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MF MD HG01 Electric Guitar Month 06-19-18

Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar

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Product H71147
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The Explorer Melody Maker is one the Limited Run Series as Gibson USA re-introduces the Melody Maker as the budget-friendly entree to Gibson solidbod...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

A genuine humbucker-powered Gibson USA Explorer at a price that's too good to pass up

The Explorer Melody Maker is one the Limited Run Series as Gibson USA re-introduces the Melody Maker as the budget-friendly entree to Gibson solidbody electrics.The Melody Maker was introduced by Gibson 1959 as their budget solidbody model. It had a single-cutaway Les Paul Junior shape with a thinner body and distinctive, narrower Melody Maker headstock. The one single-coil pickup was controlled by one volume knob”sound familiar? In later years, a double-cutaway and then an SG-shaped Melody Maker were released.

The new Melody Maker is available in four iconic body shapes: Les Paul and, SG, and now for the first time for the Melody Maker: Flying V, and Explorer. The Melody Maker is now powered by a Seymour Duncan HB-103 humbucker to produce the punch and roar that modern guitar players demand. The maple body comes in a choice of grain-textured satin finishes while the set-in, 1-piece mahogany neck has the slim Melody Maker profile. The wrapround tailpiece, with its tight and solid design, offers the sustain and resonance that many rockers seek. The Gibson USA Melody Maker comes with deluxe gig bag.

FEATURES
  • Maple body (reduced 5% from normal size)
  • Grain textured satin finish
  • Set 1-piece mahogany neck
  • Melody Maker neck profile
  • 24-3/4" scale
  • 22 frets
  • Acrylic dot fretboard inlays
  • 1.695 nut width
  • Corian nut
  • Seymour Duncan HB-103 humbucker
  • One Volume control
  • Wraparound tailpiece
  • Gig bag included

Get your Gibson Explorer Melody Maker today while it's still available.

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by PowerReviews
GibsonLimited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar
 
4.3

(based on 14 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (7)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

review of melody maker explorer

I bought this guitar to compliment my tele as I had no guitar with a humbucker in the bridge. The MM explorer takes care of that problem in spades.
A lot of guys...Read complete review

I bought this guitar to compliment my tele as I had no guitar with a humbucker in the bridge. The MM explorer takes care of that problem in spades.
A lot of guys don't like the way it looks, but I really do. It has a very 80s retro feel to it, almost like someone stuck a v neck on an explorer. In reality, if you're playing in front of an audience, only the guitar gear heads are going to be critical of the appearance of your equipment. Everyone else is going to be concerned with how you sound, and this guitar sounds great.
There are very few features to write about. Only 1 bridge pickup and a volume pot.
The maple body is quite slim and is not at all heavy. It is clearly not an exact copy of a traditional explorer. The headstock is obviously an attempt to copy the V, and the over all body size is scaled down 5% from the original explorers. The pickup/body combination work really well together. Screamingly so.
The textured finish isn't really my cup of tea, but you really can't see it unless you're about three feet away from the guitar. The quality of the sound is amazing. Period.
I am also very happy with the set up, the frets, the whole deal.
This could be the best value in a guitar ever. There are only 100 of each body style in each color produced.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Gibson Explorer Melody Maker. A really nice starting platform for a great Hot-Rod!

Sorry, but another middle of the road rating here due to the poor Fit & Finish of this Explorer Melody Maker fretboard to neck joint.

If you are...Read complete review

Sorry, but another middle of the road rating here due to the poor Fit & Finish of this Explorer Melody Maker fretboard to neck joint.

If you are not a "Fit & Finish" perfectionist like myself, and you just want a simple great playing cool looking little blaster, buy this guitar!

If you are like me and rebuild & customize guitars as a hobby, buy this guitar!

If fit & finish is way high on your list of importance, think twice about this guitar!

