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Old CGS Forum > Upgrades & Parts

Chinese Guitars that need NO Fret work?

posted Jan 13, 2014 02:12:40 by stanton.kramer
Does anyone here have any experience with the Chinese Teles?

I am contemplating adding a Tele to my collection. I can probably get a used MIM Tele for around $300-$350 in excellent condition. The Chinese Teles run between $171-$250 I'm guessing. Unfortunately I don't have the tools or the space to do fret work so I know that would cost $100 to let the professionals do it right. . Electronics are no problem.

And so my questions... Are there actually guitars that come from China that actually need no fret work? When I pick up a guitar the first thing I notice is the smoothness of the fret edges (one of the things that drew me to the Squier Strat). I can deal with the electronics and pickups myself.

So, can you guys help me with this. Do I go for a Chinese Tele or just buy a used MIM? Thoughts, please? TIA
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6 replies
VinceRadice said Jan 13, 2014 02:16:25
I own a indonesian made Squire Tele. The frets on that guitar needed the same attention that my Chibsons got. In my opinion, Levelling and crowning is essential for most 'Cheap' guitars.
stanton.kramer said Jan 13, 2014 02:30:57
Vince wrote:
Levelling and crowning is essential for most 'Cheap' guitars

You'd think... But I have a Squier Strat that I picked up for $50 and needed NO fret work, though My MIM Strat neededed it for sure. My Ibanez, another "cheap" guitar needed no fret work either (or I would not have bought it). My Chibson seems to have needed the most fret work of all but I can see the possibilty of the necks actually being good. I suppose I have to expect the $100 outlay if I get the Chinese Tele.


VinceRadice said Jan 13, 2014 04:54:20
I did say 'Most", not all, Ive owned cheaper guitars that were fine out of the box. My Korean Epiphone sharton2 is a good example,I never touched the neck or the frets
MichaelWamback said Jan 13, 2014 07:03:27
Unfortunately, if you want a guitar guaranteed not to need fretwork then mail order is not for you.

I walked into a Guitar Center about 3 weeks ago and picked up a Martin acoustic. There was a fair bit of buzz on the higher frets, almost to the point of fretting out in one spot. Almost $1,000 for an entry level Martin and it would have needed the frets leveled to play well.

The only way you can be sure a guitar won't need the frets tweaked is to pick it up and play it before you buy it.

And of course, this is especially true with Chibsons. Some of them aren't too bad, but the odds are high that whatever you buy regardless of what seller you use will need some work on the frets. Fretwork, new nut, new wiring (pickups) and usually a new bridge are pretty much mandatory on most of the guitars coming out of China.

You are better off, if you don't want to invest in tools or pay someone, going to a local guitar store and trying a few to find one with an action you like that doesn't buzz.
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GoldPat said Jan 30, 2014 09:10:24
Is it normal to have a really sharp edges on the fretboard binding? It's made of plastic, but is it possible to file a smoother edge to it?
VinceRadice said Jan 30, 2014 09:27:39
Just use a fine and some fine sandpaper, you should be able to sort it out.
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