Are cheap basses as good as the reviews?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by gigetto, Jul 2, 2020.

  1. gigetto


    Sep 25, 2019
    Some new products (not new shapes only new name on the stock of the asian replicas)are coming on market. The common sense of these that are extremely cheap and affordable but the reviews show them as a five star market revelation.

    Could a first fascia instruments reveal with mid fascia? Why some mid area are reviewed only for two or not lot more stars and these are emphatizes as miracle maker?

    It is on our eyes that cheap instruments are better a lot than 30 years ago, but nowadays seems that cheaper are better.....
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think a little got mixed up in translation, but yes, cheap Asian made instruments are okay. Reviews are often faked.
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  3. gigetto


    Sep 25, 2019
    I apologize for my bad english is not my native language, i don't use translator and i write directly, but I hope the sense of my answer is well interpretered
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    No need to apologise. You may want to put your country in your profile.
  5. Some cheap basses are much better than expected, some are just awful. I have had both.
  6. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    This bears repeating.
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  7. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Faked or even repurposed somehow. You can be looking at a computer with five star reviews on Amazon and half those reviews are for a particularly good tea pot.
  8. It's also worth remembering that instruments can vary greatly - even two made in the same factory, in the same time period can play, sound and feel completely different. Not to mention manufacturer tolerances being less strict on cheaper models.

    While I've never played one of the super budget Chinese basses you see around, I've owned a lot of lower priced insturments. I've had Squiers that have been exceptional, Squiers that have been fine - giggable but nothing that jumps out - and Squiers have been very unsurprising. In a lot of cases, they've had the same tuners, same pickups, same bridges, even the same strings.. but that difference will always be there.

    It seems the lower the price you pay for your instrument, the greater variation between a 'good' and a 'bad' one. You may see someone review a Glarry, say, and love it - another reviewer might have the same model and think of it as firewood. It doesn't necessarily mean either of them is wrong in their assessment.
  9. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD
    Reading reviews does need to be done with a critical eye. In addition to fakes, there are people attempting to be honest, but downrating budget instruments for things that are due to poor setup.

    But short answer, yes, budget instruments today are, on average, better than they were when I started playing guitar. And it is well worth the time for any player to learn to do their own setup. :thumbsup:
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Most of them are definitely fantastic!! .......for the price. A $300 bass is still a $300 bass.
  11. Depends on the spirit of the assessment.

    I've saw quite a few really stupid critiques of cheap instruments. Folks moaning of a slight paint overrun or a proud bit of binding.Truth is the standard looked for on say $100 basses is ridiculously high.

    An over-large neck pocket on a 7ender will get a pass, "it's to allow better string/neck alignment". Same thing on a sub $100 bass will see it dismissed as shoddy work and the owner should either return it or move to East Asia and torch the factory :roflmao:

    Cheap tuners/pots/pickups are another common warcry. Are these the fault of the sub $100 bass ?
    No they are a necessity caused by a cheapskate market.

    As @dabbler points out,you can't take reviews at face value. A fella with the $2k bass might be kind of miffed if he finds the $99 bass does 90% of what he requires,that's when the OTT fault finding mission starts. The review now is not about the $99 bass it's about justifying his $2k bass :)
  12. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph Supporting Member

    This ^^.

    Not sure what definition of "cheap" OP has in mind, but I've owned a few Squier VM Jazz basses and they were outstanding, considering the price of course. Sounded good, felt good and quality-made stuff and they are not shamed at all by my other Jazzes. I regrettably had to sell the VM77, but still have the VM70s (arguably the best of the 2, IMO). That thing is a beast !
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  13. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    If you keep your expectations in line, you can get a great deal but don't expect a Sadowsky for $89.
  14. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    @gigetto, I learned from Glarry that I like basswood and even ceramic pickups. It's embarrassing to my other basses.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I also think that many people get caught up in the excitement of a new bass and look at it with rose colored glasses. Or they put $300 of upgrades into a $300 bass and then compare it favorably to a $600 bass. :whistle:

    I once had a Squier bass that I put MIA pickups and electronics in. It sounded so good that I put MIA hardware on it. Then I put an MIA neck on it. Then I decided that I might as well go ahead and put an MIA body on it. By the time I was done it looked, played and sounded as good as any MIA I've ever owned!
  16. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    You are correct. Affordable instruments have gotten a lot better.

    The problem is that every builder wants the grey area market. Now you have G&L, Spector, Lakland, Musicman, Warwick, and a few others making "budget" instruments. The first problem is their budget-priced instruments fall within the $600 - $1000 range because the top shelf is much higher. The second problem is that $600 - $1000 is not throw away money. People are spending that on necessities such as rent, car payments, and other monthly expenses. I roll my eyes when people refer to that price range as "budget" or "cheap".

    Soooo...when people get their hands on a good instrument in the $200 - $500 (which is still meaningful), they are happy and willing to endorse it. The manufacture did their homework and the buyer gets to enjoy it while balancing other expenses. It's a win-win.

    People know where they sit at with budget instruments and there no other expectations from diminishing returns. My first bass was a MIM Fender Deluxe Jazz. It wasn't cheap ($799 out the door at GC) and was a quality playing instrument. I had a snobby friend that told me I should've taken it back and bought a US model. Needless to say, I know where I stood with him. :laugh: Price matters. If it didn't we'd all would short the rent check and other bills by paying "ball-park" figures.
  17. B-Mac

    B-Mac Happiness is a warm puppy and a great bass Gold Supporting Member

    Here's TB-er @LowEndLobster doing an $83 Glarry P-Bass review
    It's done very well and compares the Glarry to a Fender MIM P-Bass to help get things in perspective.
    LowEndLobster $83 Glarry P-Bass review
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    I love cheap basses … not because they are great out of the box … no rather I like cheap because they have flaws that I need to fix, and I enjoy fixing, changing, modifying my cheap basses, and I take it a step further by taking cheap basses apart and rebuilding them with parts that do not fit and do not belong together.
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  19. In my experience cheap equipment gets better reviews because the standard for quality is lower at the price point. It doesn't mean that the equipment is bad, it just means that if you buy something for a $100 and it provides a $150 worth of value you're going to be very excited about it, where you might not be as excited about a $600 item that provides value at $600 (or even $650).
  20. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    Some reviews are astroturf/fake, but I think there's also a wide range of quality with individual examples of the same models when you get to the lower end price points for the country of origin. The same holds true for cheap MiC/MiI/MiK/MiM & US made IME. A lot of times I feel the most consistent QC comes out of Japanese factories, w/ Korea trailing shortly behind. MiM Fender is generally pretty darn good/consistent IME as well.

    I agree there's an effect of heightened/lowered expectations when dealing w/ an expensive or inexpensive instrument respectively as well.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020