First Act Moderator Electric Guitar

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FIRST ACT ME509 MODERATOR ELECTRIC GUITAR

May 11, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This is an inexpensive beginner's guitar.

Cons:This guitar is poorly constructed.

The Bottom Line: Although it is relatively inexpensive, I would not recommend this guitar because of all of the flaws that I found it to have.


FIRST  ACT  ME509  MODERATOR  ELECTRIC  GUITAR

            I am always excited to play a model of guitar that I have never played before.  Thus, when a friend called me up on the phone and told me that he had recently purchased a First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar for his son, and then asked if I would come over and adjust and set up the guitar to make it a bit easier for him to play, I was both pleased to have the opportunity to help out a friend, as well as having the chance to check out a model of guitar that I had not ever played before.  Read on and see if the First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar has some of the features that you might be looking for the next time you are considering purchasing a guitar for a beginner.

            When making a purchase of any product, the price that one gets it for is always an important consideration.  My friend told me that he had purchased the First Act ME509 for $69.99 off the Internet from some place in New England.  This was indeed a stroke of luck, or superior shopping prowess, as he informed me that some other brick and mortar retailers were selling it for a whopping $159.99, which was more than twice what my friend had paid.  Included with the First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar was a truss rod wrench, a saddle wrench, a CD entitled "Guitar Tips & Tricks," a guitar cable, and an extra high E and B string.  That is a great deal of $69.99, but it would not have been such a great deal at $159.99, and as such, it clearly pays to shop around before making a purchase. 

            And now on to a description of the First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar.  The body was made of what appeared to be Basswood, or some species of wood that was very similar.  The body was nice and light, and contoured nicely, and it seemed that it would be a good weight for a child or a small adult to learn to play on.  The appearance of the body had a very retro look to it, and the reverse curve single cutaway was a very attractive and gave the guitar a very different and distinctive appearance.  The neck was made of Maple, and the fingerboard was made of Rosewood.  The neck had 22 medium frets, and the position markers were pearloid dots.  Although access to the high notes on the neck was relatively easy because of the generous single cutaway, there were problems.  The action was set very high, and when I adjusted the action of the strings to be lower on the fretboard, there was buzzing on a number of the frets in different spots above the 12th fret.  It was then that I noticed that the height of the frets was not uniform, and that there were high spots at certain places, and it was these high spots which accounted for the buzzing.  Now of course, a seasoned guitarist would know how to file down these high spots on the frets and even out the level of the frets on the neck, and this type of problem could be readily fixed.  But how would a beginner know how to go about doing that?  And why should any one have to go all though that, especially when dealing with a new guitar.

            The hardware on the First Act ME509 Moderator was chrome platted, which is usually a thing, and that included the tuning pegs, which were three to the side at the headstock of the guitar.  The tuning pegs were a bit stiff, but they did work fairly well, and they kept the guitar in good relative tune for the most part.  The bridge was a non-strings through body design, and seemed solid enough and relatively nicely designed for an inexpensive guitar.  The electronics consisted of one Humbucking style bridge pickup, and a Volume control and a Tone control. 

            Well how does the First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar feel, play, and sound?  To begin with, the guitar felt quite nice.  It was light, sleekly designed, and felt comfortable to hold in a playing position.  Well how does this guitar play and sound?  What would you expect for an electric guitar selling for under $70.00?  As I mentioned before, there were a number of buzzing notes on this guitar, especially as one played above the 12th fret.  Further, when the guitar was tuned to be in tune when playing simple open chords in the first position, it sounded out of tune when one played chords above the fifth fret. To me this was a major aggravation.  The Volume and Tone controls were also not very good either.  When raising the Volume or adjusting the Tone, the pots were noisy, and the transition from one volume or tone setting was not gradual and gentle, but was instead very quick and pronounced.  Lastly, the one Humbucking pickup was very prone to feedback, and was noisy, as was the guitar in general, as it appeared to have wiring that was not properly shielded or well grounded.

            Well who is the First Act Moderator ME509 Electric guitar best suited for?  This is clearly a beginner's guitar or entry level musical instrument, and it is one that a talented beginner will quickly grow tired of.  That brings to mind the subject of re-sale value.  If one were trying to sell a low end beginner's guitar with a recognized name brand, such as a Fender Squier, Epiphone or Yamaha, one would have a much better chance of getting some of their money back, as a recognized brand name usually commands a better re-sale price.  That being said, one must also take into consideration that the First Act ME509 Moderator cost my friend only $69.99, while an entry level guitar with a recognized brand name will probably cost more than twice that figure.  I have also heard that some of the more expensive First Act guitars are actually quite nice, but I can not comment on them from personal experience.

            Personally, I would not recommend the First Act ME509 Moderator Electric Guitar to someone, even a beginner.  I feel that it would be much wiser to spend the extra money and get a nicer guitar in the first place.  A better built guitar will feel, play, and sound better, that is in most cases, than a very inexpensive guitar like the First Act ME509 Moderator.  Having a nice guitar for a beginner to learn on is in my opinion critical, as it makes playing easier and more fun, and it is also more cost effective in the long run, as a beginner can take a better guitar along with them to the next level of their playing, and that saves on replacement and upgrading costs.

            Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.


Recommend this product? No


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