Guitars that have been positive quality surprises

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by D_W_PGH, Feb 26, 2019.

  1. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Holic

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    Both of my partscasters - I would have never believed that these two guitars are my all-time favorites.

    It isnt just the "proud pappa" syndrome either - I have had these guitars long enough to begin to begin to hate them (1 yr + for the one below) - but I find that I hate all my other guitars instead.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's

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    Xaviere XV-950 (avatar). $279, I liked the looks but I had pretty low expectations. I thought it would probably be a project. Flat blew me away. The build quality, great neck, tuning stability and the Retrotron Nashville's make a combination that I love every time I pick it up, which is often. Only change I made was a new nut, but I do that with all my keepers.
     
  3. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Your post about the ibanez SZs actually pointed me toward the Cort KX Custom. I'm almost sure those are the same guitar as Cort's X and M series guitars (depending on their scale).

    That started the landslide of Corts that I mentioned in another post. The first guitar I got was an X1 Custom with Duncans in it for $400 shipped with a nice add on soft case (not just a gig bag). I thought I'd find plasticky stuff, need to change the nut, the tuners, etc, or all kinds of silliness.

    The guitar I got had been neglected and needed the frets and metal parts polished, but I can't say I've ever had a gibson or anything under $3000 retail that was made better. I wish the X1 custom was shorter scale, but that's what the M600 and M-Custom are for, I guess. I scratched that with an MGM, two CRs (a custom with duncans and CR 250) and an M600.

    There are minor issues with some of the others (slight hump on the MGM after 15 years, but not really even needing mitigation yet unless you like to catch paper between your strings and frets), the nut is cut high on the M600, but I'll fix that in 20 minutes at some point before I resell it (prefer the MGM). The bones on all of them are just, well, great.

    I'm guessing that they're the contract manufacturer for dangelico in korea, too, but have no way to prove it. The dangelico guitars are sort of expensive for what they are, but they're beautifully made.

    At any rate, this all got started as a side track from the SZs - I couldn't quite find one for a price I liked and somehow saw a google link to cort, and saw the M200, then, the M600, then the X series, and the MGMs and it went downhill from there.

    Including one of the black guitar in this video, but in red. They didn't make these long enough, and I had to find one NOS. A GREAT sounding guitar, made pretty well (won't fool someone used to USA PRS $4k guitars, but the things that aren't aesthetically perfect, and the need for some initial setup work are forgivable.)



    (helps that they put a good player on a budget guitar, too - instead of matching the player to the price point. I hate that).
     
  4. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    that's a gorgeous guitar. I'm building (as a newbie at this point) and if I manage to build 6 or 8 telecasters before I get bored of them, at least some will have a switchcraft switch.

    Fender does such nice finish work, and sometimes they don't get enough credit when people complain about the "expensive $1300 telecasters".

    I'd love to see someone make a guitar as good, wholesale it for 70% of that or whatever they go for, and then provide product support and benefits to employees. I no longer have any american fenders, but they're a treat.
     
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  5. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I actually saw one of the silver sparkle models with D'Armonds and Bigsby for $300 the other day. They were neat guitars for the time.
     
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A $100 Squier Stagemaster 7 string was pretty amazingly good.
     
  7. eddy b.

    eddy b. TDPRI Member

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    AADE43DB-D029-4EC5-ADBB-C55019A14364.jpeg This D’Angelico EXL1. It’s from the latest incarnation of D’Angelico. It was made in China. To listen to some forum people you’d think this guitar should be junk, but for me it is great. Sounds just as good as my Heritage H575 Custom and my Epiphone Broadway. Very well made and sounds like a big jazz box.
     
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  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Good heavens what are those huuuggge pickups?
    They look like '50s toaster ovens in a cool way!
     
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  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have a deep rooted cognitive dissonance where I both feel that something like a D'Angelico is beyond a $1000 Chinese fake being any good, while at the same time having some very fine Chinese instruments because I really can't afford top tier.

