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#2466960 - 01/30/13 08:46 AM Good entry level? Or waste of bucks?
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
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Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
While visiting my (ahem!)reading room the other day, I ran across an item in a FINGERHUT catalog stating it was a FENDER STRATOCASTER for only $179.00! I couldn't believe it! However, on closer inspection, I learned that I read it too fast. The guitar in question was called a Fender STARCASTER.

I never heard of that model. Obviously some budget "entry level" electric job. But it's DESIGN was that of a Strat, right down to the crooked third pick-up. I really couldn't say anything else about this thing, but was wondering if these low priced, budget "entry level" guitars are actually worth the money(although not MUCH money), or a waste of time. I'm not about to order one, but it DID make me curious about this.
Whitefang
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#2466964 - 01/30/13 08:54 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: whitefang]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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I'd rather have a Squier than a Starcaster. I'd put thm on par with the non-custom shop First Act guitars.
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#2466989 - 01/30/13 09:35 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: whitefang]
Fred_C Offline
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Hey Fang,

Although I am not a Fender fan (don't care for bolt-on necks or single coil pickups), it seems to me that you can score a decent solid body for $300-500. If it were I, I would wait a little longer and get something decent.
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#2467010 - 01/30/13 10:12 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: Fred_C]
A String Administrator Offline
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I'd agree with Dannyalcatraz. They are similar to a First Act guitar you might get at Walmart or Sears. Not worth the money at all.

Honestly, some of the MIM, MIJ etc. are half decent quality and great starter guitars. The only issue is with quality control. Some are better than others. Be sure to try before you buy.
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#2467014 - 01/30/13 10:21 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: A String]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5845
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
WHOA! I said I wasn't going to BUY one. I was just curious as to opinions. And I got some good ones. Thanks, all
Whitefang
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#2467028 - 01/30/13 10:50 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Whitefang, there's some debate about the Starcaster, mostly in terms of body dimensions, etc. - the question being "How close is it to a Strat?" I'd say probably not $170 worth.

If you were looking for a Strat-type guitar as an entry-level electric, that you could upgrade later, the Squier SE model is the one to look for. It comes in the kit with a little SP-10 amp, strap, picks, the usual accessory kit. The SE body is the same thickness as a MIM or US Strat, and parts from MIM Strats will drop right in with little or no adjustment. The Bullet & Affinity models have slightly different specs, and thinner bodies, so if you try to drop in an after-market trem (a common upgrade) the trem block sticks out the back of the guitar. If you want, I can check out the GC Used listings, to see if there's an SE at a GC near you. I found a nice sunburst one in a pawnshop for $65, and another, just over a month later, at GC, for $50, black with a pearloid pickguard. They're a good value, if you can find one under $100.
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#2467037 - 01/30/13 11:15 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: Winston Psmith]
BadLife Offline
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Registered: 02/01/06
Posts: 614
They sell these at Target and Hastings. They had one at Hastings that was open and I picked it up just for fun. I have played worse but at that price point some of the Squires are a better deal. The fittings are pretty cheap but I was able to tune it. It's a mass market guitar amied at someone who's ten year old wants their first guitar and the buyer has never been any where near a music store. It would work for that. Not intended for a musician.

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#2467184 - 01/30/13 06:31 PM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: BadLife]
skipclone 1 Offline
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I have in fact heard of those, yes they are intended to get someone interested in the guitar without risking any sizeable chunk of cash. That doesn`t even sound so cheap, you could get a starter for less than that.
(S-T-A-R-T-E-R, not S-T-R-A-T-E-R) grin
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#2467188 - 01/30/13 06:57 PM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: skipclone 1]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
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I think I've seen them in Target for $99, alongside the First Act and Washburn $99 guitars. They're the same thing as the cheapest Squiers that come in the beginner strat packs. Squiers go to music stores, Starcasters go to big box variety stores (as not to devalue the brand?).

No, you can't talk a non-musician parent out of buying them for their kids. I've offered to find a better used Squier or MIM Fender and a good used practice amp for the same price as the strat pack if they'll just give me a few days and the next day they say "I just ordered the strat pack because it was brand new."

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#2467255 - 01/31/13 04:52 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: p90jr]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
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Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: p90jr
I think I've seen them in Target for $99, alongside the First Act and Washburn $99 guitars. They're the same thing as the cheapest Squiers that come in the beginner strat packs. Squiers go to music stores, Starcasters go to big box variety stores (as not to devalue the brand?).

