Most advanced guitar ever...

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by walrus, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    A fair number, in my opinion, depending on how you define, "better". But that's a matter of taste so let's agree to disagree on that one! Other that that, I think we're on the same page.
     
    #41 Acnestes, Apr 25, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  2. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    I'm curious, which ones in particular?

    I'd say better SS amps/amps+Fx
    Floyd Rose (though just an improvement on existing ideas)
    Better pickups/more choices (again, improvements)
    Amp modeling (more reliable reproduction of existing tones)
    Effects - some improvements, some entirely new like whammy.
    Better piezo systems (Improvement)
    Variax (truly new)
    Guitar synth (truly new at the time)

    I'm struggling to think of truly new concepts, and only a handful of improvements.
     
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  3. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    Effects certainly, particularly the enormous advances in the power and sophistication of delay and reverb units, to where they've made a qualitative leap to become almost instruments in their own right. When you think about Frippertronics (or "time lag accumulation" as Terry Riley dubbed it) when it started, you actually had to have two customized reel to reel decks on stage with you, plus peripherals, just for a kickoff. Now there's a stomp box for $100. A Big Sky has as much relation to a spring reverb as a supercomputer does to an abacus.

    My personal fave-rave can't live without it is the E-Bow. There's also a new thing called Vo-wand I keep meaning to check out that does a similar thing.

    The Variax is an interesting case, as most attempts to install any electronics fancier than active EQ in the guitar itself generally don't get very far, for whatever reasons, real estate or weight or ergonomics. The Variax has held on, though.

    You're right, though, any changes to the physical instrument itself other than incremental improvements and refinements are few indeed. The only ones I can think of offhand are (1) extensive use of graphite, which while not that widespread due to the cost is definitely here to stay, and (2) fanned frets, which may or may not go anywhere.
     
  4. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    Fair point about delays, including modulated delays. They brought about a new focus on ambient music.

    Also the ebow. I had a sustainiac installed in my jem. I forgot about that... Super cool addition to the instrument.
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    It’s said that guitarists are hidebound to the classic designs like that’s a bad thing.

    Maybe it’s a good thing.

    Maybe the classic electric guitar and tube amp just sound great, in and of themselves, tickle the human ear in just the right way, and are just superb for what they do. They’re satisfying vehicles to express certain musical ideas, as-is.

    Why do they need to be fundamentally changed? You got problems with yours? Can’t express your musical ideas?

    Consider the possibility that they’re matured instruments, fully developed, and while plenty of tweaks are ongoing as PRS and other makers demonstrate, the basic sounds of the instrument are set.

    Want proof? Electronic whizzes aren’t making new, unheard sounds with their “amps.” They’re imitating the old sounds of tubes. A modeler is just new tech to repackage the older tube sound. But the sonic goal? Imitation of tube amps.

    Sincerest form of flattery, I guess. But hardly earth-shaking.

    Effects are always being experimented with, but it’s kind of hard to beat the fuzzes, overdrives, reverbs, tremolos, phasers, wahs, flangers, univibes, and delays that have been around for 4-5 decades.

    Why do you suppose that is? In part, I think it’s because the electric guitar and its accoutrements are a mature technology, and we’re in a classic period with it after 80 or so years of development.

    Been to an orchestral performance lately? With few exceptions, the instruments reached their present, standard form in the early 18th century. Same with the sitar and other traditional Eastern instruments.

    Why? Because they sound great. They don’t require change for change’s sake. They’re a mature technology. “Man those cello players are resistant to change.” Yeah? What needs to be changed?

    The acoustic concert grand reached its current form in the 19th Century. Sure, there are electric pianos, but in truth, the electric piano is a different instrument. The grand piano is a mature technology.

    Nothing wrong with making a different instrument, and hey, as a pianist and synthesist I’m all for that. But that doesn’t invalidate or diminish the acoustic piano. They can live in the same world.

    What’s big in electronic music? Analog, modular synthesis. Why? It sounds good. It’s rich-sounding. It’s a mature, proven technology. Digital synths do different things well.

    Change for change’s sake is foolish. Improvement of a good instrument is a good thing, but many new, radical takes on the electric guitar fail because they just don’t inspire players or audiences.

    Guitarists are, IMHO, YMMV, smart to understand that.

