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Carlos Santana has been a rock icon for decades, with his silky cool style and soulful riffs, he has a skill that hundreds of thousands try and imitate (I include myself in this statistic). With Santana’s Paul Reed Smith SE series, introduced back in 2001, Carlos is the only guitarist to have five SE models made under his name.

 

The SE series was originally made to offer a junior or student edition to the PRS range, but something strange happened. Many people think of “student edition” guitars as basic shells of their more expensive kin, but whilst the SE signature models may be very affordable, but they’re anything but stripped-down basic instruments. The PRS SE Santana offers nothing less than brilliance with much of the same vibe as the high-end PRS Santana model, from its old-school double-cutaway body shape to its extremely playable wide neck.

 

The PRS SE Santana looks almost identical to the PRS Santana model, though the main difference is the body. Whilst the SE does have an arched top, it somehow lacks the quality craftsmanship that you get in its bigger brother. The neck has a similar wide and fat profile, and the rosewood 22 fret fingerboard is decorated with bird inlays.

 

All of the hardware blows other guitars in this model’s price range out of the water in terms of quality. The tremolo, designed by PRS, feels exceptionally sturdy, and the individual saddles for the strings fit tight and are even smoothly polished to avoid any string breakage.

 

The pickups, master tone, volume knobs, and three-position pickup selector are firmly installed with a perfect alignment you would expect of a top end Paul Reed Smith. The PRS designed SE 245 Humbuckers perfectly complement the guitar’s vintage styling and timeless classic appeal.

 

While the SE Santana almost perfectly mimics Carlos Santana’s signature lead tone, it can also produce some crunchy hard rock rhythm tones and punchy funk chords. The real beauty in the SE Santana is when you start to solo. Somehow it seems like single notes magically become fatter, similar to the style of its namesake.

 

Even though the guitar is made overseas, it still maintains the vibe of any PRS guitar. From its impossibly stylish aesthetics and impeccable build to its incredible feel and soulful tone, everything about the PRS SE Santana screams quality.

 

With a measly high street price at around £500-600, the PRS SE Santana offers a high level of quality, from build to the playing tone, making it unbeatable value for a supposedly basic cheap guitar. Why not compare musical instruments here on Instrumania? You could save yourself a bundle!

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Epiphone Dot Limited Edition Review

 

Basically a cheaper version of the Gibson 335, the Korean made Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition comes with 22 frets and 2 Gibson humbuckers (with Alnico magnets).

 

The laminated maple body and neck, and rosewood fingerboard, are finished beautifully with gold fittings complete with a 3 way switch with 2 volume and 2 tone controls.

 

It came with the Epiphone "E" logo on the scratch plate but started to peel off almost immediately. However, here is when the problems with the Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition stopped. I know there was a time when perhaps people would be wary of a Korean built guitar, but this axe is superbly made and very well finished especially at this price point.

 

For a semi, Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition is actually pretty heavy due to the solid block running through the middle, but it’s still manageable and completely worth the extra weight.

 

It sounds good and although not quite up to a real Gibson 335, it's really not that far off considering the price difference, making the Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition a perfect Gibson 335 alternative.

 

The Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition’s humbucker gives a lovely warm sound and really screams when cranked up a bit while still giving a nice thick sound. As they are humbuckers you don't suffer much noise partly due to the solid block that helps reduce the feedback that would be a nightmare had it been.

 

Someone on a limited budget can't really go wrong with one of these. So if you would like a real Gibson 335 but just don't feel the extra cash will bring enough extra quality to justify the cost. I suggest the Epiphone Dot Ltd Edition as the perfect Gibson 335 alternative. Or, if you’d like to find different cheap guitars that fit your budget, try the Instrumania musical instruments search today.

Buying a new instrument is a very personal adventure for any musician, and buying a new flute is no exception. After all, who knows what you want in a new instrument better than you?


Having said that you should always be open to a good review and after playing with it for a bit now I would recommend anyone who is looking for an up-grade to consider and try out the Yamaha YFL 311.

 

The Yamaha YFL 311 has a warm rich sound and relatively easy blowing solid silver head joint. I had previously heard much about having a solid silver head joint and had wondered whether silver would make such a difference, but the very first try convinced me. The sound emanating from the Yamaha YFL 311 was different: stronger, clearer and deeper, all without me changing my breathing or embouchure at all. In fact, all three octaves flowed with an even sound that was surprising effortless.

 

The mechanism on the Yamaha YFL 311 is very similar to the student model Yamaha 21, only quieter. You can stroke the keys, and move on knowing that the note will arrive. The instrument comes with the typical Yamaha hard plastic, velvet lined case which holds the flute safely and well in place, and a plastic cleaning rod.

