Oscar Schmidt formally belongs to Washburn as of recently. Before the merger, they were known for making rather decent acoustic and electric guitars. While that hasn’t changed much, the quality definitely improved thanks to Washburn’s existing infrastructure. Oscar Schmidt OE20 is one of the better models this brand offers in the affordable range, and is definitely among the best axes you can grab for less than 200 bucks. Let’s show you why we think so highly of this guitar.
Body And Neck
Right off the bat, OE20 stands out from its competition with their choice of tonewood. Unlike the large majority of basswood guitars in this price range, Oscar Schmidt went for a pretty decent type of mahogany for this build. Sure, the guitar is a copy of the Les Paul, but a very good one.You get all the details, reasonably good finish and a maple neck with a bound rosewood fretboard. All things considered, this axe is on point when it comes to first-hand appearances.
Truth be told, there is only one type of bridge that sits well on the Les Paul, and that is the famous Tune-o-Matic. OS20 brings a variation of that bridge with a stop piece. Both of these components are fairly well tuned, resulting in great action height and comfort. Tuners are standard die cast units, which will get the job done as long as you don’t push them to their limits. Moderate bending can be done with zero issues, however if you’re Steve Vai and you go at it full force, expect to adjust the tuning rather frequently.
Following along with the Les Paul ideology, Oscar Schmidt OE20 packs a pair of pretty sweet sounding humbuckers. These feature a metal cover, which brings the whole guitar closer to the original which it used for inspiration. Humbuckers are wired to a set of two volume and two tone knobs along with the three-way pickup select switch. Pretty straight forward setup, but one you rarely see in this price range, that is for sure.
Hardly any $200 Les Paul can sound like the one made by Gibson. With that said, it would be a useless comparison. When placed against its immediate competition, OE20 shows an edge in terms of range, warmth, and overall performance. The tone it offers brings a little of that vintage LP tone, but in a barebone configuration. If we had to choose between this guitar and say a standard HSS or even SSS alternative, OE20 would come on top in 80% of the cases.
While many are either reluctant to give Oscar Schmidt a chance, or simply have never heard of this brand, OE20 still stands as one of the best affordable electric guitars on the market. They’ve created ti in a way which guarantees a more flexible platform, probably because the brand lacks that much-needed exposure. If you’re just starting out and you’re looking for a first guitar, make sure to check this one out.