The U.S.A.-made I-35 is a magnificent example of guitar making. To find any construction or finish flaws, I think you’d need an atomic microscope, because the naked eye will see nothing but perfection from heel to headstock. I even did former GP editor Andy Ellis’ trick of sneaking a small mirror through the f-holes to expose any rough innards, but everything appeared to be as neat and clean as a surgeon’s instrument tray. The quality control is so off-the-map that lugging the I-35 to a club gig struck me as little different than toting a Rembrandt to a kindergarten fingerpainting class. And yet, if this beauty can’t be a beast on stage, then, as far as I’m concerned, it’s more of an investment than an instrument.
From a playability standpoint, the I-35 continues to be achingly seductive. Its wide, vintage-style neck and superbly dressed frets are so inviting that your technique improves about 20 percent simply by placing your fingers on the fretboard. It’s a magical experience. I thought the ivoroid knobs might be slippery, but the material grips your pinky tightly, and the pots turn with exceptional smoothness. The pickup-selector switch is positioned for easy, on-the-fly manipulation—although wild strummers might hit it by accident.
While I was a bit embarrassed subjecting the I-35 to punk rock, it was more than game to rage. There’s a hint of sophistication in every tone—a smooth sheen to the highs, midrange frequencies akin to polished steel, and tight lows—but when I cranked the gain, the I-35 responded with all the snot and grit you’d expect from more obviously rock-oriented axes. However, you also get the versatility to dial in stout and resonant jazz timbres, open-sounding acoustic-like tones, and clean and funky pops and snaps. I tagged the I-35 as “Johnny Depp” because he’s a striking movie star who can carry Hollywood blockbusters, and still be believable in dark indie films. The I-35 can do it all, as well, but, like a box-office champ, it’ll cost you big time for the privilege of its partnership.
IK Multimedia Releases MODO Bass
TC Electronic Releases 13 New Pedals
Fodera Presents Lincoln Goines Rhythm and Improvisation Clinic
Radial's Updated Tonebone Switchbone V2 is Now Shipping
Spitfire Audio Announces Availability of Albion V Tundra
Elektron Announces Analog Heat is Now Shipping
Butch Boswell Wants Every Guitar He Builds to Be a Knockout
Pentatonic Boxes That Donâ€™t Suck
Brian May, Battling â€œPersistent Illness,â€ Scraps 2016 Dates
Refused Announce New 'Servants of Death' EP
Ex-God Forbid Guitarist Doc Coyle Launches "Ex-Man" Podcast, Interviews Ex-Members of Bands
The Pretty Reckless Perform Acoustic Version of "Take Me Down"
Tsakalis AudioWorks Introduces Crown British-Style Overdrive Pedal
Gear Review: IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors
George Harrison Shows Off His Beatles Guitars in 1974 Video
Copyright ©2016 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470