I have been thrilled since my purchase of a handmade, electric guitar from American Exotic Guitars. Prior to this purchase, my overall desire to play guitar and creativity level was at an all-time low. I was in a rut and had lingered there for longer than I care to admit. While in this state, I felt very uninspired each time I reached for my old guitar. Same tired licks... different day. Oh I tried different things on many occasions, but there really wasn’t that spark happening. After doing this for awhile I began to feel a little defeated.
I have been playing guitar for the last 20+ years and have sampled several different models of guitar over that time. I purchased my American Exotic guitar about six months ago. What I have been most impressed with is that the new guitar has brought back a spirit of creativity and excitement in my playing. I feel like I’m sixteen again and can’t get enough of it! There have been plenty of instances where I have had to force myself to stop playing after looking at the clock and realizing its two or three in the morning. To me that reality is priceless.
From the moment I saw this instrument I was drawn to it. If it was a girl I would have asked her to marry me…. :D The flame maple finish of the body and beveled edge around the bottom draw the eye. The silver hardware (tuning keys, volume/tone nobs, etc) against the natural wood finish really stands out. I also like how the flame maple and black walnut head stock joins all the elements of this guitar together very tightly. The fan frets is something that right off the bat sets this guitar apart from everything else I have ever seen. It’s subtle, but you notice right away that something is very unique about this instrument. It is obvious when you pick this guitar up for the first time that you are holding something of high quality.
I have to admit the first time I played it I was a little bit worried how the fanned fret system would work out. I’m a creature of habit and I haven’t seen too many of these in the past. After playing for just a few minutes I was shocked. Not only were the fan frets easy to get accustomed to, but it was actually much more comfortable to play than a standard scale length guitar. The fret system really contours to the way your hand wants to go anyway. Even at the extremities of the neck where you would think this difference would be most noticeable, (24th fret on the high E string and the 1st couple of frets on the low E string) it actually feels very natural. I was not expecting this, but I always have loved surprises. :D The guitar is also very fast. Running up and down the neck feels like skating on glass. There is nothing which impedes your progress. It feels like the guitar wasn’t holding me back in any way on some of my faster licks, but provided some kind of momentum to push things even faster. I remember saying out loud that this guitar is like a race car.
I was happy to see that the American Exotic Guitar played quite well when tuning down several steps. I’ve grown accustomed to playing in standard tuning, but often like to take the guitar down ½ a step or even a whole step from time to time. This makes things easier to sing to and I love the growl you can get out the guitar when tuned down. The string tension at these lower registers was different than other guitars I have owned and played. Instead of becoming more and more floppy on the low E string, it was actually still ridged and easy to play without any buzz. I believe this is due to the fanned fret system and because the low E string has a longer length across the guitar than a standard scale instrument. I have also been quite glad to see that the guitar keeps its tune remarkably well. I bend the hell out of my strings. I love the screaming quality that bending the strings gives your lead work. I put a considerable amount of vibrato at the very top of my bends and often bend the string well above just a whole step. This guitar is able to handle the abuse and not de-tune in the middle of a song! I’ve played plenty of Fenders and Gibson guitars right off the shelf and it’s always been an issue for me. Glad to see this guitar can stand up to the pressure.
Another element I am very happy with is the overall tone of the guitar. It has the full range of wonderful tones from warm, rich, and clean rhythm tones to screaming, crystal clear leads high on the neck. The guitar comes equipped with push/pull pots on the volume and tone nobs that allow you to “tap” one of the double coils. This gives you the flexibility to make the pickup a single coil where you get some very clear and glassy sounds. There are several different pickup combinations that I have experimented with which give you some very interesting sounds. My favorite is to tap both pickups so you get the warm tone of the single coil, neck pickup and the sparkling high tones of the single coil, bridge pickup.
If you are looking for a guitar built with pre-fabricate parts in a factory than this guitar is NOT for you. If you are looking for a guitar that looks and plays the same as thousands of other guitars, then this guitar is also NOT for you. If you are looking for something which goes beyond cookie cutter workmanship then you will NOT be disappointed with an American Exotic guitar! I would highly recommend this guitar to anyone who is interested in a unique and high-quality, handmade instrument. I must admit that there is a certain sense of pride I have knowing that there isn’t another instrument like it out there. This guitar is special and truly one of a kind… and the best part about it is that it is mine!