really don't on the lower end stuff.

Third, given that most guitar players are such brand snobs, they don't actively seek out shops that sell the cheap stuff - but I do...

...and it's there I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing stuff that the snobs wouldn't give a second look to, or even a first for that matter.

Below is a video of me playing some Tagima TG500 and Sawtooth guitars at that hole-in-the-wall shop. And none of the guitars busted over $350. In fact, most were under $250.

Great guitars, great necks, great sounds. I had to resist pulling out my wallet because there were a few I wanted to buy on the spot.

Published 2023 Sep 5

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