It's here! $69.99 Monoprice Strat clone; Doubts eased

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Ralph124C41, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I just got that blue burst Monoprice Strat clone just now. And ... I have a few doubts.

    First the pictures: The body:

    Second a 1.33 mm (0.05 inch) gap between the bottom of freboard and the top of the pickguard:


    Third, this guitar is supposed to come set up by the in-house tech guy but you can see all of the height screws are at or near the max for each string. Why?

    Furthermore, the pickups are adjusted very low and I compared them to my 2016 Monoprice model but that was ever a professional set up for a clean tone so not that close to the strings.

    Also when I got my earlier Monoprice the intonation, except for one string, was spot on. These are sharp on every string although I know maybe humidity or something could cause that.

    The pickups sound pretty much the same but I expect these to be a tad hotter, especially once the pickups are raised a bit. Other changes are that this one has an un-varnished back to the fretboard where my other had a light varnish back. The profile, as I suspected, is a tad fuller than my old model, but not in the "baseball bat" range of some guitars, such as my Epiphone Sheraton II. The guitar headstock has a more pronounced beak than my older model.

    Everything works, although the 5-way switch could do with a shot of DeOxit or something. I may take it to my local shop for a free (and quick) observation.

    So, folks, anything here I should be concerned about? I certainly don't think this has been set up. And if the string height posts are at that maximum that bothers me because I then have no leeway for adjustment. The action is little high, too, so I don't know why that wasn't addressed.

    As I said my first Monoprice came just about ready to go ... but this one obviously needs at least a setup. At least.

    So, thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

    willhowl, dbrian66, Pat V. and 3 others like this.
  2. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    Put a capo on it at the first fret. How's the action on each string? If each string's height is the same at the 17th fret (that's where I always measure action), something weird is going on.
    dbrian66 and Kenneth Mountain like this.
  3. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    I like the color Lou ! Hard to believe that they claim a full setup on each 70.00 guitar ? Other than things mentioned - how does it play ?
    dbrian66 and so1om like this.
  4. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    I’ve never bought a guitar that couldn’t be improved by a pro setup. The fact that these cost as little as they do, and aren’t horrible out of the box is pretty amazing.
    That does look pretty nice, other than it’s setup how do you like it?
    dbrian66 and Caddy like this.
  5. squierbilly

    squierbilly Dr. Squier

    Apr 21, 2013
    sunny phoenix
    Love the color!.. Some tech was sleeping through his job.. Set up high so as not to rattle or fret out.. Needs a proper set up,, something you should be able to do with help from the internet and ST if necessary...
  6. Luvs2yoko

    Luvs2yoko Squier-holic

    Jan 19, 2014
    Lowering the saddles will drop the action. If it came with an Allen wrench you could give it a shot.Nice looking guitar.
    dbrian66 likes this.
  7. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Feb 10, 2010
    I think that what is important to remember here -with some of these guitars, Squiers and Epiphone entry models included, it's almost like buying a kit guitar. At these prices I am purchasing all the parts, all the hard work, the things I can't or don't want to do. Then I invest my time in a set up to achieve a really good guitar for a great price. While some guitars require more work than others, they are all pretty good when all is said and done.

    I love the color you selected for sure. Make those adjustments and rock on!
    Acidhouse and dbrian66 like this.
  8. johnnywizzo

    johnnywizzo Squier-Nut

    Feb 4, 2016
    Nice looking guitar, are the fret ends sharp? How does it sound, and are you glad or sorry that you bought it?
    dbrian66 likes this.
  9. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    The high E seems to be about 4/32 while the low E is about (or maybe a tad less) than 5/32. However I just did a quick neck relief and the relief is about 0.12 inches at the 15th fret and maybe 0.11 at the 17th.

    Well I was wrong. For the second time in my life >lol.

    When I got my earlier guitar the webpage said "each Monoprice guitar undergoes a setup, tuning, and inspection process by Master Luthier XXXXXXXXXXX here in Southern California" (I'm quoting from another post.)

    However I have now read the web page and it does not say that any more.

    It plays fine and it sounds fine. The finish seems spectacular and all the seams/gaps ... except for that one I alluded to ... seem OK.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  10. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Yes the fret ends are a little sharp from about the 10th fret and higher. Not as bad as on my Epiphone SL but noticeable.

    The big question: At the moment, I do regret buying it.

    I guess I was spoiled by my first Monoprice. This one definitely needs a set up. The other one went without a set up for nearly two years and frankly the set up improved things a bit but not dramatically.

    that being said, comparing this to that Epiphone SL I got and paid more for, this guitar seems to be of higher quality, especially the tuners, fret ends and even the action and intonation.

