the Wish­list

£2,499

Guitarist - - Contents -

Made in Switzer­land, Rel­ish can’t be ac­cused of ref­er­enc­ing too much from the past with its Jane and Mary designs, which we looked at in is­sue 412. Rel­ish Jane cen­tres on an alu­minium core to which a more con­ven­tional maple neck is bolted; the body form is cre­ated with a moulded lam­i­nate front and back. She’s a costly date (from £3,799). En­ter Mary: more straight­for­ward with a three-layer (alder core with lam­i­nate top and back) slab body. It’s now called Wood Mary (£1,699) be­cause this year the com­pany has added Alu­minium Mary (from £1,999), which sits be­tween the two and comes with an op­tional Graph Tech Ghost piezo sys­tem, as shown here.

Like its wooden sib­ling, Alu­minium Mary uses Rel­ish’s ‘float­ing sand­wich con­struc­tion’ – the top and back sep­a­rated from the core with ‘in­dus­trial rub­ber rings’, which, says Rel­ish,“al­lows the alu­minium cen­tre to vi­brate freely and pro­duce an in­creased res­o­nance, sim­i­lar to a sound­board in­side of a piano. The back is at­tached to the cen­tre us­ing in­dus­trial mag­nets for easy ac­cess to the elec­tron­ics.” Pull the back off to see the su­perbly ma­chined alu­minium core and the com­po­nents, the Emer­son elec­tron­ics and the bat­tery for the piezo cir­cuit. It’s ex­tremely tidy. Thank­fully, the neck is much more con­ven­tional with a great-feel­ing ‘C’ shape and beau­ti­fully smooth silky satin nat­u­ral fin­ish. The fin­ger­board looks like rose­wood, but is an eco-friendly dark wo­ven bam­boo; frets are medium-gauge stain­less steel, im­pec­ca­bly in­stalled.

Acous­ti­cally, it’s quiet, but lis­ten closely and the sound is well bal­anced with al­most hol­low­body-like res­o­nance and depth mar­ried with con­sid­er­able and crisp solid­body-like sus­tain. The Graph Tech Ghost piezo sys­tem pro­duces a mod­ern acous­tic-like sound that’s way more Pat Metheny than rootsy Sea­sick Steve. The mag­net­ics seem a lit­tle low in out­put but match the piezo per­fectly when you mix them via ei­ther the mono mixed out­put or with a stereo Y lead into two amps.

Once you get used to Mary, she’s a be­guil­ing com­pan­ion. There’s a sub­tle com­pres­sion to her mag­netic voice that adds some so­phis­ti­ca­tion to jazz­ier/fu­sion sounds from the neck pickup; the sparkly mix sounds very LA, es­pe­cially run­ning through some mod­u­la­tions and re­verbs from a Helix LT. With an older root­sier setup, there’s a hint of Rick­en­backer in the slightly rounded high-end, which works well for arpeg­giated or strummed parts. While it needs a lit­tle ex­tra oomph, the bridge pickup gets us from jan­gly crunch through to mega-gained so­los with ease. And, af­ter giv­ing it a good gained work­out, we took a break and plugged it back into our AER with the neck mag­netic un­der­pin­ning the piezo – it re­minded us of Joe Pass’s ‘is it an elec­tric or acous­tic tone?’ We can only con­clude, it sounds like a Rel­ish.

Pull off the back and you can see the in­no­va­tive con­struc­tion and ac­cess the elec­tron­ics. It’s all beau­ti­fully done Rel­ish’s ‘float­ing sand­wich con­struc­tion’ uses an alu­minium core and ‘high-pres­sure ve­neer’ top and back. It’s slightly thin­ner than the Wood Mary at 40mm and weighs 3.86kg (8.5lb) Our sam­ple has the op­tional Graph Tech Ghost piezo sys­tem, which adds £500 to the base price. It’s con­trolled by a sin­gle vol­ume with pull/push voic­ing op­tion These Rel­ish XV hum­buck­ers are made by Good Tone in Switzer­land; sim­i­larly bou­tique are the Emer­son elec­tron­ics It looks like rose­wood, but is, says Rel­ish, “dark strand wo­ven bam­boo [that is] en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able [and also] ex­tremely re­silient to changes in hu­mid­ity” Stain­less steel frets are stan­dard; the ’board ra­dius is 305mm (12 inches) and the scale length is 650mm (25.59 inches) 1

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