Anyone ever bought an instrument from AliExpress or Alibaba?

Discussion in 'Instruments' started by Bunford, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    I'm obviously a tad dubious about doing this. However, upon some significant research online and watching videos, it appears these replica guitars being pumped out of China are actually decent, just that they come with the bonus of looking like a branded guitar at a fraction of the price. I watched one video on YouTube from a luthier who was astounded (07:19 onwards on below video) to hack into a "Chibson" to find it was decent flametop with an actual proper paint job too and not a faux-paint job. It appears the body is decent and electronics and tuners can be hit and miss. However, it is the body that is the main thing most people would want, then upgrade their own pickups and wiring and such.

    Just curious as to whether any folks here have bought anything like this before?

     
  2. Herr Durr

    Herr Durr Guest

    China... one word. ewwww

    check youtube for virtually any instrument.. and just add "fake"
     
  3. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    I have. As I said in my post. And they come up with mostly positive reviews from users and most of the mixed or negative comments come from luthiers (such as the one in the video above) who you could argue have a vested interest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  4. Herr Durr

    Herr Durr Guest

    I'm no luthier.. but rarely have held a Chinese made guitar that just didn't come across with a cheaply made "feel"
    somewhere or other.. either materials, hardware, or tone... some people might be satisfied with them on some level
    and there might be some notable exceptions...

    if you're buying a guitar for a "branded" look..that's one thing.. looks are a superficial thing
    compared to tone..if you actually care about how it will sound...so you might want to
    define your own motives... looks or substance ?

    but the big caveat ordering it sight unseen... and I'm even not big on buying any instrument in that way...there
    can be duds in the production stream, and variability from one piece to the next...

    for these reasons I have yet to buy a guitar without actually touching it 1st
    and I have quite a few guitars
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2017
  5. sideshowtmc

    sideshowtmc Producer

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    some of the dealers on there, are amazing. you can contact them and work with them to build pretty much anything for cheap too. had one dealer build me a custom 6 string fretless awhile back for only like 450. it was pretty amazing. had another build an epiphone casino just like john lennons before. of course i changed out the electronics but as far as woodwork goes, it was flawless. highly recommend it.
     
  6. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    Nor me. I have owned about 20-25 guitars in my life and always bought seen. However, most of my guitars are now like ornamental pieces rather than instruments as I don't play that often anymore, now I am not in bands and such, I'm just mainly looking for something that looks nice and can pick up and strum once in a while when chilling on my sofa. They are reportedly made in Epiphone factories in Asia, be it China, Korea, or elsewhere, but still made of mahogany and such according to what I've seen, read and watched.
     
  7. Bunford

    Bunford Audiosexual

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    Good to know. That echoes what I researched so far too in that the body and craftsmanship is actually remarkably good for the price, but you usually get stock Epiphone hardware on it so might need switching out to whatever you prefer.
     
  8. sideshowtmc

    sideshowtmc Producer

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    not even stock epiphone hardware, way worse actually. lol, seriously though for the price, i was blown away. even bands that didnt know it was from china were blown away, thought i had some couple thousand dollar custom bass/guitar. some dealers will work with you on design and wood, even can get whatever you want etched into the headstock. its honestly my go to now when i want custom unless i have a couple grand laying around but who has that these days.
     
  9. Moogerfooger

    Moogerfooger Audiosexual

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    I thought about it twice. Thank God I slapped myself in the face both times and waited until I could afford the real deal.
     
  10. Herr Durr

    Herr Durr Guest

    Korea , Japan, Indonesia... all a go..(generally),
    with Japan well known for producing quality instruments pretty much across the board

    I have a "cheap" Yamaha made with Indonesian wood..
    it has a warmth , play-ability ,and tone that rivals my Martin DM, I picked up a Chinese made of the same
    model in the store one time.. not even close..

    even their bloody apartments over there start to fall apart after a couple years due to the shoddiness,
    and people can't even be confident that chicken they are eating is really chicken, or tainted in some other manner..

    well.. welcome the new world "leader" if you like... I'll keep my distance

    I have some nice pieces without buying new, I don't mind scratch and dent, or used condition
    dings and scuffs... all I care about is do the strings feel good under my fingers..and
    does the tone get somewhere inside of me... sold
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2017
  11. mozee

    mozee Audiosexual

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    They are not that bad. I bough a Chibson when I was on vacation in Bodrum a few years back. What the Luthier in video is kind of on point, for me it wasn't an issue since I bought it for the wood and was planning on doing some modifications and changing out the etectrical bits and setting up the neck and frets.

    The wood works was pretty good, the finish was more than passable, the fretboard needed some sanding here and there and frets were a little off. It was playable, about as good to play as the Epiphone line that Gibson themselves sell.

