It can be tormenting for the Wembley Music Centre team, working with incredible gear, then having to wave it off to a new home! I humoured Nick in the guitar department, asking his top choice if he was to take them to his own home!

Nick's Picks

It can be tormenting for the Wembley Music Centre team! In our showrooms, they work with incredible gear, demoing it and watching it go to a good home, but rarely is the home their own! Well, every so often I like to entertain their imagination, and this week I have asked Nick from our brilliant guitar team to tell me what guitars he would choose if he could have ANY! His eyes widened, and without a second’s thought, he first exclaimed:

Tanglewood Winterleaf Solid Top Cutaway Electro-Acoustic - £399

 Tanglewood Winterleaf Solid Top Cutaway Electro-Acoustic

Well, he didn’t quite say it so smoothly as he ran over to show me. Part of the Winterleaf series, and brand new for 2018, is the TW4 KOA. With a top, back and sides all made of solid Koa, this guitar has a gorgeous tone. Koa has been likened with Mahogany for warmth and is compared with Rosewood for its clarity. The Tanglewood has strong upper-mids which really compliment the playing of lead style lines, and grants the precision needed in complex chords. But Koa gives more than just good tone. This guitar looks stunning. With a rich array of deep browns and a beautiful guitar pattern, no wonder it stood out to Nick. I asked him: why this guitar in particular then?

In Nick’s words:

Well, that fact that it’s made of Koa is, I think, a big deal! It’s super articulate with good trebles and just perfect for fingerpicking. What I think is impressive about it is that unlike other acoustics, it doesn’t get quieter as you move up the neck. It’s a perfect size, solid wood and you get the beautiful inlays and logo, stuff that you don’t always get with a Martin. Oh, and it has a great preamp.

Next up, Nick walked me over to the Strats where he proudly declared that he would choose:

Fender Standard Strat in Arctic White - £527

Fender Standard Strat in Arctic White

This certainly didn’t surprise me. This guitar really has a slick, clean look, and if white is your colour, this is as nice as you can get (in my opinion!). Made in Mexico, these Strats come at a fraction of the price of their US counterparts, while somehow holding up to the same impressive quality you see across Fender. With its three single-coil pickups, it’s versatile and cuts through with its hot output. A brilliant way to enter the Fender range at a relatively high level, without shelling out for the top level guitars. What were Nick’s reasons for picking this guitar though?

In Nick’s words:

Upon playing it initially, it’s just got a surprisingly well-playing feel. The warmth of the fretboard, the tone it gives acoustically, warm and responsive. It jumps out at you. I mean, a strat that plays at this level, I’d associate with one of Fender’s more premium Strats. It’s just a super nice Strat!

Faith Neptune Baby Jumbo Cutaway Electro-Acoustic - £855

Faith Neptune Baby Jumbo Cutaway Electro-Acoustic

A highlight of the Faith catalogue, the Faith Neptune Baby Jumbo looks to give the player power from their acoustic, without the added bulk of a full-size jumbo guitar. The tone of this Faith Neptune is bright and vivid, with louder bass and top-end frequencies, to deliver optimum clarity. This has been achieved through the use of high-quality Englemann Spruce for the top, and Rosewood for the back and sides. This Baby Jumbo, therefore, lends itself perfectly to fingerstyle and solo playing. It doesn’t just sound good though, this guitar looks good. As part of the HiGloss series, this guitar really does stand out, and so no wonder it was one of Nick’s choices.

In Nick’s words:

It’s unbelievably resonant and dynamic. It’s a similar feeling you get with a really high end guitar. Just a few chords, and you can tell it’s extremely responsive. Plenty of top end, brilliant for strumming big chords, and cuts through in a really well orchestrated band situation. There’s serious clarity in separation between notes, a no brainer.

Fender American Original '50s Strat in Aztec Gold - £1599

Fender American Original '50s Strat in Aztec Gold

I could tell where Nick was headed. Hung up on our wall in pride of place is this beautiful Fender American Original '50s Stratocaster. In Aztec Gold! With this guitar, Fender set out to make a guitar that’s really true to their popular and distinctive 50s Strats. Using era accurate manufacturing methods, they’ve created the Pure Vintage '59 single-coil pickups, of which the guitar has three. The guitar does have some modern elements, such as the 9.5” fretboard to improve playability, and modern switching. Aside from that, the tone is true to the classic, groundbreaking guitar of the 1950s. It is not the tone you notice first though. It is the beautiful, Aztec Gold Nitro-Cellulose finish that really stands out.

In Nick’s words:

Well, it’s an American Master-built strat which has the exact same spec that a strat would have had in the 50s, which gives it real authenticity. You wouldn’t have been able to get it in that colour though, at all. It’s not a colour that’s traditionally associated with Fender Strats either, so it’s difficult to say how long they’ll be making them in Aztec Gold, so to me it feels a bit collectors.

PRS SE Standard 24 (2018) in Tobacco Sunburst - £475

PRS SE Standard 24 (2018) in Tobacco Sunburst

The PRS SE Standard, like the Fender Standard Strat, gives guitarists the chance to own a quality guitar at a lower price. For the price, the SE Standard far exceeds expectations, with many features that would be expected to be seen with higher range guitars. The 24 fretted fretboard also gives the player 2 whole octaves on each string, complimenting an already expressive, versatile guitar. The SE Standard is also the cheapest PRS that has a wide thin neck, a popular feeling neck which is very popular among players. What makes this guitar for Nick though?

In Nick’s words:

It’s just a professional level guitar, with the same build quality series players would expect with professional guitars. The jumbo frets, the quality of wood, you can feel it. It’s also got coil tapping, which I think is great value for money. I mean, it all feels and sounds premium, the all mahogany set neck, bound fretboard, and bound body. Add on that the bird inlays on the fretboard. I might just buy this when my next paycheck comes in, to be honest.

 

So there we have it! Nick's top choice of guitars. Keep an eye out for the next Nick's Picks, when I'll be asking Nick what his choice of pedals would be!