Exotica-Jersey Girl Gauche Mask

January 1, 2005

The staggered arrangement of the locking tuners provides for an arrow-straight string path over the polished nut, and the headstock is subtly decorated with a handmade two-tone inlay that echoes the position markers on the neck. The Gauche’s passive electronics are neatly wired and housed in a shielded cavity, and the simple controls include a 5-way switch that provides the standard pickup combinations, along with single-coil operation in positions 2 and 4. Nice touches include handmade wooden knobs for the Volume and Tone controls (which are also recessed into the top for a clean appearance), and a notched area on the back for the cup-style output jack.

The Gauche feels springy and fast with its light strings and ultra low action (which created some buzz in the higher positions). The buttery-smooth Wilkinson bridge also provides predictable pitch-bending that responds to the lightest touch on the bar. Through a Fender Twin Reverb and a mid-’70s Marshall, the Gauche delivers bright, lively tones with excellent low-end depth and tightness. The humbuckers are strong and clear, and they yield a broad range of rhythm and lead tones that are imbibed with a tantalizing blend of single-coil shimmer and humbucker mass. Lowering the guitar’s volume is accompanied by a slight loss of highs, but the well-voiced Tone control offers luscious shadings throughout its rotation. A rather big volume drop occurs when running the outside coil of either pickup in positions 2 and 4, but that’s less of an issue than the inability to combine the pickups in single-coil mode.

The Gauche is an intriguing guitar that rivals many top-dollar models from here and abroad in terms of tone, playability, and sheer artistry. If you yearn for something truly different to add to your collection of custom instruments, the Gauche offers boutique attributes aplenty. What would you expect from a guy who even makes stompboxes out of wood?

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