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From this round-up, it’s clear that there are some gems out there that offer more, to more players, than ever before. Any one of our quartet is worthy of becoming your next gigging guitar, which says a lot for their overall tone and build quality.
The PRS is an ideal example of what a mid-priced Asian-made instrument should be. Quality is ingrained and every detail is meticulously checked. This is the kind of build standard we’ve come to expect from PRS’s SE wing and as the US PRS guitars did when they first hit the US scene in the mid eighties, the SE range is setting the standard for Asian manufacturers.
Did we forget to mention that it sounds cool and comes with a PRS gigbag worth £79 too?
The Ibanez offers noiseless pickups, but also maintains a good classic soapbar tone. The build quality is generally good for the price and though it lacks the out and out tonal character of the Squier or PRS, it still presents a viable alternative for someone wanting something different. It’s a perfectly gigable guitar with a variety of usable, retro-inspired tones.
Overall, the Squier represents the model that offers the best value for money here. The build quality is exceptional for the price, but it’s the tonal quality that this guitar possesses that amazes us. The Duncan Designed single-coils give depth, character and a striking high-end tone that belies its modest price tag. The chunky neck feels great in the palm and, we’d wager, really adds to the overall tone and resonance of the instrument.
The Vintage AV1P is a fine sounding and looking guitar. Its range of tones is surprising, and so is the very vintage-y feel and vibe. Tonally, it isn’t too far away from the PRS, but it’s that extra few percent that makes the difference here: our example had a few cosmetic issues and a rather rough-looking nut job.
However, if you can live with these minor cosmetic issues, you’re left with a great sounding, competitively priced Gibson-inspired guitar that delivers classic P-90 tones with confidence.
PRS SE Soapbar is currently available from Thomann
Ibanez JTK30H is currently available from Thomann
Vintage AV1P Special is currently availablefrom Hartnoll Guitars
Squier VM Tele Custom II is currently available from Andertons Music Co.
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