NGD: Monoprice Indio Classic - Review

Wound_Up

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Ash Deluxe.

Oh, yea? I just ordered one in blonde about 30 mins ago! I cant wait, TBH. As good as my other Indios have been, I sort of have somewhat 'high' expectations. High being a relative word in this case. They're considered high for this price range of guitar, more or less.

Monoprice has them for $149 through their Walmart.com storefront so I ordered one up finally. I was initially going to order the lower level model for $109 but then I saw this blonde/maple DLX Plus for $149 and couldn't pass it up!


https://www.walmart.com/ip/seort/227931649
 

Wound_Up

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I hope you enjoy it!
Me too! It should be here in the next 18 hrs!

This will be my first time even holding T-style guitar. Hopefully it all works out and I don't decide that I don't like it. I highly doubt that will happen, though. The only mods planned are to add a pure tone jack and possibly swap out the stock brass barrel saddles for compensated saddles. I was also thinking of doing a string through conversion but I've put that aside at least until I get the guitar and play it for a bit.

The package from FedEx is 12.4 lbs so I'm expecting it to weigh a decent amount.
 

Wound_Up

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I hope you enjoy it!

Its a very nice guitar. Needs zero attention from me. Fret ends couldn't be any better. Frets are level. Pickups appear to be Wilkinson M-series high output alnico pickups. Strung with D'addario strings from the factory, just like the last 2 I bought. It plays phenomenally! Action is lower than anything I currently have.

And it's heavy. 9.56 lbs(4.34 kg) of solid ash & maple.

It does have 1 single aesthetic issue. There's a slight scratch on the fretboard around the 7th fret or so. Nothing I'm worried about. I'll put at least one scratch like that in it any time now lol.

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Here's the scratch. I cleaned all the black up so it's barely visible now.

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Wound_Up

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I notice you listed the nut width at 42mm for your Classic. Mine neck feels quite wide. Wide enough that I noticed it almost immediately. I measured this one at 43-44mm. I didn't get an exact reading as I was only looking for a close measurement at the time, so I grabbed a 6 inch machinists rule to get an estimate.

It's definitely the Fender-designed guitar with the widest nut I've played so far. I actually quite like it. I also like fat necks so this one checks all the boxes for me :cool:
 

LightsOn45

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I ended up sending back my $60 Saturday Night Special to Monoprice. It literally was the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. The bridge was crookedly attached and the frets were extending out the entire length of the neck on both sides, sharp as heck.

I’m happy that some here got a really good deal, but mine was a dud.
 

Wound_Up

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I ended up sending back my $60 Saturday Night Special to Monoprice. It literally was the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. The bridge was crookedly attached and the frets were extending out the entire length of the neck on both sides, sharp as heck.

I’m happy that some here got a really good deal, but mine was a dud.

That's why I went for the DLX Plus. They get set up by a master luthier unlike the Retro Classic. With it being on sale for $149, it was a deal I couldn't pass up. Especially since $100 of that was covered with a gift card. I paid about $60 out of my pocket for this guitar :D:cool:

The fret job on it is better than anything I have and I swear it feels like they rolled the fretboard edges too lol.
 

timobkg

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Great review! Thx for posting!

I’ve considered the Strat but concerned the body would be too light. I like a nice balance and some meat to it so it doesn’t feel too cheap. This gives me hope!

And I totally agree about recommending these for beginners. It seems best for someone with skills (or a friend with skills) to assess and adjust. I’ve heard of people getting really good specimens but I think your chances of needing work are greatly increased.
These cheap Asian guitars (Monoprice, Agile, Harley Benton, etc.) actually tend to be heavier than similar guitars from Fender, Yamaha, etc. As evidenced by folks here talking about getting 9.6 and 10.6 lb Teles from Monoprice.
 
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Wound_Up

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These cheap Asian guitars (Monoprice, Agile, Harley Benton, etc.) actually tend to be heavier than similar guitars from Fender, Yamaha, etc. As evidenced by folks here talking about getting 9.6 and 10.6 lb Teles from Monoprice.

Not Monoprice, in my experience. I've got 2 LP-style 66 DLX Plus guitars from them. One weighs 7.7 lbs and thr other is 9.2 lbs or so.