No, you can't talk a non-musician parent out of buying them for their kids. I've offered to find a better used Squier or MIM Fender and a good used practice amp for the same price as the strat pack if they'll just give me a few days and the next day they say "I just ordered the strat pack because it was brand new."


Yeah, I recognize that mentality. I taught for a music store for several years whose salespeople did not receive commission. Hence, they were not motivated to recommend anything better. They would stockpile those "Stratpaks" and push them out the door like apples from a street cart. Whenever I could, if a new student didn't have a guitar, I would always try to impress upon the student or the parents the importance of a decent quality instrument. I would explain that a poor quality instrument would prove to be an impediment to learning and was a false economy. They would "yes" me to death and then go and buy the cheapest piece of manure they could and the damn salespeople (who were all fine musicians in their own right)did not lift a finger to assist them in their selection process. Damn shame!
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#2467271 - 01/31/13 06:22 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: Fred_C]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
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Yeah, that IS a shame. You might try impressing on the parents that a decent, quality instrument not only avoids the impediment to learning, but also feels better to the student and therefore ramps up his/her desire to learn and THAT means THEIR money spent so far in lessons isn't wasted. THEIR reasoning is that if the instrument doesn't cost a lot, it's no big financial loss if the kid loses interest. YOUR job is to convince them that a better instrument at not TOO MUCH more cost might KEEP the kid interested, and NONE of the money is wasted.
Whitefang
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#2467278 - 01/31/13 06:46 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: whitefang]
Fred_C Offline
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Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 944
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Yeah, that IS a shame. You might try impressing on the parents that a decent, quality instrument not only avoids the impediment to learning, but also feels better to the student and therefore ramps up his/her desire to learn and THAT means THEIR money spent so far in lessons isn't wasted. THEIR reasoning is that if the instrument doesn't cost a lot, it's no big financial loss if the kid loses interest. YOUR job is to convince them that a better instrument at not TOO MUCH more cost might KEEP the kid interested, and NONE of the money is wasted.
Whitefang


Hey Fang,

Good points. My teaching is very limited these days. Mostly adult players whose instruments are as nice or nicer than mine. They're a whole lot easier to teach as well.


Edited by Fred_C (01/31/13 06:46 AM)
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#2467380 - 01/31/13 10:25 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: Fred_C]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
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Loc: Hwy 49, California
Waste of bucks IMHO. On the other hand parents don't mind wasting $100 bucks at Christmas on a kid that lacks the attention span of a mouse just to see if the kid is interested or tries to care for the guitar. I would buy a used MIM Strat and a small Rolland or Fender battery amp if the kid is a little older and watch the local classified adds and garage sales.

Another way to go if the parent is a guitar player and the kid is serious, is to buy yourself a nice acoustic/electric Wechter (a great little guitar for the money that you can use for a travel or beach guitar) and if the kid loses interest you take back your loaner. If the kid stays with it, he gets to keep it or you then invest as much as you want to in the model he/she prefers...

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#2467386 - 01/31/13 10:38 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: whitefang]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1952
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Yeah, that IS a shame. You might try impressing on the parents that a decent, quality instrument not only avoids the impediment to learning, but also feels better to the student and therefore ramps up his/her desire to learn and THAT means THEIR money spent so far in lessons isn't wasted. THEIR reasoning is that if the instrument doesn't cost a lot, it's no big financial loss if the kid loses interest. YOUR job is to convince them that a better instrument at not TOO MUCH more cost might KEEP the kid interested, and NONE of the money is wasted.
Whitefang


Been there, WF. While the quality of cheap guitars has gotten better than when we were pre-teens, there are still some real junkers out there. I always tried to convince parents that a good instrument would at least still have some value, if their child lost interest, but that cheap, beater guitars were going to wind up as yard sale filler.

About those kit guitars, though. If you see the kit with the Strat SE for $100 or less, grab it - it's the kit with the Squier SP10 amp, instead of one of the little Fender Frontman or G-Dec amps. The amp is pretty poor, but the guitar is worth modding. Even as a starter guitar, it's not bad, once you've done some minor adjustments, mostly intonation, and maybe taken a small file to the fret ends. The Bullet and Affinity models in the other kits look a little better, but again, when you try to upgrade parts, it's hard to find a good fit, and unless you really enjoy using your router/Dremel tool, I wouldn't mess with them.
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#2467393 - 01/31/13 10:47 AM Re: Good entry level? Or waste of bucks? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
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Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
I don't have kids, but if I did, and I was trying to buy him a starter guitar, I'd probably get him (or her) a Fernandes Nomad:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/fernandes-nomad-standard-electric-guitar
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