I bought a new guitar today for £5 (technically..). In short, I didn't want to take either of my Les Pauls to uni. They're too precious. I know what goes on at uni (parties and shit), and the last thing I want is one of my 'Pauls trashed/stolen. So, I set out to find a really cheap 'uni guitar'. It had to be as cheap as possible, yet still be decent. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my Tanglewood Stratocaster! I'll quote my post from a topic on UltimateGuitar:
OK, so I bought it today, and took some pictures for you all! It's not amazing by any means, but this guitar cost me almost nothing, so I'm pretty happy! Click the thumbnails to see them full-size.
There she is. 21 jumbo frets (what's the point in not having 22? I've never understood that..), Shoreline Gold finish (looks grey in the pics, but is actually sort of really muted gold), lovely lovely maple fretboard (see signature!), three "Entwistle AS 62" (lawl) alnico single coil pickups, fulcrum tremolo bridge and screw in wammy bar, six Fender Deluxe-style tuners, 5-way pickup switch, etc.
The back of the neck, with one of those brown stripes that some Strat necks have.
The headstock, which is relatively Fender-shaped. Some Strat-copy headstocks look hideous. This one looks OK.
One of the best things about the guitar. Guitars of this price range (£110!) almost always have those terrible plastic 'chrome effect' tuners. The tuners on this are copies of Fender/Gibson Deluxe tuners, are metal, and are actually pretty nice! I don't think I'll need to replace them.
Blemish on the fretboard, between the 6th and 7th frets. Plus my cat looming in the background, probably wondering whether it's edible.
Closer view of said blemish. It's under the varnish, so it's not like a rough spot or anything. You can't feel it. The neck is really nice to play.
The "Entwistle" pickups. No, I've never heard of them either. They're apparently alnico v magnets. I wasn't too impressed with the tone of these pickups when I played this guitar at the store. However, I was playing through an awful Ashton 30W valve amp (even my Gibson sounded like sh*t on that amp..). I'm more happy with the sound of this guitar when I played it through my setup at home today. It still doesn't sound fantastic or anything, but definitely some usable tones. The pickups are probably the second thing I'd change, if I did change anything. They're OK.
Which brings me onto the first thing I'd change. The bridge is commonly a weak area on cheap guitars, and this is no different. The actual bridge itself is OK, and can retain tuning with a fair amount of tremolo usage. However, the saddles are really crap. They're bent steel saddles, but there's no grooves for the strings to sit in (I guess the strings may wear in their own grooves after a while, but still..), the springs pushing the saddles out are sh*t and all over the place, and the screws are not too hardy. I doubt the screwdriver indents on the top of them would withstand more than a few intonation setups without stripping. I'm definitely going to be looking for some better saddles (which come with new springs anyway). Other than that, it's an alright bridge.
So anyways, after getting some money off some people who owed me, selling on old pedal I haven't used for two years, and talking the guy down to £85.. I only actually had to put in £5 of my own money (roughly $10 American)! So this guitar cost me less than what my train fare for one day costs, lawl! It's not amazing, but it's actually pretty good, will be just fine for uni, and with some upgrades, could be a right spanking guitar! As it is, it's a perfectly usable guitar, and it literally cost me less than the zip-up soft case it's sitting in. This is perfect and exactly what I needed.