Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the water

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).

Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby sookwinder » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:31 pm

OK ... here we go ... the WOOKIE003 Les Paul and the guitar my director at work wanted were paid for last Friday, shipped at lunchtime Saturday in China and arrived at my doorstep, in Australia, at 8.30AM today, the following Friday. Not bad, not bad at all.

So this is what I was confronted with when I dragged myself out of bed, bleary eyed and somewhat hung-over...
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A quick imitation of Zorro gave me...
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WOOKIE 003 ... photos with plastic still on the guard and Pickup covers

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Then the other half of the shipping box revealed:

The Madonna guitar that the Director at work wanted:
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Now that we all know what we are looking at... how are they and how do they play/sound.

The WOOKIE003 Les Paul style guitar with P90s is, in one word, amazing.
The fit and finish is just prefect.
The colour of the palm tree on the headstock is exactly what I asked for, in fact all the extra '"customisations" that I asked for are all spot on. The colour knobs they chose matches the finish in a subtle way, which is great.
The weight of the guitar is light to medium and the quilted wood for the front face is exactly as I requested.
Again I have to make the observation that the necks/frets this factory produces are fucking awesome. Never felt better frets on a neck.

This is the first solid body guitar I have with P90s, with my only experience with P90s being my Casinos.
The sound is more complex than I thought it would be. Yes there is the thud, the crunch that one gets when you hit the strings hard, but there is also a nice ringing of overtones which gives the note, the chords a 3D feel to them.

I read somewhere (IIRC the Les Paul Forum) someone pointing out that the P90 pickup design is pretty simple and even the Chinese manufacturers don't usually fuck it up. Well be it a simple or complex design, I am impressed with these P90 pickups. They work well will rock or blues and lead or rhythm.

If you buy a Chinese built guitar, one thing you must do is replace the strings ASAP. I think they were 9-42 and had the same tonality as a rusted barbwire fence on the Nullarbor Plain. While I was changing the strings on the WOOKIE003 I suddenly notice that the bridge/saddles on this LP is different to the bridge/saddles on WOOKIE001. I don't know what you call it ... roller saddles ? What ever it is called, works a treat.
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Now let's have a talk about the other guitar.... The factory call it a "trans black LP Madonna maple top " ..... well I'd call it a bastard son of a Thinline Telecaster and a Les Paul. The guitar is very light, hollowbody accounts for that or at least the thinline version of a hollowbody, plus the body itself is a little smaller all round , which makes it for a very very easy guitar to play. The fit and finish on the guitar is immaculate and the multiply ply binding on the body/neck/headstock sure adds to the overall style of the guitar. Now while this style of guitar is not what I personally would buy, for those who like the look, like the concept, like the transparent wood grain, it will not fail to please.

I do particularly like the through the body string set up and the offset/diagonal layout of the string ferules . Just like a JM or jag you can play some spacy sounds with the back of the bridge string sections. Oh and the bridge on this guitar is also the "roller saddle" type.

While I am not a HB kind of guy (I prefer mHBs) I do have three guitars with HBs (1 solid and 2 hollowbody Gibsons), so my evaluation of the HBs in this guitar are essentially comparing them to a Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson ES137 and a Gibson 1967 335. Well first thing to say is that these Chinese HBs are in no way as good as 67 335 Pat. HBs or even the high end modern Gibson HBs ... but they are pretty good.

When one turns up the volume, add a dollop of OD they do really rawk. I think what they lack is the subtlety and articulation that one would use HBs when playing a slow blues or jazz style solo/lead. But you know, for US$250 to your front door step, I'd rate them a damn good. Yes you probably can go out and fit a more up market set of HBs, but I think many who buy this model won't bother as the pickups are just fine for what they are.

So it is late in the afternoon, been playing/stringing/intonating guitars all day, the sun is out the winds are blowing, a cricket test match is on the TV and my doctor told me this morning my cholesterol and blood sugar levels are back to normal and have stayed that way for the past 12 months.
I wish I had more days like this.

