Affordable guitars are all the rage today. To get a quality guitar without spending lots of your hard-earned money would be ideal and Grote Guitars is one of those brands.
In this post, we will we are going to talk about Grote Guitars and take an inside look at what they are about.
More importantly, we will see if they are a good guitar for you.
As prices of virtually everything go up in life, the importance of being cost-conscious will always be on one’s mind.
So we hope we can clear the air on any questions that you may have.
Grote Guitars History
When I was younger (quite a while ago), and I was looking for an electric guitar, brands such as Fender, Gibson, and Epiphone were mentioned as potential suitors.
Except for Epiphone, the other choices were out of my price range.
It wasn’t until very recently, that more options were circulating word of mouth.
One of those companies is Grote. Since 1989, they have been making guitars and basses at extremely affordable prices.
These guitars are made overseas in China. This would be the primary reason for them being affordable as the materials used (wood, paint, electronics, etc) are cheaper than other and more popular brands.
However, do not be fooled as these guitars are of high quality and have a look that resembles some of the most famous and iconic electric guitar models.
Are Grote guitars any good?
That’s why we are here right? To find out this very question.
The term “good” is going to be subjective based on what your expectations are for a guitar.
With that said there is something for everyone based on both style and sound.
How are guitars able to be affordably priced?
Grote guitars can be so affordably priced because of the mass production process that guitar manufacturers can use.
One way this is done is by using machines in place of skilled labor which lowers the price per unit.
The use of low-cost materials such as the plywood and electronics has also contributed to the overall price for these guitars.
As a result, many people who have never played before can purchase an instrument without worrying about spending too much money on it.
It’s not just beginners who benefit from these prices either; even professional musicians buy guitars at reasonable rates thanks to this type of manufacturing process.
Lastly, the ability for a wide variety of styles and sizes with such affordable pricing means that there will always be something available for everyone.
One of the things that impressed me the most with these guitars is their appearance.
The company took its time not only to try to emulate some of the most famous guitar models (more on that later), but they took it a step further with some unique finishes.
A nice smooth and matte finish you will be able to see right away along with strong binding to make the guitar sturdy.
One downside that I noticed is the fretboard. Typically on higher-priced guitars, the fretboard is smooth and slick on the fingers.
The Grote guitar fretboards seem to be lacking in that department.
It almost has a sandpaper feel to it. You can the sound of the string pressing up against the fretboard and you can tell it’s dry.
This also makes for some string buzzing experience.
A smoother fretboard and maybe even more filed-down frets would improve the experience.
Quick Tip – If you want to improve the fretboard, then take a cloth with some lemon oil and that will make your fingers happier.
If you’d like more information on guitar cleaners, then check out our article here: Best Guitar Cleaner for all Finishes.
Sound is another grey area when it comes to guitars.
Higher-priced guitars are going to leave little room for debate sonically.
For the most part, they are going to have nice and audible clean tones and when cranked up with distortion they are going to also sound great.
However, here is the grey area as you may desire a specific sound and even a higher-priced guitar won’t meet the need or none of it may matter and you just want to jam.
When it comes to the sound of these guitars, it’s all about the wood selection and electronics (pickups).
It also depends on the amp you are using as well.
But let’s toss all of that aside for a minute.
You will experience some very nice clean tones that are perfect for Jazz or open chord strumming.
When you add some distortion, you will also be able to get a nice and loud crunch. If you like to play power chords, then you’ll enjoy doing so and if you are a lead guitarist then the intonation of the notes will be heard.
You can check out our post on Power Chords if you want to learn more about: How to Play Power Chords.
Some models may have better pickups and you will hear those differences with the volume in particular.
But don’t get too obsessed with the pickups as you can always change and upgrade them down the line.
In my experience, I tried too hard to focus on achieving the perfect sound and I missed out on the fun of actually playing.
If you want to read more about Pickups, then check out our guide here: Types of Guitar Pickups Explained.
Grote Guitars Reviews
Let’s take a look at some of the top models below from Grote Guitars.
This is Grote’s take-off of the old Jazz non-cutaway archtop models that you would see in the big bands of the 1920s.
So let’s look at the Grote jazz guitar.
This hollow body model is nice looking to the eye. With its classic sunburst finish, this guitar has a vintage look.
The maple neck and body make it a comfortable instrument to hold and the inlays on the fretboard give it a nice touch.
With two F holes on each side and its floating yet fixed bridge, this is not only a guitar but more of a talking piece when you have friends over the house.
The sole P90 pick-up gives the guitar a sleek look as it doesn’t look overly crowded with the pickup and bridge.
Bringing a semi-hollow guitar with a P90 pickup is going to give this guitar a particular sound.
That particular sound is going to be warm, bright, and thick.
This is the guitar you want to play Jazz with or something where other instruments are just as equally the focal point.
If you’re looking to play heavier style music such as metal or punk, then this would probably not be the guitar for you.
If you are really interested in Punk Rock and finding a guitar that suits that need, check out our guide here: Ultimate Punk Rock Guitar Guide.
Ease of Use
If you have never played an old-school archtop-style guitar, then there can be some adjustment to being comfortable when playing it.
This is not one for getting used to playing up on the right frets due to its design. If you are used to a non-cutaway acoustic guitar, then you’ll have no problem adjusting.
