If you watch a lot of YouTube, then you have probably seen the Glarry GST Electric Guitar. But today, we break it down honestly and shed some new light on the budget brand.
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Glarry GST Electric Guitar: Let’s Talk About It...
If you have been paying attention to the normal guitar reviews, then you have probably seen the Glarry GST Electric guitar. For the last two years or so, I have seen Glarry pop up from time to time on all of my favorite YouTube reviewer’s social media.
The thing is, I either see these reviewers giving Glarry the highest praise possible, or I see them absolutely trash the company. This usually happens with newer budget brands, so this is a pattern than seems very familiar.
So let me get this “disclaimer” part out of the way.
Then we can talk about what I think about the Glarry GST electric guitar, and this is going to be a LONG one. Just a few things to get out of the way first…
As a reviewer myself, I absolutely do not trust 90% of guitar reviewers. It is one thing to have a positive outlook on life and gear. It is another thing entirely when a reviewer has been paid off for a “totally positive” review that is all sunshine and unicorns.
This means everything that comes across their desk, is absolutely wonderful. It isn’t just like this in the guitar industry either, you see it in every industry. Paid-off reviewers take up the majority of of mainstream reviews, in almost every industry.
The thing about Electrikjam, is we do not get upfront payment. I have said some negative things about Schecter Guitars in reviews… and I play Schecter exclusively! Integrity is everything in business, so if there are flaws, I point them out.
We like to keep it as “real” as possible, so if there are issues with an instrument we like to point it out. Sometimes, even high-end guitars have some problems that slip past QC. No company is immune to sending out a few “lemons” but sometimes it is a defect across all models.
Guitar companies need to know about the BIG problems, and manufacturing defects.
This is important to the companies that I am reviewing as well. Glenn Fricker recently called out a company, and the defect on those guitars has been fixed because Glenn figured out what was wrong. If he didn’t point out that flaw, then the company would have maybe never known!
I also take into consideration the price of the guitar I am reviewing. If it is an expensive guitar, then it better be near-perfect right out of the box. However, budget guitars get a little more leeway when I review them, since they are usually mass produced.
I LOVE reviewing budget guitars and basses, because you can get a lot for your money these days. However, I am also very realistic when it comes to budget gear. I know a $200 guitar will not play like my Custom Shop guitars without a lot of work.
So I became very interested in the Glarry GST electric guitar, as a mod platform. But I also needed a new 4-string bass for the studio that I recently built, and considering the amount of money I spent on the studio remodel… this bass couldn’t be too expensive.
I ended up with a Glarry G-Jazz bass for the studio and put the GST guitar on hold. I wanted to see the quality for myself when it came to Glarry, not what the reviewers said. When the Glarry Bass arrived, I was a little surprised, for a lot of different reasons.
The Glarry G-Jazz bass guitar that I ordered was perfect for the applications that I needed it for in the studio. I spent about 20 minutes setting it up the way I like, and I use the Glarry GJazz Bass all the time on pro studio tracks.
So I contacted Glarry, and the company was more than happy to send a guitar my way. I asked for a black Glarry GST electric guitar for review, because I plan to mod it into a “David Gilmour Black Strat” replica. I already have all of the upgrade parts from Fender (more on that later).
So after all of that being said… The point is, Glarry is not paying me for this review. Unless you count the Glarry GST guitar as “payment”.
Who Is The Glarry GST Electric Guitar For?
We are going to be looking at the Glarry GST through the lens of three different types of guitarists. I think it is important to look at these budget guitars in different ways:
- Absolute Beginners
- Experienced Guitarists That want To Mod The Guitar
- Guitarists That Want To learn How To Work On Guitars
Looking at the guitar as an absolute beginner is pretty important, because that is exactly the type of person that will be interested in Glarry guitars. These guitars are at the price point that attracts beginners, since most people don’t know if they will “stick” with guitar.
