Optek Fretlight 421

Electric 6-String Guitar

Made by Optek

Description Standard strat guitar with LEDs embedded into the 21 fret fretboard. It is a learning tool
Posted By David Schenk (383)
Directory Equipment: Guitars
Rate/Review This Resource
Overall Rating: 4.0 (of 5)
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Member Reviews

On 8/27/2006, David Schenk (383) posted:
Overall Rating:
The system is useful for learning and playing scales over a CD backing track ect. If you do not know your box patterns..poof there they are lit up for your enjoyment. The guitar is somewhat useful for learning short solos/note sequences using the Guitarz program. Bends are not shown on the fretboard in this software but can be on the computer screen. I do not have the Optek M player software. The supplied GuitarPower (scale/chord resource)is pretty useful. You can light a scale and play, but it seems impossible to quickly change to a different scale while playing in guitarpower. There are chord ect resources in the program. The optional footswitch is worth the money. The included learning pack that came with the guitar is pretty basic and is only for beginners. Others packs can be purchased, but I have no experience.

The Guitarz program (extra) will convert internet acsii tab to a format that will lite the fretlight... This is helpful. Better yet is exporting Guitar Pro files as ascii and importing into Guitarz. The timing must be tweeked (very time consuming) if your want the playback to sound correct as the note length and position is somewhat lost in all ascii tab. Guitarz will lite up all the notes in a section of tab. This helps see what is going on overall. Changing what scale is lit (C maj pent to C min pent) on the fretboard is easier (but not) perfect in Guitarz. For most songs you cannot slow the play back slow enough :(

Remember you must be plugged into the computer for it to work. This is a good product for a committed beginner. Intermediate players will find it pretty useful. Is it for you?... depends. Just to compare I love my tascam GT-1 and use it if I have mag tab and the CD. If there is no CD/mag tab then the fretlight gets times..

Note: the recently clamp down on the Free tab sites could lower the usefulness of one of the programs I bought (Guitarz). I think this is pretty stupid of the assorted music comps as I buy CDs when I have the tab. Anyway there is always ultimateguitar.com in Russia.
Model Year: 2006
Price: $499.00 (new)
Where Obtained: OPTEK website
This is a standard strat copy guitar except for the lights. I got the burst finish. There is a very minor discoloration in the wood but overall a nice job. Most features are similar to a mex fender grade strat copy..better than some squires i've seen. The pickups are what you'd expect.. There are no side dots on the fretboard. This is pretty weird but it is because of the plastic layered fretboard needed to get the lites in there. The plastic nut binds some on bends but the tuning is good. I buffed the neck as it was not that smooth/slick out of the box. After buffing it is better. The fret ends were good and better than my mex fender strat but there are minor blemishes in the lower edge of the plastic portion of the fretboard. This is only interesting/cosmetic and is not anything as bad as having sharp fret ends on a guitar. I would like taller frets on the fretlight, jumbos. The neck was 100% flat on shipment and took a couple of adjustments to get ok. You should be ready to pay someone (shop or optek) or set it up yourself. The included allen wench was not the correct one and did not fit correctly in the truss rod. The plastic fretboard is smooth to play. I have not and will not try to mar it but I wonder what will happen long term. I found it terribly difficult to decide if I should buy any of the extra software programs on the website. There is overlap in the programs. I would like to see more of the programs combined (M-player/improv) (Axmaster/guitarpower). Note: sometimes OPTEK has blemished or tradeshow leftovers at reduced cost. Also packages come and go on the web sit..look for them.
Very bad fretbuzz out of the box. Pretty good to play once set up. Holds the tuning well and I could intonate. Initally I had a great amount of trouble bending as the frets are not super smooth. This lessened with use and likely finger grease :)
Sound Quality:
OK but this is not the point... The HB setting is best when the fret lights are on as the lights are electric and cause hum. This is mostly noticed at higher gain settings. The single coils give a good amount of hum when the lites are on.. The unpluged sound is somewhat tinny but I am still using the factory strings.. I replaced the stock pickups with a mexi fender set that I Al foil sheilded. There is one electrical lead from the UBS to the neck, just be a little careful when changing the picks and you'll be ok. Changing the PUs is a big improvement in the sound and now there is no noticable increase in the noise when the lites are turned on... Slinkys improved the playablity.
No idea, working after a 6 months.