One thing we have noticed is that Grote guitars are very light in weight. So if you are standing up while playing, it’s not going to be a strain on your shoulders and back.
- Great vintage look and finish
- Comes with p-90 pickup
- Not ideal for heavier style music
One look at this guitar and you can tell that it’s modeled after the famous Les Paul.
I get a lot of heat for this, but I do feel that the Les Paul solid body model is the most versatile of them all.
We will start with the appearance. As a kid, I thought there was nothing cooler than that classic single cutaway shape of the Les Paul.
It’s not overly big and just the right size to get the job done.
With 22fretst, a fixed bridge, and a solid body, this guitar is just a consistent tone maker.
The Mahogany neck and body produce a very balanced tone between both warm and bright.
The versatility that I spoke of earlier is because you can play a variety of different styles of music.
It’s not just exclusive to softer or heavier music. You can find many sweet spots with regards to tone through the 3 way switch and the use of pedals.
Ease of Use
Between the lightness of Grote guitars and the scale length, this is just a very comfortable guitar to play.
Now some will swear by the Strat-style shape due to its contour body and the fact that’s a little bigger.
However, I find the shape very comfortable and when I was playing in my bands, I would find it easy to play.
If your interested in the Stat-Style body and see how that compares with the T Style (Telecaster) then read on here: Start vs Tele.
- Classic LP solid boy style
- Versatile tone
- Mahogany neck and body
- When you get close to the finish, you can see some blemishes
Modeled after the Gibson 335, the Grote 335 is another semi-hollow model perfect for Jazz.
With this model, we have a double-cutaway model with the classic “F-holes” on each side.
The flame maple top and neck are appealing to one’s eye.
It features neck and bridge humbucker pickups with volume and tone controls.
With 22 frets and inlays to make the fretboard look pretty, this is an ax that you wouldn’t mind displaying in one’s house.
Much like the first hollow body that we looked at, this will also be perfect for Jazz, Blues, and strumming open chords.
Between the pickups and the F holes, it’s going to produce a tone that’s not too harsh.
You can without a doubt crank this up to 11 and add some pedal effects, however, there will more than likely be some feedback.
The feedback is typical of semi-hollow body guitars.
Ease of Use
This is a very playable guitar, but if you are not used to this shape then it could be an adjustment.
It’s a bigger body so you are going to need to position it differently than the smaller body LP model.
Nevertheless, you’ll get used to it if it’s what your rocking heart desires.
- Classic 335 style guitar
- Maple neck and body
- Great for Jazz and Blues
- Feedback occurs once the volume is turned up
Grote vs Firefly Guitars
Before I found out about Grote guitars, I kept hearing the name Firefly Guitars.
Much like Grote, they exploded onto the scene and provided the option for very nice-looking and affordable guitars.
The guitars had nice matte finishes and flashy colors and featured some classic guitar designs such as the 335, Les Paul, and the SG.
Then poof they were gone.
That’s when Grote filled the void.
Firefly didn’t go out of business, they just couldn’t keep up with the demand for their affordable guitars.
Similar to Grote, Firefly is made overseas and its affordability is due to the materials used as we mentioned above.
So is there a real difference between the two?
In my opinion…..no.
It’s comparing apples to oranges. Or in this case the bootleg versions of those fruits.
The solid body models will feature the thick and bold tones you’d expect.
While the semi-hollow and hollow bodies are going to be lighter in tone and a little more temperamental with feedback if cranked loud.
At the end of the day, the choice between the two would come down to design, style, and color.
Both are sought after due to their price so if you come across either of them, it may be worth considering.
So you like what you are reading with regards to Grote guitars, but what if you still want to explore more options in the affordable guitar space?
Let’s look at some options that may spark your interest.
The younger sibling to the Fender Strat, Squier has come a long way.
Today they provide high-quality guitars without the Fender price tag.
What’s awesome about these guitars, is they can grow with you.
What do I mean by that?
Say you purchase a Squier as a beginning guitarist but as you progress in your playing (or join a band), you are looking for an upgrade.
Instead of getting a new guitar, the Squier is perfect for electronic upgrades giving your affordable guitar a boost in sound and overall value.
I know many guitarists that use a Squier as their primary musical weapon of choice.
For more information on Squier check out our article right here: Squier Affinity Stratocaster.
Glarry is another interesting guitar company that’s currently making waves.
They are comparable to both Grote and Firefly.
With classic designs and affordable prices, it’s just another option for affordable guitars which is a great option to have.
For more details on Glarry Guitars, check out our post here: Glarry Guitars Review.
Grote guitars are affordable and great guitars for beginners and honestly, even intermediate players will find value in these guitars.
They offer great value for the price.
They are an affordable option for players who want a guitar that is not going to break the bank but still plays well and has some good features.
If you’re looking at these models of guitars, keep in mind that some things about them that will need upgrading eventually such as tuning machines or pickups.
These guitars are a great value for the price.
They are well priced, easy to play, and offer a good variety of styles in Stratocaster, Telecaster, and semi-hollow body types.
If you’re looking for your first guitar but don’t know where to start, Grote guitars are a great option.
But they are also for those who want to add a reliable guitar to their collection.
We hope these reviews have helped you decide whether these specific models would be right for your needs!
Let us know what piques your interest by leaving comments below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
Remember to always HAVE FUN!