Ministar Rokstar Travel Guitar Review


ministar rokstarPacked up and ready to roll, the MiniSTAR Rokstar is perhaps one of the smallest electric guitars on the market; but make no mistake, this guitar is no toy and has a tone that competes with some of the best guitars sold. It is made to travel, designed as one solid piece of maple with wood grain running from the bridge of the guitar to its headstock, which gives the instrument maximum strength and a minimalist style. It weighs about three pounds. The fretboard is full size and the pickup (P-90) is crafted to sound and perform like a regular guitar. It has a 25.5 inch, full scale neck, open E Key, nickel hardware, diet-cast tuners, and comes with an alpine white or black finish. The guitar has a maple fingerboard (24-fret) and the volume/tone control is stacked. It comes with a nylon, padded tote bag, cord and shoulder strap. The Ministar Rokstar is made to travel; portable and affordable, with prices starting under $150 on eBay where I bought mine.

The first thing I did when I pulled it from the package was check the craftsmanship.  For such a inexpensive guitar the fit and finish looked really good although there’s not really a lot to this guitar.  Even more surprising were the sides of the fretboard and fret ends, they were clean and smooth.  I had to play it right away and all I can say is awkward but mostly due to the fact that I hadn’t taken the time to assemble the rods and hardware.  You basically can’t play it until you do or if you try its difficult to say the least.

Once I took  the time to set the guitar up properly and started playing I was instantly exicited about my new purchase.  Sometimes when you buy something online it comes in the mail and within the first few minutes you think to yourself, what did I buy?  Not this time.  I love the Rokstar.  It still took a little getting used to but soon I was jamming freely like I had owned the guitar for ever.  It felt good to hold, not like another travel guitar I own that feels heavy in the neck and not really balanced.  The playability is just really a lot better then what I originally expected.

Another thing I really liked was the quick setup.  The adjustable bridge allows for optimized play, with a neck tension rod that is adjustable as well and an adjustable nut that sets strings easily without buzz or rattles.  I made very little adjustments and the sound and tone were better than a lot of full size electric guitars I have played within the price range.  Still, it is a travel guitar and if you compare it to your Stratocaster or something the tone might sound a little deficient.  The Rokstar is great for travelers, those just learning how to play guitar and for seasoned players with a true understanding of how simplicity adds to the charm of this instrument and how it is played.

Some guitar aficionados find the Ministar Rokstar awkward and complain that although it is small; it is not quite short enough to fit easily into a suitcase. But for those who like to play electric guitar while on the road, the Rokstar is designed to transport easily, meant to be carried like a backpack or placed easily in an overhead rack on a bus, train or plane. It’s meant for those looking for adventure around every corner and will hold its own in any notable jam session. And, there are those aficionados that argue there is no better sound than the Ministar Rokstar that comes equipped with an arm rest and rods that allow for playing whether the user is sitting or standing. Ready to rock and roll whenever and where ever, the Rokstar is a lot of guitar in a mini body that packs a powerful sound that will leave a lasting impression no matter where it is played.

Published in Electric Travel Guitars

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Comments

  1. Pingback: Missing My Guitars: Premium Guitars « Chiefly Musing

  2. Patrick Mauro

    Quality control may be an issue for the Ministar guitar.
    I got mine in the mail. Looked alright but I need to modify the action.
    I had to replace the screws used to hold in the nut adjustment plate as the existing ones were angled funny and stripped.

    After playing around with that, I got some semblence of action that I liked. I’ll take it into the shop down the road to get it set up properly and probably put in a permanent nut at that point in time.

    I plugged it in and got no sound. Luckily I’m mildly handly with tools and such, so I figured for a $180 travel guitar (Canada, everything is more expensive here) it wasn’t worth my time or money to send it back to the vendor for simple work on passive electronics.

    Again, had to deal with stripped screwed to get in, placement of the cavity also made work a little challenging.

    In the end, I found that the hole drilled for the pickup wires was too small and had been pulled through causing the shielding to strip and the wires to short out. My fix (not having a spare P90 kicking around) was to drill a new, much bigger hole, and to cut the wire and repair it. This made the wire bulky, require a few more adjustments.
    In the end, got that all back together and I’m happy with the tone.

    So:

    Pros: nice finish on the frets. Nice tone. Get sized package.

    Cons: slight smell to it and the case, and a persistent smell. After many washes I can still slightly smell it on my hands. Stripped screws, stripped screw holes. Shorted out and stripped pickup wire that should have been picked out before being sent out by the manufacturer. Cavity for wiring should be on the backside of the guitar so the front size can simply have a nice plastic or wood finish with no little screws.

    So for a $180 guitar, I won’t complain too much. I’m disappointed with the issues I had to repair and note that those issues someone else may have been returning the guitar to repair. The guitar once set up seems quite nice for what its supposed to be.

  3. P Smith

    To Patrick Mauro –

    If you bought it by mail, they might have stiffed you with a floor/test model or one that was bought and returned.

    I bought a Ministar Bass and it was obviously not new when I received it. The parts were loose in the box (the nuts, the bars) and the box was obviously opened and taped closed at least twice.

    Fortunately it arrived undamaged, it sounded good and is playable. But I was expecting new when I paid for it, and I would have demanded my money back if it wasn’t working.

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