Though there is not much in the way of contouring, its small size and reassuring density makes it a comfortable little thing and despite all the auto-tuning gubbins at the far end, it is well balanced. I’m not sure if the effect is more psychological
than anything else, but that nitro finish does feel a little warmer than a rough, tough poly finish.
The neck profile is described as slim, but is a lot chunkier than any speed neck out there, and I like that – bigger necks mean a bigger tone and I prefer a neck that will give you a bit of a wrestle. Being Gibson, there is a lot of spare fretboard under both E strings and this extra space does take a little time to get used to it. This is a matter of taste, I took about an hour to really get used to it, but several friends absolutely hate the new Gibson necks. This really does bang home what you need to know about Gibsons, more than any other manufacturer, PLAY THE GUITAR YOU WANT TO BUY BEFORE YOU BUY IT!
So, a solid, unpretentious and well put-together guitar. What does it sound like? Today chums I am plugging in a very nice Yerasov. 15 watts of Russian Valve Power and an amp that gets on with p90s very well. Clean bridge has a jumpy gritty attack, not a million miles away from a Triple Tele I recently played but with more warmth and less definition. There is enough bite here for country but the bridge pickup really comes alive with a hint of overdrive. The whole tone opens up and though it will happily do trashy punk, the quality is there for some really warm blues and classic 60-70s rock. I loved the 2014 Melody Maker (another all P90 guitar) and these pickups sound better, more responsive, clearer and with greater definition.
THe neck gives you a lovely juicy bell-like tone when clean but lacks the clarity of the bridge when overdriven but it is a tone that has its uses. Both pickups together will give you a rich, creamy funk tone and sounds much better clean.
If you through enough overdrive at it then this guitar will get as dirty as you want but the real pleasures in it run from clean to half-way on the drive knob.
While all this was going on, intonation on the wrap-over bridge was spot-on and tuning was rock steady.
Oh yes, the tuning. I’ve played a lot of G-force guitars recently and they have all worked. But Gibson are still wrong, G-force should be an option not compulsory. You know it, I know it and if the number of 2015 Gibsons going for very low prices is anything to go by, now Gibson know it.
So this is another well-built, great-sounding cheap Gibson that is so much more likeable than something as pompous as a Standard. The deliberate design idiosyncrasies that Gibson have insisted upon are never more than slightly annoying and do not detract from the essential character of the guitar. THis is a little guitar with a lot of heart.