Nik Huber Redwood

November 14, 2006


As the name implies, the Redwood carries a highly figured carved redwood top—unusual, in that this is a softwood—atop a chambered mahogany body. Every piece of timber on this guitar exudes quality, from the finely grained mahogany of the neck and one-piece back to the rippling, broadly waved top. Even the switch tip, pickup mounting rings, and the trussrod and control cavity covers are made from wood—the former two of birdseye maple, and the latter of ebony. As much as the beauty of the woods grabs you, their weight makes an instant impression, as well. The mahogany used here is light and resonant. Add the considerable chambering in the body and the light redwood top, and you have a “solidbody” electric that tips the scales at a little under 7 lbs. To keep it all sounding and looking good, the Huber finishing process employs polyurethane base coats with a clear acrylicethane top coat. Nitrocellulose lacquer is available as an option.

The neck on this guitar is a real joy, with a shallow “D” profile tending toward “C” at the shoulders. It slides effortlessly through the hand, and the heavily sculpted heel provides easy middle-finger access right up to the 22nd fret. Despite the longer scale length, the Redwood’s wrapover bridge contributes to easy string bending. It’s a nifty piece of hardware in its own right, too. Made in-house by Huber, the bridge is carved from a solid block of aluminum. It features individual, intonation-adjustable saddles, and it’s designed for maximum coupling between the strings and body. (A Huber vibrato tailpiece is also available.)

Huber’s pickups are made by German winder Harry Häussel to the guitar maker’s specs. The Redwood’s pair are made in the image of the hallowed PAF, but with a view toward transmitting a little more clarity. To that end, the bridge ’bucker features alnico 3 magnets and has a DC resistance of approximately 7.9k ohms, while the neck unit is made with alnico 2 and reads around 6.8k ohms.


After traveling from Germany to Kentucky, Kentucky to California, and, finally, from California to a rather damp New England, the Redwood needed a tweak of the trussrod to achieve a little relief in the neck, and lift the strings out of the buzz zone. Once adjusted, it still retained a low, fast action, and virtually effortless playability. With its carved-top, single-cutaway looks, and easy bending, it’s easy to forget that the Redwood has a 252" scale. Plug it in, though (in this case through a Dr. Z Z-28, a TopHat Club Royale, and a Marshall DSL60), and the characteristics of that longer scale ring through. The guitar has a snappy, tight attack with a harmonic sparkle that 2434"-scale guitars struggle to achieve, along with impressive clarity—courtesy of the well-conceived

Häussel pickups. Along with the crispness and shimmer, however, there’s a warmth and girth that lends real muscle to the tone. Played clean, the Redwood excels at anything from round, jazzy tones—particularly when set to the neck humbucker—to twangy, cutting country with the coil split engaged and the pickup selector on the bridge or combined settings. Jacked through the class-A TopHat or the Marshall on crunchier settings, the Redwood performs some impressive Les Paul-like tricks, oozing all the grind and sustain a rock lead player could hope for.

One of the Redwood’s biggest surprises, though, is the wiry, stinging blues tones it conjures when set to the neck pickup with the coil split. Close your eyes, and you can almost picture a battered ’57 Strat. The Redwood is probably not aggressive enough for metal, but it does just about anything else extremely well, and it quickly reminds you how addictive superb playability and tone can become. Now, if only my bank account could support a Huber habit . . .

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