All the stories about these great cheapo guitars piqued my interest enough to start looking on Amazon. I had $63 left on a gift card from last Christmas, so that would make the cheap guitar even cheaper. The Grote guitars seemed to get pretty good reviews, and I didn’t have a hollowbody archtop, so I landed on what they call the Grote Jazz Guitar at $169. At least I think that’s what it’s called. You would think they could come up with something better, right? As I’m ordering it, I get a come on from Amazon to apply for their store card and get an instant $60. Well, okay. I still have no idea what the store card is about and will probably never use it. But with that and the gift card remnant my checkout price is now $49 and some odd cents. I bought it on Saturday and figured it would take a slow boat from China to get here. To my surprise, the tracking info said Wednesday. Sure enough, it arrives Wednesday. So this is the box it came in: Pretty flimsy. Opened up to this: First thought: it’s a miracle it’s not in pieces. It was just the guitar in a foam bag with some half assed blocks of styrofoam. No protection on top or back of guitar at all. Headstock was lying against back of the box. This came with it: Yeah, that’s a Trump pick. The other one has a zebra head on it. Truss rod wrench in the bag, too. But what about the guitar? Amazingly, no damage other than the bridge being pushed over to one side about a half inch. Note: it came with a black pickguard that I removed about 5 minutes after pulling it out of the bag. A thorough inspection revealed: A couple paint flubs around the f-holes Some black specks on the top edges of the binding Some slight waviness in the finish on the body in a couple places And that’s it. Neck is straight with just a slight relief Tuners work smoothly No sharp fret edges at all Knobs work fine No rattling wires inside body It came with POS .09 strings. Changed them for .10s and instantly the guitar played better, sounded better and stayed in tune. The fretboard had some residue that made my fingers black. Cleaned/conditioned board with bore oil. You can see the black residue on the paper towel. About the fretboard. I wasn’t expecting the inlays to be this good. I mean, they are all flawlessly positioned with no gaps and no glue residue. Front and back: Scale is 25” and the neck is what I’d call semi chunky. Weighs 5 1/2 lbs. Tone is thick with fairly quick decay and a little on the muddy side. Brightens up by boosting the treble on the amp. I was fully expecting I’d have to return this guitar, but it’s surprisingly good and will be sticking around. It’s obviously a copy of the Epiphone Inspired by 1966 guitar, and I’m real curious to see how it compares to one of those. How they can make a guitar this good and ship it here from China and sell it for just $169 is amazing, and I’m having to reevaluate my bias against inexpensive Chinese made guitars.