PRO GUITARS ARE NOT ABOUT FIT FINISH AND HARDWARE ...OR ARE THEY ??
I keep seeing reviewers basically putting down any guitar
under about $800.00.
I also see the same people rave about Guitar Star Mr. X's guitar as wonderful when in fact it is a 50's
Harmony or Supro or Kay etc. that when new it was a budget or entry level guitar.
Those guitars by today's standards could be blown away by a Squier bullet Mustang for $150.00 USD.
In my opinion those old guitars are pro because when we
hear their unique sound used to complement a great tune written to fit with their voice they blow us away. It is a struggle to play many of them with tree trunk necks and much higher action then a modern guitar ...but it is the sound that makes them Pro.
We are now getting a few guitars with some decent pro tone-wood. You can not 'FIX' bad wood.
EVERYTHING but the wood can be addressed with very Pro after market hardware ...and there is some great stuff out there ...some of it made by company's you have never heard of.
Amazing Korean hardware and PU's if chosen wisely can be cheap.
I got a pair of Korean made Seymour Duncan OME ...SH-1 '59 PAF's ....NEW each only ...$15.00 US!! It is an exact duplicate of the US made one right down to the nickel silver base plate! In short zero difference!
Duncan supplies these PU's for Asian made guitars that are the entry level guitars of American brands or they are American companies that simply manufacture offshore. The Duncan USA factory is not set up to handle the volume or the price. So Korean company's like Artec which are set up for high volume do. The PRS SE models are a good example.
Are all Artec PU's great, NO...you send them your design and they make it. If you want high end parts lt costs more.If however you want a cheap PU you will get it ...a ceramic magnet fewer turns of cheaper wire and steel base plate. $5.00 Each.Oddly enough it will look great because quality control for the build is stellar.
I got my PU's from a Chinese on-line store. I expect they are grey market. Some company that can not afford the volume buying from Duncan sells the excess inventory out the back door.
The playability of most necks can be made as good or better then $1200.00 USD guitars for about $100.00 USD by a half decent repair guy.
If the guitars has good 'bones' meaning good wood and a passable neck and an accurate and tight fits at the heel where it fits into the body you have a winner. You will then need just a bit of work on the frets and a decent pickup. Done!!!
It should not slowdown your playing. It also needs 'one' great PU. A good pickup is like a car motor ...no matter how good a driver you are you can not win a race with a lame gutless motor.
Think it over ...do not let yourself get emotionally crushed by not having $1200.00 plus sitting in your wallet.
I own a Fender Custom Shop Strat ($4200.00 USD if you want one.) I had made to my spec right down to the wood and colour. I also have a '59 reissue LP Special.
I like having them.
To be honest it so I can say with 'AUTHORITY' that they do NOT sound better then a used Korean guitar that cost me $160.00 USD
So do not forget used!!! There are great used guitars made in Japan from Ibanez and Korea even unpopular or guitars meant for entry level that merely could use a better PU!!!
CASE IN POINT
I got a Fender Korean made 1998 DeArmond/Guild Bluesbird it was frightfully dirty and looked majorly neglected ...in fact the fretboard grunge looked lke it was home to a bacteria factory ..LOL
It looked like crap!!!
It came with the action on it is lower then my Fender Custom Shop Strat.
The neck has never been touched since it was made. In fact when I got it home I put on a new set of strings and checked the intonation with a strobe tuner. It was bang on ...I have to tell you I almost sh_t my pants!!!
The wood is all solid Honduras mahogany!!! The exact wood used for Gibson LP's.
The fit and finish was not compromised!
I cleaned and sanitized it!
I paid $129.00 USD. I put in a pair of Seymour Duncan Korean made OME PAF's. $30.00 USD
THIS GUITAR SOUNDS LIKE A 60's GIBSON LES PAUL CUSTOM I USED TO OWN.
IT BLEW ME AWAY!!!
(NOTE: Guild brought this guitar out in 1970 with a deliberate attempt to make it sound like an LP custom. It originally came in black with gold hardware just like the LP Custom)