 

One small thing that bugs me about the Yamaha YFL 311 is that it tends to get scratched and scuffed rather easily, which could be a problem if it is not well looked after.

 

Overall I have nothing majorly negative to report on the Yamaha YFL 311, no faults so far have revealed themselves. So if you’re looking for a new cheap flute that holds a fantastic sound, you might want to give the Yamaha YFL 311 a look.

 

When you’re young, it’s easy to idolise celebrities and musicians, especially those with a tremendous talent. For many, it was Elvis Presley. The man had everything. A fantastic voice, a truly talented musician, and he had that guitar.

 

The guitar in question is the Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar that quickly became his favourite “weapon of choice”.

 

First appearing in 1937, Gibson’s J-200 set a standard others have been trying to match ever since. Upon its introduction in the late 1930s, the J-200 filled a need for a deeper, more balanced and powerful sound. The Gibson J-200 quickly became one of most popular guitars around, with unbelievable talent such as Ray Whitley, Emmylou Harris, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Gram Parsons, and Pete Townshend choosing to use it over the competitors.

 

The main downside of the Gibson was the price. The guitar cost can range from + depending on the model, which can be a major stumbling block for the amateur player and hobbyist. However, Instrumania are here to rescue the day once again with the Epiphone EJ-200.

 

The Epiphone EJ-200 is a super jumbo 6-string jumbo acoustic guitar that’s a dead ringer for the original right down to the fretboard crown inlays and intricate scratchboard design.

 

The Epiphone EJ200 boasts a select spruce top, maple body and a bound, set maple neck with rosewood fingerboard. The neck shape is comfortable while the bound body/top/neck, striking inlaid Moustache bridge, plus gold hardware make this guitar a comfort to play and very easy on the eyes.

 

The only negative I have with the Epiphone EJ200 is the access to higher frets. Though the neck allows easy access to 14-15 frets fairly easily, anything over becomes a struggle. My advice is to keep in mind the type of music you play, as you may need something with a cutaway if you’re looking to play on the higher notes.

 

The Epiphone EJ200 is a tremendously well made instrument. Elvis was known for treating his guitars brutally and it seems the Epiphone EJ200 has kept this in mind when recreating “the King’s” favourite guitar.

 

As an Elvis fanatic, the Epiphone EJ200 offers some real nostalgia that not only plays well, but looks beautiful at the same time. So if you’re an Elvis impersonator looking to take the extra step or simply looking for a great cheap acoustic guitar, the Epiphone EJ200 is a strong contender.

It can be difficult as an intermediate player when deciding on buying a new bass guitar. Should I spend massive amounts of money on a new bass or should I continue with a cheap bass guitar?


Whilst there are arguments for both, allow me to introduce a third option. The Peavey Zodiac BXP Bass Guitar.

 

The Peavey Zodiac BXP Bass Guitar manages to combine sought-after features with the durability necessary for hardcore rock players, and even manage to keep the price low too, giving you one of the best cheap bass guitars around. Built with a solid alder body, the Peavey Zodiac BXP Bass Guitar has sculpted front and back contours and comes equipped with an articulating bridge with machined saddles and a three-layer pick guard.

 

Made back in 2008, this cheap bass guitar was built in China and has a four string, 21 jumbo fret maple neck and fingerboard, and features an arrangement of two passive P/J pickups. The action is very low and the neck is extremely comfortable and playable giving the bass a high quality feel. The neck/fingerboard has a vintage finish applied that gives the Maple an old well used look with a fantastic attention to detail.

 

The pickups are hushed and ring clear with the sound of the wood resonating plainly through the amp. For any bass players who like to play finger style, this bass suits it perfectly and it beckons to be slapped and popped.  Overall tone is pretty remarkable.  Playing unplugged, the notes resonate from deep within the body and neck all the way up and down the instrument.

 

With the mixture of features such as the body shape and all too familiar pick guard, the Peavey Zodiac BXP Bass Guitar kind of looks like a hybrid of a Precision and Telecaster bass.

 

The action is very low and the neck is extremely comfortable and playable giving the bass a high quality feel. The neck/fingerboard has a vintage finish applied that gives the Maple an old well used look with a fantastic attention to detail.

 

Overall, the build quality is excellent, the sound is incredible and the playability is amongst one of the best. If you’re looking for a cheap bass guitar for an intermediate player, the Peavey Zodiac BXP Bass Guitar is definitely one to look at.

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