Fret King entered into a collaboration with Gordon Giltrap to create a super-versatile guitar that would cover a wide range of sonic ground. And Guitar Interactive’s Tom Quayle sets out to review it. He found something that puts this guitar above the rest…
But we’ll get back to that. First off, Tom goes over the parts of the guitar, starting with the headstock design and the tuners – and then works his way down. Overall, he concludes that the Trev Wilkinson hardware is keeping a very high standard through and through. From the solid tuners to the custom-wound pickups. He also stresses the impeccable fretwork, the satin finish that just makes this guitar look great in that significant matte-gloss kind of way and the carefully crafted contour and cut-away that makes it a breeze to access even the 22nd fret seamlessly.
Now, the one thing that makes this guitar unique is the so-called ‘Vari-Coil’ design of the pickups. At the neck there is a mini humbucker and at by the bridge, a full-size humbucker. At least so it appears! Because there is one knob on this guitar that turns these pickups into single-coils. This is not what is unique, as many guitars have this feature, but they don’t have a knob to control this – they have a switch. In other words, normally you can choose either humbucker or single-coil, but now both… Well, with the Fret King Elise Gordon Giltrap Mark II, you get to blend between these two very distinct sonic flavors.
It is pretty amazing to see Tom play on what looks like a relatively typical jazz / 335-ish guitar with what appears to be humbucker pickups – but hearing that characteristic ‘twang’ of a neck single soil on a Stratocaster type guitar. This is much easier to grasp when you hear it demonstrated, so kick back and check out this video. Tom goes through each of the pickups – and in combination – at various settings from all-hambucker over all- singlecoil and in between!
By the way, the Vari-Coil feature is not exclusive to this particular model. It is also available on other (but not all) Fret King guitars.