Saturday, April 16, 2011

Indie #32 - 'Shape' quilted cherry sunburst

Looking at the big list of Indie guitars on the right you'd kind of think that I had an example of most of the 'Shape' models Indie make. However I didn't really until now have a basic 'standard' model, they're all slightly special models in some way either high end Extreme's or things like the Futuristic with single coils and a tremolo.

This is the 'shape' in almost it's most basic form, short of an all-mahogany opaque finish one, so I thought I'd look at it with fresh eyes. There are nods to the telecaster in the body outline but it's very compact and the spec. reads like it's a Les Paul.

So we've a mahogany body, quilted maple cap, set mahogany neck with rosewood board, twin humbuckers and tune-o-matic bridge.

The hardware is all good quality Korean bright chrome stuff, Schaller style machine heads and the aforementioned tune-o-matic with stop tail.

Indie have their own pickup range (I suspect they're actually made by Artec) and in this guitar they're M8s which are moderately high output ceramic magnet beasts. Controls are a simple master volume/tone and three way toggle but continuing the theme, Indie have used good quality Korean electrics so it all moves smoothly and they work meaningfully. The treble bleed fitted to the volume control on many later Indies is a particularly nice touch. It's something that costs pennies to do but makes a noticeable difference to the guitar. Likewise the flush fitted barrel style jack socket is classy, even if I'm not a fan of them because it's impossible to bend the contacts if the lead starts to get a little loose.

The top finish is a fairly standard thick poly one that's nothing fancy but it does a great job of showing off the thin bookmatched maple cap. The cherry sunburst staining is well done, the Korean guitar factories have got adept at turning out good finishes reliably.

A nice touch is the Indie logo at the 12th fret. CNC machinery has made putting something like this in cheap but it still stands out from simple dot inlays without being flashy. I've seen some hideous 'because we can' CNCed fretboard inlays that spoil otherwise attractive guitars. To some extent Indie are guilty of that with the Tribal Extreme's but I've seen much worse.

The most telling thing is I got this, along with a fully fitted Indie branded hard case, barely used, from eBay for a fraction of what you'd pay for a similarly appointed new Epiphone or LTD. They simply blow the Vintage goldtop I have away, there's no comparison you really are looking at the better end of the Korean guitar market but for Vintage money. Secondhand Vintage money. You just need to be patient and wait for one to come up.

I've said time and time again to friends if you want a nicely made, slightly unusual looking but traditionally appointed electric guitar you really need to look at an Indie 'shape'.

My only worry is that with Indie's main base of operation having relocated to Canada that I'll see fewer of them here in the UK.

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