Maybe I got a guitar that was built on a Monday morning!? At any rate this one is most likely headed to my O.R. for neck surgery.
The Melody Maker Explorer has one volume knob. Simple.
The wrap-over bridge is really great for bends and adds to the unique tone formula, as does the thin, and the "smaller than a real Explorer" maple body. I like the smaller body because I am a player of modest build and it fits my size without looking freakish.
The fret heights and nut are measured and cut with a very precice German CNC "Plek" machine, or "Pleked" as it were.
The pup is VERY hot at full volume, and more tame at lower levels. Nice!
I am really torn about what number to rate the qualty of this guitar at. There was a small ding on on of the "points" on the lower body. The Gison shipping box was in perfect shape, so this happened at the factory, and they shipped it anyway. The fretboard is slightly (.005"?) more narrow than the neck so there is a sharp "lip" at the neck/fretboard joint that I feel as I am playing up and down the neck. I find that very bothersome, and frankly hard to believe from a USA Gibson. I would send the guitar back for a replacement but a friend looked at a Explorer Melody Maker in a store and reported that it had the same "too narrow fretboard condition".

It is my understanding that all USA Gibsons have frets that were measured, and finished in a German CNC Plek machine and this guitar shows it. The frets are all at the exact height they should be, and it plays great! Bends are "like butter" , and there is absolutely no fret buzz. Really nice tone and sustain. For those reasons, along with a price under $400 I call it a nice "platform" to buld something greater with. Because it is a solid player already, I am probably going to keep it and re-finish the neck.
Again I am giving this Explorer Melody Maker a middle of the road rating due to the aforementiond quality issues,

I have 3 Gibson SGs, and none of these guitars have a neck that wasn't sanded, shaped, and finished AFTER the fretboard was glued to the neck. Yes... The SGs were twice the money that this Explorer Melody Maker was, but we are talking about a Made In The USA guitar here. That used to mean great quality. Sadly, that's not true in this case.

Reviewed by 14 customers

Displaying reviews 1-14

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

review of melody maker explorer

By brian onuscheck

from Ashburn, VA

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

I bought this guitar to compliment my tele as I had no guitar with a humbucker in the bridge. The MM explorer takes care of that problem in spades.
A lot of guys don't like the way it looks, but I really do. It has a very 80s retro feel to it, almost like someone stuck a v neck on an explorer. In reality, if you're playing in front of an audience, only the guitar gear heads are going to be critical of the appearance of your equipment. Everyone else is going to be concerned with how you sound, and this guitar sounds great.
There are very few features to write about. Only 1 bridge pickup and a volume pot.
The maple body is quite slim and is not at all heavy. It is clearly not an exact copy of a traditional explorer. The headstock is obviously an attempt to copy the V, and the over all body size is scaled down 5% from the original explorers. The pickup/body combination work really well together. Screamingly so.
The textured finish isn't really my cup of tea, but you really can't see it unless you're about three feet away from the guitar. The quality of the sound is amazing. Period.
I am also very happy with the set up, the frets, the whole deal.
This could be the best value in a guitar ever. There are only 100 of each body style in each color produced.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

An owner's review and experience with the Melody Maker Explorer

By James Pearson

from Somewhere between Miami and New York

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

I love everything about these guitars. Look at them for what they're intended, and they blow you away.

The sound is good, even from the MM models with the cheaper Duncan Designed HB101 pickup standard.

Really, I do wish they'd put a second pickup in them, or at least offered one with a second pickup.

I know that old Melody Maker guitars had white-button tuners - but I love the old green-key style tuners more... for the same approximate cost, it would have rocked to have them that way.

By the way, Gibson, why not a rockin' Explorer banana headstock on all of the 2011 Melody Makers? That would have truly sold more - trust me.
I've owned, played, and recorded with a 2011 Gibby Explorer MM and a 2011 Gibby SG MM... Both were and are fantastic guitars.