    I've even seen them at GC, but had read some reviews that IIRC compared them to originals and found them sort of mediocre.

    But I had an old Swedish made Hagstrom D'Aquisto model archtop that was really good, despite being not at all acoustically alive.

    I should check one out...
     
  10. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    I wonder if those are made somewhere else other than the EX-SS and EX-SD. IIRC, they're laminated spruce? I've heard people say they sound a little harsh, but wind the tone back on most guitars and no problem.

    I've got a gaggle of archtops, and I'm not sure the pressed top guitars sound any better than laminated. They all sound great plugged in, and I'm not sure the carved spruce tops that sound so great acoustic really translate to being the same plugged in.

    Someone sold me a pressed-top LCS-1 earlier this year. $400 - and really fantastic for that. (i'm assuming that it's pressed top based on how it sounds).
     
  11. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    The EX-SS that I have is made in Korea. Fantastic instrument. It wasn't a bargain=priced guitar, but was a fair bit less expensive than a similarly appointed Gibson. The body is entirely hollow except for a very small block directly under the bridge. Build quality is exquisite. Tone is great.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Compared to the originals, they're completely different instruments. Most of the current ones are more like a dressed up gretsch, and sometime they go on sale for half price (all three that I bought were half price or less new - about $750 on average for the excel series). All three of mine were MIK, including the ex-SS which was last year.

    workmanship on them is better than the japanese 6120 gretsch that I had 15 years ago. That was a nice guitar, too, but less detail on it and the attention to detail wasn't quite as good.

    They're (the dangelicos) not easy to re-sell though, that's for sure, unless you bought well.
     
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  13. Otis Fine

    Otis Fine Tele-Holic

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    My Epiphone G-400 and my Douglas WVEB bass.
     
  14. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I bought one of these and it came cracked so I sent it back. I thought it was really well made. I always wanted a real D'Angelico and maybe someday I'll have one, who knows.

    Years ago before I was married I met a girl who was a photographer for Skinner, the auction house when I was playing alongside someone at one of those summer radio station festivals. The kind where someone with a current hit plays three songs (the hit and 2 nobody knows).

    She told me all about the auctions and mailed me a catalog. I went with a buddy of mine to the preview and played a few D'Angelico, Super 400 and Stromberg guitars as well as some other stuff.

    The guy who ran the auction offered to hire us to play at the next preview so we actually made like $200 or something to play standards on these amazing guitars.

    The bad side was most of the stuff looked beautiful in the books but really hadn't been played or setup that well so even though it got me a great photo of me and my fav prof from college the guitars were hard to play.
     
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  15. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm torn on the new D'Angelico guitars. Like I said, I had bought one and liked it but it was cracked.

    They're better than anything I've played as far as import hollowbodies (including the overpriced Japan Gretsch stuff) but seeing a name like D'Angelico on inexpensive (when compared to the originals) guitars or a model line that mostly have cutaways (which JD didn't like doing) kind of bothers me.

    All in all they're really nice guitars and a bargain at the prices they get.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I wouldn't look for a D'Angelico in a D'angelico.
    More of a nicer looking Epi Joe Pass/ Emperor sort of thing.
    Except for that foolish headstock.
     
  17. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I like the headstock. I agree with your other point.
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well the conundrum for me is sort of what you said, (the headstock, like the name) looks beautiful on a $100k (or whatever a real one sells for) guitar but looks a bit out of place at $750.
    This is a personal issue about looking pretentious though, the esthetics ought to be separate from the price.

    Maybe a relic version would suit me better!
     
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The further you get away from a jazz box, the odder it looks:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. JodanOrNoDan

    JodanOrNoDan Tele-Meister

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    Oh the irony. I would say my American Special Tele was a lot of playability for the money, but the winners in my collection are a pair of Gibson Les Pauls. They are LPMs and I got them dirt cheap. Replaced the robo tuners on them and I had gold. Truly ugly guitars but they sound and play great. I have a few pricey Les Pauls, but the cheap ones always seem to be the ones that make it onto recordings.
     
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