Mar 13, 2016

Are Rondo Music guitars any good?

If you follow my posts much, you probably already know that to me, the name on the headstock is nearly meaningless compared to the quality of the instrument itself.  If you agree with this to any significant degree, you'll definitely find Rondo Music a lesser-known resource worth checking out.

As of yet, I have purchased, owned, and reviewed two guitars from Rondo Music, and considering more.  As someone loyal to products rather than brands, this should be something of a testimony to the surprising quality of their instruments.

Simply put, Rondo Music offers pretty decent instruments at ridiculously great prices.

The two guitars that I own, the Douglas Hadron 727 and SX Callisto Custom each cost me under $170 brand new.  And while not perfect, nor as good as a quality Gibson, both are rock solid guitars that will look, and sound just as good to the layman in the audience.

These two are Rondo's midrange; which offers two interesting perspectives.  One is of the higher end guitars, that for $200 you can get a respectable guitar and for a bit more you can get a very competitive instrument.  The other is that there are instruments as low as half this already low price.  Budget modder's heaven?

Overall I've found Rondo Music to be a fascinating resource for good instruments at a steal of a price by cutting out the middlemen and advertising.  Their website might still belong in the early 2000's but their customer service is strong and their products speak for themselves.


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  2. I've purchased two instruments from Rondo Music. The first one was a 6 string fretless Douglas bass that I got for $180. The strings were complete trash, but I spent around $70 on some nice tapewound strings (which I still use) and I honestly feel like it plays better than my $600 Jackson David Ellefson signature model. I was extremely impressed with the quality and was actually able to make it sound like an upright bass when I was in high school and played in the jazz band. I haven't been able to play bass or guitar much anymore since I'm studying trombone in college and I've had to prioritize my practice, but it's still my go-to bass when I play today and I don't have plans to upgrade.

    The second instrument was an 8-string guitar for $175 and it was a little more what you would expect for that price. I have serious intonation problems with the lowest strings (as you can expect with any cheap 8-string) unless I play really soft. The rest of the guitar from the E string up is fine and if it was a 6-string, I would have no complaints. In their defense, I haven't gotten around to changing the strings yet.

    All in all, I think Rondo offers some great value instruments. If you're a more serious player, I would advise looking into their higher priced instruments so you can be sure you're getting quality. I haven't played any of their top guitars but I imagine they're fantastic. Their cheapest guitar bundles may not be performance worthy but it's a great, low-risk way to start off a beginner who's just getting their feet wet. A word of advice though; plan on getting some nice strings with the instrument. For guitars you can expect to pay an extra $10-20 and for basses an additional $30-80 for strings since the strings it'll ship with will be terrible, at least with the cheaper models. Quality strings have a huge impact on playability, especially for basses and it's worth the investment.

    1. Spot-on with what I've experienced. I also have a Douglas "Beatle bass" strung up with flatwounds and it's easily my favorite bass for playability and rich tone at less than $200. And for extended range instruments on a budget, their range of features are just unbeatable for the price if you don't mind a little tuning up.

      For what it's worth, as sort of an addendum to this review, I did end up selling both of the instruments in this review after a year or two - I liked both, but didn't love either, which is totally acceptable for the price. The Beatle bass will probably stick with me for quite a bit longer though, and I wouldn't mind ordering an Agile if I have a bit more expendable income in the future either.


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