Second, are guitarists like me. I have a lot of experience when it comes to working on guitars and even building them from scratch! So people like me love to find a good deal on a guitar that we can “trick out” with some parts we probably already have or can be found for cheap.
Third, you might be a very experienced guitarist when it comes to playing. But have you ever actually learned how to do a setup on your guitar? This is perfect for practicing your guitar repair skills, without messing up your “main” guitar.
So that is how we are going to judge the Glarry GST electric guitar, both from my personal, professional perspective and from a beginner’s point of view. That way, we explore a lot of different options and viewpoints. So let’s take a look!
Glarry GST Electric Guitar: Features And Specs
The Glarry GST Electric Guitar is pretty bare bones when it comes to features, but that doesn’t mean that there are some things to consider. If we compare the GST to some of the other guitars in the sub-$100 category, there are some differences.
Mainly, there are not many other companies at this price point! There are some cheap, no-name brands on Amazon, but there are very few other “actual” guitar brands. Glarry also has a full warranty if you order directly from the USA or UK warehouse, on the official site.
Shipping of the Glarry GST Electric Guitar to my house near Atlanta was only about two days. I believe Glarry has many warehouses in the United States, making it easy to ship them. The UK also has a central warehouse to speed up shipping.
Unlike other brands that get a lot of YouTube reviews, once the Glarry hype started, the prices stayed the same. Usually when a brand gets so much attention for being a “budget” brand, the prices go up once the company is in the spotlight.
Glarry has not jacked up the prices, even though TONS of people have reviewed these guitars. All of the models have stayed at a low price.
The specs are going to be very familiar to anyone that plays guitar already. This is a pretty typical Strat-style guitar, and the specs really reflect that iconic design. There is a reason that this guitar type has been popular for so long!
- Guitar Color Options: White; Black; Red; Blue; Yellow; Green; Sunset; Sky Blue;
- Number of frets: 22
- Nut width: 1.656 in. (42 mm)
- Scale length: 25.5″
- Number of strings: 6
- Pick-up Style：Single-Single-Single
- Guitar Bridge System: Tremolo
- Controls: 5-switch, 1 x Volume, 1 x Tone
- Body Material: Basswood
- Neck Material: Maple
- Fingerboard Material: Maple
- Strings Material: Nickel-plated carbon steel
- Tuning Peg Material: Metal
- Nut Material: Plastic
- Bridge Material: Metal
- Tuners: Enclosed Machine Head
The Glarry GST electric guitar is your pretty standard “S-Type” guitar. But I was thinking that if it is anything close to the quality of my Glarry bass, this guitar a pretty great deal for the money. Especially since I will be doing mods.
As a beginner, you you will probably end up moving on to another guitar, eventually. The Glarry DST is “Standard” in size and scale length. So even a new, more expensive guitar will have the same specs and “feel”.
If you go out and buy a Fender or any other “Strat”-style guitar after learning on the Glarry GST?
It will feel very similar, and it will already be very familiar to you. You will already be very accustomed to the shape and feel. The Strat-style guitar is iconic for a reason. Likewise, the Glarry will feel familiar if you are a veteran player.
All of the Standard GST models have a maple neck, black plastic parts, and a black pickguard. I checked, and you will have to re-drill if you want to use a name brand pickguard. For my mod project I will not need to change the pickguard, so I am set.
You really have to take into the account the sheer value you are getting here. Most video games cost the same price the Glarry GST costs: $90. That is an insane deal, for a full-size guitar.
The big thing to take into consideration, whether you are a beginner or experienced guitarist, is that this guitar is very lightweight due to the basswood body. Like, this guitar weighs in at only about 6 pounds!
So if you are getting this guitar for a child, or any other beginner, it will easy to hold and carry. A big, heavy guitar can definitely turn off new players.
If you are experienced, then this would be a great option for guitarists that have back problems. It would also be perfect for anyone that plays long gigs, or even a good backup guitar for gigging.
The neck is also a standard “C shape” that is easy to play, and the guitar’s trem arrives to you “decked”. So this means the trem will be “dive only” right out of the box. This is great for beginners, since they will not have to set up the trem until they learn how.
For experienced guitarists, this guitar works great with after-market parts. The regular import parts will fit right in, as you will see when I mod this guitar myself! The nut is 42mm, and the tuning holes are 10mm. So most “import” upgrade parts will be no problem for you.
The Glarry GST electric guitar comes with a thin gig bag, and the wrenches you will need to do any kind of adjustments. It also came with a regular cable, but these cables are notorious for going bad. So get a better cable, eventually. The cable is fine for light use in the beginning.
Basically, you get the essentials to get started. The accessories are just “ok” quality, and I honestly didn’t expect much. The guitar itself is the main attraction here!
But how does it look out of the box? How does it play? Is it too good to be true?
Glarry GST Electric Guitar: Full Review
Right Out Of The Box
We always start reviews with the “right out of the box” experience. The higher the budget, the harder I am on the guitar’s setup out of the box. But since people have been divided about Glarry Guitars, I decided to be extra hard on this guitar. We are going over EVERY detail.
Our Glarry GST electric guitar kit showed up within two days of ordering to our studio near Atlanta. That is killer shipping time, but Glarry has a USA shipping warehouse. It was packed extremely well, with the usual box/Styrofoam combo.
Glarry guitars and basses come with a small accessory set that includes pretty much everything you need. The gig bag is thin, but it will get the job done for transport. It also came with a strap, pick, cable, wrenches, and a whammy bar for the trem system.
If I did not know how much this guitar costs, just from looking at it I would never know this guitar was under $100. Especially just looking at it. It looks just as good as a guitar that costs twice as much. Maybe more than that, definitely on par with Squier, visually.
The first thing we always check on any new guitar, is the frets. I expected some minimal fret sprout, but there was none. I also expected to see one or two high frets, but everything was even, and I checked every fret with a rocker. The frets even looked polished, which is a total surprise.
The fretwork is great, which makes me wonder what is going on with some of the bigger companies. If this budget guitar has nearly perfect frets, why am I getting $1600 Fenders with high frets and fret sprout?
The neck has a very thin satin finish, almost like a raw wood (there is SOME satin Poly). The fretboard is also maple, and I couldn’t find any flaws at all. The plastic nut was even well rounded on the sides, and properly cut for the string gauge provided.
The nut is cut a little high, but not enough to affect playability. The action out of the box was also a little high, but really only noticeable past the 12th fret. I suspect most beginners will not be shredding immediately, so the action is no big deal.
I did lower the action real quick with the provided wrench. This is more of a personal preference, since I definitely play a lot of solos.
The neck pocket is nice and tight, there are no gaps at all around the pocket. Again, this is a problem I have seen on much more expensive guitars. No finish cracks in the neck pocket either, which is great. However, the neck angle is slightly off.
The neck angle is “negative” which means it needs a shim. This is not something that a beginner would notice, but I have been doing this for a LONG time. When I mod this guitar, I will add the shim to make the neck perfectly level.
The neck angle will definitely affect how low you can get your action, but again, this is not something a beginner would notice. It does not affect playability in a big way, but it is something that I will notice while setting up the guitar for the first time.
The body is extremely lightweight, which a is a plus for beginners. I purposely ordered a black finish to see if there were any paint issues, and there are a few. These are minor, but I found a paint bleed by the input jack and some imperfections in the body seams.
Considering I am going to be doing a relic job on this guitar, that doesn’t bother me. A very keen eye may notice the paint hazing, but most people probably wouldn’t see it. Just a minor gripe, this is definitely not a deal-breaker on a sub-$100 guitar.
All of the electronics work great, and the generic, unbranded hardware will get the job done. I have not done a full setup on the guitar (video of that coming next week) but I did play around a bit with the bridge when I set the string height. All of the parts work correctly.
