Thursday, January 31, 2008| by Will Chen

SX guitars have created a lot of buzz on the internet in the affordable electric guitar arena. Many have claimed these guitars rival guitars ten times the price. We wanted to put the hype to the test.

The SX Ash P90 SST is a Strat "tribute" with a dual P90 configuration rather than the classic three pickup set up. For such a low priced instrument, the build is surprisingly solid. However, it’s immediately obvious that some corners had to be cut to meet such a low price point. The body is slightly thinner than the standard Strat thickness and the (non) finish is so thin that the ash grain can be felt. This also made me wonder if the body's grain was properly filled and sanded. That being said, the three piece ash body is fairly well joined to hide the seams and has descent figuring. There was a rough spot along the edge on the back on the guitar which looked like the router grabbed the wood.

Contrary to the body, the nice and chunky maple C shaped neck has a silky smooth feel all the way up and down the 21 jumbo frets which are nicely crowned and dressed. There are a couple of rough fret ends but nothing which I would consider sharp. The offset position markers provide a unique visual that those with traditional tastes may not enjoy, but I thought they looked cool.

The guitar needed a setup as there was not enough tremolo tension to balance the string tension when tuned up and the action was rather high. Plugged in, this baby rocks! The bridge has a nice slightly compressed low end yet retains high end cut and excelled no matter what I threw at it. There's enough twang to pull off some authentic chicken pickin' yet enough low end girth to chunk at break neck speeds yet still retain clarity. Incredible. The output rivals humbuckers yet retains the sparkle of single coils. The neck is a different story. While you can easily achieve classic "woman" tones, overall it tends to sound a little muddy. Surprisingly, the middle position sounds more like a Tele middle position. The more I think about it, the more I think this guitar might appeal to Strat lovers looking for a more Tele like approach.

The volume knob provided a smooth even throw. However, I found the tone control voiced a little darkly for an instrument with this much low end.

Other than some slightly sloppy workmanship and the thin finish of the body, there are no show stoppers here. Additionally, if you're one who doesn't really care about the looks of an axe or actually prefers a little "lived in" cosmetics then you might actually prefer the more natural finish. Tonally, this is a rocking guitar. Does it compare with guitars ten times the price? Well, no. However, at this price point the SX SST Ash P90 is not a bad little banger.

Filed Under: SX, Reviews