AXL Badwater Eldorado Reviews 2

The AXL Badwater Eldorado is an entry level, single cutaway electric guitar that should please many new, inexperienced hands. The model I reviewed featured a distressed brown finish. This line of guitars is all about the distressed look. The hardware is antiqued and the wood is battered. Pickups come in the way of 2 single-coil EMG-designed and are functional with medium output. The body is made of alder which is mated to a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. The pickups are controlled by 1 tone and 1 volume knob with a 3-way switch. I'm a professional guitarist with 31 years experience. I produce instructional DVD's and software packages for Elmore Music and perform with a cover band.

I took this guitar for a test drive at Pat's Music in Bensalem, Pa. It retails for $187.49.

I played this guitar for approximately 6 hours and it held tune fairly well. Only excessive bending placed it out of tune. I was also impressed with the feel of the neck as it was very similar to a Fender Strat. Finally, the unique look of the distressed hardware and wood gave it a distinct look that separates the guitar from other manufacturers.

I didn't like the fretwork...especially for a younger player who might purchase this guitar. The frets are slightly exposed on the side of the fingerboard making for a painful experience as you shift positions or attempt to slide. The knobs, while functional, are scratchy and don't have a solid feel. The volume knob also acts more like an on/off switch than a gradual volume potentiometer.

This guitar feels like it will last until the beginning student can feel and hear a difference between this guitar and the next step up. I see the controls and pickups failing first as the construction of the body and neck feel solid enough.

If you're just starting to learn guitar be careful when choosing this particular model. If you're attracted to the unique finish and like the tone make sure you play the guitar and feel the frets along the edge of the fingerboard. The instrument I played had problems in this area however, this may not be the case with all guitars. If the frets are finished nicely this may be a fine guitar for you until you're ready to step up.

John Gorbe rated this unit 2 on 2011-01-10.

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