The bridge was setup for “dive only” which is a good thing for beginners. This means the tuning will be more stable, and later down the road maybe you can set it up to float if you want. Beginners and floating bridges absolutely do NOT mix.
So if you open the back of the guitar, the spring claw is screwed almost all the way down. We call this “decking” a Strat-style bridge, and a lot of famous players like Eric Clapton prefer this setup for the tuning stability.
Right out of the box, after tuning the guitar up, I was able to play it. Now I would recommend changing the strings and doing some minor setup things. But if you are a beginner don’t know how to do any adjustments, the guitar was fine right out of the box.
After stretching the strings and playing for a while, the tuning was stable with the stock string set. It played really well once the strings were “broken in” and tuned up.
That being said, I DID straighten the neck with the truss rod adjustment wrench, and I set the string height. This took maybe 10 minutes to get the Glarry GST playing even better, and there are tons of YouTube tutorials on how to set up a Strat-style guitar if you have never done it before.
Right Out Of The Box: Conclusion
Honestly, after I give this Glarry GST electric guitar a “full setup” I expect it to be a great playing guitar. The parts are all in working order, and for this price I am a little shocked. I am glad that I chose to give Glarry a chance, as some of my students could definitely use one of these guitars.
Then again, maybe I just got a “good” one? I know for a fact that Glarry doesn’t spend extra QC on guitars going to reviewers. So maybe I just lucked out, although I have seen some other positive reviews online.
For those of you that are experienced guitarists, the Glarry GST is about on par with Squier when it comes to quality. The hardware may be a little lacking, but as a beginner guitar it will work just fine. If you have the experience, you can set this guitar up to play like a dream.
Now, if you plan on using this as a mod platform, I have some great news for you! The Glarry GST has all standard sized parts, except the pickguard. That means all after-market import parts will fit just fine. Which is great, since I am going to mod this guitar into the famous “Black Strat” played by David Gilmour.
Playability And Sound: The Important Stuff
Almost every electric guitar that you buy brand new is going to need some setup work, and this Glarry GST electric guitar is no exception. In fact, I have seen some much bigger companies ship guitars that needed much more work than this guitar just to be playable.
There will be a full video of what I did to this guitar to get it playing the absolute best it can play. So I will post that video when it is done. But since that video has already been filmed, I can tell you about my playing experience.
I spent two hours playing the Glarry GST after I set it up a little, and I changed the strings. I have a ton of parts that I will be adding to upgrade this guitar, but we will save that for later. Overall, I spent about 30 minutes giving it a setup:
- Removed stock strings
- Set the truss rod
- Restrung the guitar with .010-.046
- Set the string height/radius
- Set the pickup height
- Filed the nut for larger strings
- Intonated the guitar
This is all basic stuff that you should do with any new guitar, and S-type guitars are notorious for being easy to get setup and playing well. If you don’t know how to do a setup, a guitar tech is always a good idea, but it really is easy with basic tools (Glarry even supplies the main ones you need).
The neck is a lot more comfortable than I expected, it has a very familiar C-shape carve. But it actually feels more like a chunky telecaster neck to me. Personally, I LOVE thicker necks on most guitars.
Compared to my Explorer with a 50’s style neck, it is slightly thinner. So I would call this a “medium” sized neck. It feels great playing open chords and power chords, which is exactly what a beginner will be learning.
It absolutely isn’t a “baseball bat” but it does have some thickness to it. The frets are medium sized, so a little bit bigger than what you find on a Fender. Strangely, the radius of the Glarry GST is not listed anywhere.
The Glarry GST Electric Guitar fretboard radius is 14”. I am not sure why this is not listed, but I measured it. A regular Strat-style guitar would usually be a 9.5” radius, so this puts the Glarry closer to a Gibson when it comes to radius.
