Friday, March 10, 2006

Sometimes You Get MORE Than You Pay For

I'm So Stoked

In my previous post I talked about the new guitar I was waiting for delivery from Rondo Music. So, listen up, boy-o. Sometimes you actually get more than what you pay for. In my life, many times, I felt like I got a good deal. That what I received was worth the price. But this is ridiculous.

When I got home last night and opened that box. Holy Toledo! I mean, powder blue is a low-key but pretty color, but the vintage tint on the guitar neck and the 'yellowed' pickup covers and volume/tone knobs made this guitar a beauty. So far, so good.

First, I visually inspected the guitar carefully and found no obvious flaws or damage. Hey, that neck is just a tiny bit on the chunky side. Bonus. The fatter the better. I tuned it up and played a bit. Great, and I mean great feel. The neck has an awesome feel and the guitar has decent resonance, although on tremolo guitars like this one, some of the resonance is lost in that tremolo machinery. The action straight out of the box was pretty good, just a widdle bit high, but I'll fix that later. Acoustically, a success.

I plugged the guitar into my trusty, battery powered Roland Micro Cube guitar amplifier. This is one of the best bang for the buck amps in the world, and totally portable. Anyway, I strummed a bit in each of the five switch positions, working the volume and tone knobs, and just generally checking for proper function. All good. Then I dialed in a Fender Blackface emulation on the Micro Cube with lots of reverb and well, the guitar sounded really, really good in all pickup selections. I had thought that the first thing I would have to do is buy some better pickups, but I have to tell you I'm astonished at how good this guitar sounds right now. Bridge pickup is bright and punchy and with the reverb up, get some good surf tones. Both of the in-between positions are wonderfully hollow sounding and get what I call a 'ker-plunkety' sound, like a good strat with good pickups should. And the neck pickup? Man, I got some loud, bluesy, punchy, tones. At this point, I'm like thinking I just saved myself some money, because I'm not swapping out THESE pickups anytime soon. I finished checking it out for now and went into dweeb mode and carefully tuned the guitar again, adjusted the intonation (it was already darn close), and cut/sanded a small block of wood and 'blocked' the tremolo. I'm a hard tail guitar kinda guy, I don't use a whammy (tremolo). And then, the guitar was noticably more resonant. I TOLD you the tremolo system on strats eats some of the natural resonance of a guitar. Plus I'm having enough trouble learning to play without a whammy. That's like adding another instrument and I'm not ready for that.

So, the guitar is beautiful. No defects. Everything works. Very well in fact. The guitar plays like a dream and with the exception of the action being just a tad high for my taste, is already almost perfect. I do not exagerate here. I mean, I'm as prone to exageration as any man, and I'm not a great guitar player, but that I paid $119 for the guitar and shipping, and that the guitar exeeds my expectations in every area is no joke. I have owned a Fender American Strat Plus Deluxe, and also a Made in Mexico Strat, and both were wonderful guitars, but those two guitars cost me roughly a thousand dollars (I got much of that back when I sold them), but crikey mates, this SX guitar is a giant killer!

And to top it all off, the maple neck on this guitar has some serious, serious flame. You pay a big premium for this when you buy a big-name brand guitar. The neck pocket is every bit as tight as the two Fenders I owned. The neck is straight itself (no warping), and is also attached to the guitar straight, the two outside e strings are in perfect alignment with the edges of the neck all the length of the neck. I mean, every area I could try to nit-pick leaves me satisfied. The tuners are enclosed and work smoothly, much better than the crappy 'vintage' tuners on my Gibson Les Paul Studio.

All in all, I don't see how SX does it for the price. I don't see how Rondo Music sells them for the price. Only thing I can figure is that they are a volume dealer and make their money by selling bunches and bunches of guitars (they have almost 10,000 eBay feedbacks). I didn't buy mine via eBay though.

But I definitely got more guitar than what I paid for, in my opinion.
Check out my photos of the actual guitar.


No comments: