Have you heard of the new AIO Wolf Guitars? That’s funny, because I had not either! Today we check out these amazing LP style guitars and talk about the insane price.
AIO Wolf Guitars: Another Budget Choice?
There has never been a better time to be a beginner guitarist, or a guitarist on a tight budget. I have spent the last month doing a serious amount of research about the lesser known budget brands, and I have found some real gems! If you are a beginner, then NOW is the best time in history to get quality gear on a budget.
Budget guitars are all the rage these days, and for a lot of good reasons. Companies like Harley Benton and Squire have paved the way for cheaper guitars to be viewed as legit instruments. I think that the old saying “You get what you pay for…” is still applicable, but you get way more for your money these days.
Like I said in the Harley Benton article, technology is the reason for this sudden boom of affordable guitars. CNC machines have never been more accurate and consistent. These machines are accurate down to a 10th of a millimeter! This means that these machines are doing the hard work, and actual human hands only touch the guitars when needed at the end for finishing purposes. All of the savings are passed on to you.
This is great news for beginners and players that are on a tight budget. You can get a great playing guitar at a fraction of the cost of the “big name” brands. Most of the newer budget guitars not only play well, but they have some really cool features as well, as we discussed with the HB Fusion 3.
Now I am not saying that you should throw out your expensive guitars and give up on the big brands like Fender. These name brand guitars will always have a place. These budget guitars are very good, but I could not see them replacing some of my more expensive Schecters, for example.
So today we take a look at AIO Wolf Guitars. These are a great budget option for people that want a Les Paul/PRS alternative. The company was started by Jin Kim, who noticed that South Koreans were making some seriously nice guitars. But, after they ship to the States, they are usually not setup or have a couple of problems. The solution?
He started AIO Guitars in Los Angeles. This became not only a general repair shop for local musicians, but also a retailer of guitars made overseas. The big difference, is Jin and his team go over every guitar, do a setup, and make sure it is playing the best it can before it is shipped to you. Sometimes this means replacing parts or doing fretwork. Either way, when the guitar gets to you, it is the best it can be.
This is a pretty cool idea, and I am surprised there are not more places like this in the United States. This is a win/win situation for the retailer, and the player alike. But what are the Aio Wolf Guitars like? Today we are going to take a look at the most famous model that AIO Guitars sells, and see what it has to offer.
AIO Wolf Guitars: Features and Specs
Let’s be completely honest with ourselves here. The AIO Wolf Guitars WLP is definitely a Les Paul copy, but it also has some modern features that Gibson does not offer. This is a beautiful and well made guitar, but if you have a highly critical eye, you can see where some corners were cut. But the corners that got cut are mostly aesthetic, as the actual construction is very solid. The AIO Wolf Guitars WLP features:
- Solid Mahogany Body
- Mahogany Neck
- Set Neck Construction
- AAA Flame Maple Veneer
- Rosewood Fretboard
- 60’s Slim Taper neck
- 12” Radius
- Medium Frets
- Bone Nut
- Grover Tuners
- 24.75” Scale (Gibson Standard)
- Abalone Binding/Cream Binding
- Destiny Pickups (OEM)
Starting with the construction of the guitar, this thing feels solid! It’s not as heavy as some Les Pauls that I have played, and it weighs in at about 8.9 lbs. This is definitely solid Mahogany and it feels like it. All of the hardware is fitted nicely and works great. You can tell this is your basic “bare bones” type of hardware, but it isn’t bad quality.
The finish is beautiful, and to be honest with you, I did not think this was a veneer. The AIO Wolf Guitars all have a AAA Flame Maple veneer, and it shows that some really nice wood was used for the top. It definitely had me fooled! The back of the guitar is also stained, and I love the “half finished” look that it highlights. In the picture below, you can see what I mean, as the stain is very light and shows the wood grain.
The neck feels just like an Epiphone 60’s neck. Like something you would find on a Les Paul Studio model, the fretboard is nice and flat, the neck is slim and tapered. In fact, it feels almost identical to the Les Paul Studio I played earlier today at Guitar Center. The fretwork is outstanding. There are no sharp fret ends, and I could not find any high frets or blemishes. The neck also has a quite large volute, which should withstand any mishaps and avoid the “Gibson Neck Break” issues.
The electronics are just like you would find on a Les Paul, with two volume/two tone knobs. I did not open the back of the guitar up, but these feel like your standard pots that you get with most import guitars. The volume is responsive, but just…ok. The tone is also useable to get that sweet neck pickup tone that sounds so smooth.
Speaking of the pickups, the “Destiny” branded pickups are a lot better than you would expect from a budget guitar. These are “CNC Wound” pickups, and they use what I think are Alnico magnets, although the bridge may be Ceramic. The materials are not listed on the site, unfortunately. These pickups have a remarkable medium output sound, and they are a little bit dark. I just adjusted the treble on my amp, and these pickups really opened up with high gain settings.
