Rock Out with Alice Cooper’s Fretlight FG-521 Guitar
User-friendly, fun to use, easy to learn, includes lessons and a wide range of songs.
Additional set-up may be required for better quality or for professional use.
Want to learn how to play a guitar?
Lately I have been getting quite some requests to review one of these Fretlight guitars. I had already heard about them, so finally decided to give their Alice Cooper model, the Fretlight FG-521 a go. Learning a guitar and playing it seems quite simple with the Fretlight FG-521, the model of Alice Cooper’s guitar. For £294 the guitar can be yours, and with a built-in LED light system and the easy, accurate N-tuner, learning a guitar has been made so easy. Just released in 2013, it’s the new version of the FG-421. The included software is now updated, and the sound in the 521 is of better and more consistent quality than the 421 because of the new Stratabond™ neck. Because of this, the FG-521 is more user-friendly and has better tone than the FG-421.
The N-tuner and an improved neck both make this guitar very easy to tune, easier than the FG-421. The software, which comes with lessons, interactive videos, and songs, and the LED lights make this a great beginner guitar, and the updates to the software give better light quality. Fretlight brand is officially associated with Guitar Pro, one of the tabs software. However, because Fretlight only does basic set-up, more setup is required to get a professional sound and quality. Further setup means more money and effort and since this guitar is only available at Fretlight’s own store and at SweetWater, you can’t expect the setup problem to get any better by buying elsewhere. Although the Fretlight product description does a good job of highlighting the pros of the guitar, they fail to mention that the N-tuner and the software comes with additional charge (as we found out at the time of this review), and there is no mention of additional setup required.
This is mainly a guitar for beginners. Most customers were happy with their products because the LED light system is effective, making learning how to play the guitar more easy and fun. However, the poor quality setup frustrated buyers who were hoping to use their guitars past the learning stages. Both good and bad reviews acknowledged that the LED light system was as advertised, although there was some disagreement about the quality of the guitar.
However, the guitar is easy to learn on, and because it’s more enjoyable, there’s less chance of quitting in the early stages of progression. A guitar with questionable quality that is used often is a better investment than a guitar with good quality that is used once or twice and then never again, even if the latter is cheaper than the former.
I ended up sending the guitar back the very next day after having a guitar tech look at it. The frets on the guitar were in terrible shape, even though the guitar was brand new. They were not shaped to fit the curve of the fingerboard so the ends were raised and caused the strings to buzz terribly - even through the amp. I was told the guitar needed almost $200 worth of work just for the frets because they weren't level either.
The software installed easily on my MacBook Air and within minutes I was finding new notes to play in original compositions… All in all, I'm very pleased with my Fretlight guitar and would recommend it to anyone who wants to "learn" more about music.
Ordered the 521 with N-Tune & Shelby Pickups for my 14 year old son. I have been playing guitar for over 25 years and I was sitting there absolutely stunned after we installed the software and got it up and running in 15 minutes from opening the box to playing AC/DC riffs… In just a couple of days...my son's skill level has increased a hundred times.
Fretlight should certainly be considered as a good starting point in your guitar journey. While I don't regret my previous guitar studies, I am very pleased with the progress that I've made since buying in the Fretlight system. You can tailor it to your learning style and speed and the guitar quality is very good. I highly recommend it!
- Colors: Classic Jet Black, Pearl White, Renegade Red, Tobacco Sunburst, and Cream
- Neck Material: Stratabond birch
- Body: Alder, Stratocaster styling
- Frets: Medium/High Frets
- Fingerboard: Advanced Polymer with LED's for all 21 Frets
- Bridge: Fixed
- 5-Way-Position Switch: Position 1: Neck Pickup. Position 2: Neck - Middle Pickup. Position 3: Middle Pickup. Position 4: Middle-Bridge Pickup. Position 5: Bridge Pickup.
- Hardware: Chrome
- Weight: 12 lbs.