I was lucky enough to be given this fabulous guitar by my father in law who found it in a skip! I was dubious if it would work or not, so I went to a music shop, they plugged it in, tuned the strings, replaced 1 string, and then played it! They fixed something to do with the action being too high for a beginner.
For a free guitar I just payed £20 to have it fixed and the new string. The guitar body is black and quite shiny, though it has a few scratches from being in the skip. The neck is also painted black and feels strong and sturdy. The action points are in cream, as well as the plat to rest your hand on.
There are also some volume controls on the front.
It is brilliant for beginners as it has these silver round circles on the fret board, this is helping me find out where to put my hands for the chords, and also learning scales. I have bought a tiny guitar amp and the sound that comes out sounds quite jangly, but I do have a distortion button for when I want to go a bit mad and make crazy rock goddess sounds.
The tuning pegs seem to be quite stiff so it stays in tune for a good while, they are also silver so it doesnt look cheap.
The guitar also sounds good with the amp plugged into headphones. There is no static or buzzing from where the lead plugs in, and its in really good nick from a sound point of view.
The guitar is quite heavy so I usually sit down to play, though I am planning to get a strap.
Its easy to change the strings, just unwind the tuning peg, then pull out the string from the bottom. Even for a novice like me it is simple.
I think if kids were trying to play this standing up they may find it too heavy, but for an adult learning its fine. It makes a nice clean electric guitar sound, and the strings dont feel too sore unless you play it for too long.
There is also a switch to change the tone but I have no idea about that part really.
So I'm transporting back to around 1994 for this review, as this was the year I first picked up an electric guitar, the Encore KC3 to be exact, as guitar music ruled the charts and Oasis hot on the release of their still never bettered debut 'Definitely/Maybe' inspired a generation of boys to take up their ax and start jamming. Of course, like the onset of any new hobby, my folks were weary that this would be just another passing fad, and thus were understandably reluctant to spend around £600 it would take to acquire a left handed Fender Stratocaster (that may just end up gathering dust in the corner after a few weeks). Of course I would have loved an authentic Strat (retrospectively of course, I don't think I appreciated the quality and durability of Leo Fender's most famous invention at 14 year's old). So I proudly ended up with this altogether more modest guitar, and a humble Solex (I don't know either!) practice amp to jam happily away on.
The Encore KC3 is of course a direct copy of the more refined Stratocaster, but really the electronics of the guitar are very simple and easily cloned, featuring three basic single coil pickups (that you can flick between via a six point lever on the front of the guitar), and three pan pots, one for volume and the other two very basic tone controls (effectively low pass filters for the guitar). The 3 coil pickups are basically to control the high, mid, and bass response of the guitar, and by cycling through these you can alter the tone of guitar quite drastically (a lot more than my Gibson Sonex that features a couple of more 'polite' humbuckers). I think this is why the Strat is so widely loved and used by many a famous picker (see Jimi Hendrix tearing it up at the 1969 Isle of Wight festival for reference); the tones you can get out of the 3 coil system are so wide; play it clean (or with a hint of chorus) for instant Le Chic funk staccato, or strap it up to a nice, noisy Marshall stack with a Crybaby Wah Wah pedal for instant Hendrix inspired sonic mayhem! Of the Encore is not a Strat, just a copy, but plugged into a decent amp and played well, I'm not sure anyone would really notice. This guitar is a bit bulkier than a Strat, and I believe of the Strats I've seen (sadly never owned one) the neck seems a little skinnier than the Encore's, making it a little more comfortable to play. Of course, the devil is in the detail when it comes to an instrument like a Strat, and they are built and finished to the highest possible standard, making them thus such a desirable instrument to own and play. The Encore's I fear may be more of the batch mass produced variety, and I think build quality will vary from guitar to guitar. So I think it would be quite possible to walk into any guitar shop selling these, pick two up off the shelf, and one could stay in tune beautifully all the way up the neck with no buzzing on any of the higher frets, whilst the other could easily go out after the 7th fret with buzzing all over the place. So I guess what I'm saying is check this instrument carefully for quality build before purchasing as I believe it will be quite variable.
