- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music
At first glance the Indio by Monoprice 66SB DLX (what a mouthful) looks like classic Kalamazoo, with the gold top, P90’s and inlays, but the modern headstock and sharp cutaway add a contemporary twist. It’s not far from its Michigan roots, with a mahogany back and maple cap. The neck is a variety of eastern mahogany called Nato which features a nice scarf joint at the headstock, and a two-piece neck heel that’s set into the body. 22 medium frets sit on the rosewood fretboard, with a 24.75 scale length and a 13.75” radius. A bone nut that was cut nicely also pairs with the ivory color binding. The two P90 pickups are ceramic and have the usual three way toggle on the upper bout, and a volume and tone control for each pickup. Opening up the control cavity, the pots were generic mini versions, but worked fine. An ABR1 style bridge and tailpiece worked well as did the vintage style tuners.
Here’s where some red flags popped up — the usual way to mount an ABR1 bridge was mounted backwards from what you’d typically expect. Yes it’s an easy fix to swap to the bridge around, as trying to get a screwdriver in to adjust a saddle is problematic. We also noticed that one of the frets was quite worn. Usually some test instruments go around the block before we get them, but this was quite noticeable, so either this guitar has been on the review circuit for a while, or the fret material used might be a bit soft. On one of the upper frets we also noticed some heavy goop on the edge, which didn’t really scrape away. This could be some heavy duty epoxy holding in the frets (?) This method of fret attachment isn’t uncommon, but a little goes a long way, and wiping excess isn’t a big deal. So this is a point of concern, when a fret job is required, when will it be, will it be a pain, and will the effort be worth more than the initial cost of the instrument?
The gold top finish was ok, but the area where the neck meets the body had a bad tape line, where about a third of the ivory-colored binding was painted over. Noticeable finish scratches from sanding were also present. A couple of “stains” were also very noticeable on the binding. We get that guitars at this price point won’t be perfect, but to be honest, even “budget” guitars nowadays (at least the ones we’ve seen) come surprisingly well made out of the box. Yes, even under $300. So there’s really not much of an excuse here.▼ Article continues below ▼
Unplugged it was very resonant sounding (always a good sign) and overall playability was very nice, and the neck shape was very comfortable. The P90 pickups sounded excellent and responded well across the gain spectrum, although they are quite noisy (to be expected). We tried it with some high gain settings and it certainly delivered, but the mid gain areas are where it shined. It’s somewhere between a big single coil, and a clear humbucker sound. The bridge pickup had great bite and clarity, while the neck had a deep warmth that wasn’t muffled. Together they balanced really well, with a nice richness and attack.
While we can’t account for every guitar that is made by Monoprice, this one should have been given the onceover before going out the door for a detailed review. One would hope the production instruments are better. We don’t know the exchange/return policy on their guitars, but it might be something to seriously think about before purchasing. Considering the overall great sound and playability, the issues we noticed are a major disappointment. It’s damn near impossible to find a set neck P90 guitar at this low price, but maybe it’s better to find one that costs more, and doesn’t have any red flags.
Great sounding pickups, great playability
Serious QC concerns, numerous fit and finish flaws unacceptable even at this price point