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on October 25, 2006
I'll admit it: I'm a Paul Westerberg fan. No shame in that. When I decided to buy this guitar, I did it with my heart rather than my head. I figured if it sucked, I could return it. I didn't know what to expect, other than Paul picked a different FirstAct model up at a discount store and played it on tour. Now I can understand why. My other electric is a Squier Strat (Japanese!) which has the 80's metal setup -- floating tremelo, high-output humbuckers, etc.

It was nice to jump to a hardtail guitar with a bit less output -- something that doesn't scream, "I've got a wang bar, and I'm going to use it!" The first thing I noticed was the sustain. I think that's mostly the lack of a tremolo and fewer magnets under the strings. The pickups have a vintage sound which works well with a slightly-crunchy amp setup.

The finish is nearly-flawless. The neck has a satin finsh, and fairly high action out of the box. It plays well, however. It will be interesting to see how it ages and how the finish wears.

My three biggest complaints aren't that serious. The machine heads are midrange. They're not as bad as I've seen on inexpensive guitars (I feared they'd be worse). They're not as good as the ones that came stock on my Strat. They don't have that super-positive, fine feel that I'd like. I've got a similar set on my acoustic guitar and they broke down a bit after 10 years, but still work passibly (the knobs wiggle).

Second in the complaint department are the frets. I don't know if it is the metal or the finish, but they don't feel super-smooth. There's a bit of a grind as you bend the strings. Some playing time and/or emery paper will probably take care of that, but we'll see.

Finally in the world of complaints are the strings. They made my fingers black. I cleaned them with a bit of alcohol, but I'll probably replace them.

I'm not a guitar connisseur. I think I had a good Japanese Strat even if it was the "Strat in Metal Clothing." The PW580 is top-to-bottom a solid guitar. For $159, I'm impressed. FirstAct is trying to build their image with the artist line and the custom-built guitars. If they keep building value guitars like this, their image will continue to grow.
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on December 7, 2006
First of all, this guitar is basically unfinished goods. The neck doesn't have a lacquer on it. It's clean unprotected wood. The other reviewer who noted the rough frets and the cheapo oxidizing finger-blackening strings was right on the mark. But what do you expect for $150? The day after I bought the guitar, I took it to my trusted guitar repair shop and had the fret board buffed, the strings replaced with D'Addarrio 10's and had the intonation adjusted. Now the guitar sounds and plays great. I don't know if Paul Westerberg needed rent money, was on one of those drunken binges The Replacements were notorious for or he wanted to endorse an instrument that was accessible to the masses, but whatever his reasons it's a fun guitar if you purchase it with the idea that some assembly/modifications are required.
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on October 30, 2006
Here are the caveats:

1. The output jack on my PW580 was a loose.

2. It's a cheap guitar. A 4 star cheap guitar is still a cheap guitar.

3. I play bass.

That said, this is a fun and cool little instrument. It makes for great strumming while I watch the Tee Vee, it sounds pretty good through my little Vox amp (once I tightened the output jack) and it looks really really cool.

If I was going to appear in public playing the guitbox I would be proud to appear in public playing this thing.

I am a big fan of Mr. Westerberg. I bought the previous First Act guitar he had used when the price on it dropped to $50 on Amazon. Liked that guitar quite a bit, given the caveat that I don't actually play guitar. Couldn't resist this.

What's cooler than a punk-rock plaid pickguard?


If you'd like a cheap Les Paul Junior ish guitar, you could do worse for a higher outlay of cash.

Here's hoping First Act releases a Tommy Stinson Signature Bass.

With a plaid pickguard.
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on October 30, 2006
I bought this guitar almost more as a conversation piece and was blown away by the quality. Very cool. The body style is awesome and the pick guard is great! I love the single pickup.

I'm a drummer who knows a few chords. I have a 3 year old and want to get him in front of a variety of instruments. This guitar is great because if he bumps into it, it's not the end of the world (not like having a vintage guitar sitting around).

