Cast-offs left by the wayside to date (in order):
JB Player: Great guitar, great quality, great value. But completely non-collectible, i.e., no one cares about the quality of this brand. I’m going to hold on to my JB Player Sledgehammer come hell or highwater, though, because since they are still ignored at this point, and if people start to realize the quality a few decades from now, mine will be even more rare. If I dump it and someday it becomes hella collectible, I would kick myself. Butthe bottom line is that it looks good, has good action, and has a wonderful blues tone in the neck position (the deal-clincher). It’s nearly the only guitar I have that I use the neck position pickup. The fact that it rocks pretty hard with a nice bass-boost tone in the bridge position is just a bonus. But since I don’t want to invest more money into a brand that may never catch on, this one is enough.
Westone: They are very collectible, but perhaps only among people who know. They have wonderful necks with low, smooth action, and a fairly hot/bright tone. But after getting excited and buying a couple of them, I lost interest. Why? The hot/bright tone doesn’t work very well with my amp, and it usually sounds too muddy. And worse, all the guitars have a tremolo system that locks only at the nut, and the few that I have really don’t stay in tune when you use it. That makes it useless to me. I’m in the process of selling them.
Fernandes: My interest was captured when I picked up a brand new Revolver X for $100 (luck on eBay) and it had a vintage-quality tone, low/fast action, and a tremolo that stays in tune. I started looking into them, and was very impressed with the apparent quality and low price. I picked up a few others on the cheap on eBay by being very careful. They were pretty good, too. I started to lust for one of their guitars with a Sustainer system. It sounded wonderful: infinite sustain of notes or chords, at the fundamental tone or a related harmonic. So I made getting one a priority, and saw a few other cheap ones, too. After winning a few, I found out that they recently have started to go extremely cheap on materials/methods. Examples of this include rough edges at the edge of the fretboard, photoflame (a paint job that attempts to make it look like flamed maple on the surface), necks that felt like baseball bats, etc. Normally, that might just cause me to search for good deals on eBay on older Fernandes guitars, except that I’ve found my new love:
Hamer (different than the link at the top of the page). More on this soon.