I wish the Destiny Pickups were coil split, but alas, they do not come that way. The classic Les Paul trick of using the neck position pickup for that creamy, “singing” lead tone works great on the AIO Wolf. Just turn the tone down slightly, and it gets that beautiful smooth tone. These pickups also sound great clean, especially in the middle position (both pickups on). The two pickups sound very different and distinct from one another, and that’s a good thing!
The bone nut and Grover tuners really round out the features of the AIO Wolf Guitars. There are no tuning issues here, and the nut is cut perfectly. You usually get a cheap plastic nut when you buy a budget Les Paul style guitar. But the bone nut makes a huge difference when it comes to tuning stability, since there is no sticking or binding. Intonation is also absolutely dead on out of the box!
AIO Wolf Guitars: The Biggest Feature…
Look, let’s talk about the biggest appeal of AIO Wolf Guitars: the setup. Yes, it is a very well made guitar, constructed with budget materials that are a slight cut above the usual cheaper stuff. But AIO Guitars is a repair/maintenance shop first and foremost. Every guitar gets a full setup before it is shipped to you. This includes:
- Fret Dressing
- Fret Level
- Intonation Check
- Hardware Check
- Nut Slots Filed/Adjusted
- Truss Rod Adjustment
- Pickup Adjustment
- Electronics Test
Now AIO Guitars is not the only company that does this, by far. Schecter Guitars are all set up and ready to play before they ship out. PRS is also known for setting up each and every guitar that leaves the factory. But these are much more expensive brands, with a global market and tons of advertising. Both Schecter and PRS started out as repair shops, and the quality shows.
But the AIO Wolf Guitars are nowhere near the price of a PRS or high end Schecter. These are all within the $300-$450 range, and to me…that is just an insane deal! If you take you guitar to get everything done on the list above, you can easily spend $200 at a guitar shop. The setup alone is worth the price of these guitars.
AIO Guitars have an excellent return policy as well. Just like Harley Benton, if there is something wrong with your guitar, they will replace it for you at no cost to you. AIO Guitars can even setup the guitar the way you like it at your request. If you like your action super low, or anything specific as such, you can communicate with AIO Guitars via email and get the guitar setup exactly how you want it.
If you are a beginner, this setup is a huge blessing. Most beginner guitarists do not have the technical knowledge to setup a guitar properly. This leaves the beginner at the mercy of the guitar being playable “right out of the box”. A budget guitar that plays badly can ruin the chances for a beginner guitarist to progress.
The fact that these come to you, ready to play, is a game changer for beginners. You will be more inclined to want to play, and you will learn faster when you are not “fighting” a poorly setup guitar. I also feel that this is a guitar that a beginner will not grow out of anytime soon. Hell, I would play this guitar on stage any night! So this could be a guitar that can keep you interested for years!
AIO Wolf Guitars: The Verdict
Whether you are a beginner, or a highly experienced player, I think AIO Guitars is a brand to check out. Even if you are not on a budget, you might be surprised at how well these guitars play and sound. These are not just budget guitars for beginners, they are great guitars for anyone!
Personally, I would like to mod the AIO Wolf and add some active pickups to turn it into a shred machine. On the other hand, if you wanted to keep it traditional, the AIO Wolf Guitars come with great pickups already. But you could even put in a set of Seymour Duncans and make this a “classic” LP guitar for Rock and Blues music. The rest of the guitar, there is nothing else to upgrade!
There has never been a time like now for guitarists. There are so many great brands out there, and so many choices for any budget you can imagine. There has never been a better time to pick up guitar and really start your learning journey that will last the rest of your life.
You can check out AIO Guitars, and order one for yourself from the Official Site.
Are AIO Wolf Guitars Any Good?
The AIO Guitars are very well made, and come setup and ready to play. Every guitar gets the full setup treatment before it leaves the Los Angeles shop. These are well made import guitars on par with more expensive budget brands of the same ilk. AIO surpasses most budget guitar brands because of the “ready to play” condition of the instruments.
Do AIO Wolf Guitars Come With A Case?
The AIO Guitars can be shipped with a case for an additional $75. The guitars ship in Gator ABS hardshell cases in most instances. You can choose to add a case in the checkout.
Where Are AIO Wolf Guitars Made?
The AIO Wolf Guitars are made by KHL in South Korea. The KHL company was established in 1997, and has made a lot of guitar brands over the years for budget brands. The popular Agile guitars have been made by KHL, as well as some bigger names!
Do AIO Wolf Guitars Have A Warranty?
AIO Guitars have an excellent return policy and they answer emails immediately. The Policy: “If there are any problems with your guitar, we will gladly exchange it for you. However, many technical problems can be solved at home with our help so please email us for help!”
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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