There are a few accepted rules for making Good Electric Guitars and many well established conventions. This guitar breaks some of the rules and most of the conventions, and works! However, don't expect it to work like anything else you have ever tried. There are no tone controls or switches, just two volume controls, one for each pickup, (early samples had pull-switches fitted to the volume knobs to operate tone changes, but these have now been discontinued.)
The pick-ups are closely related to the old Melody Maker pick-ups but each one is enclosed in what looks like a round-ended Pedal Guitar steel, and they are moved up and down by adjustment screws in the back of the guitar. Apart from a general tilting one way or another, no individual string adjustment is possible.
The bridge was rather unusual when it was first made, but you may have seen similar ones on some of the Perspex guitars and basses which were around in many shops last year. The tail-piece is a flat metal plate, supported by 3 screws, which has small slots in its back edge to retain the string ends. On this plate sits the bridge, a thin wedge-shaped slip of rosewood. The bridge is loosely secured by a screw through a slot in the metal tail; piece, and can be slid backwards and forwards to adjust the string octaves. Once again, except for the possibility of slanting the bridge, no individual string adjustment is possible, (but of course this also applies to certain vintage Les Paul guitars). Many players find this sort of adjustment quite satisfactory; on the other hand, many players find it quite impossible.
Perhaps this guitar's most obvious identification is its shape. There are 31 frets on the neck and the body comes into the neck at the 29th fret. The cutaways are so deep and wide that only a narrow strip of the old body outline remains each side, forming two horns. (Without these horns, the guitar would be difficult and uncomfortable to hold.) This must surely be the longest fretted fingerboard available on a production guitar, and to its credit, this long neck does seem to remain tolerably straight with the recommended strings. (Roundwound light) The scale length is shortish at 625mm., lowest action under standard conditions was 1.2mm. top string and 1.5mm. lowest string. String spacing is 51mm. at the bridge and 37mm. at the 42mm. wide nut.
The neck has more frets than usual and they are all accessible, the instrument is comfortable on a strap for long periods, and the overall sound is harsh and rather impressive. However the standards of finish and construction and the materials used, do not, in my opinion, justify its price. I was rather surprised to find that the back of a guitar appears to be made of Hardboard. Yes that's right — hard-board! Now it may be possible to persuade me that hardboard is the magic material for guitar backs which I have been searching for, guaranteed to produce a good sounding, strong, easily maintained guitar, but it is going to take a lot of persuading.
Retail Price £127.60
Review by Stephen Delft
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