They're NOT $1000+ instruments, nor are they intended to be. They are intended to be beginner's, student's, and budget consumer's guitars. They're light (reduced size for the Explorer), they're bright (they're primarily maple), they're simple (one volume, one pickup, six strings and tuners), and they're VERY affordable.

Where else can you get a USA-made rock machine at this price? Ask yourself this: A nicely-made Indonesian-factory guitar from a major metal-guitar-brand will cost the same or more. Which would you really rather have? Leftover-wood-composite-body import with very inexpensive electronics, or a USA-made well-designed instrument that's easy to play and easy for the pocketbook?
Both of my 2011 Melody Maker guitars are/were perfect. Really. I had no quality issues with them and even the inexpensive nitro spray-on finish was adequate on both.
These are a fantastic value for the money. Especially when on sale! These beat the usual "beater" or "don't care if it gets stolen on gigs" guitars hands down - and are at the same price or less...

Honestly, even at this money, I like these enought that I'd be miffed if one grew legs after a gig.

(2 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Disappointed

By Oldguitarman-lhlvu

from Springfield IL

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Other than the cracked neck, this is a very bare bones guitar. The tuners are not good, the finish is average at best. Just not up to the quality of a Gibson.
Don't get your hopes up, I was disappointed to the point of returning it for a refund.
No features
Mine was delivered to my house is a perfect box. Guitar was in a perfect gig bag, but the guitar came out of the gig bag with an 8 inch crack in the neck. There was no damage to the packing materials whatsoever, so I have no other conclusion than it left the factory that way. I would expect a whole lot more from a USA made Gibson. A simple inspection prior to leaving the factory would have caught this. Needless to say, the guitar is unplayable, and has to be returned. In addition, the tuners were not good, and the guitar had a major buzz in the high E string (maybe from the broken neck) . The finish was blah, and even the finish on the pickguard was blah. I was not at all impressed. I am returning it and getting a refund, don't want a replacement.
Honestly think an Epiphone Les Paul Standard would be a better guitar than this gibson for the same money.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Love this guitar.

By Silvervox

from In your attic

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Although it may not be for everyone, I love this guitar. I never would have believed that a single pickup, single volume knob guitar could manage this range of tones. It had me grinding out power chords at full volume and grinning like an idiot for 3 hours straight today... no matter what style you play, this thing will bring you back to your rock n' roll roots pretty quick. I gave it a few days to let the "honeymoon effect" wear off somewhat, but I think it may take a while. If you're looking for a guitar that you want to take with you to work because you'll miss it while you're away, this is it.
I bought this guitar planning to rout a neck pickup cavity and wire a tone control into it, but upon receiving it... I think I've changed my mind. I'm almost afraid to change anything on this guitar for fear of ruining whatever special magic it possesses.
I'm giving this a 9 because mine came with some very slight scuffs right out of the box. The pickguard had some small scratches around the volume knob (it looks like someone's wrench slipped) and there's a small imperfection in the finish on the lower edge of the body. I don't really mind this personally, but I know how neurotic some people can be about finishes. Also, the finish itself looks a little bit like it came out of a spray can... but seriously, when a guitar plays this well, it could be covered in macaroni and sequins and I'd still rock it. All in all, I think it fits the garage-rock vibe the guitar seems to be going for in the first place. The frets deserve special mention... it looks like someone put some serious TLC into them, they're gorgeous and extremely comfortable to play on.
The only other guitar in this price range that I've fallen this deeply in love with was my PRS soapbar semi-hollow. For the money, you're getting an extremely solid guitar that plays well, sounds great, and looks cool. And it comes with a nice gig-bag that is tailored to fit the guitar (I have the satin white model, and the interior of the case is white, so it looks awesome. I think it would be cool if they matched the lining of the case with the color of the guitar, but I don't know whether they do this.) For everyone hating on this guitar for not being an explorer... it's not an explorer!!!! It's a melody maker shaped like an explorer. If you want an explorer, go pay the extra and buy one.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

What a great value for a Gibson and a surprise for me!