    Finally, the purpose of the electric guitar is to make music, not be a pickup mule. It’s cool if you can easily change a pickup, but it’s only a gimmick unless the guitar sounds good, and it isn’t an improvement unless the guitar sounds better for making music.

    Gotta see that the goal isn’t novelty, it’s music-making.
     
    #45 LSchefman, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  6. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    My take FWIW



    There are still a lot of people who assume that the first electric guitars were hollowbodies with pickups cobbled on to them. Incorrect. No, that is what the guitarist of the 1930s wanted.

    They loved their expensive beautiful archtops. They stuffed foam into them, taped up the f-holes, and sited the guitar/amp away from mics and speakers to cope with the ongoing problem of feedback. They did it for 20 years. Some still do. They didn't have to.

    In fact the first (magnetic pickup) electric guitars nailed it first time. They were small solidbody (no acoustic chamber) guitars without any feedback issues. They also sounded beautiful. Why were they not more popular? They were too weird for the time. They were made from aluminium and Bakelite. The frets were part of the neck. They were small, heavy and looked strange.

    [​IMG]



    90 years on. Musicians are essentially no different.



    Just because we pay it no attention, it doesn’t mean that there is no novelty or development. This is an electric violin from the same stable (Electro-String) also made from Bakelite. It looks modern. The tuners are behind the bridge. It dates from 1936.

    [​IMG]


    Violinists have been known to complain about using peg dope for the tuners, but geared tuners would not be tolerated in any orchestra. Why not? We guitarists use them. They are a sensible idea. Answer? "we've always done it this way".
     
  7. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    I agree with your entire post above but the bit about the 'Pickup Mule', I only partly agree with. People have been changing Pickups for years now and a quick, easy swap is not necessarily a bad thing. I do agree that once you have found the right Pickup for you, its unlikely that many will want to swap it out unless they trade the guitar and put the stock pickups back in. If it was easier, I don't know whether people would swap pickups regularly enough to warrant it

    Another advantage could be just having various different looking guitars, set up differently and just quick swap the PU's for a different tuning, a string break or something on stage. You could just have 2 sets of Bare Knuckles for example and a lot of different Guitar bodies as soon as your tech hands you your next guitar, he takes the PU's out of your last guitar and drops them in ready for the next change. There could be a reason that some find it useful for a certain situation or application.

    For me, the description I stated of being able to swap the electronics with a clip in pick guard type of arrangement wasn't just about swapping a set of Seymour Duncan Humbuckers for a set of DiMarzio Humbuckers or a Bare Knuckle set, my idea of swapping the whole electronic plate would allow you to have a tradition Strat SC layout with a 5 way blade then just unclip the pick guard and drop in a Double Humbucker with a 3 way switch, a HSH super Strat layout with a 5 way blade, a HSS layout, a HB and P90 layout, a single P90 in the bridge Layout, a tele layout, maybe a HSH layout with a 5 way, 2 mini toggles to split the coil and a mini toggle to switch between the middle SC and the two HB's. Essentially change the whole guitar and its layout with a quick switch of the Pick guard rather than just swap HB's or HB's It can transform the whole instrument whilst still keeping the integral design of the guitar, the traditional wood body etc. As long as the top is routed for multiple PU's and not just for SC's and enough of a cavity for the electronics, its a fully functioning traditional guitar in that sense. Instead of screwing down the pick guard with everything mounted as it is anyway, a way to quick swap that would be much more useful.

    If this was built, 3rd Party's could offer a ready made quick swap Pickguard. If you only had 1 body, you could effectively have 20 guitars, all with completely different PU's, switches, knobs etc - whatever combination of HB's SC's, P90's etc, whatever 3rd party Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Bare Knuckle etc - all just a quick swap away. Instead of having to go out and buy a whole guitar, you could just buy the whole electronic section to clip in and its still going into a 'traditional' guitar that looks, feels and plays just like any other guitar. The other side to this is also that you could have different bodies too - Double cut, Single cut, solid, semi-hollow, hollow, Mahogany, Swamp Ash, Maple, Alder, Rosewood, Ebony, etc, 21, 22, 24 frets, different neck carves, different scale lengths etc. All interchangeable - unclip one pick guard with all the electronics from one body and clip it into a different body style. The Pickguard could have a universal fitting so when it clips in, it connects to the output jack so the bodies can have the output jack where ever they want - whether its into the top or into the side. You could go out and buy just a new electronic arrangement or buy just a body to clip it into

    Arguably the bodies in this scenario could be just 'Pick up Mules' although its still a 'vital' half of what makes a guitar. It can sing without the strings, the woods can give it an accent, the bridge (solid or trem) can give it some expression and the 'whole' is the body to caress and voice to sing. Its not 'just' a Pick up mule. The electronics are the heart of the instrument and the method to make the voice of the instrument heard. Combining the body and heart, the musician is the brains and the 3 in combination brings that instrument to life, gives it soul and emotion.

