You can do more on those cheap keyboards then you think.

Jason

Administrator
Staff member
Well, that's true with at least one. This one from Wal-Mart barely allows you to play 3 notes at a time, but I was able to play some fairly complex pieces.
 
I'd say that cheap instruments as a whole get a lot of unneeded hate and I'd say it is actually to the point that many people have never purchased an instrument due to not being able to afford the "entry" level one, while numerous cheaper ones existed.
 

Jason

Administrator
Staff member
I'd say that cheap instruments as a whole get a lot of unneeded hate and I'd say it is actually to the point that many people have never purchased an instrument due to not being able to afford the "entry" level one, while numerous cheaper ones existed.
Well, used drumsets, for instance, are incredibly cheap these days and I'm guessing other used instruments.
 

Grungie

Member
I'd say that cheap instruments as a whole get a lot of unneeded hate and I'd say it is actually to the point that many people have never purchased an instrument due to not being able to afford the "entry" level one, while numerous cheaper ones existed.
There’s some truth to what you’re saying, but there’s also some truth behind the hate.

The cheaper stuff imo requires more research than a good one, and can have wildly different QC between the same models. I can’t speak much on cheap entry level keyboards, but on the guitar side, the $100 guitars can end up being more detrimental to learning than the $200-300 guitar. What I mean by detrimental is that you spend almost as much time fighting the instrument as playing it.

Tuners that barely work and can’t hold tune. No setup done, so the action is really high, making playing harder. No intonation done, so while your tuner says you're in tune, you’re still not sure why that chord is out of tune. Sharp fret ends that will cut your hand. Unleveled frets that prevent you from fretting a note.

On the electric guitar side, the electronics might barely function, or just straight up break from normal use in a short amount of time. The most common ones being the input jack just falling out, or your pickup selector just stops working. On cheap guitars, the whammy bar is basically useless. The guitar instantly goes out of tune.

That’s why people recommend saving some more money on a better instrument. You’ll see more substantial increase in quality at the lower price ranges than at the higher price brackets. Going from $100 to $200 will give you a more drastic quality of life upgrades.

It’s like learning to drive on a car that’s barely running or save up to get a cheap car that actually runs.
 

Jason

Administrator
Staff member
There’s some truth to what you’re saying, but there’s also some truth behind the hate.

The cheaper stuff imo requires more research than a good one, and can have wildly different QC between the same models. I can’t speak much on cheap entry level keyboards, but on the guitar side, the $100 guitars can end up being more detrimental to learning than the $200-300 guitar. What I mean by detrimental is that you spend almost as much time fighting the instrument as playing it.

Tuners that barely work and can’t hold tune. No setup done, so the action is really high, making playing harder. No intonation done, so while your tuner says you're in tune, you’re still not sure why that chord is out of tune. Sharp fret ends that will cut your hand. Unleveled frets that prevent you from fretting a note.

On the electric guitar side, the electronics might barely function, or just straight up break from normal use in a short amount of time. The most common ones being the input jack just falling out, or your pickup selector just stops working. On cheap guitars, the whammy bar is basically useless. The guitar instantly goes out of tune.

That’s why people recommend saving some more money on a better instrument. You’ll see more substantial increase in quality at the lower price ranges than at the higher price brackets. Going from $100 to $200 will give you a more drastic quality of life upgrades.

It’s like learning to drive on a car that’s barely running or save up to get a cheap car that actually runs.
How often do you figure what you're saying is the case?
 
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Grungie

Member
How often do you figure what you're saying is the case?
It’s kind of a crapshoot. I would say zero percent you’d get a $100 guitar with none of those issues. Getting one with like two or three of those issues is pretty high. That’s one of the big reasons why they’re so cheap, the QC is all over the place, and the factories don’t put any time into doing QoL setups

You can learn to fix that stuff yourself, like the intonation and the action, but a newbie wouldn’t know how to spot that stuff. You can also pay someone to do it for you. You can pay someone to fix that stuff for you, but depending on how many issues there are, you’d be spending either almost the amount, or the same amount as you would if you’d save up for a $200 or $300 instrument that’s have a lot less issues.

This can be seen in the same brand. Squier is Fender’s affordable line, but a Bullet Stratocaster would basically have most of those issues, the Affinity Stratocaster would have significantly less issues (they’d at least make an attempt at intonating it and doing a decent setup for the action), and the Classic Vibe Stratocaster would basically play itself.

I had a friend who wanted to learn electric guitar, and we took a trip to Guitar Center. He was initially set on saving money and getting the Bullet Strat, but after he held both the Bullet Strat and the Affinity Strat, even he could tell the slight price increase went a long way. The action was really bad and it had sharp fret ends.
 

Jason

Administrator
Staff member
It’s kind of a crapshoot. I would say zero percent you’d get a $100 guitar with none of those issues. Getting one with like two or three of those issues is pretty high. That’s one of the big reasons why they’re so cheap, the QC is all over the place, and the factories don’t put any time into doing QoL setups

You can learn to fix that stuff yourself, like the intonation and the action, but a newbie wouldn’t know how to spot that stuff. You can also pay someone to do it for you. You can pay someone to fix that stuff for you, but depending on how many issues there are, you’d be spending either almost the amount, or the same amount as you would if you’d save up for a $200 or $300 instrument that’s have a lot less issues.

This can be seen in the same brand. Squier is Fender’s affordable line, but a Bullet Stratocaster would basically have most of those issues, the Affinity Stratocaster would have significantly less issues (they’d at least make an attempt at intonating it and doing a decent setup for the action), and the Classic Vibe Stratocaster would basically play itself.

I had a friend who wanted to learn electric guitar, and we took a trip to Guitar Center. He was initially set on saving money and getting the Bullet Strat, but after he held both the Bullet Strat and the Affinity Strat, even he could tell the slight price increase went a long way. The action was really bad and it had sharp fret ends.
CB Percussion was my first, but the quality didn't bother me. It was just fun to have a drumset.
 
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Jason

Administrator
Staff member
What do you consider a cheap keyboard?
In particular, I had one where you make a 3 note chord but not much else. It was "almost a toy" one from Walmart.
 
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