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Hates Richie Kotzen
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Underwhelming" as in, not as nice as conventional wisdom says.

I personally haven't owned a ton of underwhelming ones, but played:

-Modern Parker CS. The shop wanted like $4k. It was on par with the PRS Toreros I played side by side. I know a bunch of guys love the classic ones, but man, that was just not a good enough guitar for the price.

-Modern production Japanese ESPs. Can't tell the difference between them and the top end LTDs personally. I've had vintage MIJ ESPs that were good, but the modern ones are underwhelming.

-GJ2 guitars. Love Jackson. Played a bunch of them at Drum City Guitarland. Hard pass. Most of them should have been sold as B-stock.

-A custom "vintage style" tele from a guy in Colorado, hanging in a reputable shop no less. Can't remember his name, but one of the most epicly bad guitars I have ever played. He wanted like, $3k for it too. At the time I asked the shop (Spotlight Music in FoCo) if they knew anyone who did refrets. They refferred me to luthier dude, who happened to be in the shop at the moment. I ask to play one of the dudes guitars, he hands me this HH seafoam tele. It had the thickest finish I have ever seen, and still somehow had visible body seams where he had amateurishly filled routes. He claimed the radius was "vintage", but I'm pretty sure it was 5". This dude proceeds to talk the biggest game ever, while I am playing a guitar that is a dead ringer for a super old 80s $100 Pawnshop special. The neck had an assymetrical carve, but not by design choice, since I'm pretty sure it was made out of several broomsticks. You couldn't bend a string even a few HZ sharp without it choking out, some of the notes choked out unbent too. He claimed he made the pickups himself, but I recognized the neck one from an 80s Washburn and the bridge one sounded like a transistor radio from Soviet Russia and looked like it was made out of stuff he had found laying around the house.

The metal the frets were made out of wasn't regular metal. I recognized its dull luster from one of those 90s childrens toys where you could melt tin into a figure of a wizard.




The icing on the cake was I asked him how much a fretjob was and he said and he said "$130". Then I was like, "Seriously? It's a bound compound radius board" and he thought for a few seconds and was like, "Nah, that's just my price for a Fender....that would be more like.......$800". Then he asked me when I was dropping the guitar off, like he hadn't just quoted me a hilariously low price as well as a pricing structure that made no sense. To which I politely responded "I'll think about it". I asked him if he had a card, and he wrote his phone number on a napkin.
 

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Registered
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When I got back into playing about 7 yrs ago, I went to the local guitar center to shop around as my old BC Rich Warlock was no longer...."me". I was looking at the LTD EC series types of guitars and the sales guy hit me up. Told him what I was looking at and tried to shove other guitars my way. One of them being some Gibson Les Paul studio. Did not gel with it at all. Fat Les Paul necks were never my thing. I guess thats the closest thing I have to contribute since I never bought a guitar that I didnt like.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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14,719 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was super stoked about getting myself a Fender HM Strat.

Thing is I really liked how it felt to play, but it never had very good sustain high up and also it had a very obvious dead note somewhere that just died out right away
Agreed I had a Fender HM, awesome playing guitars, super buttery due to the 25" scale, but they sound like cardboard.



They do play well though, sound isn't so good though.
 

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Forum MVP
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4,767 Posts
Jackson PC- Amber Burst... a stunning looking guitar, flamed neck and fretbourd, great hardware , Flamed maple neck that was simply awesome in feel and shape with a beyond awesome fret job (Jackson Custom Shop fret job is SICK)... a stunning looking guitar...but.... it was kinda meh in the tone dept. I tried changing PUPs etc. and gave up, traded for my Wolfgang which makes that guitar sound like it was made of wet cardbourd.

Edit- One just like this, a run of non sustainer models for GC

Musical instrument Guitar String instrument String instrument String instrument accessory
 

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Dream Crusher
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I had a late '90s ("pre-refined") Parker that played great but sounded awful.
 

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is on drug whatever
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The Masterbuilt PRS guitars I've played have been pretty damn underwhelming for what they cost, likewise the Gibson Historic Reissue guitars. Fender seem to buck this trend, every Customshop Fender I've played has been fucking amazing.

In terms of production guitars, never managed to play a Musicman Bass I thought didn't feel underwhelming for the cost, which is a shame as I love the look of them and the guitars are great. I also think a lot of Squiers, if you know which ones to look for, are better than their Mexican Fender counterparts.
 