    At least that's how I see it...

    I don't know if we will ever see this type of flexibility to interchange bodies and electronics in a quick and simple way. To me that would be innovation and you could have just 2 or 3 different body styles, all to your preferred feel and 20+ different 'hearts' rather than have 5+ Double cut styles (PRS, Fender, Ibanez etc type guitars), a few Double Cut (PRS, Gibson, Fender etc), several other body types, Semi and hollow body etc with different PU's and switches - not that having 20+ guitars is a bad thing but when you have 3 o 4 of the same 'basic' instrument but each with different PU's, and arrangements - like owning a couple of 594's because you wanted both the Humbucker and Soap Bar versions, a few different Strats and teles because you wanted some with Humbuckers/P90's etc when you could just own one built to your specs, the neck carve, the fret type, the scale length, the body shape and colour, the woods inc fretboard you prefer, custom inlays if you want and just swap the electronics so you can have multiple different combinations, I think that would be very innovative. You can literally have a Custom Guitar body built exactly to your preference, something that feels incredible to play instead of having to buy 10 of those just to get variations of the PU/switching arrangements.
     
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  8. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    The guitar, amp and all the rest are tools for making music, and you are correct, novelty is not the goal. The goal is to see if those tools can't be made more compliant to the wishes of the musician.
    In an earlier post:
    And, no one is proposing that anything traditional gets abolished! Ther's plenty of room for the new and the old.
     
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  9. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    You do see them on basses, usually on a plate attached to the scroll, but I suspect that it's because of the age and fragility of the instruments rather than creeping modernity.
     
  10. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    You're right. I needed to confine that to Violins, violas & cellos. Though some school cellos have gears.
    Tradition is fine, but personally, I would prefer some latitude.
     
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  11. elvis

    elvis Hamfisted String Banger

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    So much interesting info here.
     
  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    But they do make geared tuners for violins. Schaller makes some that aren’t very easily seen, others make geared tuners that have brass plates for the peghead:



    Nonetheless, the effect even a small part that touches the strings has on a guitar was brought home to me yesterday, as I watched the most recent Vlog posted by Mick, the Strat player. He demonstrated the change in his sound obtained when he switched from Callaham to Crazy Parts saddles. Not the whole bridge, only the saddles.

    I was surprised that it was not only quite clearly different plugged in, the differences could be heard clearly when he played the guitar acoustically.

    So my response would be: Maybe the tone is affected by changing the friction tuning pegs out for geared tuners, especially on a small instrument like the violin that is meant for higher pitches.

    Then again, many players in major orchestras invest huge amounts into their very old instruments - six figures isn’t unusual for a good vintage instrument - and don’t want to mess with a good-sounding thing.
     
  13. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    As I said in an earlier post, I played the guitar that’s the subject of this thread. The main question for me is the tone.

    But here’s a practical question that kind of moots the whole discussion, and why I say that it’s a solution in search of a problem:

    Say you’re a player who gigs, and you want to change to a different pickup configuration for the next song. Are you going to reach for a different guitar, or stand on stage, take the guitar apart, and drop in a new set of pickups in the middle of the performance?

    I’m pretty sure that most of us would reach for a different guitar that’s all set up and ready to go.

    The other comment I’d make is that it’s actually pretty nice to have a unique sounding instrument, something that wooden instruments are, in spite of their metal and electronic parts. If a player wants a different pickup configuration, what’s the problem with buying another guitar to pull out of the case, or the guitar rack, or off the wall? Most of us like having more than one instrument, not only because they look different, but because they sound and feel different.

    My guess is that the players I know aren’t interested in owning one instrument and a bunch of electronics gizmos. They want several instruments, each unique and different.

    I can imagine this scenario at my house:

    [Les] “Oooh, this looks like an awesome guitar. I’m going to go try it out.”

    [Mrs. Les] “But you have a guitar that can have all these different pickup configurations, and you bought it so you wouldn’t need more than one guitar. So you don’t need it, and I’m going to be upset if you go buy it.”

