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Cheap guitar (not your normal question here)

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mrodgers
(@mrodgers)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 75
Topic starter  

Ok, here's the deal. I've been wanting to get myself an electric, but the funds aren't there for one. So, I have a question about cheaper guitars, for a very specific reason, the one's available at Target.

I am more of a hobbyist photographer (also with cheap equipment) than I am a hobbyist guitar player. Thus, the family had been bothering me for months to enter a particular photo of mine in a contest. Well, the perfect contest came about, I entered, and my photo won the first monthly prize!!!

What was the prize? Along with $100 worth of bubble products for the kids (the contest was with a bubble company), I have a $250 gift card to Target. So, I look on Target's website and I see quite a few cheapie guitars. I see a Fender Starcaster @ 199.99, Silvertone Revolver (SS11) @ 169.99, and Silvertone Citation (SS10) @ $139.99, all packs including amp and accessories.

My question is, of these which would be the better set? I know it would be much better to be going with something decent that I could get from a guitar shop/store/site, but the funds just aren't there. This is essentially free because of the gift card prize. I already have an acoustic of which I am sporadically picking up to play here and there when I have time (also a cheapie) and can't really play anything because I run out of time after working on the house or whatnot. Thus an expensive guitar setup isn't in the cards, but I am slowly learning and wanted an electric to mess around with.

That all said, I have another request. As I said, I won the first month's photo contest of 4 monthly prizes. I am no longer eligible for another monthly prize, but I am eligible for the grand prize of $1000 Target gift card! It would sure be neat to win that. The contest is a website visitor vote contest, thus you all could help me out by voting for me :D. Here is the page to my photo for voting ( http://www.funrise.com/photocontest/photo.aspx?id=030312503961 ), but to be fair, feel free to view the gallery and vote for your favorite. I don't want to beg for votes for my photo, hehehe. Although, of course mine is the best, LOL :D.

Anyways, that is what I was wondering, which of the cheapie guitars would be a better deal/set from Target. Perhaps in the future I would be upgrading and getting something decent, but until some bills are paid, I am on limited funds. I do understand what the difference between these cheapies and say a beginner Squire or such would be. I just want to know if they would be total junk and completely unworthy or if they were decent enough for the price to bother with along with which of the 3 would be best as I have no experience with an electric guitar (other than I would love to play like David Gilmour, by far my all time favorite guitarist :D)

Thanks for any insight you could provide. All I could find were reviews at sites such as Target and Amazon and I never trust those reviews.

Thanks again,
Mike


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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I have seen Starcasters that have been reasonable cheap Strat copies. That said, the one at my local Sam's Club right now has very sharp frets. I say check it out. Got any friends that know a little about guitars? You could take them with you. The one they had out there prior to this one actually played pretty nice. The Starcaster might be the one that would be more "tradeupable" (made up word alert!) as it has the Fender name attached to it. Sad thing is you could do better for your $200 elsewhere but as you said, it's a gift certificate.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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katmetal
(@katmetal)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 726
 

I don't have any personal exp. with them, but doing some reading on the net, I have noticed several articles in regards to noisy or buzzing pickups. That, along with the sharp frets that TR mentioned would probably be enough to make me steer clear of them. I guess if it is something that you are really not going to play that much, it might be acceptable.

If you think you might develop more than a passing interest in the instrument, it might be a better choice to give your wife the gift cert. for clothes shopping while you purchase a better quality guitar. Rondo music has a Douglas Les Paul knock-off right now for $119.00, & even guitars as low as $69.00 that would probably rival the Target offerings.

Just my .02 8)

EDIT: BTW, that is a very cute "bubble" pic of the little girl in the link you posted. You really captured the moment! Great job! :)


   
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TRGuitar
(@trguitar)
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I can tell you that an under $100 Strat knockoff from Rondomusic.net will be a better guitar than the Starcaster that comes in that pack. I have an SX from Rondo that I paid $119 for and it is a pretty good guitar. (Cost a little more cause it has a 3 piece ash body)

This one is $100 http://www.rondomusic.com/sst57car.html Just an exxample, they got lots of them.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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CuppaJack
(@cuppajack)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 25
 

check out this MeFi thread: http://ask.metafilter.com/79910/Best-gift-card-exchange-site

Maybe you could trade you Target GC for a Guitar Center one.


   
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mmoncur
(@mmoncur)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 168
 

I'd say "none of the above" too. You can get a $119 Squier Bullet (also by Fender) that is way better than the Starcaster, and for $250 in the used market you could actually get a good guitar.

Do you have a "SuperTarget" store in your area? They sell groceries. Use the gift card to cover your grocery budget for a month or three and save the money you would have spent, then get a good guitar.


   
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Nick Torres
(@nicktorres)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5381
 

Heck, if you were in my neck of the woods I'd buy the card from you. We go to Target every week.

I'd say no to all of the above guitars too. It's not so much they aren't good, it's that they are crap. I've personally witnessed a bridge shear away from the body while tuning the strings.

Trading that card or using it to buy groceries are both great ideas.


