AudioRumble rating 86/100
What We like
A price that literally anyone can afford.
Great looking guitar.
Solid build quality.
Very good sound for the price.
What We don't like
Plastic inlays cheapen the look a little.
The word ‘budget’ can conjure up images of cheap plastic and slapdash quality. However this super-budget Oscar Schmidt OE20QTE – at just over $200 – shows what cheap guitars can do, given the chance.
This is a very good looking guitar from Oscar Schmidt, whose parent company is the slightly better-known Washburn. The OE20QTE‘s design and build is its major strength.
In fact, if you looked at the guitar before the price, you may guess it was about $300 more than it is. The finish on the mahogany body is very sleek, with a quilted tiger eye paint job that really grabs attention and a fitting, elevated white pickguard.
With its single cutaway body the OE20QTE has that Les Paul look about it, while the set neck is made from maple, with a dark rosewood fretboard and 22 frets.
The chrome die-cast tuners perform very well, feel solid and keep the guitar in tune. Of course there are a few clues that this is not a premium guitar – the plastic trapezoid inlays for example maybe let it down a little. But overall this is a splendid looking piece of kit.
For such a bargain price, you can’t expect much more than the basics in terms of features and hardware. However, even the basic features on the OE20QTE are worth a look.
It comes fitted with two Belcat humbucker pickups as standard – one at the neck and the other at the bridge. These generally give a good sound, and seem to suggest they are worth more than you are paying.
The pickups produce a very satisfying tone; warm and clear when played clean – crunchy and aggressive when the overdrive is turned up, and the heavy power-chords and shredding come out.
The four control knobs – two volume and two tone – are nothing special, but feel nice enough and complement the overall look. You also get a three-way pickup selector to help find your favorite sound.
Finally, there’s a well made Tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar tailpiece, while out of the box the guitar comes fitted with good quality D’Addario strings.
This is a very good choice for a beginner or someone buying their first electric guitar. However a more experienced player on a tight budget would also find plenty of enjoyment playing the OE20QTE.
With the beefy sound from the humbuckers it of course suits the heavier rockers, and thanks to the neck and some good fretwork you’re not going to be uncomfortable soloing on it. But it can also hold a decent clean tone too.
For the overall style and build of this guitar it’s well worth the money. You wouldn’t be unhappy jamming with your band or having a few hours practicing by yourself in front of an amp, especially as the guitar is light and feels nice in the hands.
It’s Chinese made, which may have certain connotations, but this is nothing short of great value. I can’t speak for the durability of the OE20QTE, but looking at the build quality you’d guess it could take a good few years of heavy playing.
But you also get a lifetime warranty which is a reassuring guarantee, should something go wrong.
If you're on a severe budget and are looking for an affordable electric guitar that won't let you down when it comes to sound or looks, you won't go too far wrong with an Oscar Schmidt OE20QTE.
AudioRumble rating 86/100