Zenta HES 5000 Strat Copy
Let's be honest, this is a cheap guitar. In the past we've tended to review instruments aimed solely at the professional and ambitious semi-pro ignoring somewhat the needs of the student and the player whose budget (or intent) does not allow an expensive guitar.
The influx of oriental guitars has pushed the standard of cheap guitars up rather than down. In the late 'fifties and early 'sixties, cheap guitars poured into this country from East and West Germany and most of them were frankly unplayable and unfixable.
Today the situation is different. This guitar is typical of many models available at real economy prices, but which also have considerable potential and can most certainly be made to perform properly.
Understand that adjustments will have to be made to get the guitar into a fully tuned condition. Students should make a point of ensuring that their dealer checks the harmonic tuning and the action before they collect their instrument and they should have little trouble after that.
The neck on this Strat copy bears little resemblance to the original. I think that's a good point, as the quality needed in a neck as fine as a Fender Stratocaster is outside this price bracket. The neck is heavy, chunky and acceptably straight and the frets are well finished off on the edges of the (rosewood?) fingerboard. Plastic position dots are fitted into the fingerboard and the fitting has been well done, leaving only an almost imperceptible ridge.
The body is also extremely heavy and coarse. There's an attempt at sculpting but it doesn't really bear a relationship to the Strat. String retention is by the bridge/tailpiece rather than the through/body system and individual string intonation is just about possible with the rather clumsy forward and backwards adjustment fitted.
The electrics on this guitar enjoy an extra facility over a Strat. Three slide switches on the scratch-plate allow any combinations of pick-ups to be selected, unlike the Strat, which allows only individual sounds. There the advantages end, and you must understand that if you want a Strat, this isn't one. The electrics all work well enough if a little brutally and some degree of pole-piece adjustment is available.
If you get one of these instruments, instantly change the strings — they're supplied with the tape wound variety. This guitar is heavy, unwieldy and ungraceful. But it works and it's cheap and you shouldn't ask for much more than that.
Retail Price £34
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