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

+1 on Nick's comments. you will get a better guitar for less money at GC or Rondo or online at MF. what you see in Target are the lowest cost of manufacture, highest margin possible, low end guitars. not a good mix.

if you can shift money around in your family budget, use the Target card for household items and the saved cash for a guitar and amp elsewhere. the net cost of everything: you will spend less and get more.

-=tension & release=-


   
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Dan T.
(@dan-t)
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Posts: 5044
 

Another good site for quality low-cost guitars is guitar fietish http://yhst-50206111187217.stores.yahoo.net/xaviereguitars.html

Dan

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
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Elecktrablue
(@elecktrablue)
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Posts: 4338
 

I have to agree that you would probably be better off selling the card for face value and putting the cash toward something from Guitar Center or Musician's Friend. And, bear in mind that if you go with an electric guitar you are also going to need an amp and some cords (and picks and a tuner). Have you considered starting out on an acoustic guitar? (You'll still need the picks and tuner) Or, for that matter, you could also go acoustic/electric and you wouldn't need the amp right away because you can play it plugged in or not and still get good sound out of one.

I was just surfing around MF and found a Takamine G Series EG440C NEX Acoustic-Electric Guitar for $249 in the Clearance Section. It usually sells for over $500. I also found some electrics in the Clearance Section such as a Danelectro Dano 63 Electric Guitar, also for $249. And a Epiphone SG-Special Electric Guitar for only $169. I also found a Crate Profiler 5 5W 2x4 Guitar Combo Amp for $49.99 and an identical "scratch & dent" Crate for $43.49. These are definitely NOT top of the line guitars or amps, but I think any of them would do for a beginner. Of course, you will eventually wind up getting rid of these "lesser" guitars for better ones as you progress in your learning and understanding of the guitar.

Anyway, there's a whole world of inexpensive guitars out there and you don't have to limit yourself to what they have at Target.

Check out Musician's Friend and Guitar Center and Zzounds and be sure to check out their Clearance sections. Most will offer free shipping over a certain $ amount, and, if you have a Guitar Center where you live (or even in a town or two over), it's definitely worth the drive to check them out in person so that you can hold the guitar and have one of the sales people play it for you (or do it yourself if you're comfortable enough).

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


   
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DennisF6
(@dennisf6)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 74
 

Well, I have to buck the trend.
I started, a little over three years ago, with a Starcaster package.
I did pay for a professional setup (about $50). I do think that is critical. You'll just be frustrated if you don't do that.

Once setup, I think my Starcaster is perfectly adequate to learn on. Then neck feels very nearly as good to me as any other guitar I have used (I'm up to owning about 9 now - and of course I have tried scores of them at music stores). The tone is admittedly NOT very good. However, that didn't really matter much to me in my first months of playing. It all sounded pretty bad anyway!

The worst part of the package is the amp. I will admit the amp is pretty crappy.

The Rondo's and Squires mentioned in this thread are probably better guitars. However, if the Starcaster is what you have available to learn on - I think it works just fine.

I want to play guitar very badly -
and I do!


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

I did pay for a professional setup (about $50).
I think that should be done for any beginner. Takes away any doubt about the "is this right" factor at a minimum. Can make a cheapo easier to learn for sure. Another reason to buy local and get to know your guitar sales/service professional. That is, of course, providing you have someone local.
The worst part of the package is the amp. I will admit the amp is pretty crappy.
I think people should put a little more into the amp than they do right off the bat. 15W solid state with 8-inch speaker and a headphone jack at a minimum. Some guitar store kits come with already. Some still don't.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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mrodgers
(@mrodgers)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 75
Topic starter  

So, this is where my thread disappeared to! I couldn't even find it with searching for my name. Had to open every forum section and look through to find it, LOL.

So, that's why I hadn't come back to see all the responses, hehe.

Thanks for the responses indeed. It matters not anymore though because after dropping the family off at Target, I ran for some dogfood and other stuff at Walmart and they had a cart full when I got back to them :shock:

Anyways, just to clear up some stuff, I see people mention that I would have needed an amp and other stuff as well. These are packages with included amp, cords, bag, DVD, etc. I didn't get it anyways, so....

As for another comment I see about getting an acoustic, have that already. I've had that ever since joining this site (2005 I think), just haven't learned anything because of time constraints. Picked it up again late this winter and would like to have an electric to go along with the acoustic (what I want to play is better on electric than acoustic.)

The other reason for wanting electric is, by the time I am done working on the house in the evenings, the kids are in bed. I can play the electric unplugged and not wake the kids up because it's a very small house. No where to go to play without being mere feet from the kid's bedrooms. Electric unplugged or with headphones would be great.

Anyways, closure on this thread, I didn't get anything at Target. The kids got a bunch of clothes instead, haha. No electric until some bills get paid (wife just went back to work after 9 years of being a stay-at-home mom.) So, until then, I need to learn to play songs instead of just strumming the open chords and running through scales, and to figure out how to get my finger to hold down the G string on barre chords. Everything but the G is fine, grrrrrr......

Thanks again. Eventually a Yamaha, Squire, or similar "cheap" but better guitar than the first post will be at my house, eventually.


   
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