They don't just "sell heavier guitars necsue they're cheaper" or whatever. It's a guitar by guitar basis. You could get a heavy one or a light one.

Those Indio Retros aka T-styles? They're heavy because of the wood used to build them. Not because they're cheap.

Buy one or their Retro Classics and you likely won't get this heavy guitar being that they're built out of basswood(I think?), which is known to be a lightweight wood, ime.

Deeve said:
That's their nod to the Authentic Norlin era
:rolleyes:

That makes no sense considering the Norlin era was Gibson. Why would someone building Fender-designed guitars give a nod to Gibson?
 

timobkg

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They don't just "sell heavier guitars necsue they're cheaper" or whatever. They're heavy because of the wood used to build them. Not because they're cheap.
Because heavier wood is cheaper, and is a place they can cut costs to make the guitar at a lower price point.

Every Agile or Harley Benton guitar I've seen has been about a lb heavier than a comparable guitar from Fender, Ibanez, or Strandberg. Agile even lists their average weight in the specs as being about a lb heavier. Everyone I've talked to who has gotten a Monoprice guitar has mentioned the heavier weight. Everything I've seen and heard makes me think that the 7.7 lb Monoprice LP you got was an unusual exception.

I love Monoprice for cables, but I wonder if they haven't stretched themselves too thin with all these other products. I ordered 3 ukeleles as gifts from them, and all three had something wrong with them - stuff like the nut installed incorrectly at a 45° angle.
 

bgmacaw

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Everyone I've talked to who has gotten a Monoprice guitar has mentioned the heavier weight.

As I mentioned in my original post, mine is 7.6 pounds which is about average for a Tele. It does seem to vary a lot though, especially with the ash models.
 

Wound_Up

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Because heavier wood is cheaper, and is a place they can cut costs to make the guitar at a lower price point.

Every Agile or Harley Benton guitar I've seen has been about a lb heavier than a comparable guitar from Fender, Ibanez, or Strandberg. Agile even lists their average weight in the specs as being about a lb heavier. Everyone I've talked to who has gotten a Monoprice guitar has mentioned the heavier weight. Everything I've seen and heard makes me think that the 7.7 lb Monoprice LP you got was an unusual exception.

I love Monoprice for cables, but I wonder if they haven't stretched themselves too thin with all these other products. I ordered 3 ukeleles as gifts from them, and all three had something wrong with them - stuff like the nut installed incorrectly at a 45° angle.

Well I don't buy their entry level stuff so I can't comment on that. I buy their DLX Plus guitars and they're PHENOMENAL
 

notme

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Its the dlx models that are heavier. The cheaper ones are much lighter. I have one od each.
The dlx is sooo much better, especially out of the box
 

Steak Knife Sally

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Just got a black indio retro from Amazon for $72. New version with the three barrel top loader bridge. Assuming the minihumbucker routing but haven't had the hood off. The construction is quite good, the finish is excellent and I love the neck. Haven't plugged it in yet, but I have a set of MIM pickups and a complete control plate (craigslist for $35 total) Will end up with a great little tele for about a $100. Knocked out by this little guy.
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bgmacaw

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Haven't plugged it in yet, but I have a set of MIM pickups and a complete control plate (craigslist for $35 total)

Try out the stock pickups before you start swapping. The stock ones on mine have turned out to be pretty decent. The neck pickup was sitting a bit low at first, resulting in an indistinct tone, but pushing it up really helped. Of course, the pickups they use depends on whatever they pull out of the parts bucket that day.

On the routing, mine was routed only for a Tele neck pickup. As with the pickups, this varies based on what comes down the production line at the time. So, you have to check and see what's underneath the pickguard.
 

Monoprice99

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I bought 2 of these in 2021. The 1st was May 23 lot (Father's Day Sale) & the 2nd was Oct 18 (Sale with online discount code close enough to my birthday & Holiday season)for being back in stock per Monoprice Inventory status for the product. Anyway Both are 6 individual block saddles with string thru body. 2022 is when they went to the 3 barrel saddles & top loader. I love both, blonde & 3TSB The blonde (8 lbs 13 oz) is 1 lb heavier than the 3TSB (7 lbs 13 oz). Out of the box they're fine, I don't intend to mod anything, a year plus later, no warranty issues. I figure these 2 will stand the test of time for durability.
 