Till next time when WOOKIE002 arrives (after its second run through the paint-shop!)
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby mackerelmint » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:47 pm

Awesome. Just fantastic, and I'm glad to hear their P90s are good, because I expect to be ordering an SG jr. sometime shortly after christmas. 8)
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby jimboyogi » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:09 am

Very awesome David, 003 really looks beautifully finished. Except for one thing - next time we catch up I"m bringing you some counter sunk pup adjustment screws for the P90s ;D

What will 007 look like?
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby NoiseNoiseNoise » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:44 am

That Madonna looks fantastic! *looks at piggy bank.....*
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby Mechanical Birds » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:34 am

Yeah this is just insane!!!

The idea that we can get custom designed LP variants for like $250 shipped to our doors with what looks like great build quality is really really messing me up. Like I'd rather have a white LP custom with my name in pearled inlay than any Epiphone... I'm really blown away by how cool this is.


Even though it was outlined how you handled going after this thing I'd still be freaked out/anxious to ask for specific stuff. You said the communication was pretty easy though, yeah? DAMN I gotta get on this. Just so so so so so so so cool!
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby The Bald Man » Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:54 pm

Thanks for the info. I now have in my grubby mitts a Grote Candy Apple Red '335'. Fantastic value for money. The stock p-ups are a fair 6.8/10. The strings were crap and the setup needed a tweak, preference stuff tho. A $1500 feel guitar
I didn't go for the offer of having a Gibby headstock, but man, it had me slightly concerned - in a few years, how will we know what are genuine originals of classic gats without serious investigation? The copies are that good nowadays.
One of life's burning conundrums... Why do things sound better loud..?
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby budda12ax7 » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:18 am

That LP looks really nice.....I might get the "ace frehley" model.....jeez.....
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby Jan Deal » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:21 am

Interesting to hear about the consistent build quality. I have been looking into getting an LP Custom type of guitar...
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby sookwinder » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:19 am

A month or so before xmas last year a colleague at work, after seeing/playing my WOOKIE003, decide to order a LP from these guys.
He has always wanted a Honey Burst LP and sent appropriate photos to show what he wanted as a finish. GROTE has various LPs that were almost what he wanted, but not quite the subtle honey/autumn finish.

All seemed to be going OK, he received the first progress photos and they were really nothing like he wanted. Very stark reddie brown with yellow.
The lady did mention in the email that she thought the colour was not correct

So he just said "No, that is not what I asked for, I want a honey colour" And resent the photos.

Well late last week I saw the 2nd attempt preliminary pics and was blown away... great flame , nice soft honey burst...My colleague was happy.
Then last evening he receive the photos below... all finished. Photos are like trams ... never turn up when you want them, then 6 come along at the same time.

If I didn't already have enough I would order one just cause it looks so good
When it arrives I'll get some more pics and do a review.

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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby simonhpieman » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:43 am

That LP looks real nice, seems they've really gotten a handle on building things properly.

So, come on, who's going to be the first to get them to make a "proper" Jag-Stang?
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby cmatthes » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:01 pm

They just can't get that body shape even CLOSE to right.
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby Con-Tiki! » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:48 am

did the blue one ever arrive?
I've been to one World's Fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing i ever heard come out a pair of headphones.
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby sookwinder » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:18 am

cmatthes wrote:They just can't get that body shape even CLOSE to right.

Regarding what guitar ? The LPs are the exact correct shape

Con-Tiki! wrote:did the blue one ever arrive?

No ... not so far ... on that one .. if it comes it comes... I am not too fussed ... the wookie3 (orange with P90s) is awesome so that is what we've been recording with lately when we want that cut through rock sound
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby cmatthes » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:16 am

sookwinder wrote:
cmatthes wrote:They just can't get that body shape even CLOSE to right.

Regarding what guitar ? The LPs are the exact correct shape

No. It isn't correct, if we're talking about a Gibson Les Paul body shape. The cutaway horn on the treble side is WAY off, for starters.
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Re: Chinese custom guitar - dipping my toe in to test the wa

Postby Gordon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:14 pm

cmatthes wrote:No. It isn't correct, if we're talking about a Gibson Les Paul body shape. The cutaway horn on the treble side is WAY off, for starters.
At first, I too thought it was off, too pointy. But since I saw that picture, I got to play a vintage Gibson LP, and realised that the angle the picture is taken, plus the carved top (and the sharper binding)... I'm quite positive it's an optical illusion. Can't remember my own LP, sold it a while ago, but I'm still quite sure.
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