I myself am more than happy with my Encore; it plays well, has a good tone (especially when recently strung) and doesn't have any tuning issues, even when you give the tremolo bar a good go (although to be honest this is detached most of the time as I don't really need tremolo when playing). The action on the strings is nice and low (this of course can be tweaked with yourself with a small enough alan key at the bridge of the instrument, but you can easily make matters worse here if you are not careful), and the neck appears to be nice and straight. Of course, the wood of the neck is not as good quality as a Strat and the body is I'm sure made of cheaper materials, but unless you are a purist this is really quite superficial. I guess I go in for the if the player is good enough, any old guitar can be made to sing, but these budget guitars will get you 90% of the way (arguably what you are amping the guitar through will have a much greater effect on the sound anyway).
So there you go, the Encore KC3 is certainly not a cheap toy guitar but a viable musical instrument (I've recorded it several times with good results). Of course, the Encore brand may put some discerning players off (often with guitarists such a common cheap brand may be seen as a mark of shame to be seen brandishing on a stage), so if this is the case, I'm afraid you are going to need another £400 or so to get into the genuine Stratocaster club (they are very nice instruments mind, not knocking them here!). So if you have a son or daughter who are ready to start rocking, maybe the Encore will be just enough to spark their interest without breaking the bank, and it's more than a competent 'gateway' guitar to the big boys (Fender, Gibson et al) if they want to take their hobby further.
Encore guitars are the number one brand for beginners. They are cheap, fair quality guitars that are aimed at starters, but are not suitable for anyone who is serious at playing guitar.
I bought my Encore KC3 on eBay for £100 about 4 years ago. It came in a starter pack, which included a guitar case, a strap, and a small BB Blaster 15watt practise amplifier. It basically contained everything that a beginner could possibly need, and for a relatively cheap price too!
The BB Blaster amplifier is definitely not a great model of amplifier, more of a practise, beginner amplifier. There are two sockets, one to plug in headphones if you wish, and the other one plugs in the lead from the guitar. There is an on/off button too. There are four knobs on the amplifier. The first of these controls the volume at which the sound comes out. Beef increases or decreases the amount of distortion of the sound. There's also another button with "ZAP!" written above it. This makes the sound blast out a little louder, the instruction manual just says "press this for more ZAP!" which is not the most helpful description! Tweak is used to alter the overall tone of the guitar. In the anticlockwise position you hear more of the midrange tones, and by turning it towards the clockwise position, you increase the bass and treble, and hear less of the midrange tones.
I bought my guitar in a bright red colour, and when I first saw it I was extremely pleased. It looked to be of excellent quality, and is a standard Fender Stratocaster copy. In picking the guitar out of the box I immediately noticed how heavy it was! I am not a very strong person so it was a lot heavier than I expected! I did actually have to buy a new guitar strap later on, as the weight of the guitar actually occasionally caused the guitar to fall out of the strap and onto my foot! The new strap was a lot stronger and I didn't have this problem again!
The guitar comes with 3 single coil pickups, a 5 way selector switch and a tremolo arm. It has 21 frets and a volume and two tone controls. It has a maple neck and the fretboard is rosewood, and it doesn't easily scratch, I have no scratches on the fretboard at all and I've owned this guitar for years!
One downside is that the guitar goes out of tune ridiculously easily! I only have to look at it and it's out of tune! The reason for this is due to the non-locking bridge, so as soon as you use the tremolo arm, you have to retune your guitar, which does get annoying. Sometimes the guitar has even gone out of tune mid-way through a song! As I only play casually once a week or so, it isn't too much of a problem for me.
I broke a string, and changing the strings was fairly simple to do, after searching for a Youtube video with instructions of how to do so. After changing the strings to the highest quality ones I could find I found that the guitar was a big better at staying in tune, but I still had a few problems!
