Double NGD Budget Guitars I'm not a schizoid

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by OmegaSlayer, May 6, 2021.

  1. OmegaSlayer

    OmegaSlayer Regular

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    Oct 18, 2013
    Roma, Italy
    So...I went on a shopping spree this past week, between past Friday and this Monday

    Basically I pulled the trigger on the Squier Affinity Starcaster I had decided to purchase after this

    And after 7 years I found one of these

    So, I purchased a semi-hollow and a guitar with one of the most extreme shapes in a matter of days, talk about schizophrenic...

    I start with the latter one, the Ibanez XF-350 "Falchion" as I uploaded the pics in the wrong order

    I had been playing my Xiphos past week, it's the XPT700 in Green/Blue
    I like how it plays, except for the paint finish neck...and the D-Activators
    I used to love the D-Acti, but I think I moved my tastes towards pick-ups that are less hot
    As I wanted to keep that XPT original (I have these sentimental bonds with some guitars and want to leave them as they are), I was starting to check if I could find another XPT to mod
    I stumbled in this guy selling this XF-350 for a reasonable price (250 €), so, as it was a guitar I eyeballed ages ago, I pulled the trigger

    The guitar is in decent shape
    Frets are ok, neck doesn't have damages, the bridge is clean
    Still, the paint has a bit of opacity on the black bevel above the pickups, one of the "spikes" the upper one on the back had a badly repaired little crack on the back, the screws on the backplate must be changed and I noticed that even one of the screw holding the string clamp has been changed and it's a bit bitten on the head

    Nothing that can't be repaired/fixed, I'm already trying to paint the crack with nail paint, then will sand with wet fine grit, do some passages, and probably bring the guitar to the car body shop of my friend to give it a pass with the buffing machine

    I probably have spare tremolo clamp screws from the bridge of the restored FGM100, and the other screws are just some cents at the hardware store


    Now, on the more technical side of things
    The guitar is solid and resonant unplugged, which is very good
    It's made in China, so don't expect Indonesia quality, but this guitar costed around € 400 new when it was released, so it is, by all means, a low end budget guitar
    Neck (bolt on) is a bit of a baseball bat compared to the average Ibby, with a C shape and not the classic flat D
    A bit more meaty than the Xiphos neck, for those that have tried it
    But again, nothing that is unplayable, the opposite, it's always nice to have a guitar that changes your habits a bit, or at least I like it
    The access on the upper side of the fretboard is really really good, much better access than the Xiphos, this one has maybe one of the most comfortable and reachable 24th fret access of all the guitars I have tried
    Anyway, probably in the future I'll sand the back of the neck and put an oil finish

    About the sound...
    I plugged and it sounded d**m awful
    The output sounded to me like a crow with a speaker in his mouth
    I spent some times with my patches of the multi effect and I realized that the Ibanez CAP-LZ active pick-ups hate the low end with incredible passion
    They're eccessively boomy, thus very muddy and undefined
    But, as they hate low end, they're in love with mids
    if you dial a tone in the vein of Devin Townsend, Allegaeon, Hypocrisy, the pickups are OK, not mindblowing but service-able

    Again, in the long time, the pickups will be replaced
    As I want to keep actives in there, just for the sake of having diversified gear, I was thinking of the Loomis Blackouts...I would have gone for the jim Root ones, but I don't know if they fit without many hassles

    Considering the price I'm happy with the purchase, but as nitpicky as I am on certain aspects, I'll start to enjoy the guitar more once I change the screw, dealt with the finish and so on...
    It's a solid guitar to mod
    Some would change the bridge...but an Edge costs more than this guitar...I might tune this to B and lock it...but that would happen after I swap the pickups, which won't happen that soon

    Then we step some days bacwards to past week
    I went to the guitar store to purchase some cables and looked around to see if they had a Starcaster, which they didn't, so I asked
    The guys were so nice to order me one, although I mentioned that I wasn't sure if I would have bought it
    They said it wasn't a 4k € guitar, so they would have kept in the store if I hadn't picked it up

    I asked for the Affinity and not the Classic Vibe
    I watched some vids on youtube, and the deciding factor for me was the neck
    The Classic Vibe has much better pick ups, with more range, but it has a lacquered neck, the Affinity one hasn't paint on the neck, so I decided to pick that one and had already decided that I would have put Suhr Thornbuckers in it later down the road

    So I went to the store 2-3 days after the guys told me they would have got it, and it was still packed
    I was so convinced about the average quality of the pick ups that I didn't even wanted to try it plugged
    I don't like to play in front of people and most of all I get how a guitar sounds when I try it with my setup
    So yeah, I took the guitar, and it had a hefty weigth, looked at the neck, which was fine, frets were fine, no scratch/dings/bad finish, tuners weren't loose, gave a couple of strums and hard 2 whole steps string bends
    Guitar kept the tuning, intonation was excellent, it was resonant and most of all it was LOUD
    Loved it

    Didn't thought twice to pick it up
    Got an original Fender gigbag for dreadnaughts for free and got back home
    Cliffhanger...more after the pics


    I think this girl is pretty sexy
    Love the look, love how "wrong" this mix of a 335 and Tele is

    But then again, the dreaded moment when you plug it in and wonder if the honey moon is over...
    Goosebumps instead
    For all the good reasons
    The guitar is loud, snappy, very reactive, with character...WOW
    It goes from George Benson to Meshuggah without sweat
    Yeah, this chugs and djents with no sweat
    I'm even on the fence on the idea of swapping pick ups now
    The Thornbuckers would be an undeniable upgrade, but I already like this a lot, but yeah, maybe this could become incredible with those, who knows

    As for the playability, neck is a meaty C, the out of the box action is quite high, but not Malmsteen high, but I don't ever mind a guitar that challenges me a bit
    I don't know if I want to lower the action, I'm not sure if I want to lose a bit of that sustain that is the character of an hollow body
    Upper fret access is bad, as you might imagine

    Literally, the one thing I can say is that this one costs 280 €, and unless I'm very lucky and I picked out one in a million that is good, Fender has raised the bar very very high, and I say this as a guy that never gelled well with Fender products
    This is even Indonesian, not China, which is incredible for the price tag

    So I highly encourage anyone of you that loves guitar and is not drawn back by shapes, brands, particular nitpick over bridges or neck sizes, to try one if you get the chance

    This guitar is a gem

    Thanks for reading all this essay

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