Martin Smith electro acoustic
You can buy these new from ARGOS for £99, as in fact this one was bought by the previous owner!
The only trouble is they are generally as this one was, in a completely unplayable state.
They are assembled in a factory in China by skilled workers and put straight into a box to arrive at ARGOS in the same state... trouble is, the Chinese workers are hard pressed to keep the production line moving and no one has even a minute to think about making the guitars playable!
This one had a banana neck because the truss had been left slack, giving higher string action; and the nut was un-cut so the strings came out over the first fret with a good 2.5mm of clearance, making holding basic chords an agony!
Now I have lowered the first fret action from 2.5mm to .5mm (half a mill). And you can hold chords with just a light fingertip pressure.
The bridge saddle also needed its grooves cut, both to lower the bridge action, but also to give a stable positional separation of the six strings.
The fretboard was very dry and powdery so I soaked it in beeswax oil, and the fret wires had never been glazed and looked dull and uninspiring... I have glazed them now.
I added a strap button on the heel of the neck as that is the best place for your strap if you like to play standing up.
The finish quality of the body is excellent, and I have great respect for the Chinese workers who build the guitar as really it is beautifully made for £99... but the question remains in my mind: is £99 cheap if all you can do is hang it on the wall to look pretty?
A nice feature is the dead simple electro system: just plug a guitar cable into the centre of the rear strap which houses a jack socket, and set the volume and tone and effects at the amplifier.
I tested it with my Roland cube 30 earlier today and liked the sound it gives; a very even volume on all six strings where so often some shout out loud and others are hardly there... actually the bass E string was perhaps a little lower than the other five, but better than it be booming out over the top!
This deserves so much more than its retail price suggests... trouble is, can you make a £99 guitar then add nearly as much again to the price to make it playable?
Luckily, I bought it for a lot less than £99!
So you can have it in a perfect playable state for £125.
But as well as being a perfect easy playing starter guitar, with it's single cutaway body, it is the perfect guitar to carry out into the garden to practice lead guitar solos and phrases if you play in a band.
Thanks for reading through,
Mark D Phillips....... (Phillips Cleartone Guitar Conversions)