Does the quality continue on the inside?


Take a look at the insides of any boutique-level guitar and you’ll invariably see quality components and clothcover­ed wire all very tidily done. It’s part of the craft, not least if you’re paying £3k upwards. The control circuit here, which was specified as part of the custom build, definitely belongs to one of those guitars: a Switchcraf­t toggle switch, CTS 500kohm audio taper volume and the PCB-style CTS 500k pull-pot for the tone. There’s an Orange Drop .022μF cap in there, too, along with a 2.2k resistor to achieve the partial split of the bridge humbucker, PRS style.

As to those pickups, the Wilkinson R Series Caliber 5257 is apparently based on a P-90 from a Gibson ES-125 owned by Trev and uses “an original-style bent nickel silver backing plate and wooden spacers under its rough cast Alnico V bar magnets, wound with AWG.42 plain enamel wire”. It has a measured DCR of 5.77k at output and is direct-mounted to the body, too.

Our first selection at the bridge was the very-PAF-alike Caliber 5761, but that is only available with single conductor hook-up, no good to split. Trev had suggested the 7484 and we’d assumed that would be the 43AWG 14.5k bridge version, although, as we mention in our sound test, it didn’t sound like that! Cleverly, Trev had sent over the neck pickup, 42 AWG with a measured DCR of 9.55k, and 6.32k when split, which reflects the ‘hot vintage’ style that we hear. Wire gauge aside, both 7484s use an Alnico V magnet with nickel silver backplates and covers and four-conductor hook-up.

for really rootsy styles, not to mention some dirtier classic rock. The coil-split, which actually voices the screw coil, is a surprise. It’s definitely a third, very usable voice – a strong T-style or almost early PAF-like voice that has bite and a wiry focus. It’s far from a thin anaemic option that you’d rarely use. A classic pickup pairing, three very strong sounds with very soulful, classic mixes. What’s not to like?


This is a very endearing, characterf­ul instrument: it’s a guitar that looks and feels old, played-in and used but is perfectly fit for purpose. Its sounds are almost timeless, from authentic late-50s jazz/blues on the neck soapbar through gritty 60s jangle from the mixes when pushed; you’ll also find rather beautiful soul and funk played cleaner. With the coil-split engaged, a highly usable duality at the bridge provides Fender-y single-coil attack, plus a very well-voiced full bridge humbucker that brings in some muscle. It’s an unshowy piece, a perfect gigging partner that’d sit in pretty much any band you could imagine.

But players who have owned and played a string of high-end, high-quality contempora­ry instrument­s, or good vintage pieces, aren’t really the target audience here. Instead, these ProShop builds – the Unique one-offs or our custom build – are aimed at a real world where the escalating cost of those premium pieces is very hard for the majority to justify, and for many even impossible.

Does our custom build match the detailed quality of the Fender Custom Shop or numerous premier small-’shop builders? No. But can the ProShop team take a competent (if rather generic) guitar and turn it into a more unique instrument with a characterf­ul aged finish and your choice of pickups and parts? Definitely. More simple makeovers, or a less convoluted custom request, would cost you considerab­ly less, too, yet you’ll still be getting a totally unique and fit-for purpose instrument – and if you choose the custom‑build route, it’s your design, too. What would yours be?

PROS Excellent interpreta­tion of our custom order; superb neck, fingerboar­d and fretwork; very good Wilkinson R Series pickups; a very endearing old, played-in vibe

CONS The scratchpla­te does look a little new and some of the finish details aren’t as periodaccu­rate as some, but we’re splitting hairs: the feel, sounds, playabilit­y and vibe are all superb

Its sounds are almost timeless, from authentic late‑50s jazz/blues on the neck soapbar to gritty 60s jangle from the mixes

 ?? ?? Quality parts, nicely wired. Excellent job
Quality parts, nicely wired. Excellent job
 ?? ?? Another nice detail is the rounded nose to the heel with its matching neckplate. Like all the hardware, the ProShop team ages the parts in-house
Another nice detail is the rounded nose to the heel with its matching neckplate. Like all the hardware, the ProShop team ages the parts in-house

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia