On Tuesday, I got a package that had to come through customs from England.
This is a Henry Heller strap with a surfboard-like pattern!
But that can't be it! Importing a guitar strap from England would be silly.
This is a tweed (hardshell) Fender guitar case.
But that didn't come from England, either. Ahhh...here we go...
But its not a Fender!
Its a Fret-King Super 60 HB in Ice Green. That Fender case fit it like a glove, so you know
what its like.
This baby has a nice, matte finished neck that is pure pleasure to play. The alder body has been nicely carved to fit my fatness...errr...for maximum comfort. It's not too heavy, and notes ring out fairly well when played unplugged. The guy I bought the case from was happily surprised at how well it chimed. Another salesman thought it was a G&L at first,
The pickups are pretty much what you want from a HSS Strat-type guitar: clean, with twang, and just a bit of extra growl when the HB is engaged. I got nice classic rock tones, and had a blast playing some surf guitar tunes.
The Tremolo is a Wilkinson VS401V, and is the source of my sole complaint. This is an engineer's tremolo, not one for a schmoe like me.
To be clear: I gave this thing a serious run through, with numerous pull-ups and dives for more than 90 minutes, and my tuning did not alter one bit. It was rock solid. Here, the engineering is grade A
The complaint is that it is not as intuitive to get the trem arm in place as the other tremolos I have had in my (admittedly limited) experience. On my non-Bigsby trems all you do is screw the sucker into its slot on the bridge.
Wilkinson, apparently, made the very clever design decision to have many (if not all) of their trem arms work in all of their various trem bridges. As such, it has had its butt-end internally threaded...but the VS401V has nothing for it to screw into. So it just slides into place.
that couldn't be right- though snug, the thing would slide in and out with any real whammy action. So I contacted Fret-King and Frets Guitar Centre (from whom I had made the purchase- great guys, check 'em out) and got the answer: slide the arm into its socket to the desired height, then depress the arm like you're doing a dive. This will expose a little slot for the tiniest Allen wrench in your guitar's kit, and you tighten that thing until the trem arm does not slide around in its socket.
Its clever. It is NOT intuitive. And it is NOT mentioned in the manual.
But boo-freakin'-HOO! This guitar is classic rock through and through.