Okay, I confess: I do a daily
search for SX guitars on
eBay. Why? Because I’ve owned
SX axes before and know they’re
built solid and they’re cheap. I
was first turned on to SX guitars
by my neighbor Martin, who
started buying them four years
ago. Whenever I played one of
his SX electrics, I was always surprised
at their quality relative to
their price. So I bought my first
SX a few years ago just to test
the waters and was quietly blown
away. I currently own four SX
guitars . . . and counting.
This SX model really captured
my attention when I saw
it floating around on the ’Bay.
Obviously inspired by a Les Paul
Special, this baby has a set neck
(no bolt-on here!), two P-90-style
pickups, a rosewood fretboard,
jumbo frets, and a “TV yellow”
finish. An outfit in California
called Rondo Music sold these
guitars brand-spanking-new for
$135, plus $20 shipping. Say
what? How can anyone make a
profit on that? Sorry, man—not
my problem. I’m a bottom feeder.
So I pulled the trigger on one.
The guitar arrived a week
later, well boxed. When I
unpacked it, I’m sure my face
showed some disappointment.
The classic “TV yellow” color
was actually closer to “crime-scene-tape yellow”—a much
brighter yellow than I remembered
in the photos. I sighed and
chalked it up to the unpredictable
ways digital cameras and
computer monitors display color.
When I started playing this
SX, things got better fast. It
seemed to have a comfortable
neck very similar to my 1990s
Gibson LP Special. The jumbo
frets were smooth and rounded,
the 12" fretboard radius felt nice
to bend strings on, and the pickups
sounded very good, with
that pronounced midrange P-90
honk I so like. Some players
buy these guitars and replace the
pickups with authentic Gibson
P-90s, but I say, “Why bother?”
These sound close enough.
Bottom Feeder Tip # 2387:
the original pickups sound decent,
leave well enough alone. Whenever
you upgrade pickups on a cheap
guitar, you never get your money
back when you sell it later. Never.
So what’s the verdict—is it
a keeper? Hmm. Not really sure
yet. It plays and sounds great, but
I still have trouble with the color.
I’m hoping the bright yellow will
fade over time. For now, this guitar
is in my “maybe” pile.
is a founding
member of the
trio. He also does guitar
clinics promoting his
namesake G&L signature
model 6-string, and produces
artists and bands at his studio in
Asheville, North Carolina. You can contact
Will on Facebook and at willray.biz