Soloway Solocaster Test Drive Report

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Dave Yeats, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Dave Yeats

    Dave Yeats Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    Austin TX
    Well, I spent a week with Soloway G191, the "Solocaster #1."

    [​IMG]

    This is a special instrument. It's clearly well put together in the hand-crafted tradition with some choice components. Playing it unplugged made me pay attention to the amazing setup on this guitar. It was strung with 10s, which felt closer to what 11s feel like on a Fender because of the longer scale. The longer scale didn't take too long to get used to, but it did make a difference in how solid the sound felt coming from the guitar.

    I took it to rehearsal, and I played through a '57 Guild Masteramp (like a tweed Pro with tremolo), and the guitar remained articulate through the tweed circuit. (My other teles can get mushy when I push the amp.) For songs where I play in drop D tuning, the guitar really delivered. (We played "Sway" by the Rolling Stones in D.) While the solid low end really helped in almost every case, there were a few songs where the guitar stayed a little too polite for me. I'm wondering what this would sound like with a set of Lollar, Fralin, or VooDoo pickups. My #1 has a VooDoo in the neck and a converted '49 Fender Lapsteel pickup in the bridge. Not polite! From emailing Jim and seeing his website, I think he can offer his guitars with a variety of pickups, though, as long as the buyer is willing to pay for them or provide them. I wish I could have heard it with some nicer blackguard style pickups. I'm also not a big fan of what I perceive as a thin neck (front to back, the width was fine.) I'm used to playing very thick necks (up to 1" at the nut). My technique isn't "proper," and I play with my left thumb quite a bit. A nice V neck would be wonderful, and I hope Jim gets around to accommodating players who like larger necks.

    Overall, this is a product that lives up to the hype. (I've played some other products that didn't.)

    It's not a tele (the long scale does something particularly un-tele), but it's a cool Soloway for tele players. If I had the scratch, I'd be seriously looking at what Jim's up to.
     
  2. MrMunky

    MrMunky Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,292
    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Interesting that this machine has made it back to Alabama. I had it just a few weeks ago. One of my favorite instruments of all that I've played.

    I was actually quite impressed with how "Tele" it was. I found it to do a lot more of what my traditional teles do than I expected. Although I thought it sounded great, I am a skeptic of humbuckers/noiseless tele pickups, so I too would be curious to hear what it would sound like with a good set of vintage-style tele pickups.

    Here's a clip: http://www.inrerocknroll.com/tunes/TennStud.mp3
     
  3. J Purcell

    J Purcell Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    US
    I had it with me just before sending it on to Dave. It is indeed a sweet guitar. One more piece of "must have" gear to put on my ever growing list.
    I'm going to have to get a job. :eek:
     
  4. abergdahl

    abergdahl Member

    Messages:
    3,415
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Location:
    Stockholm; Sweden
    Mine is soon done, here's the neck pickup:
    [​IMG]

    It WILL match the pickguard :crazy
     
  5. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,609
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Decatur, GA
    Loved that sound clip, Munky. It really shows the wide range of tones in there.

    IMO, it looks a little strange with the missing control plate. Maybe it's just the decidedly faithful tele pickguard that is notched for the plate when there is no plate. Just an observation. It really sounds awesome though.
     
  6. soli528

    soli528 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,609
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Decatur, GA
    Oh and BTW, very nice, fair review, Dave.
     
  7. abergdahl

    abergdahl Member

    Messages:
    3,415
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Location:
    Stockholm; Sweden
    Agree 100% on the clip, really cool. Sort of had the same opinion on the control plate at first but i sort of like it now . It would almost be to much Tele with it. That twitch with the notched guard has grown into a unique twist for me. I went with a "Nashville" control layout with the pickup selector in the rear.
     
  8. wstsidela

    wstsidela I'm bonafied Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,225
    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Glad to hear you liked the guitar. Mine should be finished in 6 weeks.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Mowcheeba

    Mowcheeba Member

    Messages:
    190
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    Cochiguaz, Elqui Valley
    As a Tele lover I can't nothing but like it. It really grows on you and
    I find the "missing" control plate design genial.
     

Share This Page