Linhof Special Review, Videos, & Photos

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by SkatePunk, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    The following review is the same as one I recently posted on HC. However, I've also included links to video clips and pictures. Maybe fatback would be so nice as to share his initial thoughts and clips as well. ;)

    Linhof Guitars - Linhof Special

    Features
    In my opinion, the Linhof Special has the best aspects of '52 through '57 Teles in addition to new features that improve playability, tone, and ergonomics. It is apparent this guitar was designed through experience, tested thoroughly, and built with expertise. My Linhof Special was made in December '05 and is serial number 0012. It weighs 6.7lb and has a butterscotch finish with light aging.

    The familiar appointments include:
    • Blonde butterscotch finish with black pickguard or two-tone sunburst with white pickguard
    • Lightweight, one-piece ash body and maple neck
    • Early '50s serial numbering convention
    • Kluson-style tuners & round string tree
    • Neck width 1.65" @ nut, 7.25" fretboard radius, & vintage (6230 size) frets
    • Round switch tip & dome knobs
    • Late '50s wiring (tone control only cap) & switching (both pickups in parallel)
    • String-thru-body bridge
    The innovative features include:
    • Wavy peghead shape
    • Soft V (.900" @ 1st fret) to oval C (.975" @ 12th fret) neck profile
      Contoured neck heel
    • Tummy cut & forearm contour
    • Lindy Fralin P-92 neck and Tele Replacement flat pole bridge pickups
      Left-handed angle for bridge pickup
    • Bass-side notched bridge
    • Compensated brass saddles
    • Aged finish & hardware
    The only feature enhancements I am considering are aged nickel strap locks and Kluson-style staggered, locking tuners.

    Sound
    Acoustically, this is a resonant and snappy sounding guitar. The lightweight body, thin finish, and classic bridge contribute to this tone. The electronics maintain the vintage Tele vibe but add a whole lot more depth.

    Although the neck pickup is similar to the Tele Deluxe humbucker in terms of appearance and hum cancelling, it is a singlecoil and retains the clarity and brightness you'd expect from one. This pickup produces a deep, woody tone but still has snappy, present highs.

    The bridge pickup delivers powerful twang. The positioning of the pickup tightens the low strings while removing the ice-pick tone from the high strings. Even with the volume and tone controls wide open, the bridge pickup is never shrill but it is raw and spanky.

    When combined in parallel, the pickups are well balanced and complimentary. This middle position produces a stout, full range tone.

    In all of the settings, playing dynamics are evident while unwanted noise is kept to a minimum. The Linhof Special's tonal palette is comprised of classic sounds and it also extends into a deeper territory.

    Action, Fit, & Finish
    My guitar came from the dealer, Killer Vintage, setup nice and low, without buzzes, and well intonated. With a small adjustment, the compensated saddles gave the guitar perfect intonation. Other than that, I only had to lower the neck pickup and its pole pieces a bit.

    The construction is top-notch. The frets are perfectly shaped and the nut is slotted just right for a standard .010" through .046" set. Tolerances are tight (i.e. tuners, neck pocket, routes, pickguard, etc.). My only gripe here is that some of the neck and bridge attachment screws heads are slightly stripped.

    The finish is a thin, light butterscotch color (orange pigment faded) that shows off the body's grain. It looks exactly like a Blackguard that has played many an outdoor gig.

    My guitar is worn on all the appropriate protruding edges and has crazing over the entire body and peghead. All of its hardware is tarnished, scuffed, and/or rusted. Unlike some other Linhof Specials, my neck was not aged. The aging looks organic and matches the vibe of the guitar.

    Reliability/Durability
    The Linhof Special is solidly built. There is no aspect of this guitar that gives me reason for concern.

    Customer Support
    When purchasing the Linhof Special, I received excellent customer service from Dave Hinson at Killer Vintage. After the purchase, I contacted Kurt Linhof with a few questions. He was nothing but knowledgeable, helpful, responsive, and friendly. I got the distinct impression that Dave and Kurt are guys that stand by their service and product.

    Overall Rating
    Even though I have a few criticisms and reservations about rating it a 10 in every category, I truly believe the Linhof Special deserves a perfect score. The reason? I simply can't image a better interpretation of the original. For me, this represents the logical evolution of a classic.