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Monoprice99

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I ended up sending back my $60 Saturday Night Special to Monoprice. It literally was the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. The bridge was crookedly attached and the frets were extending out the entire length of the neck on both sides, sharp as heck.

I’m happy that some here got a really good deal, but mine was a dud.
Might not have been a misaligned bridge, might have been the pickguard cutout for the bridge plate instead ? The 3TSB I have has more gap on the bass side than the treble side. The blonde is virtually perfect for gap. What I was more concerned about was whether it was the neck pocket route and how the neck might have a small gap there or how the neck bolts were drilled. That as the distance from the neck pocket to the bridge makes that much off in the neck pocket even more at the bridge plate. Further away and the gap is going to be off is magnified going about 7 from the end of the fretboard, 12.75 more to the 12th fret, 25.5 to the nut slot for inches away from where slightest gap or misalignment actually is the problem. What I looked for with mine was the straightness from the nut slot to the saddle bend over point, that the pole pieces of the bridge pickup align with the strings too. Also the neck pickup cover aligns with the strings for overhang side to side of the high & low E strings, since it's a chromed steel cover. The 3TSB aligns for what is played nut slot to saddle, the pickguard gap is cosmetic. If anything the string trees might be off ever so slightly. Mine plays & sounds fine, the pickguard gap on the 3TSB wasn't a deal breaker to send it back, since the neck was aligned from nut to saddles for all build & parts in between.

I will say the 1st 3TSB went back, but that's because it was damaged to where I found debris, cracked poly & wood from S&H. The 2nd came back with the pickguard gap, but perfectly good for everything else. The blonde, that had a poly finish blemish on the back of it. I kept it, the guitar cost $ 80, so I considered that a preowned Squier with some abuse/damage. The 3TSB was $ 75 delivered. Combined they were roughly Squier Bullet cost on sale. I was really 0-3 for perfect guitars cosmetically and if the poly blemish o the blonde, the pickguard of the 3TSB were send back flaws, then that's the option I had. Obviously, the S&H damage was something I wasn't going to overlook. But the rest of the guitar was perfect for build alignment. I did use a laser level to check alignments. I figured the laser level was better than a straight edge. A beam of light, if the optic lens is as close to perfect is going to be the straightest line with the tools I have to measure/verify that.
 
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Jim85IROC

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I've gotten 2 guitars from Monoprice, and I was blown away both times. The first one was one of their super low-end Strat copies prior to when they rolled out the "Indio" brand. Mine just has their "M" logo on the headstock, but I assume it's essentially the same guitar as their low end strats. The guitar was reduced, plus I was able to use the 15% off code that they had every Sunday at the time, so I got it for $60. The guitar came with the lowest action I've ever played on a guitar, and not a dead note or fret buzz anywhere. I had to raise it up (a lot) so I could bend on it. The fret ends were not sharp at all. I can't remember if the frets were gritty, but they probably were. Everything is at this price range. The body and neck were flawless. The hardware was your typical cheap but functional stuff. The guitar was such a great player that I built a new pickguard with a JB/Jazz humbucker set, then swapped that out for a loaded Classic Vibe pickguard, which is how it's still set up. That combo is a fantastic sounding guitar, and was the Strat that I played the most until I got a great deal on a Player Series HSS Strat that sounds slightly better to me (fuller mids) and has a thicker neck. The super thin neck on the Monoprice is really my only complaint with it.

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The next one was one of their Indio Boardwalk semi hollowbodies. I didn't really need it, as I already had more cheap 335 clones than I need (Ibanez AS93 and a Firefly FF338), but I found it on Ebay, sold directly by Monoprice, for under $150. I saved it, and a day or 2 later I got a discount offer on it which put it at $130. Absolute no brainer at that point. I bought it to flip. When it came in, I discovered that it had a big fat neck, and it felt great, so I wound up keeping it. Fretwork is great, fit and finish is perfect as far as I can tell. This was significantly nicer out of the box than the similarly priced Firefly guitars.

I don't have any pictures of this one, but I'll get one soon. The all blacked out appearance would look great on a Super Strat or some other design, but is kind of an oddity in a semi hollowbody.

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