    As opposed to:

    [Les] “Wow, this looks like an awesome guitar, I’m going to go try it out.”

    [Mrs. Les] “Why? You already have several guitars.”

    [Les] “Because each one has a different pickup configuration and because of the uniqueness of wood pieces, they all sound different.”

    [Mr. Les] “Oh, then have a good time. When will you be home so I can plan dinner?”
     
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  14. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    The reason I mentioned having a 'different' electronic section rather than just swapping a set of humbuckers for another set of humbuckers wasn't limiting the player down to one guitar. It wasn't meant as having just 1 body with 10+ different electronics, but that you could have, for example, 10 different bodies, different shapes, different woods, different scale lengths, different bridges, different fretboards each with a different or the same radius, all with the same 'neck' carve if that's what you want and find most comfortable.

    I am not saying this would suit everyone but someone could have just a single Strat body built specifically to their preference and have a traditional 3 single coils, a HSS version, a HH version, a HSH option etc and use any of these electronic sections in your 'Tele body, Les Paul body etc just mix and match, have guitars built specifically to your preference, your wood choices, scale length (inc Baritone) etc and if you want, put a triple SC 'strat' electronics into your Tele type or Les Paul type body shape.

    Obviously, a lot of people would like to buy multiple guitars that, as far as the body shape, neck, scale length etc are the same but with different PU arrangements and type. There is nothing wrong with owning multiple 'strats' with different Single Coils, tunings, different PU's entirely like a Humbucker bridge, maybe a sustainiac at the neck version - multiples of basically the same guitar just with a different electronic set-up. Nothing wrong with having a few different 594's for example if you want one with Humbuckers and another with soap bars. With a swappable electronic section, you could have both the SC and DC bodies and swap which has 2 humbuckers, which has 3 humbuckers, which has 2 P90s and even which has a humbucker and P90 at the neck (or vice versa) - you could have just 2 bodies (SC and DC) but have 5 or more different electronic section too drop in.

    The point I was trying to make though is that a system like this would be far more useful for people instead of the system that this post was about. This seems to lock you into one 'body' and just a 'double' humbucker arrangement. Once you find the Humbuckers that suit a guitar and the player, then the option to swap them out becomes redundant. Unless some company release a 'better' humbucker that can be easily fitted into the cradle mechanism that Relish have built for this, then why would someone want to switch them out?

    With the System I was trying to illustrate, not that I see it happening, you are not limited to just 1 guitar body (you can have as many as you want, all different shapes, all made of wood etc) and not limited to 1 type of PU and arrangement. You could have 1 body but 20 different PU and switching combinations or just 1 electronic system but 20 different bodies with different scale lengths, woods, shapes etc - or even a 10 of each which would can all be interchanged if you want. Its far more flexible. Instead of having 5 Tele's that all have a different PU arrangement, you could have just 1 body with 5 different electronic sections. You could have just 1 Strat body with a Fender, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio etc sections that you can swap out, maybe put them in a SC Les Paul type guitar. The combination of different bodies with different electronic sections that are all interchangeable has a lot more potential. You could have 10 different bodies with 10 different electronic sections and that effectively is the same as owning 100 guitars as each body can have 10 different electronic section clipped in.

    Anyway, its irrelevant as there isn't this type of situation available - not that I know of. I was just trying to show how limited the Relish system is, how the novelty will wear off because you can only change the type of HB and not likely to keep swapping.
     
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  15. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules On Double Secret Probation

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    I've told this story before, but this is JUST pickups, not even a different body shape or whatever... Two guys at guitar center saying how much they loved the PRS NF3, "but would never buy it because you can't swap pickups" since they were not standard sized. I told one of them "you would never want to swap those pickups. They are incredible" He agreed, but still no purchase. DUH!!!

    And even EVH himself not only played a Steinberger guitar, but showed how awesome the trem could be and it still didn't help the sale of that guitar (much).
     
  16. Fluffalo03

    Fluffalo03 New Member

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    I really like the Idea behind it but the body shape is awful.

    It locks like a weird mixture between a Telecaster and a Jackson but in the wrong way. Bad high fret access with weird spikes.

    Why don't they offer a double cut version. 24 frets on a singlecut is interesting but most people that want such a modern guitar will probably want something that locks more like a Strat then a Telecaster from the future.

