ITALIA MONDIAL CLASSIC
Another amazing piezo-equipped guitar to add to my collection. And not much to improve on the Mondial, either.
I stumbled upon this guitar in a Music 123 catalog during the summer of 2004 and thought it looked pretty cool - like an old Airline guitar (it was a red one in the catalog). I then saw it on-line in the cream color and thought it looked totally cool with that f-hole, so I decided to get one. Sure glad that I did.
Even though the guitar was less than $600 (with hardshell case!), there wasn't much for me to improve on. I certainly wasn't about to re-paint this bad boy. The oddly bolted-on neck feels great and the stock Wilkinson pickups are really cool. Since the piezo pickup is the bridge, it's not like I can improve upon that, either. The only modifications I did on this guitar were swapping the stock tuners for Schaller locking tuners (chrome with black knobs) and the stock strap buttons for chrome Schaller straplocks.
Although it is a semi-hollow body, the guitar is pretty heavy with its agathis (related to mahogany, which is heavy!) and its custom Acousti-Glass top/pickguard. I love all the different tones I can get from this guitar, but unlike most other piezo electrics, I can't blend the passive and piezo pickups together. Oh well. Otherwise, this is an incredible value on an incredible guitar.
Great looks, great sounds, and very good stock parts. And it's pronounced - mon-dee-AL.
Another guitar with a piezo pickup.
I've dug Parker guitars since the Fly model was first introduced back in 1992, but it wasn't until the company introduced its affordable overseas line that I gave it more interest. The P-36 is Parker's "Telecaster" model and new, it sells for around $700. I picked up a mint one off of eBay in January 2006 for $450 - including gig bag and shipping.
My Scootercaster guitar is my first and one-and-only Telecaster, but I've learned to add to the "Tele team" lately. In 2005, I put together a Warmoth Fender Esquire with a really thick neck and now here's a cool Tele with a top-of-the-line Fishman Powerbridge VT piezo (and the ultra-cool Fishman Powerchip preamp). The guitar features an ergonomic thin ash body sprayed with a blonde "whitewash" and the ash grain comes through nice. The only modification I did to the body was to add chrome Schaller straplocks.
The maple neck is very nice - looks good without the fret dots - and it feels fast and smooth. I had to file down the edges of the frets (must have gotten very cold in shipping), but that was no big deal. I swapped out the stock chrome tuners for a set of locking Grovers. The Ernie Ball-like adjustable truss rod wheel is something all guitars should have.
The electronics are amazing. Guitars with piezo pickups are so versatile - it's a shame there aren't more to choose from out there. A typical Tele has a master volume and master tone - the P-36 adds another volume knob to control the piezo level. There's also a mini 3-way switch to go between passive, piezo, both - very cool. And the stock Parker Vintage Alnico pickups have more than enough twang.
I got a great deal on a great guitar with almost no modifications needed and it lets me achieve a wide variety of sounds - from classic Tele to straight piezo. I'm definitely a fan of the Parker P-36.
SCHECTER C-1 E/A
Most of the guitars I purchase require painting and a major gutting. I'd rather assemble parts on a guitar to get exactly what I want, and I'm not afraid to use spray paint. This guitar, though, is just about perfect from the factory. And the piezo pickup is the new toy I've been looking for.
Schecter has been around for many years, and I constantly see their guitars in music magazines. When I saw the Diamond Series C-1 E/A (electric/acoustic), I put it on my "want list" of guitars. The f holes and the quilted maple top look stunning in dark vintage sunburst, and the nickel pickups and body and neck binding give it a lot of class.
I ordered the guitar with a Gator case at the end of 2003 from AMS. It arrived with perfect action and I could tell there wouldn't be many upgrades for me to make. The nickel-cover Seymour Duncan Designed pickups (102N and 102B) are the overseas equivalent of the Jazz Neck and JB - and they sound amazing. All the chrome hardware is top-notch, and of course, I added Schaller straplocks. I also switched the stock 3x3 chrome Grover tuners with locking Grovers - a perfect swap. Everything else is stock.
The TonePros locking bridge with the RMC piezo pickup is pretty cool. I purchased an L.R. Baggs X-Bridge for my Purina Checkerboard guitar project, but I hadn't finished it by early 2004, so this is my first experience with a piezo pickup. The Schecter actually has two output jacks which allow three options - 1) mono cable to blend both passive and piezo, 2) two mono cables to send each signal to a separate amp, and, 3) mono cable for passive only (standard electric guitar). The four knobs on the guitar are pretty easy to figure out, too. There's a volume and tone for the Seymour Duncan passive pickups and another volume and tone for the piezo. Too simple. The standard 3-way switch is for the Duncans.
An amazing stock guitar - kind of a change for me to buy something that is so perfect out of the box. No painting and gutting. This guitar has given me a renewed faith in stock guitars.
Other Smithtone guitars featuring a Piezo pickup:
Dean Performer E/A
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