February 25, 2011

Named for the late Ted McCarty, the original McCarty’s mahogany/maple construction, superb 22-fret neck with large heel, PRS stoptail bridge, and pair of great-sounding humbuckers combined to make it pretty much everything you could ask for in a classic rock guitar. The McCarty 58 takes this time-tested platform to a higher degree of refinement courtesy of the new V12 finish, Pattern neck shape, and 57/08 humbuckers.

There were no real surprises when testing the McCarty 58. It has the familiar great feel of our late-’90s McCarty, the neck is super easy to play, and the setup spot on. While the V12 finish probably makes it a little more resonant, the most notable updates are the new humbuckers, which offer outstanding complexity and depth while maintaining the same PAF-level output of the original pickups.

The tones though our test amps were extremely satisfying across the board. The neck pickup is a real standout with its crystalline clarity and pianistic lows, and there’s so much shimmer on tap that it wasn’t necessary to put the pickups into split mode to get bright, airy rhythm textures. Whether going for funky dual-pickup timbres or pushing some gain with the bridge humbucker for a fat, screaming lead sound, the McCarty excels for its ability to do it all extremely well.

Touch responsiveness is also very impressive, and the dynamic sensitivity makes the McCarty 58 a perfect vehicle for players who like to control their rhythm and lead tones with the guitar’s volume knob. The attitude of making a great thing even better has once again yielded one of the coolest modern dualhumbucker axes you can find. This is truly an impressive guitar, and it receives an Editors’ Pick Award.

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