I like a flatter radius fretboard, and I think this makes the guitar much easier to play for beginners. The flatter fretboard will also help with setting up the guitar with a low action.
This means playing chords feels great, and even if you have smaller hands, playing chords will also be easy. Playing scales and solos are going to be a bit more of a challenge, but this is the way most beginner guitar necks feel. Honestly, I like it a lot, and spent more time playing than I had expected!
Since it is so lightweight, I ended up standing while playing for the majority of the time. Once it was setup, this guitar was very surprising once I plugged it into my amp.
The pickups are very low output, and “vintage voiced” to my ears. I used my BOSS Katana 100 amplifier for most of the playing since that is also a budget piece of gear. Again, I was very surprised by the tones I was able to get out of this Glarry GST electric guitar!
The pickups are unbranded ceramics, and while most people will say that Alnico is a better magnet for a single coil sound, I actually like the ceramic magnet sound. They seem to handle gain/distortion a little better in my experience, without getting that “icepick” tone.
The neck pickup has a full-bodied voice that is perfect for Blues solos, and with some delay and reverb is absolutely sings. The 5-way switch allows for the in-between second position, which has a lot of spank to it.
The middle pickup is a little thin on its own, but it still has the classic sound that can be manipulated with the tone knob. The middle/bridge position also has the spank, and you can get some really funky tones out of this position. Think Red Hot Chili Peppers when it comes to sounds.
The bridge pickup I had to lower quite a bit, because it does venture into “icepick” territory. The one quibble I have with the Glarry GST is that the tone knob is not wired to the bridge. So if you are looking for some serious Country chicken pickin’ sounds, it will definitely do that!
The pickups work best with clean tones, and medium gain/crunch tones, just like any Strat-style guitar. If you want to use high gain, you will definitely need a noise gate. Single coil pickups are noisy by nature, and throwing tons of gain on them doesn’t help the situation.
Overall? It sounds great! With my mod options on the table, I thought about swapping the pickups, but these sound just fine. I would record with these pickups, no doubt. I like both the feel and the sound of the Glarry GST and I am surprised with how great it plays and sounds.
By far, my favorite sound is the neck pickup. You can get a really great John Mayer tone out of the Glarry GST, which is not something I was expecting at all. It is fat and clear in tone, and this is why I decided not to mod the pickups at all.
Does it play as well as my Schecter Traditional Strat-style guitar? No, it absolutely does not. But the Schecter was over TEN times the price of the Glarry GST electric guitar. Most of the Schecter guitar being “better” comes down to details and hardware, though.
Mods And Hardware Swaps
I have already checked and measured all of the parts, and the Glarry GST electric guitar is compatible with most import parts. So I am absolutely going to mod this guitar, and keep it in the studio! If you plan to mod one of these, just about everything is standard but the pickguard.
So I contacted Fender, and I have some parts laying around the studio that I will be adding to the Glarry GST. The Glarry GST is a PERFECT mod platform, and I have some parts that will turn this guitar into a PRO player.
- New TUSQ 42mm nut
- Fender MIM Bridge (Used)
- Steel Trem Block
- Fender locking tuners
- TUSQ String Tree
- Pickup covers and knobs (white, will be aged)
So I am going to turn this Glarry GST electric guitar into a very famous guitar, played by David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. The famous “Black Strat” has a rich history, and I have always wanted to make my own tribute guitar!
This will include a small bit of a relic job, but it will be awesome when I am done. The big thing, is that all of these mods are cheap.
All of the mods cost me $40 in total. So even if I paid for this guitar, it would be a few hours of work and a total of $120 or so! That is an insane deal if you know what you are doing, and you are good at working on guitars.
Even if you were going to just keep the body and the neck, the Glarry is cheaper than buying both parts separately. The Glarry GST is already a good playing guitar, but I am going to make it GREAT. These mods should make the Glarry a PRO instrument.