    Btw, maybe that gap is made that way to accept thicker pickguards? This one is just a single ply slab of white plastic. I tried that blue pickguard and it doesn't look good but both my mint green and white pearloid seem OK. I sort of favor the green.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  11. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Feb 10, 2010
    ah.. I follow. That sucks.

    you know? The singer in my band just was asking about a lightweight guitar with a thin neck. I told him I love my Bullet HH and you know.. I had to do a nice set up and man.. that's been my favorite and 50% of my go to for a couple years now.

    Did he try mine?

    Well before I could meet up with him at practice, he went to GC to try one. He decided no. The thing is, did he try the RIGHT guitar and was it set up? Likely not...

    So set up, getting the right guitar, all that.. I gotcha.

    And I know a lot of people like the SL but I was far from impressed by any of them. More trouble than they are worth.
    Kenneth Mountain and dbrian66 like this.
  12. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I gave up on mine and just put it on consignment after failing miserably to sell it locally. Btw, I bought tuners and never put them in. The guitar shop guy, after his customers commented on the poor tuners, especially the G post, that he took the tuner apart and found that some part was incorrectly installed. So he said he fixed it and it works OK now.

    Some of the fret ends are still a little sharp even after the Epiphone folks in Nashville worked on it.

    Of course Epiphone's response I think to a cheaply made $99 guitar was to raise the price to $119.99!
  13. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Yes, no buzzing that I can find so far but I haven't played it that long. Or dead spots.
    Kenneth Mountain, dbrian66 and so1om like this.
  14. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    I assume you mean 64ths, not 32nds... I hope I'm correct.

    If the string heights somewhat match the radius of the fretboard, the saddles shouldn't cascade down toward the high e like that. Your neck pocket, neck heel, or even the top of the body may not be level. In any case, a good, thorough setup and perhaps some simple modifications/corrections should be all you need. I'd keep it and make it work.
    Kenneth Mountain and dbrian66 like this.
  15. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016

    no it's 4/32 I think. As I said I'm taking it to my "guy" to see what he thinks and then I will decide.
  16. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Squier-holic

    Sep 2, 2015
    OK, good luck. Whatever problems it may have, he can probably fix.

    I have one of the older Monoprice strat copies, for which I also paid $69.99. It's a keeper, but... I replaced the neck, bridge, and tuning machines, and had to do some work on the neck pocket and tremolo rout. All in, the guitar ended up costing me around $170 and a few hours of work. I'm satisfied with it.
    Kenneth Mountain and dbrian66 like this.
  17. RegularJim

    RegularJim Squier-Meister

    Dec 30, 2017
    Illiconsin, Wisinois
    I was on the fence for one of these. Thanks for your review. It sounds like they really aren't that special and my $70 will be better spent elsewhere.
    Davey, willhowl and dbrian66 like this.
  18. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Nov 29, 2010
    Doing a setup on a new lower cost guitar is to be expected. Some minor tweaking is normally even needed on higher cost guitars. Not difficult to do and no big deal really. Try making a guitar from scratch (lumber and parts) for the cost of one the lower cost guitars. It will change your whole outlook.
  19. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I just got back from the guitar shop and the owner looked at it. His shop sells a lot of high-end collectible guitars and he recently sold a guitar or something to Joe Bonamassa when he was in the area for a show. So he knows a thing or three.

    He took a look at it and said that he thinks there is nothing that a good setup can fix. He said the nut is cut properly, the neck is not twisted, etc. He wasn't concerned by that small gap I mentioned but he did say or hint that the guitar did not get any type of setup, hence the string heights all being set at a uniform, but high, height and the pickups, for some reason, all set at a uniform, but excessively low, depth.

    So as you folks have pointed out it just seems to be a budget guitar but one that can be turned into a keeper with a setup and maybe some minor upgrades, such as new pots and a 5-way switch.

    So, Regular Jim, I would not let my initial review scare you off because it turnes out I was comparing apples with watermelons ... that is a guitar that had apparently been set up before it was shipped and one that was not.
    so1om, squierbilly, duggerh and 3 others like this.
  20. Ahnlaashock

    Ahnlaashock Squier-holic

    Sep 21, 2014
    St. Louis Area
    At that price, if the neck is straight and level, everything else is gravy. If you got one with a nice neck and a body in good shape for that price, you are way ahead of the game, even if you had to sand it down and repaint it.
    The guitar "pre-assembled" is less expensive than the bottom line kits.
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