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not another one...!



I thought I was going to finish 2016 without getting any more guitars. But no, I have another on the way. The pickup change on the Esprit was supposed to provide me with the Fender sound I miss. It sounds good, but it doesn’t sound like a Fender.


I’ve been considering options for quite a while now. Oddly, actual Fenders are low on my list. I’ve looked at G & L, MusicMan, Flaxwood, Chapman (Yes Rob Chapman. His models are made in Korea and most have ebony fretboards), Yamaha, Godin and MIJ Fender copies.

The MIJ’s look wonderful but all of them have 21 frets. It’s not enough. It must be 22 minimum.

Most of everything else has high output pickups. Some have nasty bridges too. Whatever I go for will need some mods. It’s mostly a question of what is the simplest. I did very much like the looks of the MusicMan Silhouette Special, but finding one was the main problem.

I have plumped for a Flaxwood. These are made in Finland and are made from an artificial material (also called Flaxwood). Again, the pickups are the weak point here, together with the floating bridge.

The pickups

Single coil version 3SC-:
- bridge: Seymour Duncan SSL-2 Vintage Flat
- middle: Seymour Duncan SSL-2 (RwRp)
- neck: Seymour Duncan SSL-2 Vintage Flat

These are 6.5 output, so quite high, but at least they are alnico 5. I’m not a great fan of Duncans, but if needs be, I only need to replace the neck pup. I don’t use anything else.

Bridge: It’s a trem bridge, but it looks like a robust one. If so I should be able to block it up rather than replace it.

This particular Flaxwood is what they term a ‘Hybrid’, meaning that only the neck is made of the eponymous material; the body being of European alder.

These Hybrids are cheaper than the rest of the range. Unfortunately, there is only one uk shop that stocks them, and that’s in Scotland. It’s also miles above the list price published by ZedMusic (the official distributer). What swayed me to buy were the two Hybrids held at Thomann (the vast German shop). They had both the single coil & humbucker versions at a greatly reduced price. They are ‘B’ stock, but that doesn’t worry me.

So an affordable Flaxwood Hybrid 3SC is on its way from Bavaria. I have used Thomann before. The first time was for the Deuce (now discontinued by Hagstrom). Let’s hope this turns out as well.


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I spent about 3 minutes playing it and I don't like it. It only took 30 seconds to decide that really. The neck feels tighter than the stated 12" rad. Maybe its the roll off at the edges? But the e strings are too close to the edges. I didn't push them off, but it would have been inevitable if I'd kept playing. I've put it straight back in the box and have advised Thomann. I have no idea how much it will cost to return, but it will still have been worth the opportunity to try it out.


So it doesn't handle well. The neck material is fine. The fingerboard forms part of the neck. It feels ok and I'd have no problem with the neck had it been shaped to my liking. The hardware seems of very good quality,


I expected the pickups to be poor, and they certainly are. Seymour Duncan consistently make nasty sounding pups. That's not intended as a challenge to you SD fans. It is of course totally subjective.


So waiting to hear something from Thomann right now.


Never mind. I have been extremely lucky with mail order guitars up on the whole, so I was overdue for a disappointment.


I sent it back after getting the returns label from Thomann. Today (9-Nov-16) they acknowledged receipt of the guitar. Now to wait & see when the refund is made.

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