Gear reviews and "guitar player interviews". The Guitar Zombie is the fastest spreading blog about guitars, amps, effects and other stuff.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fender Stratocaster YJM "counterfeit" from China (MIC)

In the two previous articles I have discussed the Chinese counterfeits, or fakes, if you will. First, a general discussion, and then a review of a $160 "Fender Telecaster". Now we proceed with the copy # 2, a "Fender Stratocaster Yngwie J Malmsteen signature" for $ 27. Free shipping.

Once again I want to clarify that I am not promoting or encourages anyone to buy counterfeit guitars, I just want to raise awareness of the phenomenon. As I have previously written, it is not illegal to buy "counterfeits", but it is to sell them as originals.

On the way home from the post office, I wondered if the project "china guitars" were not so smart after all. The Telecaster was far from a success, you might say. A total disaster actually.

Once home I opened the yellow cellophane package and I had a bad feeling about the piece in question. In the package I found the guitar, a black plastic guitar cord, a too short guitar strap, a tool for trussrod adjustments and two picks.

The guitar is built as a "relic", but it´s just "fake relic". From a distance it looks, however, very cool.  The neck is scalloped just like the original, and the work actually looks and feels very good. The frets sit nicely but they are a little rough on the surface, easy to fix in a minute though.

The Fender "logo" on the headstock looks ok, maybe slightly fatter than what would be considered properly.

The strings are better than on the "Telecaster" but still rubbish. When I check the intonation it´s as perfect it could be  but the string height feels somewhat high.

The pickups are labeled "Noiseless", but when I plug it in, it becomes clear that they are not very noiseless at all. The guitar has however a great tone, which is surprising since it is considerably less weight than an original strat.

I decide to make the modifications needed to make the guitar playable, because this actual guitar has great potential, just like many low-cost guitars actually. The hardware is not high class, but they work, and can of course be replaced with better.

The tuners are robust and responds well and keeps the guitar i tuning. The trussrod works well on this guitar, it is not made of silicone that you read about on the net. Not this one anyway.

The good thing with this kind of "cheap" guitar is that you can modify it and play around around with it without getting anxiety.

When I plug it in and played it I discovered to my surprise that the guitar playability is really good. It also sounds very good, although it would need a set of new pickups. It is easy to play and after I polished the frets they are "smooth less". When I play it a bit  tougher than normal it keeps the tuning perfectly. In fact, it plays almost as good as an original Stratocaster made in Mexico, the only difference is that it´s not that, which is good for long playing sessions or for small kids. The body is probably made basswood, but I really can not say.

It´s a really good guitar at a crazy low price.

So # 2 turned out to be absolutely acceptable. Of course, not as good as an original YJM. Nothing are...

3 zombies (5)


  1. Thanks for this! I wanted to know if the chinese knock-offs were actually worth owning (since there's just about a snowball's chance in hell that I'll be able to afford the real deal before I reach retirement age) and this answered pretty much all the questions I had. Except ... where do I get a hold of one? Got any tips?

  2. to all you guys that go around and steal off other peeps equip your days are numbered as you all know it and I,m not going to tolerate you all anymore either too so don,t come around anyones shows anymore either too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!or show your faces too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!sincerely the legend of metal too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Butter Bean is a great boxer