Designed to advance the concept of the threepickup
guitar with a vibrato tailpiece, the
NF3 features a maple-on-maple bolt neck
(the same type used on the DC3) and a body
made of korina—a coveted wood used most
famously by Gibson in the late ’50s for the
Flying V and Explorer. (The black finish on
our review guitar obscures the beauty of this
wood, but it’s good to know you can order
the NF3 with a natural finish.) The next
pieces of the puzzle here are the Narrowfield
pickups, which are slimmer versions of
the 57/08 humbuckers found on the McCarty
58 and SC 58 guitars. The Narrowfields have
no covers, which, combined with their narrower
aperture, further contributes to how
they shape the sound.
The NF3 features the same vibrato bridge
used on the DC3, along with the same control
layout, which pairs Volume and Tone
controls with a 5-way pickup selector. The
natural-finished neck with its rolled over
edges offers similarly excellent playability,
and the intonation is solid and tuneful
throughout the span of the fretboard.
In practice, the NF3 is less radical than
its woods and pickups might suggest. This
is definitely a humbucker guitar for singlecoil
players. You get much of the fatness and
all of the output the standard 57/08 humbuckers
deliver, but the NF3’s sounds are
naturally slimmer and snottier. Its voice has
a nice openness that’s cool for fingerpicking
excursions and chiming rhythm textures,
while the punch of full humbucker output
lies in waiting for crushing chords and soaring
solos. The pickups are dead quiet, but
when you strike the pickguard with your fingers,
the noise is heard through the amp.
Perhaps there could be a way to better isolate
the pickups from this kind of vibration
The NF3 definitely has a voice of its own,
and players who dig Strats with a bridge
humbucker will appreciate where it’s coming
from. With that in mind, it might have
also been cool to provide the option of splitting the middle and neck pickups, so as to
get closer to the classic hum/sing/sing configuration.
At any rate, the NF3 is an
intriguing guitar and it will be interesting
to see what types of players pick up on what
it has to offer.
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