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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wlo, this year seems to be the year that I have been buying inexpensive guitars. In the $400 and under price group I have bought 4. Two Ibanez and two Epiphones. I am impressed with all of them. I didn’t have to replace any of the components on any of them.
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Sorry. I don’t have a pic of my Epi SG. What are your favorite guitars under400 dollars?
 

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I still think the best bargain going are JS 1000s on the second hand market. They've not shot up in price at anything like the rate of other ibanez..
Even this year I've still seen them in reasonable condition for £600/$700
Hard to think of a situation where you get more guitar for your money then that.
 

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Those JSs are indeed a good deal. Some of the other JS models too, like the one with the P90s and wraparound bridge - kinda cool if you want a Strat style and LP Special thing in one guitar.

If you asked me a couple of years ago, I'd have said a Roadstar, but they've gone up in recent times, some ridiculously so. There was a time where you could get them for 1-3 bills all day. Great necks, pickups you don't feel bad about swapping out. 1986 models are probably the most desirable, as they come with an Edge (400-500 series).

For older Japanese guitars, some of the Fernandes and Aria Pro II stuff can still be had for a bargain.
 

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You can still find some old late 80's/early 90's Charvels that are great Japanese made shredders for the money, but they have gone up recently. I'd have to put my money on Ibanez for bang-for-your-buck guitars though. Late 90's (98,99,2000) Fujigen RG's are superb for the money, even though they have gone up a bit, RG520's etc. The SZ series are Les Paul killers and can be found very reasonable... I bought a like new SZ320 for $200 and the build quality is awesome. Also, older JS's are not too bad. Picked up a JS1200 for $800 and that is the most I've ever paid for a guitar. I have Jem level dreams and Squire level talent... sooo... yeah.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, here is a shot of my SG Special. It’s funny, but the bridge on the epiphone versions are better than this on the Gibson versions of the two models Ive shown in the pics.
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I think the JS1000 is hard to beat at any price point to be honest. For a long time I had one as a main guitar for classic rock/metal stuff, the fact you can get them for the same price as you could 10 years ago...
Agreed! A burnt blue JS1000 is still my go to everyday player guitar for that very reason..

If we're talking new rather than second hand it's trickier.. I've not bought new since 2001!
It seems that low end guitars have improved a lot since my Chinese squier strat days in the early 90s..
 

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For new stuff, the market up to $300-400 has become very competitive and most big brands seem to offer lots of good options in terms of colours, hardware, and pickups in this bracket. Like with locking trems, you now get an actual MIK Floyd (Special, 1k series), which is probably much better than the TRS II types that used to come on guitars under 1k.

Lots of people seem to be into Harley Bentons, and some of the higher end ones do have impressive features which were the stuff of premium instruments once, like roasted necks, stainless frets. Even cheaper ones - you can get a Strat with Alnico pups and a roasted neck for a bit over a hundred quid.

It's an amazing time to be a beginner guitarist - you can get a really nice axe (and amp) for not that much money! Even those of us who are old hands, we enjoy a beater that's decent enough so you just add some nicer pups, tuners or whatever and you have a solid player.

You can still find some old late 80's/early 90's Charvels that are great Japanese made shredders for the money, but they have gone up recently. I'd have to put my money on Ibanez for bang-for-your-buck guitars though. Late 90's (98,99,2000) Fujigen RG's are superb for the money, even though they have gone up a bit, RG520's etc. The SZ series are Les Paul killers and can be found very reasonable... I bought a like new SZ320 for $200 and the build quality is awesome. Also, older JS's are not too bad. Picked up a JS1200 for $800 and that is the most I've ever paid for a guitar. I have Jem level dreams and Squire level talent... sooo... yeah.
Yeah, there were some good models in the late 90s, though it was the 'boring af' colours period, ha! The 520 is arguably a classic. For seven strings, gotta be the 7620. Not cheap anymore, though. Honestly, even the old EX/RX models are like $300-400! Though the higher end ones have nicer appointments, like figured wood veneers and Japanese TRS trems.

Besides the SZ, maybe some of the more short-lived models like the Darkstone and Roadcores are also worth checking out, they seem to have escaped price hikes for now.

Okay, here is a shot of my SG Special. It’s funny, but the bridge on the epiphone versions are better than this on the Gibson versions of the two models Ive shown in the pics. View attachment 17886
Looks nice, is the tailpiece compensated enough for the plain G? I also like that Epiphones (and other good G copies like Tokai, Edwards and Burny) don't have those stupid binding nubbins like Gibsons do.
 

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most of my collection is late 80's/early 90's ibanezes...550's, 560's and 570's...i picked most of them up for under 250 each right before prices went insane (plus i don't mind dings, beat up guitars usually play better if there's no serious neck damage)..so i'd have to go with ibanez based only upon my own experiences (and the fact that many in my area never seemed to learn how to set up a floyd or edge tremolo)...d.m.
 

