Sub $300 guitars vs Kit?

LP1865

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Title says it all.
I started a thread earlier about purchasing a guitar kit, and I was told it would be better if I just bought a new guitar.
Thoughts?
 

efstop

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There was concern you'd be stuck with a box of crappy parts that would either discourage you from completing the kit, or cost you more money in the long run.

If you really want to "get your hands dirty" with guitar building, I suggested a used bolt neck guitar that you could modify over time. You could buy such a guitar from anywhere that will ship to you.

For new guitars, have you looked at euphonycart.com? They're all over North East India, or so they claim. Shipping would have to be cheaper than elsewhere in the world. They have what looks to me a decent selection of guitars at or below your price range.

I've modified a few guitars of my own, the cheapest is a 2004 Squier that cost me about 5000 INR and the pickup I installed was worth about 8000 INR.
 

LP1865

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For new guitars, have you looked at euphonycart.com? They're all over North East India, or so they claim. Shipping would have to be cheaper than elsewhere in the world. They have what looks to me a decent selection of guitars at or below your price range.
There's also Bajaoo and Furtados. I have purchased from both.
I have a family friend with an unused 10 year old Yamaha Pacifica 012 with a nice hardcase, I bet I could haggle and get it for about $100 ish.
Cort sells a nice strat style guitar for about $150 as well.
I just thought building a cheap kit would be more fruitful.
Someone with experience with Pitbull kits stated I should probably go with simpler kits without veneers and flashy stuff just to stay safe.
 

BadPenguin

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I've a reverse Firebird bolt on kit guitar. solid 2 piece mahogany body, mahogany neck with scarf joint, rosewood-ish fretboard. Cost me in the neighborhood of 120 on feebay. Got it on a Wednesday, was playing it on a Monday, gigging with on Friday. It stayed in the rotation for 4 years. It's somewhat beat to hell, need to tung oil the neck again, STILL haven't replaced the plastic nut, but overall, best 120 I spent on a guitar.

Yes, crappy parts abound on the kit guitars. Tuners are serviceable, bridge and tailpiece... ehh at best, and you will want to replace anything electrical. Kit guitar pickups need to work up to be trash! But it was a fun thing to build, and I still play it. I wish my Paul had the action this thing does!
 

jvin248

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.

Depends what you want to spend your time on.

Kits are all about the wood finishing. You will spend hours and days sanding, spraying, sanding, polishing ... and redoing it.

Buy a beat up guitar 'as a kit' and you have a natural relic to start with and then replace parts or improve things like fret leveling.

Repair and rescue a few abused guitars and you'll find the fretwork improvements are the only meaningful difference between that guitar playing like a $50 Beater or a Custom Shop. Even if you only resuscitate a guitar back to basic functions you can take it to a good guitar tech and for a $100 fee they will level the frets and do a complete setup and the guitar will play at the skill level of the guitar tech and not reflect anything of the factory it came from. A fret level is the highest value mod you can do on a guitar.


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Southwest

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I'm in the middle of my first kit build so hardly experienced, but I would say unless you actively want to build, then just buy a finished guitar and have a pro setup done.

I'm really enjoying the build, but it comes with a lot of rabbit holes as standard and it's likely going to cost a lot more than $300 all-in, if you want it to play nicely (fret tools are crazy expensive for example).The enjoyment - for me anyway - is learning a load of new skills on something I can throw away or use as a wall-hanger if it doesn't work out. It's huge fun and frustrating in equal measure, but if you have the desire and the time to put into it, I'd say go for it.
 

LP1865

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really enjoying the build, but it comes with a lot of rabbit holes as standard and it's likely going to cost a lot more than $300 all-in, if you want it to play nicely (fret tools are crazy expensive for example).The enjoyment - for me anyway - is learning a load of new skills on something I can throw away or use as a wall-hanger if it doesn't work out. It's huge fun and frustrating in equal measure, but if you have the desire and the time to put into it, I'd say go for it.
Sheesh. I had hoped to use the kit hardware and upgrade stuff over time. I also need to make sure it works out, cause I need a backup second electric guitar
 

Southwest

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Please don't misunderstand - I'm not trying to put you off. I'm quite risk-averse, so if I needed to stick to a fixed price and be 100% sure it would play straight away I would go to my local music store and test some used guitars thoroughly before buying one of them. That's just me though.

On the other side of the argument, I dry-fitted my kit to see if it would play, intonate etc. It was fine (though I've no idea about the electrics yet). The nut is frankly horrible, but it plays. Finish can be bought cheap (shellac or stain for example). I reckon I only have about £250 into mine so far, including the kit itself at £120. Biggest cost so far was for a couple of rasp files to shape the headstock and a soldering station. So it's completely doable. The time it takes to get it done depends on what level of finish you want.

The serious cost starts with improvements / upgrades, or if it doesn't play right when you put it together. The frets on mine are acceptable, and I did not find any buzzing unamplified. But they will need rounding at the edges to be comfortable and maybe levelling at some point.The files to do frets are really expensive (my initial check indicated north of £100). I've already bought a new bone nut for just £6 and I'm hoping I can just sand it to the right height from the bottom. But if it needs filing to depth the nut spacing files come in at another £100+. If you can borrow tools or already have them then it's a completely different story. Everything else can usually wait. The tuners on mine aren't brilliant for example, but they would do as a start.

Maybe a compromise would be to build the kit and then get a tech to set it up for you? Realistically though I don't see you getting a better deal out of a kit if it is a one-off. Just IMHO of course.
 

northernguitarguy

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Unless you want the experience of the kit, I’d say save your time and grab a used Yamaha Revstar RS320 (I rarely see used ones for sale, around Toronto, anyway) Best bang for the buck, by far, IMO. Even new, they’re reasonable for what you get.
 

LP1865

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Unless you want the experience of the kit, I’d say save your time and grab a used Yamaha Revstar RS320 (I rarely see used ones for sale, around Toronto, anyway) Best bang for the buck, by far, IMO. Even new, they’re reasonable for what you get.
I can't find any used, and new ones are like $450.
I wish covid hadn't occurred. My uncle used to visit from Japan every other month, and he could get me stuff. Even my cousin from Canada would have come in 2020, but that also got cancelled.
Fuck covid.


P.S. I think I'll get that Yamaha
 


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