Review: Buzz Feiten Gemini Blues Pro Deluxe

Many players search endlessly for the right gear to give them the sound they seek—Buzz Feiten creates it.
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Many players search endlessly for the right gear to give them the sound they seek—Buzz Feiten creates it. Whether it’s speaker cabinets, a tuning system to meet his own demanding specs, or now a full line of guitars, this highly accomplished guitarist has always invented the musical tools he felt were missing from the marketplace. Feiten’s latest guitar model is the Gemini Blues Pro Deluxe, a modified T-type that lives up to the “Deluxe” moniker by featuring a beautiful black finish (including matching headstock), a flame-maple fretboard, and a flame-maple top, some of which is visible in the exposed edge “binding.” (Feiten uses AAA flame maple for tops with transparent finishes.)

The Blues Pro Deluxe’s medium-carve, C-shaped neck is designed to be more accommodating to a wider range of players than the chunkier necks found on earlier Feitens. And while the scale length remains a Fender-style 25.5", the .010-gauge strings actually feel more like .009s. Reason? According to sales manager Joe Carletta, this is because Feiten uses a top-load bridge as opposed the string-through-the-body type usually found on a Tele, which decreases string angle across the saddles; effectively lowering the string tension, creating a slinkier playing feel, and reducing the chance of string breakage. Combined with the low-action factory setup, funk rhythms were a blast to play, but there was a tendency for notes to choke off a bit when I aggressively picked clean single-note lines. This was not due to any inconsistencies in the otherwise perfect fretwork, but rather from the physics of the shallower string angle. I found that raising the action slightly accommodated my style of lead playing better, but whether with lower or higher action, strummed chords and arpeggios showed no lack of sustain—the Feiten rang beautifully and sounded as perfectly in tune as you would expect.

The maple top and neck, combined with the lower-wind proprietary humbuckers, helped the tones remain clear and detailed, even with heavy distortion applied by Keeley Katana and True-tone Jekyll & Hyde pedals. Running into Fender Blues Junior or Little Walter 50-watt amplifiers, the Blues Pro Deluxe proved a very versatile guitar, and part of this is due to a Series/Parallel switch for the bridge pickup, which provides five useful pickup combinations and allows you to tap into a brighter, Tele-like response with the bridge pickup’s coils in parallel. It all adds up to making the Blues Pro Deluxe an excellent choice for rock, funk, country, and just about anything else that needs a guitar that has T-style character and the girthy wallop of humbuckers.

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Any fan of Feiten’s guitar playing will instantly understand the design choices on the Gemini Blues Pro Deluxe; playing this guitar was the closest I have gotten to his funky, jazzed-up sound in decades of trying. But, even if you only know him as the man who helped guitarists sound more in tune, you’ll appreciate the charms of this beautifully made, great-sounding instrument.

MODEL

GEMINI BLUES PRO DELUXE
CONTACT buzzfeitenguitars.com
PRICE $2,850 street

SPECIFICATIONS
NUT WIDTH 1.7"
NECK Two-piece, quarter sawn northern maple. Medium “C” carve.
FRETBOARD Maple, 25.5" scale
FRETS Dunlop 6100 jumbo nickel steel
TUNERS Feiten Precision die-cast 15:1
BODY Alder back, maple top. AAA flame maple for see-thru finishes
BRIDGE Custom designed, top-loading with proprietary, Feiten designed machined-brass saddles
PICKUPS Feiten designed BF109 humbuckers (manufactured by G&B pickups exclusively for Buzz Feiten Guitars)
CONTROLS Volume, Tone, 3-way toggle, mini switch for switching bridge pickup from series to parallel
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .010-.046
WEIGHT 6.5 lbs
BUILT USA
KUDOS High quality construction. Articulate sound. Excellent playability. Versatile.
CONCERNS None.

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