The dials actually scratch the body of the guitar, which you can feel and hear when turning them.
The sound of the guitar is average, I guess. I've played much better guitars that have a much nicer sound to them, but this is ok for just practising. This is not a guitar that is suited for playing metal, or punk, but for anything else it is satisfactory.
I would say that this is mostly a guitar for practising, and definitely not one to use for performing or gigs, it would probably go out of tune half-way through!
If you're serious about learning to play guitar then don't buy this guitar! If you're just starting and want to know if you actually like guitar before spending a huge amount of money, then this is the one for you!
This is a great little guitar for beginners/ intermediate guitar players. This was actually my first guitar and I still have it today and use it frequently. This is a fairly cheap guitar and I think I got it with a small 10 watt amp for about £100, but that was a while ago now. The quality isn't great, and if you are already at a decent standard you may want to consider paying a little bit more and buying a better guitar.
Encose tend to make decent quality guitars, at prices that don't break the bank. This guitar is certainly in that mold.
Even though this is a cheapish guitar, if you have is set up properly, you can still get a very good sound of it. Since I bought it I have had numerous set's of new strings, (I've now settled on some d'adarrio extra light strings); I have bought good lead; and have a cube 30, which has improved the quality no end. With all these additions it actually sounds like a good guitar.
Unless you are a very serious electric guitarist, this guitar with some better equipment around it sounds very good and well worth the money.
Encore are a guitar company that have pretty much managed to retain a certain bad reputation about themselves, unnecessarily. The first time I heard of them was when they used to produce extremely cheap children's and beginner's guitars for catalogue company, Argos. These guitars were extremely cheap and tacky and really intended more as a beginner's messabout guitar, cheap in both price and quality, to learn on. This is how Encore have managed to build their bad reputation in the world of guitars.
However, a few years ago they were taken over by a well renowned guitar company called John Hornby. This was when they decided to start producing decent quality guitars to a higher technical specification. Around about this time I was without a guitar at all, so my other half offered to buy me an affordable one. She bought me the new out Encore KC3. I was expecting it to be cheap, tacky and just intended on using it purely for practise.
When the guitar arrived I was pleasantly surprised. This is basically another copy of the Fender Stratocaster, exactly the same as any other strat copy, even the one's made by Squier (which is a division of Fender). The guitar is quite weighty, solid in design and for any guitarists out there even the action had been taken into consideration for the best performance. Like any other strat, it comes with three single coil pickups and a five way selector switch, aswell as a tremolo arm (also known as a whammy bar).
I was extremely impressed and absolutely delighted with the guitar, that also came with a BB Blaster 15watt practise amplifier. The guitar was beautiful to play, it has a great sound, plenty of sustain and is definitely solid enough for live gigs. However, any guitarist who takes an Encore on to the stage in front of anyone who knows about guitars, it is sure to become somewhat of a joke due to their previous reputation, which really is a shame.
The BB Blaster amplifier that comes with the KC3 is not exactly the best practise amp available and it would have been nice to have either a Crate, Fender or a Marshall amp though they really are top names and would never be supplied with an Encore anyway. I do feel that the sound of the BB Blaster, especially when the distortion button is pressed, lets down the sound of the actual guitar somewhat.
Going through the documentation supplied with the guitar, it's clear that a lot more work has gone into the design and specifications of the instrument and they have intended the guitar to be suitable for semi-professionals and state themselves that the guitar is best suited to live gigs in reasonable small venues. I have had the guitar for around eighteen months now and have had now problems whatsoever, in fact, it has performed just as well (if not better) than my previous Epiphone Les Paul Standard. At the time it cost £180 with the amp though is now available from certain manufacturers for around £40-£60.
Whilst the old Encore beginner's guitars are cheap and tacky and more or less just a 'toy' and Encore have built their bad reputation, the Encore KC3 is one well built and very sturdy guitar, great in performance, that is sure to impressive all guitarists, especially one's who have previously experience of Encore.