Now there's a name I haven't heard in a while. They used to be really big in the js.com days. Dunno which model you meant to share, but that link just goes to all guitars available.
They're good for the money, anyway. I'd put Agile on par with GFS / Xaviere. Not quite Squier VM / CV quality. SX is much lower quality, but they make good projects. They used to have a lot more interesting mid-range options, too...now it seems they're mostly about pointy flamey things and LP copies.
The cool thing about Rondo is their better models were configured/designed with heavy input from guitar forums. They were smart enough to listen to the people who they wanted to buy their stuff. _________________
When are homeland security gonna get on this "2-piece King Size Snickers" horseshit that showed up a couple years ago? I've started dropping one of them on the floor of my car every time.
Last edited by jcyphe on Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
The cool thing about Rondo is their better models were assembled/designed with heavy input from guitar forums. They were smart enough to listen to the people who they wanted to buy their stuff.
This some info that Kurt posted on the Agile Forum in 2015
"We trademarked the Agile brand name in January of 2000. We had been selling instruments on ebay since 1998, but there really was not all that much on line action for us until about 2001 or 2002. Before then we sold most of our Agiles in store. I cannot say the exact date we first started selling the them. It was fairly common for us to try different things we would find at various trade shows. Some would take off (SX, Agile etc) others would die out. We would basically let our customers tell us what they like and what they did not and we went from there, expanding, changing or dropping lines as the customer dictated. I seem to remember buying an entire booth from a Korean factory back in 1998 or 1999 and that ended up becoming our first supplier for Agile.
As for the headstock issue I may still have the paperwork somewhere, but I believe Gibson contacted us sometime in 2004 and we were involved in 'aggressive negotiations' for much of that year. During that time we came out with an intermediate headstock to sell along with our original stock. The current version of the Agile headstock started appearing in early 2005. Production of the original stock ended sometime in 2004. However there may have been some older stock (2004 inventory) models sold in part of 2005 as well.
This from an interview with Kurt in which he answer some questions about the history of Agile guitars.
"One of my biggest problems is with delegation, so not only am I working on answering customer order emails today, doing accounting I even went up on the roof today to initiate work on a leak. So time is limited. I think the few articles linked to here already talk about the history of Rondo, at least as far as Agile goes, so I am going to skip that for now. I will address a few other specific questions here:
*In what year were the very first AL models made?
Kurt> I believe it was 1999. We only keep computer records back to through 2006. We may have the paper record, but that sounds like a project for retirement. I hand coded all the original inventory programs on an IBM 5120 back in 1979 so the digital record does exist going back that far somewhere as well.
*Were they even called “AL” in the very beginning?
Kurt> I believe the very first model was the "LP-2000" and "LP-2500" Gibson, however was not impressed by that name.
*How much did the first AL cost?
Kurt> I believe we have them at $199 with some occasional sales in the $159 to $175 range (for A stock) with b stock models in the $99 range.
*What is the specific order in which subsequent models were introduced?
*How has the price of the AL changed over the years? Was there ever a point(s) at which it jumped dramatically?
Kurt> I recently saw some records of our Gibson purchases. USA made LPs and SG models in the high $300 to low $400 range. It seems like not all that long ago (mid 80s, early 90s). There are a number of factors relating to the increases which could take several pages to explain. The weaker USD, the higher cost of labor (overseas) the higher cost of oil (for freight costs), and the lack of competition (we used to have about 12 factories competitions for business in Korea, now down to just a few all contributed.
*Has the evolution of the AL line even been an “evolution”? What I mean is, has there been a discernible trend of steady improvement over the years, has the entire thing rolled out in happenstance fashion, or has it actually degenerated?
Kurt> I would like to think so - the first LP-2000 model did not offer an ebony fretboard, or Grover tuners or alnico pickups . The current models offer those improvements, plus improved bridges, tuners, dual action trus rods, graph tech nuts, and coil tapping. None of those features were available on the early models. Soon we will be introducing additional improvements (hint hint).
*In your opinion, what was the high water mark for the AL? In other words, in what year was offered the best quality guitar at the best price?
Kurt> IMO they get better every year. The highest water mark is yet to come. Yes some people like the shape of the guitar prior to the 2002/2003, before headstock and horn change. So those are some of the most highly prized and collectable models. The features and quality of todays models, as far as what's coming off the production line is unquestionably superior. Even considering the higher price.
*What are some of the rarest models of the AL that were ever offered?
Kurt>Probably some models I don't even remember. Over the years we would often get one of a kind samples which we sold out. Those are probably the rarest - quite a few acoustic models.
*When was the first full maple cap model offered?
Kurt> Possibly the 3000M -
*When were Alnico pickups first offered?
Kurt> When the AL-3000 came out.
*For bonus points, name every Agile model designation code ever offered and what features the numbers/letters stood for.
Kurt>That's like a 100 hour project so I am going to pass for now. Possibly one day we will create an archives section on the site and start building up that info."
This is the story of the "lumpy' headstock posted by toomanycats on the Agil Forum
"In the early 2000s Kurt got a threatening legal letter from Gibson over the design of the AL (original headstock and horn).
Subsequently, many of these "lawsuit" Als were blown out on Ebay for as low as $99.
The horn on the AL was then changed to appease Gibson. This confirms what we already suspected, namely, that the horn was changed first.
Apparently this wasn't enough for big G. So until a production run of guitars with a new design could actually be made, the ALs on Rondos website were shown with the "lumpy" photoshopped headstocks. This was merely a diversion. Yes, what I'm saying is that this lumpy headstock never existed in reality. So if you've got one of these unicorns, then you own something equivalent to the 1958 Gibson Moderne prototype as it relates to Rondo.
Here's what may be the most incredible part of the story: The headstock design that Kurt used to replace the original symmetrical one, and which we've all become familiar and comfortable with, was created with the help of submissions from Harmony Central members. One particular member, whose name is unknown, came up with the current AL design."
Joined: 11 Aug 2009 Posts: 1148 Location: Los Angeles
Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:48 pm Post subject:
I still have one of the 1-hum 3/4 scale strats somewhere around here. Put a Kahler hardtail and Duncan Distortion in it with a coil split and rocked out*. Tiny-narrow neck yet hella-flat fretboard and baseball-bat-like neck profile. Odd but fun. Introduced me to the crazy-percussive sound of ridiculously thin strings on a short scale. Had 8's on it for a little while.
Harold H posted this info on The Agile Forum about what got the momentum going, as far as Agile standing out
in the crowded field of imports back in the nineties:
"Rondo first started selling guitars out of the back of GP magazine,
these were branded "TEAM", and were advertised as solid wood (S-copies) for $119.
Then, shortly thereafter, probably very late 90's, Rondo asked a guy on the old HC forum
named stratcat to review one of the new Agile Les Paul copies they had.
He loved it, and reported back to the forum the details of the guitar. This started a mini-
frenzy, as at that time solid wood Les Paul copies were not very common.
Looking back, the crazy thing was, stratcat had a very wonky dial up web connection, and
it started giving him trouble, and he soon disappeared from the forum. He was a pro player
and gigged a lot so the forum was not a priority for him"
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