Immage Six String
This Immage is not a guitar for you Maoists, as it comes from Taiwan, the Chinese Nationalist Republic. Taiwan, as it happens, is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Which is why this guitar only costs £99; labour is plentiful in Taiwan.
It's a Strat copy. It's got the selector, the three pickups, and the creaky tremolo, it's also got the white/black/white laminated scratchplate, even if it is rather thick and looks more like a liquorice allsort than a delicate plastic veneer.
Another Fender design feature our Formosan friends have off pat is the slightly smaller keyhole headstock of earlier Strats, though here it's fighting with a hideous gold Immage decal — thankfully easy to scratch off.
So much for the detail. Interestingly, it is in more obvious areas that the Immage deviates from its model. Although the 21 frets are thin, the excellently finished and pleasantly playable neck is thick — VERY thick — in part due to the unusual width and depth of the fingerboard.
The neck/body joint wouldn't pass as snug, though the four-bolt fixing was perfectly stable. The finish (lovely colour) seemed quite robust; there were one or two blemishes, though this will vary from guitar to guitar.
One other minor point: while the (new style) Fender bridge saddles were all perfectly positioned, the tremolo was not set up at all. Ten minute judicious work with a pencil (graphite lubrication) at the nut and on the string retainers, and a little fiddling with a screw driver at the bridge can save a lot of embarrassment later.
Chunky isn't in it. This is a bulky guitar, large and heavy, which makes it feel cheaper and tackier than it deserves. The Immage has surprising sustain and a tone well beyond that which you might expect from guitar of this price. The wide, slightly cambered fingerboard makes it ideal for anyone with unwieldy fingers (like a beginner?), though the noise it makes is good enough to satisfy the upwardly mobile guitarist for a while.
There's no argument that £99 is a good price to pay for such a playable copy. Most of the faults I've found are cosmetic, and such bones (treetrunks?) of contention as the fat neck and the sticky trem shrivel next to the under £100 price tag. Now all they have to do is learn how to spell.
Review by Jon Lewin
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