2007 SX SJM

A few months ago I was on a guitar discussion page when someone mentioned how pleased they were with their Chinese-made SX brand guitar. I was already familiar with the SX, because one of my neighbors had bought three of their instruments for under $125 each and was planning on buying even more. Who was this new company, and what were they up to? I decided to go on eBay and find out for myself.
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I did a little research and found a dealer in Los Angeles who sold several SX models on eBay brand new for $129.95 plus $17.35 shipping for a total of $147.30 to my door! What intrigued me most about the guitar was that it had a cool futuristic shape, yet sported two P-90-style pickups. I’m tired of all the Strat and Les Paul copies out there, so it’s refreshing to see a company come up with a new design that still has a retro look to it. I had a choice of a few colors, but I chose the cream with white pickguard.

From the time I hit Buy It Now, it took less than a week to receive the guitar, which was impressive since I live at the other end of the country in North Carolina. It arrived intact and was well packed (no case). I took it out of the box and handily belted out some licks on it. The guitar balanced well on my knee, had nice low action, and felt comfortable in my hands. I could bend strings easily with the jumbo frets, and without hardly any fret buzz. When plugged into an amp, I was somewhat shocked by how good it sounded. I expected some weenie sounding pickups but was treated instead to a full, rich sound that came darn close to real-deal P-90s. Impressive! In fact, when I sat out on my deck and played through a Vox DA5 amp, I couldn’t put it down! It was also agreeable with any amp I threw at it, including a Rivera Clubster 45 and Fender Blues Junior.

On the down side, the springs supporting the pickups were not strong enough to keep them properly seated. Sometimes I had to push in on the pickup a few times and release to have it pop back to normal. The frets were also poking out a tad on the edges of the fretboard, and could have been dressed better. But that’s nit picking. My criteria for a new guitar is simply this: Could I actually play a gig with this guitar? The answer is yes, assuming it was a blues gig. This thing is a blues machine.

I keep wondering how SX can make a guitar like this and sell it so doggone cheap. I mean, $147 only buys a nice pedal or pays off a traffic ticket these days. But I predict that in 10 years these guitars will start appreciating in value. In 30 years they’ll start to be collectable. And in 50 years, who knows? They may be as expensive as a summer home.

Visit Will Ray at myspace.com/willraymusic or contact him atwill@willray.biz.