HEAD TO HEAD

Mak­ing the cut with a mean shred­ding ma­chine

Total Guitar - - THE TG TEST -

In terms of sheer power, the LTD EC-401 will take your breath away. With its pris­tine Olympic White fin­ish, its three-ply bind­ing on body and head­stock, it ex­udes a quiet class yet deals in atom-split­ting tone. Yes, the cleans are snappy, sharp and re­spon­sive in the bridge’s EMG 81; bold and with great bass re­sponse in the neck’s EMG 60. But this is a gui­tar de­signed to deal in max­i­mum dis­tor­tion. When us­ing high-gain to the point of sat­u­ra­tion, the EMG ac­tive cir­cuitry comes into its own, killing the hum and the un­wanted feed­back, and de­liv­er­ing pow­er­ful, fo­cused metal tone. The ar­tic­u­la­tion when play­ing open chords is ex­cep­tional, each note ring­ing out. The EMG 60 trims some of the tre­ble and the harsh­ness, ideal for sweep-pick­ing arpeg­gios, but the ren­der­ing of a pow­er­chord in the EMG 81, or har­monic squeal, will bring out the devil in any­one.

The Jack­son MF-1’S EMG set is a lit­tle more tra­di­tional, calling to mind the Sey­mour Duncan Trem­bucker/jazz combo Fried­man favoured in the 90s. Al­lied to the nato/ ma­hogany con­struc­tion, it has a warm, or­ganic tone, that’s great for spongy blues and jazz-funk noodling, and yet ag­gres­sive and punchy when the gain is di­alled up. Fried­man is an eclec­tic player and ton­ally the MF-1 re­flects that. Its sus­tain is ex­cel­lent, but that is a fea­ture of all four of these gui­tars.

Per­haps less metal but no less ca­pa­ble of it is the heavy­weight Tre­monti. The new PRS Tre­monti S pick­ups ar­tic­u­late a clas­sic rock tone that can be pushed deep into metal ter­ri­tory, but none­the­less ex­cels in that sweet spot as the sig­nal breaks up into pure over­drive. You could say sim­i­lar for Hagstrom’s Ul­tra Swede, but its bass­wood con­struc­tion and lighter con­struc­tion gives it a wholly dif­fer­ent feel. More man­age­able? Maybe. But all four are fun to play and are gig­gable in­stru­ments with premium tone. How do you choose the right one for you?

THE LTD EX­UDES A QUIET CLASS YET DEALS IN ATOM-SPLIT­TING TONE

Jack­sonx: supreme playa­bil­ity and­ver­sa­tile­tone

Se­tremonti:are­cess has­been­car­ve­don the­bot­tomak­in­toa Floy­drosedesign

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