Some people buy the “kit” guitars, but I always recommend guitarists try to mod an existing guitar before they try to outright build one from scratch. It is much easier if you have a “base” to start with, and you are just replacing parts.
If you have always wanted to have a “project guitar” and didn’t know where to start, then Glarry guitars are a perfect way to get started. The Glarry GST is an inexpensive way to learn how to work on guitars, and be creative with mods!
Overall, the Glarry GST electric guitar is punching way above the price point. I am extremely surprised with the reviewers that trashed it. I honestly don’t know what they were expecting with a budget, beginner guitar.
Some of the negative feedback I have seen comes from the more experienced guitarists that say “well, it needs a setup to play correctly” and I agree with them.
But EVERY budget guitar that I have come across needs a setup out of the box to play well.
Last year I reviewed maybe 50 guitars, at all kinds of price points. All but maybe 2 of them needed some work out of the box. All of them, even expensive ones. 30 years ago, this would have been a problem, and it WAS a problem with cheaper guitars back then.
I was 13 years old in 1993, and I had no resources to learn how to “fix” my guitar. I had to check out a luthier book at the library, because there was no internet. The luthier book got me on the right track, but it was not an instant fix. I had to study that book for over a week.
But now? You have a million sources online that tell you how to get a guitar playing well, and setups are not some magic bullet. If you do not have the patience to make some adjustments on your guitar, then you probably don’t have the patience to PLAY guitar.
We really do live in the “Golden Age” of guitars, and guitarists have never had the opportunity to find inexpensive gear the way that we do NOW. The Glarry GST Electric guitar is literally the price of a video game right now.
I spend more than this on date night, to be honest. I have spent more than the price of a Glarry on one effects pedal as another comparison. But I saw a PlayStation game pre-order the other day for $89.99 at the store, and it had me thinking…
While a new PS5 game might be enticing for a while, guitar can be a lifelong, beneficial journey. Budget gear is getting better and better these days, and it has never been easier to get into playing guitar. All of the resources you need is on sites like this one!
The Glarry GST electric guitar is a guitar that is great for beginners, and it can grow with you as you gain more knowledge about guitars. Down the road, you may change out the tuners or bridge to customize the Glarry as you see fit, like I am doing!
So as a beginner, or an experienced guitarist on a budget I can highly recommend the Glarry GST. The customer service is outstanding, so if there is anything wrong Glarry will make it right. They have a fantastic return policy.
“Glarry Musical Instruments warrants its instruments to be free of defect in material and construction for 180 days from the date of purchase.” So you have a pretty good warranty that you usually would not get with any other budget brand.
The Glarry GST is really a no-brainer, you should definitely give it a shot!
Is The Glarry GST Electric Guitar Good For Beginners?
Glarry is a budget brand, but most of the offerings are great quality for beginners. Glarry guitars are designed with the beginner in mind, with a price to match. The Glarry GST is a Strat-style guitar that makes a great beginner guitar, or mod platform!
Are Glarry Guitars Worth It?
In my opinion, Yes. Glarry guitars are very basic right out of the box, but they have common part sizes that are easy to upgrade. Glarry guitars are great for beginners, but also good for mod projects for experienced guitarists.
Where Do Glarry Guitars Ship from?
Glarry has warehouses in China, USA, and the UK. Shipping is fast and free from the Glarry official website.
Do Fender Parts Fit Glarry Guitars?
Most Fender import parts will be a direct fit with Glarry guitars. American parts are not compatible, but Mexican parts fit great. You can also use Squier parts to upgrade your Glarry. Musiclily and Wilkinson also make great parts that fit Glarry guitars.
Are Glarry Guitars Legit?
Yes. While the price can be a little unbelievable, Glarry guitars are real, functional full-size guitars. While these guitars are aimed at beginners, they also make great mod platforms for experienced guitarists.
What is the Glarry GST Neck Radius?
Glarry guitars seem to have a 14″ neck radius on all of the ones we have played and measured.
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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