    I paid the equivalent of $110 with a hard case. It is an other 1/2 finished project where I've bought all the bits and done maybe 60% of the work I wanted to, but never got around to finishing it. This post has probably served me better than you - you've reminded me that I have to get back to that guitar and finish what I started.
     
  12. Herr Durr

    Herr Durr Guest

    If I have to mod a guitar substantially, I would just as soon make the investment up front..
    as always time is money.. your money or your time.. if you don't have the time (or the skills ) .. you will end up
    paying a luthier/guitar tech to get it "right" for you..

    I'd rather to take it to my guitar tech for a good set up job etc....and maybe adding some nicer tuners myself..
    easy stuff.. but if the wood/frets need work.. you're probably better off taking it to a pro..
    but you're never gonna get away from the stigma of it being a "copy"..and a Chinese copy at that..
    in which case.. on the resale market.. you're not terribly likely to get a good price for it...

    Japanese copy.. different story.. some of them were so good.. they sparked lawsuits
    from the OEM... they are the exception

    I make most of my best purchases of original stuff by negotiating price on quality OEM instruments from individuals
    who are just ready to get some cash out of it..
     
  13. ovalf

    ovalf Platinum Record

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    Think China instruments BIG. They have hundreds of factories that made a concert piano and all occidental + oriental instruments in one place.
    I have luthiers custom made guitar estimated as 10000 usd, BUT...
    One day at Paraguay a bought a 100 usd semi acoustic guitar from a liban owner named Kabil. He send th photos of desired guitars to China and received the BILs guitars. Its just a great guitar and everyone that plays wants to buy.
    As in the rest of the world theres the good and the bad, but with all the counterfeit is hard to know the real good ones.
    Better buy a Bil than a Gibson imitation, prejudice is for the lazy ones.
     
  14. savadious

    savadious Ultrasonic

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    I have been a shopper on Aliexpress and Alibaba for many years.

    With that history in mind I feel it is impossible to ask about the quality of Ali-X products because the site is comparable to an "EBAY". Each vendor has a seperate and unique history often completely unrelated to the next one.

    The KEY is to find a supplier/manufacturer that has given positive results in the past.

    I have at times ordered a sample or test item from them in order to inspect it for quality. This is after reviewing feedback of dozens of manufacturers and narrowing down my choice (NOTE: You will have to exclude the "BIG GUYS" who have minumum purchase of 1000x units - who are there to produce for retail giants).

    Last month I was just shopping for an Ali-X DIGITAL baby grand for my 7 yr old. A few nice looking units around 1k USD. Just for looks to make his grade 2 talent shows stand out from the other kids - sea cargo shipping is available for large items too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  15. ed-enam

    ed-enam Rock Star

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    @Bunford
    A while back (3-4 years) I was also interested in Chinese guitars. While searching, I got in touch with a seller who was indeed very very helpful. Later, due to some reason I had to drop the idea but he was happy with that too. A month back I was looking into Chinese stuff again. To my amaze, I found a lot of praise on different forums about this guy that how genuine, etc. His name is Kevin Shi and his email is [email protected]. On Aliexpress, the link is: https://www.aliexpress.com/store/1630621. Unless you have a personal experience, you can't say yes or no about anyone. Your experience could be entirely different. If interested, contact him. You can drop the idea anytime if you think it's not for you.

    Another thing I wanted to mention is why not try Thomann. They have many Chinese stuff and I was recommended many times to go for Harley Benton SC-450 P90 GT Classic Series. https://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_sc_450_p90_gt_classic_series.htm#bewertung. The specs are really great for the price with I think they have 30 days return policy as well. There are lots of positive reviews on YT, one being this one,



    However, I ended up buying Vintage V100 TB and loving it.
     
  16. mozee

    mozee Audiosexual

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    If that was in reference to my particular purchase, this is why you are you and I am me.

    It will never be an item that I will endeavor to sell, it is as stands nothing more than a fancy, a distraction for a bit of fun and one of the least expensive ones I have undertaken. I bought it, not because it was an exceptional instrument, but because it was there and it struck my fancy, and I figured on having a bit of fun with it. When am done with it or if I forget to ever get back to it - after while my wife will quietly make it disappear from my little garage shop as she has with countless other forgotten toys - and I will pretend to not notice and move on to something else.

    I have quite a few guitars, some did cost me more than others, some play well and some do not, but I did not fancy tearing into any of them, as they are like old friends...

    Regardless we are not all driven at all times by a value proposition, as you age I hope that you will come to understand that there times when impulse reigns over reason and that money be damned (and in this particular case how little money it was) when one decides that a toy or a bauble will make for a good distraction.

    I bought the fake Gibson LPS to waste time, I had already made a classical guitar, and lute.

