Guitarist February 2020

Guitarist is the longest established UK guitar magazine. You'll find authoritative gear reviews, artist interviews, technique lessons and advice. Plus, Guitarist's digital edition now includes all of the same audio and video content as the print edition; available to download from a special area of the Guitarist website!

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
13 期号


out of the woods?

This month’s relicing theme, focused on the art of recreating the past, also threw the future of guitar-making into sharper contrast. This issue sees the publication of the first feature in a special two-part report on the pressure that traditional tonewoods are under due to deforestation. Most guitarists will now be aware of CITES restrictions on the use of rosewood in manufacturing, which prompted many luthiers to use alternative woods in its place, such as pau ferro. Common sense has now prevailed in that particular case, with CITES recently granting an exemption for instrument makers – whose use of rosewood is tiny compared with the international furniture trade. But, sadly, it seems likely this will not be the last time a well-known tonewood has to be specially protected by international…

country style

Exactly why Fret-King has never hit the big-time is beyond us. The company has consistently produced good guitars, and has always ticked the affordable box at its ‘Black Label’ level. The brand parted company with its original owner and designer, Trev Wilkinson, in 2018, but there remains no shortage of guitars, now made in India. The current range is certainly expansive, covering numerous classics with the Strat-inspired Corona, the Eclat’s take on a Les Paul and, as here, the Tele-derived Country Squire. Along the way, Fret-King has hooked hugely experienced artists such as Jerry Donahue, Geoff Whitehorn, Jon Verity, Danny Bryant, Gordon Giltrap, John Jorgenson, John Etheridge and Dave Colwell. The Country Squire Semitone Special was introduced back in 2013 in a single Green Burst finish with an all-maple neck –…

fret-king ‘black label’ country squire semitone special

PRICE: £599 (inc gigbag) ORIGIN: India TYPE: Single-cutaway, semi-solid electric BODY: Chambered American alder NECK: Maple, bolt-on SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”) NUT/WIDTH: Synthetic/42.5mm FINGERBOARD: Ebony, white dots, measured 241mm (9.5”) radius FRETS: 22, medium tall HARDWARE: Wilkinson string through or top-load WTB bridge with compensated brass saddles, Wilkinson WJ07 tuners – chrome-plated STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 54mm ELECTRICS: Wilkinson pickups: WVC 3+3 humbucker (neck), over-wound Alnico V WHS single coil (middle) and WVOBT single coil (bridge), 5-way pickup selector switch, master volume, master tone, Vari-coil control (splits neck pickup and taps bridge pickup) WEIGHT (kg/lb): 2.97/6.54 OPTIONS: Also available in Ash Green Burst with maple fingerboard (£599) RANGE OPTIONS: Various Country Squire models start at £569 LEFT-HANDERS: No FINISHES: Blue Burst (as reviewed), Ash Green Burst (with maple ’board) JHS 01132 865381 www.fret-king.com Guitarist CHOICE 9/10 PROS Typically tidy, well-designed and well-priced guitar from Fret-King; considerable sound potential CONS The Vari-coil…

bright horizon

Lowden’s reputation among the fingerstyle elite is well established. After all, players such as Richard Thompson, Jon Gomm, Pierre Bensusan (all of whom have signature models within the range) and the late Eric Roche can’t be wrong. And the variety of styles on offer between those four players is testament to the versatility inherent within the instruments from George Lowden’s workshops. Much of the work done there is satisfying customers’ special orders, the deal being that you can pretty much choose your own spec variations based on the different models in the line. Different wood combinations and many other refinements are all in a day’s work for George’s team of luthiers. And if you have something really fancy in mind – fan frets, for example – there’s no problem there,…

lowden fmc

PRICE: £5,635 (inc case) ORIGIN: Northern Ireland TYPE: OM/Grand Performance TOP: Alpine spruce BACK/SIDES: Cocobolo MAX RIM DEPTH: 112mm MAX BODY WIDTH: 396mm NECK: Mahogany/rosewood SCALE LENGTH: 650mm (25.5”) TUNERS: Lowden-badged Gotoh 510 NUT/WIDTH: Bone/43.5mm FINGERBOARD: Ebony with maple bindings FRETS: 20 STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: Rosewood/56mm ELECTRICS: N/A WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.9/4.18 OPTIONS: As Lowden acoustics are made to custom order, the world is your oyster: various wood combinations, nut widths, soundbox bevel, neck profiles, string width at bridge, LR Baggs or Highlander pickups – see website for full list RANGE OPTIONS: The FM model is available to order from the 35 and 50 Series. Prices start from £4,355 LEFT-HANDERS: To order FINISHES: Matt natural Lowden Guitars 0284 461 9161 www.lowdenguitars.com 8/10 PROS This is an excellently built acoustic with a lot of personality and player appeal CONS The narrow nut might deter some fingerstylists; it’s a big investment for many players…

hot fuzz

Victory Amplification continues to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading boutique builders with an enviable artist roster that includes Guthrie Govan, Richie Kotzen, Rob Chapman and Rabea Massaad among others. It’s fair to say Victory has the heavier end of the market well taken care of with amps such as The Kraken, but its range is more diverse than you may realise. To underscore that, the company has just released a new head that sits at the lower end of the gain spectrum, with a few special tweaks that make it rather unique. Let’s say ‘Evenin’ all’ to The Copper. The Copper is part of Victory’s Compact Series, with an all-steel case and a perforated cover – the typical ‘lunchbox’ format that’s become so popular in recent years. Painted…