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Stagg L400
Overall Rating
Submitted: May 16th, 2017
by b12670
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Sound Quality
Right out of the box it was in desperate need of a set up and a fresh set of strings. Don't let this dissuade you from buying though.  All adjustments can be made at home with a few basic steps.  The two humbuckers are just your standard student model Epiphone-level jobbies. A bit muddy at first. But after raising the individual pole screws a bit closer to the strings the neck and bridge tones brightened up nicely. (why don't more guitar "pros" tell you to do this as a part of a basic set up?  Makes a noticeable difference every time!) Again, it's a student level guitar so don't expect to get a full Seymour Duncan tone out of the stock pups. But with a bit of tweaking, they do the job quite nicely. And if you are feeling confident with that ol' soldering gun., Swap out the stock pups, add some higher resistance pots and mod away! Not necessary for a serviceable tone out of this guitar though.If yours rolls off the assembly line like mine did, you'll want to open up that truss rod cover and give it a good quarter turn with the supplied Allen wrench. Mine was barley tightened at all.  Bow city! Once that was done, the L-400 started feeling a bit more like a more responsive guitar and it held it's tune much better.  TIP: Don't be discouraged if after the truss adjustment, your guitar still isnt holding it's tune because 1. You just put new strings on it. (seriously, do that. the stock strings it comes with are garbage!) and 2. The neck needs to 'settle' into the new position that the truss rod tweak you just made has put it in. Give it a bit. Overnight..A few hours. Patience.
Reliability/Durability
Well, you get that older style  hardtail bridge design. I'm not sure what it is called, but its the bridge with the cylindrical slotted intonation screws. Not really a fan of these. They just feel kind of cheap wiggly in their slots and its not that easy to intonate with the limited screw length that the saddles sit on. (the G is still pulling slightly sharp with the saddle all the way back as far as it will go.) Probably the only thing I'd seriously consider upgrading on this guitar. We'll see. A change of string gauge might take care of it. (currently have a heavier 11/10 combo pack on there. Switching to straight 10s after this set is done.)Rhythm/Lead selector switch feels a bit 'loosey goosey' in general. Probably a super cheap one stuck in there. No confidence in it for doing those Pete Townsend telegraphing feedback tricks.  It might go on you if you do a lot of back and fourth switching.  A better quality switch with heavier bushings might be in order. But its doing the job for now.Tuners? Eh..I've felt better. What you should expect to be installed on a guitar of this level. A bit of grit. Not super responsive. TIP: Wind those strings three or more times around these tuners. The stronger they are held to these tuners, the better you'll hold your tune. Wanna upgrade to Grovers? Not a bad idea, I guess. But remember, you paid next to nothing for this axe. It looks like a real-deal LP from about twenty paces away. Set neck. A better than average finish and binding on it. You are already more ahead of the game than someone that went for a similarly priced Epiphone. Guarantee you that they didn't get a set neck on their guitar.
Price/Value
Even with all of it's obvious corner-cutting budget guitar drawbacks, this is really one of the best deals going for a set neck LP copy right out of the box. With prices as of this writing coming in at around 250-300 dollars and sometimes less if you shop around. A basic set up and maybe a few aftermarket mods and you've got a guitar that you can probably use at a club level or even record with. Yeah. I'm serious!
General Comments
I should also mention that I know a full-on luthier, guitar builder. This guy builds guitars for some pretty big names in the rock world. He knows his stuff and he is like a wizard level pro at wiring up project builds and making them absolutely sing. I can't afford any of his guitars. Way out of my league. Why am I telling you this? Because I've spotted him using THIS VERY GUITAR as a building block for some really intense ground-up builds that he ends up selling for thousands. Totally stripped out, down to the wood. All traces of what it started out as removed. So what does that tell me? The Stagg L-400 has got some good bones.You want that.
Reviewer's Background
Hobbyist guitar player. Cheap guitar collector. Club level musician.
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