    You might be pleased to learn that they were both dreadful by the way. They played well at first but they aged quite badly - the seams have cracked and the wood was most likely not dry or stable enough so there are warps everywhere, some the inlay work looks like it was done by a cross-eyed child with a crayon... They now decorate separate walls and I enjoy them as I enjoyed the time spent making them. Some of us are curious and have time and leisure and we enjoy this sort of mucking about.

    If it was my goal to buy a guitar to play seriously and or recommend a brand for someone one who needed a fine guitar, I would as I have for years now recommend Paul Reed Smith and Breedlove. For myself they have always been a good value proposition, great, honest and forward looking instruments from good people, and I will hang on to them. I have to luxury to be able to hang onto them, at least until they bury me and someone else inherits them - at which time they will become someone else's problem.
    :)
     
  17. Iodice

    Iodice Member

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    Yes, i buy a classic guitar from Aiersi on Aliexpress, $500. So good...
     
  18. Herr Durr

    Herr Durr Guest

    life is generally pretty dreadful anyway.. but I give you props for your DIY spirit.. something I have thought of trying at some point
    as well.. make my own .. many people have.. Brian May notably... and he has his own distinctive tone and of course distinctive
    talent to go along with it.. certainly trying to do your own is more gratifying and informative than just buying something
    despite the results... if you end up with a fine instrument out of it somehow .. then it's a bonus

    I disparage cheaply imagined and cheaply made things.. as they are usually mass produced crapola...for one thing.. profit...
    low cost.. but a nice margin anyway for the manufacturer...and most of the videos I have watched about the "fakes"
    show the guy usually .. if he is knowledgeable.. just outlining how far short of a well made instrument these copies fall...
    it's a laundry list of shoddy manufacture.. I won't even begin to call workmanship

    Getting a custom made guitar from China from a reputable supplier may be a good way to go...
    I haven't tried it ..so I can't comment... funny tho how Japan could meet and surpass the quality
    of domestically made instruments..even mass produced, in rather short order..but then they have a fetish for making things well.
    When and if I pick up a Chinese made guitar..and think WOW.. I might consider... but I expect it will not be any time soon

    I have a few odds and ends as well, picked up for a song (sorry)... like $15 or something.. and even still have a total
    hideous piece of crap faux Gibson bought from a catalog store too long ago to be mentionable.. and a little Stella
    that despite it's cheapness still has not a bad tone

    I think age has taught me that time is more valuable than money.. but still I won't just run and drop 2 Grand on one piece
    of gear.. well.. unless they offer 0% financing for a year... :winker:

    PRS indeed a well respected "brand" and well deserved as I have heard and seen... never owned one yet.. but maybe someday..?
    I have seen Breedloves around.. maybe only picked up 1 or 2 of them... and have no idea now where they are made...
    Can't recall enough of the quality to comment.. but my vague memory could only conjure the word "passable"...
    which may be off the mark... I will reassess next time at the shop...

    One brand more often seen as Seagull here in the US.. but a higher tier of Godin not often seen, is Simon and Patrick..
    really quite nice for a midrange guitar.. and their cedar tops are certainly worth a look... I had a Cedar 12 the neck block failed
    on..and they replaced it with a blem... Made in Canada..and they stood behind their product even tho it was just out of
    warranty.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2017
  19. Hardlock

    Hardlock Ultrasonic

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    Ordered and Purchased 3 custom builds last year for around 250buks each delivered to my door From Ali express

    Interestng part was Within the $250 breakdown the Guitar builder only made $170 buks as EMS charged him $80.00 to deliver the item to my door from china.


    "Yes you can work with the guitar Builder and request custom builds as per your requirements."

    when Each of the Floyd guitar's arrived they had cheap Chinese Floyd rose bridges and hardware but as I had sourced new original kits for 100 buks a guitar setup 1 x Gold and 1 x Black Nickle
    I just removed the bridges and replaced them.
    In the last image the guitar was requested to be built with a Gibson tunematic bridge not a Chinese bridge

    " Remember you can Request changes as the Guitar is being built"

    The guitars themselves are awesome, just replaced a few bits.
    I wont ever part with them and I certainly don't need to purchase anymore as the 3 configurations you see within the below images are all any player would ever need .
    Right Out of the packaging box's each did not even need a setup,they were in tune and ready to play even with the cheap Chinese floyds.
    It Has now been 12 months after I purchased the 3 guitars, each can be left in the Hard case for weeks on end and when taken out to play each is still in tune, its just plugin and play.

    Hope this helps you in your search :)

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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  20. Zikkk

    Zikkk Producer

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    These seem really tempting! I think I'll add another cheap guitar to my collection soon! Free shipping worldwide etc. It would be fun.
     
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