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22 March 2017

Mojo on a budget: £200 electrics

Reading the guitar mags and forums you could sometimes be forgiven for thinking that any electric under £2000 won’t sound so good and any under £1000 are not worth looking at, let alone what they say about ‘mid-priced’ models. And 'affordable'? Forget it. But if you’ve only got £200 can you get a good one? Of course you can. And if it’s reasonably well made, easy for you to play, but needs a bit of a leg up on the sound front then you can always swop out the pickups or buy a ton of pedals!
 

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At around £200 most electrics are deemed to be beginner guitars, even though you can get much cheaper electrics as ‘starter’ guitars. So, is there a decent guitar out there with your name on it? A trawl of the internet for prices and models shows up a good list of suitable guitars that should be well made and sound pretty good:

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster             195
Ibanez GSA60                                   195
Aria 1532 Retro                               199
Jackson JS22 Dinky                          201
Epiphone LP100                               220
Sterling by Musicman Silo3           220
Yamaha Pacifica 112                        220
Ibanez RC220                                     229

Obviously, these are all made in the Far East, but all the makers produce higher priced and spec’d models that are good, so I am sure that some of their luthier expertise will have rubbed off on these models.

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Ibanez have always made good guitars with great necks and the Epiphone and Squier are ‘affordable’ versions of their older brothers from Gibson and Fender – rub off the name on the headstock and from a distance they look as cool as the big boys. The Jackson, Aria and Sterling are good quality alternatives and the Yamaha Pacifica has a deserved reputation as a great, well priced guitar. The Squier Affinty series also includes Strat and Tele options at similar prices so choice aplenty with good specifications and a range of colours.

Whatever you choose will serve you well until you either move up, or decide it’s a keeper and the one for you. Enjoy!

03 March 2017

Brum Guitar Show

Another Brum Guitar Show has been and gone and this years’ was one of the best ever, with a new Acoustic Hall upstairs, where you could actually hear the guitar when you played it (I know, a revolution at a show!), a live performance area and stalls packed full of some great gear.

The usual big boys were there including Fender who had a large selection of models plugged into amps with headphones ready to play; Gretsch, Marshall, Ibanez. Laney, PRS, Blackstar, Yamaha and Musicman. PMT seemed to be everywhere with a shop stand, amp stand, several acoustic stands, electric stand…you name it. All very welcome though.

From the UK we had some eye watering, really tasty custom guitars from Crimson, Turnstone, Patrick Eggle (and Patrick James Eggle), HJ Williams, Flame and Rob Williams, together with new boys Hathaway who are bringing a range of UK made carbon fibre electrics to the market. If we had 20 grand I think we could have come away very happy!

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Strangely, although some amps were well cranked it didn’t seem as loud as previous years or it may be that we were so caught up in all the tasty gear around we didn’t notice it!

As usual there was tons of effects pedals (some of which we have never heard of on the retail stands) and accessories to purchase with the highlight being Twin Stomp and ThorpyFX, a couple of bullet proof UK made pedal ranges. Need a new pickup? We had a few of the custom makers there too.

So what caught our eye? It has to be the Brit electrics from Crimson and Eggle, as well as the Hathaway carbon fibre electrics. Most attractive acoustic guitar had to be the Faith Bloodmoon - UK designed and set up and beautiful to look at. GAS has never been more prevalent then now…