Group Test: Sin­gle-cuts

Bolder, louder, faster, these high-power electrics take a clas­sic de­sign and aug­ment it for shred and rough ’n’ tum­ble rock

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS - Words Jonathan Hors­ley /pho­tog­ra­phy Neil God­win

Re­pur­pos­ing clas­sic shapes of gui­tar de­sign and re­tool­ing them for con­tem­po­rary con­texts is all part of the game for gui­tar man­u­fac­tur­ers. It’s been go­ing on since the elec­tric gui­tar was born, but spiked most no­tably in the 80s with the hot-rod­ding of S-style electrics to court the shred­der’s dol­lar. The sin­gle-cut didn’t un­dergo as ex­treme an 80s evo­lu­tion as its S-style cousins; per­haps be­cause, for many, a Floyd Rose or bub­blegum fin­ish on a sin­gle-cut was like the Hawai­ian pizza of gui­tar de­sign. But this month’s roundup sees that, for all gui­tar archetypes, evo­lu­tion­ary mo­men­tum will catch up with them even­tu­ally. None­the­less, it’s no­table that these electrics from PRS, LTD, Hagstrom, and Jack­son are not os­ten­ta­tiously ap­pointed. Theirs is a muted de­sign that mod­ernises where pos­si­ble while re­tain­ing a sense of clas­si­cism. Sure, Marty Fried­man’s Jack­son pushes the en­ve­lope with the lethal point of its 3x3 re­versed head­stock, but, even then, the gui­tar is fin­ished in black. The PRS SE Tre­monti is armed with a vi­brato unit, but it’s not overly icon­o­clas­tic, more a maple-topped echo of the PRS Mccarty line. The Hagstrom ex­udes more of a 60s vibe, while the LTD’S clean de­sign be­lies awe­some tonal power.

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