So Daughter has been trying to learn guitar on my old, beat up, literally thrown from a horse learners guitar from the 90s. The setup was always bad - the strings were always too far from the Frets- I think my instructor at the time wanted them that way to strengthen my fingers. While there was some truth to that, it also just made it very difficult and frustrating to play . After being thrown from the horse, the neck was never as stiff as it should have been and it developed some annoying buzzing habits.. so I set out to find a good cheap guitar for her..(and me. I never learned to play well, but I always enjoyed trying)
I settled on this Guitar from Monoprice
Yeah that's right- the place that sells super sturdy LCD mounts and excellent cables for 1/8 of what Best Buy asks. I have some of the actual electronics gear from them too. They offer a 30 day money back for any reason guarantee and have always been a stand up company when I have dealt with them.. I saw this announcement for this line back in January.. They have a cheaper - $100 range line that actually gets good reviews for what they are, and when they recently had a one day sale I picked this up for $180.
I am sure the real musicians out there won't be overly impressed ( But I would be interested to hear any advice or impressions)
Its a CNC based manufacturer from China, but Monoprice has them "setup" in LA - so in theory, a more hardworking "American" has taken each one, polished the frets, made adjustments , etc to make sure its ready to play out of the box. Mine was a full note out of tune, but given temperature, humidity and altitude differences, I am not at all surprised. Tried out the built in chromatic tuner.. works okay.. but not sure I am not just as happy tuning it the old way. Daughter seemed more enthused with it. No buzzing, maybe a little bright.. they put D'Addario EXP strings on it , so I expect it will mellow a bit as those get broken in..
The gig bag that comes with it is decent as well. Not the protection a hard case would offer, but not the cheap little throwaway thin a gauze sort of thing one might expect at this price point.
The Finish is really nicely done for what it is. No real noticeable blemishes. Didn't have any problem tuning it.. but its yet to been seen how well it holds its tune. Everything feels sturdy, but it does feel a little light in my hands.. I haven't had a chance yet to try out the pickups.. I don't have a guitar amp, so I would have to plug it into the theater to try it out..probably need to do that within my 30 day window to make sure the electronics are good. Not really what I bought it for anyhow - its for practice and plinking, not performing, but I guess its nice to have the option.
In all, I think its a pretty good deal at the price point.. Certainly a much better instrument than my beginning guitar I bought for $250? in the 90s..
Anyway, someting to keep in mind if you have an aspiring young one...