By Martin Lee

from GA.

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Again I love the PU in it and the feel and quality of the guitar only took a minuite of playing to figure out it was a great guitar.I hate to be so positive but iit just feels and sounds right to me.
If I do have a complaint I would have liked to see the brand name (Gibson) on the headstock and not on just the truss rod cover.They (Gibson)should be proud of this one.
It is what it is, a simple Melody Maker in an Explorer shape.One PU (A Screamer) one volume knob a wrap around bridge,a great finnish and it feels and sounds great.
i never thought I would even like it but surprise.I never expected to buy it but what a great guitar.The Seymour Duncan HB 103 is one of the hottest PU's I have ever played.
So far after a month still looks great and still sounds like a monster with a pretty decent clean.quality wise it looks like they got this one right,from build to finnish.
I was really close to buying a different brand and style of guitar and just for the heck of it pulled this one off the wall to take up some time,glad I did.The MM has everything I could have wanted,a direct one PU screaming guitar thats very well made and looks great (mines white) great paint job.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Gibson Explorer Melody Maker. A really nice starting platform for a great Hot-Rod!

By Rogers Tele Guy

from Rogers, MN

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Sorry, but another middle of the road rating here due to the poor Fit & Finish of this Explorer Melody Maker fretboard to neck joint.

If you are not a "Fit & Finish" perfectionist like myself, and you just want a simple great playing cool looking little blaster, buy this guitar!

If you are like me and rebuild & customize guitars as a hobby, buy this guitar!

If fit & finish is way high on your list of importance, think twice about this guitar!

Maybe I got a guitar that was built on a Monday morning!? At any rate this one is most likely headed to my O.R. for neck surgery.
The Melody Maker Explorer has one volume knob. Simple.
The wrap-over bridge is really great for bends and adds to the unique tone formula, as does the thin, and the "smaller than a real Explorer" maple body. I like the smaller body because I am a player of modest build and it fits my size without looking freakish.
The fret heights and nut are measured and cut with a very precice German CNC "Plek" machine, or "Pleked" as it were.
The pup is VERY hot at full volume, and more tame at lower levels. Nice!
I am really torn about what number to rate the qualty of this guitar at. There was a small ding on on of the "points" on the lower body. The Gison shipping box was in perfect shape, so this happened at the factory, and they shipped it anyway. The fretboard is slightly (.005"?) more narrow than the neck so there is a sharp "lip" at the neck/fretboard joint that I feel as I am playing up and down the neck. I find that very bothersome, and frankly hard to believe from a USA Gibson. I would send the guitar back for a replacement but a friend looked at a Explorer Melody Maker in a store and reported that it had the same "too narrow fretboard condition".

It is my understanding that all USA Gibsons have frets that were measured, and finished in a German CNC Plek machine and this guitar shows it. The frets are all at the exact height they should be, and it plays great! Bends are "like butter" , and there is absolutely no fret buzz. Really nice tone and sustain. For those reasons, along with a price under $400 I call it a nice "platform" to buld something greater with. Because it is a solid player already, I am probably going to keep it and re-finish the neck.
Again I am giving this Explorer Melody Maker a middle of the road rating due to the aforementiond quality issues,

I have 3 Gibson SGs, and none of these guitars have a neck that wasn't sanded, shaped, and finished AFTER the fretboard was glued to the neck. Yes... The SGs were twice the money that this Explorer Melody Maker was, but we are talking about a Made In The USA guitar here. That used to mean great quality. Sadly, that's not true in this case.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Explorer Melody Maker

By The Shirt

from SC

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

I dig this guitar! I am more of a Strat guy, and I have several US Strats, but this thing is fun to play, light, and well balanced. A real hot rod!
Not much in the way of features - but that's the point! Better tuning machines might not hurt, but this is a verry playable guitar.
This is an inexpensive guitar, and it's made in the USA, so you know they had to skip on some of the quality. The satin finish is okay, but it was craking on the neck joint when I got it. I will probubly wet sand the neck for a faster feel. The jack could have been in a better place too. The guitar is really well balanced though, and light for a Gibson, so it is easy to play - after you spend some quality time adjusting everything for playabuility.
Great twang for the buck! This is a real guitar with none of the stuff you don't need - unless you need a neck position pick up.

