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
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.