Ok, I caved in. Not to the GAS, but to the community to post this topic!
I have struggled with posture and position since I started learning. I suffered a neck injury as a teen that is not forgiving when I am in questionable posture for playing guitar. This purchase is an attempt (and agreement with my wife as condition to buy it…) to improve playing posture.
As an engineer, I really like the design elements that went into this. They seem to have thought through a lot of what a guitar needs to be. They used modern techniques so were not bound by maintaining an old design limitation.
- Flat surfaces so you can place it left leg, right leg, neck generally horizontal to floor or up over your shoulder.
- Light-weight aluminum bridge and string fixturing after the nut.
- The “nut” is really a combination of slotted traditional nut but with the height set with a fret.
- the body is hollowed out a little. they call it “chambering”. this reduces the weight.
- headless to reduce the weight
- multi-scale to even out string feel and response characteristics
Physical, after 5 days with it:
- This has a lot of positions to play in. I find that placing it on my right leg, rotating into a position with the neck near my left shoulder is probably the easiest on my head/neck, but does mean I need a strap to hold the guitar in position. It is a little difficult to get used to the new rotation of both hands, but that is coming along reasonably well. I like it in regular position but that defeats the purpose (cough agreement) and placing it on my left leg is a good balance of those two, but I tend to bend the cable a little more than I like (it comes out behind the bridge).
- The neck being a trapezoid is REALLY comfortable for my hand. There is good depth for gripping with the whole hand, and there are flat edges for a thumb when trying to play more with finger tips. The flat edges are rotated a little along the length and seem about right no matter where on the neck you are trying to play.
- Tremolo bridge can easily detune your strings if you are heavy-handed with placing the picking hand down on it
- Strings are a little higher above the body than anything else I have. I tend to mute the big E unintentionally. Not muted by much, but I need to get used to holding my hand a little higher.
- Tuning screws are ok, but I feel more control with the traditional machine that has the big ‘paddle’ to grip. It is very easy to engage the tremolo when tuning, so you need to just let go to see if you tuned it to the right pitch.
- The angle of the frets barely feels different. Maybe this is because I don’t have a strong hand-mind connection yet? Just isn’t an issue for me at all.
Tonal after 5 days with it:
- this has a lot of pretty harmonics in all switch positions. I think this is in part from the chambering.
- It is a bit darker than I wanted, but it is easy to EQ where I want
- I have lot more of the rabbit hole to investigate, but there are amp models in the Helix that are not exciting on other guitars, and really interesting on this one. The Helix GSG100 model is wonderful on other guitars but sounds a little too noisy on this. I think it is the interaction of the resonances in the guitar and the feedback in the GSG model colliding.
- Switch settings are interesting: 1=neck HB; 2=outer split coils combined; 3=HB combined; 4=inner split coils combined; 5=bridge HB. Doesn’t have a single coil attack, but has about the right tonal mix.
- Still fine-tuning EQ settings and gain settings. I have been able to get acceptable sounds for acoustic, clean blues, Heart, Metallica, AC/DC. Almost SRV, missing the pop from those single coils but could be me too.
Still a lot to chase. rabbits everywhere! Why am I still writing this…