Cheapo NGD day: Samick Valley Arts SMX-1

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Thread: Cheapo NGD day: Samick Valley Arts SMX-1

  1. #1

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Herndon, VA
    ME: Jackson Soloist
    Rig: Fractal Audio Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    Cheapo NGD day: Samick Valley Arts SMX-1

    Scored this one for $200 at Atomic Music. I've been wanting/needing a 24.75" shredder with Floyd for awhile. I can't play E standard tuning on 25.5" guitars anymore unless I use those crazy Billy Gibbons .007-.038 sets, and Floyd nuts snap .007s like nobody's business.

    I considered getting another Charvel 750xl or Jackson Soloist AT Pro, but I just don't like their sound that much. I was looking into a myriad of other options when I ran into this on Saturday. It's been sitting at Atomic Music for many years, and I never really gave it a second look due to the Samick label. However, on Saturday I noticed that it had a 24.75" scale and decided to check it out.

    Holy cow. Yeah, it's got crap hardware and pickups, but the wood could have come straight from the original pre-Samick Valley Arts custom shop in the '80s. Swamp ash body, maple neck with bound ebony board. It's heavy as fuck and sustains for days.

    For those who don't know, Valley Arts was a boutique builder in Southern California that was big with a lot of session guys like Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather. They sold part of the business to Samick in the early '90s due to financial difficulties after a building fire. The designs still came from California, but the manufacturing went to Korea.

    This particular guitar is very similar to the ones they made for Larry Carlton except for the pickup layout. The neck is a very comfortable mid-sized D-profile. It shreds like crazy, though the frets need some attention.

    It was very difficult to find any information on this guitar--the Samick-era Valley Arts guitars seem to have gone down the memory hole. Samick sold the brand to Gibson a decade ago, and Gibson managed to fuck it up the way they do everything else.

    I'm going to try a Schaller Floyd on it and use an OFR if that doesn't fit. The pickups are crap, also, but I always change those anyway.

  2. #2

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Sheffield, UK

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    That thing is beautiful, and the price you paid is astounding. I like.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Kitchen/Laundry Room
    ME: Ironing Board
    MA: Laundry Mangle
    MB: Cascade Dish Detergent
    Rig: Washing Machine

    iTrader: 2 (100%)


    I almost pulled trigger on a Samick Valley Arts a couple times but all the "ANYTHING THAT'S NOT PRE-SAMICK IS CRAP!" reviews on the internet kept me away. Might have to look back into these.
    Argbadh - RHLCİ

  4. #4

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: London ONT
    ME: PRS Custom 22
    Rig: JCM800

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    Looks like a good time!
    Sparrows (Space Punk, LOUD):

  5. #5

    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: Wisconsin
    ME: Schecter Loomis
    MA: Ibanez classical
    MB: Ibanez SR400QM
    Rig: Fenders

    iTrader: 0

    That's a great looking guitar! The local shop here had (still has?) a Valley Arts guitar but it was very plain-looking.

    The contour at the neck/body join looks super comfy!

  6. #6

    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Herndon, VA
    ME: Jackson Soloist
    Rig: Fractal Audio Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    The Samick VA line went all the way from very plain-jane Strats and Teles to guitars like mine. The line seems to have changed a lot over the course of the Samick era, just going by what's been on eBay.

    Interesting quirk--the Floyd on this one looks very much like a TRS, but it has wider stud spacing than the standard OFR spacing, which I've never seen on a TRS before. I'll probably have to go with a Gotoh Floyd if I want to do a retrofit. Not that that would be a bad thing.

  7. #7

    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Washington, D.C.
    ME: RG550
    Rig: Mesa/Boogie Studio .22

    iTrader: 3 (100%)

    Atomic Music is a great shop isn't it? I haven't been there in a few months, but I've heard they have a lot of inventory right now because of the holidays.

    Sweet score on your guitar! I must have seen and ignored it a dozen times...

    Martin, the tech for, used to be the general manager of Valley Arts USA. You might consider contacting him (or Chris). He may know something about the Samick Valley Arts era.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
    Rig: Rivera K Tre

    iTrader: 15 (100%)

    I look at these on ebay from time to time. Almost bought one like this a while back.

    I know you weren't interested in the one AT I'm selling, but if the 24.75" shredder itch still needs scratching I also have a Fusion Pro I am getting rid of...

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