There are enough guitars available to buy at the moment to make a… erm.. grown guitarist cry (yes, that’ll do). With China, Korea, Japan, Vietman, Korea, well pretty much the entire far east spewing out ever cheaper guitars and competing over quality, it certainly is a buyers market. Below I’m going to outline a couple of these brands and hopefully shed a little light over what you’re going to get for your money.
Encore guitars have long been the staple diet of the beginner guitarist, the low price and very well put together guitar packs as the main attractions. Also it’s worth mentioning that Encore are in the midst of an overhaul and are upgrading all the hardware on their guitars, but keeping the prices the same. Encore’s main sellers as far as beginner packs are concerned would be the Encore Playnow Packs, which are available in guitar and bass versions and also the classical guitar packs which are available from half size to full size. These guitar packs are perfect for beginners and bedroom players, though they are lacking in the quality of output needed for gigs, so if you’re thinking of performing you may want to jump up a notch.
Stagg guitars are in a similar league to Encore, however it has to be said that they seem to be generally better finished than the Encore. A bit more attention has been given to small things like paint finish and seating the frets, which make the guitars a little more comfortable to play and easy on the eye. When it comes to guitar packs though the the Encore packs come with a good quality Kustom amp which are marginally better quality than the Stagg amps. So it’s up to you whether you’d prefer the better quality amp or guitar.
Not actual vintage guitars (as in old) but Vintage the brand! These are the next logical step up the ladder from Stagg and Encore, the most notable difference being the Wilkinson branded hardware. This hardware is generally very well machined and will definitely stand the test of time. Also that ‘quality of output’ needed for gigs I mentioned earlier is provided by the Wilkinson branded pickups, which give you that punchy more professional edge. So as the next level up, I would categorise the Vintage range as ‘entry level gigging guitars’. After this I think you’ll be entering a different realm of guitar price, which I will be talking about in the near future.