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@Ashurbanipal the tailpiece is compensated. Set the intonation on the low E and high E, and the rest of the strings are properly intonated.
Yes, I know how a lightning bar wraparound works; I'm wondering whether the preset compensation is good enough for the strings to be fairly in tune with 9s or 10s. I have an Epiphone with a tune-o-matic, and with 9s the saddles are more or less in the middle except for the G, which has to be all the way back for whatever reason (so using a heavier gauge would make things difficult), hence my question. Gotta love the burgundy, though the pelham is nice also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, I know how a lightning bar wraparound works; I'm wondering whether the preset compensation is good enough for the strings to be fairly in tune with 9s or 10s. I have an Epiphone with a tune-o-matic, and with 9s the saddles are more or less in the middle except for the G, which has to be all the way back for whatever reason (so using a heavier gauge would make things difficult), hence my question. Gotta love the burgundy, though the pelham is nice also.
I checked all the strings and they were all intonated perfectly. I put 10-46 cobalts on it. If the neck doesn’t wobble with the 10’s I may try 11-48 next time. I used 11-48 Cobalts on my ES335 and the G string’s saddle is almost all the way back and the low E saddle is almost all the way back.

I find I can get a little more adjustment by not having excessive relief in the neck. I use the low E string as my straight edge and eyeball it. When I was done I had .007 relief at the eight fret.
 

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Wlo, this year seems to be the year that I have been buying inexpensive guitars. In the $400 and under price group I have bought 4. Two Ibanez and two Epiphones. I am impressed with all of them. I didn’t have to replace any of the components on any of them. View attachment 17885 View attachment 17883 View attachment 17884

Sorry. I don’t have a pic of my Epi SG. What are your favorite guitars under400 dollars?
Under 400? Original cost or price paid?
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2018 as73g. You don't see many 335 types in colors other than red, white, black, clear, and tobacco burst. I love this color and guitar. The fretwork is really really good. Basically a polish away from near perfection.....on a 300 dollar guitar (i got it at a store anniversary sale). It has hbp90s in it now, though i may change that. The neck is big and super comfortable. That is what drew me to it, along with the color.

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Rg921. Factory 2nd. Payed 400 bucks for this! It had some white dots under the clear on the headstock (who cares), a high nut (easy fix) and a slightly high 23rd fret on the bass side (not fixed yet. I never play there so it been like that for 7 years now).

It came with 2 ibz bridge pickups, of which the neck sounded like crap (because it was a bridge pickup. Lol). I swapped due to this.
I swapped the pickups first for full shreds. Ok, but needed more body for this brighter sounding guitar. I ended up with a set of breeds. Ot also got an oak/grigsby superswitch wired to get the stock ibby 5 way hh wiring.
This is my number 1.
It turns out that the ibz bridge pickup is pretty darned cool in it's own right. I put that back in for a while with the full shred neck and really liked that combo.
The breeds are a much bet fit though. Love those pickups!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I like the Ibanez AZES31 so much that I bought another one. This one needed more work than the first one in Ivory color. I spent 8 hours over 2 days on this one.

I leveled the frets with a radius block that was really close to the metric radius of the fretboard. Took only 10 passes over the frets and they all were level. Because of the truss rod being a 2-way, I was able to get relief in the the neck similar to what the relief was with the set of strings on it. Crowned the frets, and then polished them all by hand with various degrees of different grit sand papers.

I wound up lowering all the slots on the nut, except for the Low E slot. It was already deep enough, and there was no room to adjust it any further as the string was almost contacting the first fret open.

The pickups in this red one sounded really dark. Sounded better after I raised them. It will probably make it’s way to my son at some point. Don’t mind my messy work area. My dog tried to help me lol.
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Damn I'm jealous! Two of these now, I just want to get my hands on one! :lol: I think I'm going to have to wait until these appear on the used market here. Hopefully they end up being a popular new purchase that ends up flooding the used market in a few years. Although they are just over $500AUD here from what I've seen. They're not quite in the low-end beginners price range, more heading towards a mid-tier slot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Damn I'm jealous! Two of these now, I just want to get my hands on one! :lol: I think I'm going to have to wait until these appear on the used market here. Hopefully they end up being a popular new purchase that ends up flooding the used market in a few years. Although they are just over $500AUD here from what I've seen. They're not quite in the low-end beginners price range, more heading towards a mid-tier slot.
Yeah I just checked the exchange rate. It’s about 374.00 USD. Man if you want to pay the shipping, I would sell it to you for what I paid, which is $299.00 US. Can you get it into the country with taxes and duty, or whatever, for 75 bucks US? I mean, I can always get another one easily here.
 

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Dang man, I am not really a fan of bright hot colors... But that does look nice. I am super curious of how the trem model stays in tune. It can't be that great... I wish they sold the SSS with a trem option as well... I'd much rather have that over a fender squire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Dang man, I am not really a fan of bright hot colors... But that does look nice. I am super curious of how the trem model stays in tune. It can't be that great... I wish they sold the SSS with a trem option as well... I'd much rather have that over a fender squire.
I was able to get a 179 dollar Kramer Baretta Special to stay in tune after using the whammy. It all depends on how you sculpt the nut.
 

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I have never owned a trem equipt guitar with a non locking trem... I am a total newb when it comes to a standard nut haha. One day I'll have the cojones to buy a nice bone nut trem equipt guitar, and learn the struggles of crafting into a stable beast. I've seen how amazing they can be... Guthrie Govens guitar is equipt with a first gen Floyd with no fine tuners and a bone nut! it stays perfectly in tune even with all the crazy stuff he does.
 
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