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

a steal at the price.

By andrew kelly

from Detroit.

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

for a guitar nat this price, you can't do much better. beautifully put together, simple, straightforward, plays brilliantly. fit and finish comparable to guitars two to five times as expensive. is it stripped down? yep. only one pickup? yep. plain jane finish? yep. with the amps we all use, can it be coaxed to produce a rich canvas of. sounds? yep. can it do what it was meant to do, in spades? yep. nothing but thumbs up for this guitar.
nine because that volume knob could be a little further down the body. so close!
the fit and finish is perfect, from the frets and fretboard to the strap buttons. really well done!
I defy you to show me a better constructed, more straightforward simplified rock machine than these melody makers. kudos Gibson.

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

great practice guitar

By nicholas rangel

from Undisclosed

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

great practice guitar, good sound and tone, light, no worry about scratching or damage, great neck after playing awhile and getting the dryness oiled up from my hands
Very few features- one pickup one knob
pick up sound great for the price, finish is lacking but for a practice guitar it fine, neck and frets are a 9 out of ten smooth and no ringing

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Judged for what it is, its a clear winner IMO

By M

from TN

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

I havent had the guitar very long yet, but lets just say its one of my better honeymoons with a guitar. I've always liked explorers, but not enough to put down a large sum of cash for one, I find them a bit too bulky and unwhieldy...the thin body of the MM series make these very light and very comfortable, plus the price is pocket friendly. Its extremly lively with the maple body, wrap around bridge and torefied maple fret board, unplugged its kinda freakishly loud, and the 491T is a nice surprise, even with just the single volume control, you can coax a lot of distinct tones, dimed with high gain, your in metal heaven, a moderate gain setting you can easily go from pretty clean to very mean, its extremly responsive to pick attack across the range of the control. The combo of the maple body and TM fingerboard makes this a very bright and punchy guitar, but not overly so....the best way I can describe it is, imagine an old school tele or esquire,thats still unmistakably Gibson. The wrap around non compensated tail piece was what sealed the deal, I dont have an axe with one, and I already have a couple Les Pauls in my collection...so this was a no brainer for me. Bottom line its a solid stripped down great sounding and playing guitar for a nice price. Its got one knob and the jack isnt in the most asthetically pleasing spot, a right angle cable makes the jack a non issue, the single control is enough, the way this responds to touch, your string attack alone can give you a wide array of different sounds through a nice tube amp (I havent tried it with any low end SS/modelling amps) Another note, the gig bag is nice, and surprisingly shaped for the guitar, I figured this would be a generic one size fits all, but its tailored for the explorer, and has more padding than the G-USA bag that came with my 50's tribute LP studio. Complaints, for what it is there arent many, main niggle was where the tail stud goes through the pickguard, I had a lot of debris in the threads, no biggie but annoying to find on a brand new guitar...everything else is fine for what it is, the whole line from the EXP to the V to the SG, they are just shapes..these are Melody makers period...you cant compare them to the other standard models because thats NOT what these are. The SG melody maker is not an SG, its just shares the shape. With that in mind these are awesome...they look killler, and sound and feel totally unique from what I've been exposed to...and I've been playing for decades and have and have had a whole lot of guitars...these are worth checking out. As of now this is a keeper!

 
4.0

Satin Finish...Like house paint?

By Thomas Smolenski

from brooklyn, ny

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

I'm really mixed. Right now I'm still pretty upset that my new guitar is already looking 5 years old. But the guts are solid, the neck joint and neck are nice it's really just cosmetic stuff I have issues with.