    Also why is there a Relish with a touchpad for pick up selection. I mean common there is nothing wrong about a pickup selector except maybe when it's old and doesn't work anymore and then it costs nearly nothing to replace it.
     
    #56 Fluffalo03, Apr 26, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
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  17. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    The Relish is interesting to me because of its alternative body material, and its modular approach to pickups. I'm curious about its sound and handling. A Swiss guitar might be fantastic!

    In practical terms. I would just install the pickup I liked and leave it there.

    For 45 years I only had one guitar, so that's what I gigged. So its just as well I have never been into the idea of a different guitar for a different song. I don't even care who played the original song or what gear they used.

    When I play it, its going to be my interpretation, and its going to be my sound. That may sound arrogant, but if I cant do it my way then I would rather quit gigging. Yes, that attitude has got me sacked in the past, but I've been with the same bunch of guys now for 20 years and so far not been kicked out.
     
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  18. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    From my perspective, its not about emulating others sound and therefore need 20 guitars just so I can have the 'same' sound as the artist who played it, not about losing my identity and 'my' sound, not about preventing me from my interpretation of any song, solo etc. For me its about opening up the range of sounds that I can have, not limiting me to just 3 because I have a 3-way double humbucker guitar and EVERYTHING, regardless of whether the original artists used a tele, strat, Ibanez, Gretsch, Hollowbody etc etc. I don't own a Fender (no Strat, no Tele, no Jaguar etc) and if I wanted to play a 'solo' that was recorded on a Strat, I am not going to go out and buy a strat, I will decide whether I want to play my own version, my own interpretation with any of my guitars - whether I opt for my 594 or my HBii, maybe even my Custom 24 or maybe I will use my 509 which maybe closer as it has a longer scale length and can be used as a Single coil instead of my 594's split coil. Point is, a vast array of different tones at my disposal

    My 'sound' is my 'sound' - I just don't limit my sound to just 1 guitar and all that offers. If I was in a band and told that because Hendrix played this solo on a Strat, I must play it on strat too, I doubt I would remain in that band because I would still play it on the instrument I wanted and do my own interpretation and have 'my' sound too. The reason I have multiple different guitars isn't so I can 'pick' the guitar closest to the artists guitar that song I maybe looking to play, its because I want a bigger palette to paint my audio landscape with. I don't want to be limited to just a few colours, I want a larger kaleidoscope of possibilities to expand my tonal palette.

    Having a larger option of tonal variety isn't about trying to match the sounds of another's work more closely but giving me more options with how I wish my interpretation and more importantly, how I wish my sound to be heard. Each to their own of course but in my opinion, having more guitars isn't about losing your sound, your interpretation, your musical identity but adding more variety to your own palette. Whatever guitar I choose to play, the signal path I choose, the amp I choose, the sound is still my sound whether its 'similar' to another's or not, the way I choose to play, my interpretation etc is still my sound.
     
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  19. merciful-evans

    merciful-evans Portsmouth uk

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    Sounds reasonable to me. Though I used one guitar for 45 years, since 2015 that's expanded to 9 working guitars (long... story!). I enjoy the differences between them, but could go back to just the one quite happily again. For me its not about an expanded tonal palette. It took decades for me to discover my sound & now I know what it is, I don't mess with it. The guitars still sound different, but via my signal processor they are still variations of my sound.

    As for the guitar. I only use the neck PU with the tone and vol on full. Volume being controlled from the floor.
    I don't even need a bridge pickup, nor any control knobs or switches.

    mmm... that was a tad indulgent. Sorry to run off topic!

    Just to reiterate though, it might well be that the Relish doesn't break any important new ground, but I like to support innovation whether its suits me personally or not.
     
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  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I played one (did I mention that earlier?).

    As you’d expect from a plywood and aluminum hollow guitar, it’s not too heavy. The back of the guitar attaches to the rest of the body by means of a rubber-to-metal friction fit. The rubber attachment means any resonance transferred to the back of the guitar is damped by the rubber, (this shows up tonally, and may be a drawback of the design).

    The sustain is ok, but the issue for me is that the one I tried sounded kind of thin, as opposed to the thicker and richer sound I’m used to.

    The overall vibe reminded me a little of a Reverend guitar, but the price was in Core PRS territory.

    If I was a wild man pickup swapper, it’d be fun to mess with. In terms of having a noteworthy tone, that is of course subjective.
     
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