    The Linhof Special has the mojo, no doubt about it! It's instantly familiar and uncommonly comfortable. Its versatility and responsiveness are remarkable. It doesn't just get by on its good looks.

    Video Clips
    In the following clips, I was caught off gaurd and uninspired. However, they give you an idea of how the Linhof Special looks and sounds:
    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=OscarTheGrouch+title%3ALinhof&page=1&so=1

    Pictures
    Here is a link to a previous thread in which I posted photos:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showpost.php?p=1340338&postcount=54
     
  2. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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  3. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Chuck Snider

    Chuck Snider Supporting Member

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  5. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    as well as
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  6. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    I've seen six of these guitars and they all had the vintage/reliced treatment. I know that Lark Street Music is also a Linhof Dealer. I don't think they are available anywhere else yet. Maybe Dave at KV or Buzz at LSM could find you a new finished one.
     
  7. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    Agreed ... Thanks!
     
  8. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    there are 2 batches of 5 that are about 2-3 weeks out from delivery, as i type this post. contact either lsm or kv for more details.
     
  9. fatback

    fatback Member

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    Great review Michael.

    I was blown away when you brought the Linhof by my place last week. The guitar plays so incredibly well. It was a pure joy to try out.

    Sorry to put you "on the spot" with the vids, but I thought they turned out pretty well and give folks a chance to hear and see your new baby in action. Also I dig those slippery slides you throw in. :D

    Here's a couple of clips of my quick test drive with the Linhof:

    solo
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7433823944189197112&q=Linhof

    over-loop
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-956312505001050123&q=Linhof
     
  10. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    John - Don't tell anyone but I was just trying to make an excuse for my poor playing on the clips. :eek:
     
  11. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    fatback, not trying to hijack the thread, but what is that dual humbucker set neck guitar that you use in several of the other videos? (ZD2, Moogerfooger, etc.)
     
  12. fatback

    fatback Member

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    it's a Don Grosh, set neck.
     
  13. Grant Ferstat

    Grant Ferstat Some guy in obscure bands in a far away place... Silver Supporting Member

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    Hi fatback,

    Interested in your thoughts of the Linhof Special and how you feel it compares to other benchmark Teles.

    Do you feel the bridge pickup angle changes much? Sweetens the treble strings perhaps?


    Cheers,
    Grant.
     
  14. matte

    matte Senior Member

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  15. n.j.

    n.j. Member

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    Damn, these are so cool. I've been drooling over the blackguard version since Matte first posted his "I finally found my tele" thread. I've got a '98 Nocaster and a G&L ASAT Super, but I think I might need a Linhof also. Out of hand. Cool clips too, guys, nicely done.
     
  16. fatback

    fatback Member

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    cheers, n.j. :)

    _______________________


    I'd put the Linhof up against any boutique tele I've played. It is a high-quality guitar for sure. I like the mods, but I'm not much of a traditionalist. I'd say you can get about 90% of the classic tele sounds from the special, but it's really seems to be about taking the traditional sound and design forward. The Linhof I tried was slightly smoother and a little less barky than my GVCG with Fred Stuart pickups, but could cover more sonic ground. I liked the smoothness and clarity that the reverse bridge brought to the bridge sound and may try it in a future tele-project.

    _____________________________



    I'll shall not covet Matte's guitar.
    I'll shall not covet Matte's guitar.
    I'll shall not covet Matte's guitar...



    y:droolah right!
     
  17. SkatePunk

    SkatePunk Member

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    Thanks, n.j. and good luck with the GAS!
     
  18. TaronKeim

    TaronKeim Member

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    I'm a tele man myself... these definately look killer and sound killer... but I have a thing for McCoy's tele ninja skills... I might have to get rid of my Custom 24 and pick one of these bad boys up!

    -TJK
     
  19. suhr_rodney

    suhr_rodney Supporting Member

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    Man just when my GAS was letting up I had to go and read something like this. You guys are killing me and all hopes I had of retirng early. With a gear habit like mine I'll be working until I'm 90. :eek:
     
  20. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Jeez Matte, listening to John's demo of this axe, I REALLY hear what you're saying about the Linhofs having a Hendrix vibe - WOW!

    John, you sound great, so does Oscar, but you are playing in a more Hendrix style, and you can really hear the vibe of it.

    Criminy - GAS, it never stops, does it? What a great guitar!

    Thanks both of you for the clips, and Matte too for the pics.

    Dana
     

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