If you really want to own a real gibson go for it. If you want a guitar whose paint will stay on for more than two weeks maybe look elsewhere.
This thing is pretty bare bones. Though that's the beauty of it. One humbucker and one volume knob. The knob sits a little uncomfortalby close to the bridge but it's easy enough to get used to.

The wraparound bridge is ok too, but you've got to hope it's intonation is right. seemed ok out of the box.

The humbucker wasn't a seymour duncan as described so be forewarned. maybe it's "duncan designed"? it didn't sound bad though. lacking a little in the highs but it gets a decent crunch whatever it is. The output is enough that you get a good sound without getting any screeching feedback. I swapped it out for a duncan sh-4 but the output is a lot higher and i get feedback when cranked now.
This is where I start getting pissed off.

The guitar itself is rad. It looks like a tiny explorer, is simple and has solid action. But this finish is wretched and I'm writing this review to warn you about it.

It looks cool enough. Satin is sort of midway betwen matte and gloss. But this affects it's playability. It resists a bit when you're sliding around the neck and whatnot. Nothing huge but it takes some getting used to if you play fast music.

Virtually no one will let you return a guitar due to "belt buckle rash." I've had this guitar about two weeks. I brought it to two band practices. I don't wear any crazy buckle on my belt, just normal keep your pants up fare. After the second practice there wasn't just "belt buckle rash" where there normally would be...THE PAINT WAS GONE!

So today there is a little circle of wood on the back of my brand new guitar. It's a mite disconcerning, and I just have to deal with it.

It's fun to have an explorer shaped guitar but if i knew this paint was going to get this screwed up this fast I would have bought something else. The front still looks fine but I don't have high hopes.
Well you get what you pay for right? All in all this guitar IS put together well. If you have the time and money to tweak it maybe with a new pickup or refinish it once it gets crazy on you it might be a good investment.

I honestly expected a bit more from gibson as far as the finish goes. So please keep that in mind.

 
5.0

Great Basic Rocker

By THLH

from Traverse City, MI

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

As long as you are expecting a low priced guitar, you will love it. Just be realistic.
Very bare bones as far as features, but if you are like me, you use the bridge pickup 99% and leave the volume all the way up meaning this guitar is dead on. The tuners although looking cheap, work very well and keep the guitar in tune. I did change out the tailpiece because I felt the G string was too far out of intonation to satisfy me, but if you never play that far up the neck, it actually will work fine and sounds great. The carve of the neck is right in the sweet spot- not too think, but not flat either. Feels very comfortable. Finally, with a maple body, I was expecting a heavy guitar, but I was happy to find it was very light, around 6 lbs.
Gibson has been very spotty on their quality control and I have bought a couple of hogher priced guitars from them that was absolute junk. This guitar is excellent. No issues with anything at all. If you are expecting perfect paint and a flawless guitar, don't buy this, but if you are expecting an affordable guitar, you will be happy to find the quality of this guitar.
Even at the price it's a little bit over priced. But, it IS made in the USA so I can't complain. Even Peavey can't do that anymore.

 
4.0

Great deal on a american made Gibson Explorer.

By Roger Bellerose

from Canada

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

For the money,it's a great deal considering it's made in the states.I might change out the pick-up but other than that pretty cool!!.

 
4.0

Explorer Melody Maker Guitar

By john mcintyre

from Florida

See all my reviews

Comments about Gibson Limited Run Explorer Melody Maker Electric Guitar:

Simple, sleek and easy to play. For the price this is a no brainer.
Simple straight forward Rocker. Easy to play. I was surprised how hot the pickup is. Fast no-frill neck and good action. Very Light and resonates very well.
Out of the box it was what you would expect for no-frills finish. Very smooth finish. The guitar stays in tune very well and the out of the box action was nice and low.
I have many premium Fenders, Gibsons and Paul Reeds and this is a nice addition to all of those. If you are a Brand Snob you won't even give it a chance. Set that a-side and give one a try. You might like it.

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