This has opened my eyes to First Act guitars. I'm a fan.
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on January 9, 2007
I was pleasantly surprised with this guitar. It has an excellent clean tone, something akin to a Tele, but it also distorts really well too. Even though PW mentioned it had a very clean, straightfoward sound, I was a little surprised at just HOW clean it is. I'm a pretty messy guitar player so I had to step it up a bit with the way this thing plays.

But if you're looking for a good jangle, this guitar will work. My only criticism would be that the frets feel a little more jagged or big than I would like. But you can rip on this thing all day and have a blast doing it. It looks cool as hell, it's very lightweight, plays well, and you can't beat the sound for this price. I love that First Act's motto is basically, "a cheap guitar doesn't have to suck." The PW proves that theory. I love this axe and I'm really glad I bought it.

If you like Westerberg's stuff, I think you wouldn't be disappointed in purchasing this guitar.
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on February 25, 2007
I first saw this guitar in a guitar magazine advert and thought it looked very cool. As it was an "Artist Signature" model I assumed it would be expensive and forgot about it. Some months later I happened across it on the Amazon site for $159, free shippng and thought it might be a diamond in the rough and ordered it immediately. Was very happy with it out of the box, very well made and a cool looker too! I confess I like this guitar so much I took it to my luthier and had him dress and polish the frets, set up intonation and put high end strings on it adding $60 to my cost. This is now my favorite guitar among several higher end instruments, very easy to play and sounds great through several different amps. Some might question the wisdom of spending $60 to set up a $159 guitar but even without the tweaking she is a sweet ride.
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on January 24, 2007
I bought this guitar mainly because I am a huge REPLACEMENTS/PAUL WESTERBERG fan but also I thought that it would make a great backup guitar for me in my band. I bought the guitar from AMAZON and was thrilled with the way it looked when I pulled it out of the box. I love the style of this guitar and couldn't wait to play it. It is a "small" guitar and I'm a big guy so that was the first thing I wasn't really happy about but that was not a big deal as long as the guitar played good and sounded good. That is when I became really disappointed. I don't know if maybe I got a bum guitar but the strings have a terrible fret buzz and and absolutely will not stay in tune. When I do get it to be in tune it sounds great but that doesn't last very long. I don't know if new tuning machines would help but this guitar is only good for looks as of right now. I hope to get it into a workable condition because I love using cheap guitars and I love the way this one looks but I would suggest buying it as a collectors item and not something you actually plan to use.
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on March 29, 2007
My wife bought me this guitar for our third wedding anniversary. I had been lusting after it ever since it was announced that Paul had signed with First Act to release his own signature model. That said, you really would be hard pressed to find a better guitar for the price. It is solidly made, has incredible sustain, and the tone is amazing. This guitar has made me re-evaluate my love of semi-hollow body electrics. I also own a 4003 Rickenbacker. I can make the PW580 sound almost just like it with one turn of the tone knob. The neck is pretty smooth for unvarnished rosewood and maple. I love the body design, and the plaid pickguard is classic Westerberg, a throwback to the plaid outfits he used to wear in the Replacements. I can't put this guitar down. I have owned over ten electric guitars in the 15 years that I have been playing music. I have to say that this has immediately become one of my favorites. Now if only that much anticipated Replacements box set would hurry up and come out ASAP!
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on March 31, 2007
Nice guitar for the money. It has a nice bright clean sound. Also, very lite in weight so it's a joy on stage or playing at home. Only problem is the fretboard is dry. I recommend treating the fret board w/a polish or lemon oil to smooth up before you play it for the first time.
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on January 28, 2007
I'm kind of a fan of really cheap guitars. I've owned and played many over the years and so I've at least got some experience with this class of product. Also, I'm a huge Replacements and Westerberg fan, so I bought this as a collection piece. The guitar had surprisingly few defects out of the box. I did file down the fret wires which extended beyond the width of the neck. I put on some 010's and it played great. It has a very unique sound which is like a telecaster, but a bit warmer and it works great with some amp distortion. I now have some 011's on it and it still is working great. It is very light and is comfortable to play. I've played out with it and have gotten some nice comments about the sound and unusual look (go plaid!). Definitely worth the money. I'm planning to buy another first act guitar.
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