Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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mbene085
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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:34 am

Anything made by ESP LTD. I never had them on my radar before because I dismissed them as Jackson/BC Rich type hair metal guitars.

But when I wanted to get a 6 string bass, I found an ESP LTD used for $300. Spalted maple top, maple/walnut laminated neck, rosewood fingerboard, active electronics, and incredible fretwork and playability. I was just completely floored by it.

A few months later, I found a Viper 300FM - offset SG shape, translucent black over flame maple top, and EMG 81/85 - for the equivalent of $175 USD. Again, it's just...a fantastic guitar. I don't like EMG humbuckers, so the plan is to sell them and put in some Wilde (Bill Lawrence) pickups, but it's a well built guitar at an absolutely astounding price. I can probably get back half of what I paid for the entire guitar by selling those pickups.

Seriously, if you ever see a used LTD guitar, give it a shot. I paid less for mine than a Squier and the quality, hardware, electronics, fretwork - it's all first-rate.

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by MayTheFuzzBeWithYou » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:45 pm

The best cheapest gear I got (besides the stuff I was just given...like my Roland 201 Space Echo and our new EV PA system) is my Squier VM Jaguar (sure, I modded it and gave it a pro setup - but I got it for 220€, sold the roller bridge and the pickups it came with for 35/25€ - which basically makes it a 160€ bargain!) - and it plays and sounds really really sweet!

The Sonic Grey Squier Affinity Mustang I gave to my niece. 145€, and very inspiring - instant Garage-Punk Vibe!

Fender Vaporizer 2x10 Combo
I can‘t remember what I paid for it back in 2014 - something between 250 and 380€ - and I really like it! It‘s complete stock - it takes pedals well and has a nice surf sound (and look) of it‘s own!

Last but not least my delay pedal-contestants:
Ibanez DE-7 bought back in 2006-7 for 35€ - after all those years still amazing!

Deep Blue Delay Clone - I built it as a part of a workshop - so I only had to give it a housing, knobs and an insanly genius 3,5€ infinity repeats mod - on my board ever since!

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by Singlebladepickup » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:09 pm

I had a First Act acoustic that someone moved to their house to save from flooding while I was out of town. We didn't flood and I never got it back. Got another cheap acoustic, but it's nowhere near as good as the first act.

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by alexpigment » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:37 pm

I spent way more money on gear when I was younger - probably because I didn't really understand how to discern between good and bad at each price level, so I just thought you *needed* to spend more. I guess also I now know what cheap gear can be easily upgraded to professional level gear. At any rate, I find myself generally owning less expensive gear now that I'm very happy with.

The most obvious thing I can think of is the Vox Pathfinder 15R amp. They used to be $120 new or $60-80 used and I bought one on a whim via Craigslist back in '08. It's light, it sounds extremely good with the stock 8" speaker, and takes pedals well. I also own 3 of them now, and I don't play any other amps ;)

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by tribi9 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:56 pm

I have a Metallic Blue Korean Strat from 1987.. First year of production, maybe? At any rate... The neck is sublime. 8)

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by andy_tchp » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:35 pm

Made in Japan G&L ASAT 'Tribute'.

Not that cheap but it far and away won the battle against every other Tele I could try at the time (including the highest priced Fenders.)
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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by tune_link » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:47 pm

Behringer Super Fuzz -best super fuzz clone I’ve ever played and I’ve owned a few. I desperately want to have it removed from the ugly cheap ass plastic enclosure and put into a nice metal one.

Squier VM Jazzmaster - hear me out....I had a VM Jag that was horrible, it wouldn’t stay in tune, buzzed horribly, and the electronics so bad it made it sound like I was always using an OD pedal even playing clean at low volume...then I got the J Mascis Squier JM and the one I had weighed a ton and would feedback uncontrollably and the pickups were brighter than any JM I’ve ever owned. I say this not to shit on Squier but that the quality control sometimes means you really don’t know how one instrument to the next will hold up....anyway I bought a broken VM JM after those and rewired it and set it up myself (it had a bunch of loose wires inside initially). I still have it and while I’ve thought about selling it a ton of times I always keep it, it sounds really good and plays well too and the stock pickups are surprisingly good compared to other Squiers...I keep thinking of repainting it and maybe putting witch hats on it but other than that I think it’s gonna stay....it’s not as good as the American JM or MIM ones I have but it def holds its own next to them considering I got it for lesss than $200 thinking it might be beyond saving.

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by papa_hotel_delta » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:48 pm

Blueridge BR-163 acoustic I bought in 2015 for $450. Some silly bling but it actually played and sounded excellent.

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by zenarcade » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:56 pm

Behringer ADA8000. Best Behringer product I ever touched. Bought it just to use as a DA converter but now also use the mic pres since at least 10-15 years. Never was a fan of them because, when I worked as a live engineer all the Behringer stuff I came across was the biggest crap..

Guitar related the new Squiers. Out of the box all I played were at least decently setup and played and sounded really good. Cannot say this about Epiphones...

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by mackerelmint » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:49 am

Vox pathfinder 15.
Danelectro fab chorus.
Arion chorus, and their flanger too.
SX basses.
All of those $30ish clones of Tech21 character series pedals.
Joyo compressor.
VM Jazzmasters.

There's so much good cheap stuff around, we're really spoiled for choice honestly.
This is an excellent rectangle

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by Ceylon » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:47 am

I had one of those Harley Benton/Thomann Bilinda-stangs, MS60 I think the model is called. It cost me 99€ and was a great guitar. Sounded nice, played nice, the finish was pretty good and the only weak point was that the vibrato unit cavity was a bit too tight for the vibrato to work smoothly, which could be fixed with a file. I even think the body wood was decent. Pickups and hardware were Wilkinson, fret work was good, total surprise to me how all in all good it was.
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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by spacelordmother » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:43 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:49 am
Danelectro fab chorus
Hell yeah. Really great chorus.

Alesis Nanoverb - got it in a package deal with something else I really wanted (Boss SE50, now sold) and it’s great
Boss ODB3 - It was awful when I was a bass player looking for an “overdrive.” As a guitar player looking for a versatile dist/fuzz box it’s wonderful.
http://thewinterpalace.bandcamp.com
http://www.matthewgavette.com/noticing

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by dinosaurkale-> » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:40 am

-kustom contender amp
-peavey studio pro 40 head
-danelectro fab metal pedal (for black metal tones)
-floyd rose brand discovery guitar
-GFS / Xaviere thinline tele
-vox pathfinder
-joyo delay

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by zenarcade » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:17 am

Also totally forgot these pedals: TC Dark Matter, Digitech Bad Monkey

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Re: Cheap gear that ended up pleasantly surprising you?

Post by VPO » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:28 am

80s Ibanez GX 100. Wonderful cheap transistor amp. Nothing special, I just like that tone, spring reverb ja it got pretty shitty distortion.

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