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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
Wanted to love this guitar. Pickup routes were shallow,so the pickups sat high no matter what (which made it sound shrill and overdriven) and I wasn't great at setting up guitars back then, so the action was always high or the frets would buzz. EDIT: Also, that was a Schaller Floyd Rose but the trem arm holder broke the first time I went to use it.

 

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Banned
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Five different Carvins Ive had, Blackmachine of some sort that I tried. I only mention the latter strictly due to the elevated secondary market, not what they cost new.
 

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Tarantula Lobbyist
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5,281 Posts
A good friend if mine has a super valuable all original '52 Tele, serial number around 2300. It is an absolute canoe paddle, and can't hold a candle to a modern Squier. I've also owned a ton of Gibson oddballs over the years (mostly in the late 70's-early 80's) , Like L-6s and L-6Ss, S-1, etc. They were all crap for the most part (though one of the maple boarded L-6Ss was pretty cool). Hated the 2 Peavey Vandenbergs I played, and can't understand why anyone who has played one once would want to twice.
 

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I was super stoked about getting myself a Fender HM Strat.

Thing is I really liked how it felt to play, but it never had very good sustain high up and also it had a very obvious dead note somewhere that just died out right away
I had two of these (Japanese) with this issue, then I got a third one (U.S., although I'm pretty sure all the parts were still Japanese) where the compound radius was right and it sounded great. Then I traded it, like an idiot.
 

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First Act had a showroom on Newbury Street in Boston for a while (for the non-locals, the trendy botique shopping district), and I was in the area, saw it, and walked in on a whim. I was vaguely aware of them for their budget guitars, but this was around the time they were making a real push to get some traction with their uber-high-end USA Custom lineup. So, they had some affordable guitars, but then a section of guitars hanging on the wall in the $3-4k range, which at the time (maybe '04-05?) was real money.

Blindfolded, I honestly wouldn't have been able to tell them apart from the $3-400 guitars the next wall over. I had to kind of brush off a really excited sales guy, "Yeah, they're ok... I guess... Not really for me..."
 

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Dream Crusher
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The other disappointing one for me was the JP7 I briefly owned. Felt great, played great, but did not sound good.

Conversely, the Rickenbacker 4003 I had sounded great and looked great, and on certain days played great, but was incredibly temperamental and was a real hassle to keep "happy" in terms of setup.
 

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My rc7x. I had the one before they fixed the fretwire so it had small fretwire. If it had jumbo fretwire I would still have it. The huge cutaway was really nice because my hands are kind of big. The neck was really thin and it was nice but just the fretwire being so small really killed the vibe for me. Sold it and bought JBL monitors a few months later.
 

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Guitarded
Rig: Marshall DSL20
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When I was a teenager, I had a hot rodded squire strat and other than my friend's pignose branded strat knock-off I hadn't really played at all on a different guitar. After hearing about how good les pauls are from friends at school and my stepdad who had been a guitar player for a while, I had high expectations. Well I was in a guitar center with a friend and checking out pedals but I of course wanted to check out everything. I went into the sound proof room where they kept the mesa lone stars and other loud amps and they had some $4k+ les pauls hanging in there. I picked up all three to try them and was totally disappointed. It didn't feel any easier to play or sound any better than my hot rodded squire or at least I couldn't tell. on a similar note I had heard a bit about mesa/boogie amps and tried out the lonestar. I was totally disappointed that I couldn't get a good distortion out of it but it WAS loud as fuck!
 

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Could be Hitler
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7,666 Posts
Hated the 2 Peavey Vandenbergs I played, and can't understand why anyone who has played one once would want to twice.
You Sir are dead to me. I LOVE the Vandenbergs. :noplease:
 

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Premium Member
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32,450 Posts
I'm certain Dave will be bringing up his original ESP Carpenter 7.
That thing was just tragic. I don't have pictures anymore, but it was one of the original black SC7 guitars with the three Duncans (SHH). The thing was in immaculate condition, played like a dream, looked amazing...and was as dead as doornail. It sounded like a $50 starter pack guitar. :(
 

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I've had guitars I didn't mesh with, but the guitar that I actually expected something out of and was disappointed by was my first Gibson Les Paul. It was a Traditional in "Light Burst" that I purchased from Sam Ash, and it was a plank. I didn't realize how bad it was until I picked up another Les Paul and the difference was astounding.

Even with the same pickups in both guitars (roughly the same hardware) the resonance wasn't there, sustain was lacking, it was a turd. It was a nice-looking turd.

On the other hand, it was my first Les Paul (aside from a faded studio I picked up in a trade, but that's a completely different animal.)
 
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