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Gordy Redshift

Article from One Two Testing, December 1984

six strings from one half of Gordon Smith


Steel yourself for a shock: Gordon Smith, the British luthier, is no more. He is, in fact, now two people, one of whom is known as Gordon, the other, Smith. No longer will that graceful surname bless hand-crafted Gypsies with its presence...

Of squire Smith, I know not. But his Christian name is making a bid for a solo career in the musical instrument business, as you have probably guessed from the name of the guitar currently under the critical scalpel.

Look at the photograph. Familiar? Yes, it's an Arse's Tractor (nearly anag), complete with identical pickuppery and electrics. The body and scratchplate are both a little more angular than its forebear, and the tail of the body is cut away slightly around the strap-button (which makes the Redshift easier to stand up). But its parentage is plain to see.

The layout of the bridge, volume and two tone knobs, tremolo arm, jack socket and five-way pickup switch are photocopy-perfect replicas of the original. Only the head of the Gordy shows any twinklings of originality, looking like a slimline Tele head that's been held too close to a flame. The slight droop is also vaguely reminiscent of the Fender XII hockey stick head.

The body is two chunks of ash, joined down the centre of the guitar. The grain of this wood shows up beautifully as the Gordy is finished in a matt red varnish or stain which brings out the stripes. Equally beautiful, though not in combination with the deep red of the wood, is the plastic mock-tortoiseshell scratchplate. It seems a shame to waste such an accurate representation of those mottled browns and yellows against a dark, unsympathetic background.

It shows up the maple neck rather nicely, though. This is a fine creation, similar in profile to its parent's, though the extra width of the Gordy's fingerboard makes it feel slightly shallower. The frets are big fat things, all 22 of them, but they're comfortably well sunk into the surface of the neck so as to act as no impedance to those fast flurries of noise-making we're all occasionally prone to. Don't try bending the strings though, even if that maple surface does feel nice and slippy. Because if you do, that charming little six-saddle micro-adjustable bridge will sit up on its back legs and spill strings all over the pickups: dodgy tremolo springs.


When I first took the Gordy out of its case, it went out of tune. Dutifully, I tugged the strings, wiggled the remarkably slack tremolo, over-tuned it, then put it back in key. It went out of tune. Two days later, its behaviour had improved, though still wasn't perfect. Considering the Redshift has Schaller machine heads, this was surprising...

The tendency of the bridge to tip up whenever bent a string robbed me of some of the pleasure of the neck, though that could be remedied by extra springs for the tremolo.

The five-way pickup switch did what was expected of it, though it moved rather stickily, and seemed to have a phantom notch beyond the treble (it made no difference to the sound). As for the sound — the five noises are not too unfamiliar.

The Redshift is a noisy guitar and it sustains well, but it has nothing extra to lift it above the "familiar". There is an active electronics model available which might offer more punch, but this particular machine simply sounds like a loud Strat.

Thereby hangs Gordon's (Mr Gordon's?) problem: his guitars are hand-made, and can be customised to any specification. This one was obviously well put together (even if the volume knob was slightly loose), carefully constructed to high tolerance levels with good natural qualities. The sustain was excellent considering the perfectly ordinary Fender-type four-bolt fixing, and that neck just felt right. So why bother making copies?

There are more guitars in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in Gibson and Fender's philosophies, Mr Gordon. So why not dream one up?

Although your workshop is undoubtedly capable of turning out the finest copies we've seen in a while, it can still only do it one-by-one, and Tokai, Ibanez, Aria, et al make guitars by the lorry-load. And they already have a reputation for it, never mind economies of scale (which is why the Gordy costs over £300, and Fender Squiers cost less than £200).

If you can't beat them at their own game, don't compete: do something new. A Gordy Redshift will not keep its secondhand value because it will forever live in the shadow of the Stratocaster.

A Gordy original — now that's another matter. I'd love to review one. One day.

GORDY six string: £325


Also featuring gear in this article

Gordy Guitars
(IT Dec 84)


Browse category: Guitar > Gordy



Previous Article in this issue

Playback

Next article in this issue

Tama Artstar


Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

The current copyright owner/s of this content may differ from the originally published copyright notice.
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One Two Testing - Dec 1984

Gear in this article:

Guitar > Gordy > Redshift


Gear Tags:

Electric Guitar

Review by Jon Lewin

Previous article in this issue:

> Playback

Next article in this issue:

> Tama Artstar


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