5* was the maximum I could give for sound. I need 8.
This saga has been a bit of a double edged sword for me. Good & bad but ultimately good. The story may be long and traumatic for some, do not judge until the end.
1 s t I m p r e s s i o n s - T h e G o o d. When I first opened the box I was surprised, it didn't look like the badly cropped image on the site. I was expecting something that looked like it had been used to stir grey emulsion paint and wiped down with dry newspaper. Not so. The lacquer is deep and brings the grain of the wood through the thin paint coat very well, and, I cannot find a joint in the body! I've had reports of a two piece but I honestly cant see a joint.
The neck is smooth with no fret ends and a really nice satin finish, the fretboard is not heavily coated either, it should age nicely, it's a bit too light for me, almost almond, so a heavy gloss finish would be bad. It needs dirt and wear.
Tuners felt pretty smooth and held well but don't look anything special. the nut looks to be cut OK and the neck needed no adjustment out of the box. Intonation was a mile out but so what.
T h e B a d - W i t h S o m e G o o d. Now it gets a bit messy. My eyes moved to the pick ups. I've never had a Filtertron stye before so it was new ground. Again, finish is spot on, chrome is deep, black is black, but....... the screws holding them to the body had mashed up holes where the cross used to be and were put in at an angle so the heads were a few mm proud of the pick up top and wouldn't sit in the counter-bore. It was then pointed out to me that the bridge wasn't fully seated, I never noticed, explains the intonation. I screwed it down and it has a bow of about 1mm in the middle. By now I'm thinking shall I return? I'd also found a few minor dents (on the back & neck) & noticed around the bottom horn the paint was thin with runs around it.
I'd had a strum out of the box and she felt nice enough, noise from the selector though, I'll give her a play before returning, for old times sake. And then I p l a y e d her.
I sat with honey dripping out of my ears from the blue notes and cracks in my lenses from the power chords and one massive grin, this was impressive because I'm quite audibly offensive when I play. I had a hard decision to make. Should she stay or should she go?
I emailed Thomann a few times, maybe 1st for guidance, then for a replacement, then for a refund, then a price reduction, then I got an answer. Send it back or sort it at your end at your cost and void the warranty. I was a little bit surprised, and a little disappointed at this as customer service has always been at a level most companies can learn from, but I wrote an email back saying I'll keep it. Why?
T h e G o o d. To sum it up this guitar is a bit of a lemon. It has many more faults than I've mentioned, mainly cosmetic and a few hardware issues. I'm pretty sure that this is a 1st batch run and things will be sorted soon. I have 4 x HB's and an Epi SG from Thomann and this is probably the worst & also the most expensive, my PB-20 is a Deko, go figure? This is also T H E best guitar out of them all! Without a doubt. This guitar will rip out your soul and drop it at your local crossroads for some horned imp to collect on the way back from Souls-R-Us.
T h e S u m m a r y. Would I recommend this guitar? Very much so but don't as yet expect perfection. If it was stolen would I replace? It wont get stolen as its not out of my hands long enough and when it is I'm sat looking at it. How does it sound? I don't know, I've had nothing like it to compare. mines like a P90 with a Single on top that drives like a humbucker??? 'Tis Witchcraft. How does it feel? Like a Telecaster that weighs as much as a Les Paul but balanced. Would I change anything? Maybe once I replace a few minor bits & void the warranty the neck will get swapped for an amber Strat type but that's a personal thing. Will I use Thomann again? Of course, but maybe not on brand new product. Anything else? Yes. Around 1967 a quite large USA company made a mod to a Telecaster, it was pre-thinline, it was known as the Smuggler. Take off the pickguard. This has to effect the sound in a + way?
In a nutshell, my guitar has faults. Yours may not. Whatever, it?s worth it. We buy for sound. Buy this guitar. The model it's based on when translated sums up this guitar perfectly.
I bought it planning it to be a canvas for some tampering and modifications, and was immediately thrown away by the looks and the sound of it.
First, the guitar was correctly set-up, perfect intonation, and no major flaws that I've seen so far. Only issue was that the strings had a bit of corrosion on them, but not a great issue.
Great surprise was when I opened the cover to the knobs: cover is shielded, solders are perfectly applied, and all and all it has very neat manufacturing. No Hum at all, very silent.
The pickups! what are they?! I've been trying to google about these, but can't find anything. In short, I was planning on installing a Gibson P90, and I won't any more. These pickups are great on clean, and are *very* dynamic to distortion and overdrive pedals and gain. They are an absolute killer.
I changed the nut to a better quality bone nut, and installed a Bigsby B5 on to it and pretty much won't be doing anything else but playing it.
If someone were to ask me for a first electric guitar, I would definitively recommend this one.