OK ... here we go ... the WOOKIE003 Les Paul and the guitar my director at work wanted were paid for last Friday, shipped at lunchtime Saturday in China and arrived at my doorstep, in Australia, at 8.30AM today, the following Friday. Not bad, not bad at all.
So this is what I was confronted with when I dragged myself out of bed, bleary eyed and somewhat hung-over...
A quick imitation of Zorro gave me...
WOOKIE 003 ... photos with plastic still on the guard and Pickup covers
Then the other half of the shipping box revealed:
The Madonna guitar that the Director at work wanted:
Now that we all know what we are looking at... how are they and how do they play/sound.
The WOOKIE003 Les Paul style guitar with P90s is, in one word, amazing.
The fit and finish is just prefect.
The colour of the palm tree on the headstock is exactly what I asked for, in fact all the extra '"customisations" that I asked for are all spot on. The colour knobs they chose matches the finish in a subtle way, which is great.
The weight of the guitar is light to medium and the quilted wood for the front face is exactly as I requested.
Again I have to make the observation that the necks/frets this factory produces are fucking awesome. Never felt better frets on a neck.
This is the first solid body guitar I have with P90s, with my only experience with P90s being my Casinos.
The sound is more complex than I thought it would be. Yes there is the thud, the crunch that one gets when you hit the strings hard, but there is also a nice ringing of overtones which gives the note, the chords a 3D feel to them.
I read somewhere (IIRC the Les Paul Forum) someone pointing out that the P90 pickup design is pretty simple and even the Chinese manufacturers don't usually fuck it up. Well be it a simple or complex design, I am impressed with these P90 pickups. They work well will rock or blues and lead or rhythm.
If you buy a Chinese built guitar, one thing you must do is replace the strings ASAP. I think they were 9-42 and had the same tonality as a rusted barbwire fence on the Nullarbor Plain. While I was changing the strings on the WOOKIE003 I suddenly notice that the bridge/saddles on this LP is different to the bridge/saddles on WOOKIE001. I don't know what you call it ... roller saddles ? What ever it is called, works a treat.
Now let's have a talk about the other guitar.... The factory call it a "trans black LP Madonna maple top " ..... well I'd call it a bastard son of a Thinline Telecaster and a Les Paul. The guitar is very light, hollowbody accounts for that or at least the thinline version of a hollowbody, plus the body itself is a little smaller all round , which makes it for a very very easy guitar to play. The fit and finish on the guitar is immaculate and the multiply ply binding on the body/neck/headstock sure adds to the overall style of the guitar. Now while this style of guitar is not what I personally would buy, for those who like the look, like the concept, like the transparent wood grain, it will not fail to please.
I do particularly like the through the body string set up and the offset/diagonal layout of the string ferules . Just like a JM or jag you can play some spacy sounds with the back of the bridge string sections. Oh and the bridge on this guitar is also the "roller saddle" type.
While I am not a HB kind of guy (I prefer mHBs) I do have three guitars with HBs (1 solid and 2 hollowbody Gibsons), so my evaluation of the HBs in this guitar are essentially comparing them to a Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson ES137 and a Gibson 1967 335. Well first thing to say is that these Chinese HBs are in no way as good as 67 335 Pat. HBs or even the high end modern Gibson HBs ... but they are pretty good.
When one turns up the volume, add a dollop of OD they do really rawk. I think what they lack is the subtlety and articulation that one would use HBs when playing a slow blues or jazz style solo/lead. But you know, for US$250 to your front door step, I'd rate them a damn good. Yes you probably can go out and fit a more up market set of HBs, but I think many who buy this model won't bother as the pickups are just fine for what they are.
So it is late in the afternoon, been playing/stringing/intonating guitars all day, the sun is out the winds are blowing, a cricket test match is on the TV and my doctor told me this morning my cholesterol and blood sugar levels are back to normal and have stayed that way for the past 12 months.
I wish I had more days like this.
Till next time when WOOKIE002 arrives (after its second run through the paint-shop!)
relaxing alternative to doing actual work ...