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Avian Guitars... what do you think???

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  • #16
    Shill is taking a break.

    Regarding the instruments, if, as their aesthetics and a very brief mention on the "About us" page suggest, these have been designed/QC'd by Harry Fleishman and Michael Bashkin, it's nice to see accessible interpretations of their work.
    Reality is the original Rorschach.

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    • #17
      Prince and Muse are the first things that pop in my head when I see these guitars.

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      • #18

        Hi guys I'm new here but since I have also been looking on the Internet for information on Avian guitars and I purchased one a few months ago I'd like to share my thoughts on them with you. 

        I was at the Shanghai Music Expo last October and purchased an Avian Swift BA from Roger Kimp, who was super nice and very available to answer questions. You can see the specs for the guitar on the Avian website so I won't list them here. Of course the first thing that attracted me to the Avian Swift was it's looks which are quite nice, very sleek and unique. I was particularly interested in it because of the fact that it has a chambered body. For many years my main guitar was a Danelectro 56-U2 reissue, and as much as I enjoy the tones I get from my fully solid body guitars I've always been chasing that particular tone since my U2 was destroyed in a freak sewage accident in a friend's garage. 

        Needless to say the Swift does not quite cop the tones of a fully hollow body masonite guitar with lipstick pickups, on the other hand the combination of chambered basswood body (in this case, it's the two wings that are carved out, you can hear the hollow parts when you knock the body) and both flame maple and rosewood caps produces a tone that covers a large frequency range and is very balanced rather than accentuating a particular part of the midrange. 

        I replaced the stock pickups, which I felt were a little characterless, with Seymour Duncan P-Rails and triple shot mounts. To be fair I didn't think the stock Belcat pickups are really bad or anything, just that they didn't have anything special. Especially with a body that produces such a full frequency sound, I feel like the pickups need to have something a little bit different to them in order to bring out the personality of the guitar. When I say that the guitar is full frequency I really mean that it doesn't have that low cut that a lot of fully solid body guitars seem to have so it may not sound very bright. The P-90 settings on the Seymour Duncan pickups really help to combat that by giving a certain brashness and  throatiness to the sound. I highly recommend that this be the first thing that you do when you get Avian Swift if you are not a fan of the stock pickups. 

        The build quality of the guitar is quite good. Some touches I particularly like are the Wilkinson E-Z lock tuners and Wilkinson VS 50 K II tremolo bridge which comes back to zero and sustains surprisingly well considering that the block is so small and made out of diecast. Perhaps this is an advantage of the chambered body. The fretwork is quite good and the rosewood used on the fingerboard is good quality. I did have some problems with the 21st fret which was slightly higher than the 20th. When I contacted Roger Kimp about this he was very fast to respond and told me that they usually have very good quality checking at the factory so possibly the problem was the result of the extreme humidity changes that can occur in Shanghai. At any rate a few seconds with a hammer and a block of wood and it was fine. Also the volume knob contains a push-push switch which in stock configuration with both pick ups on, switches from two humbucker middle sounds to the two inside coils for a Strat quack type of tone, very useful. In my current setup I have rewired the push-push switch to an out-of-phase switch. I find that with the P-Rails that this switch makes for more useful combinations then on a lot of my other guitars. 

        Other items of note: the control cavities are well shielded with foil so overall it's quite quiet even in single coil modes. The neck carve seems to be somewhat similar to a Fender modern C shape, although it does feel subtly different from my actual Fender Strats. 

        Overall I think this guitar is great value for the money. It's built well, it has very good tones and it's fuller frequency response means that there's a lot of capability for tone sculpting if you have a good EQ stack. Although it doesn't sound like any of the traditional guitar shapes that we are all familiar with, I would say that overall its vibe tonally is closer to a Gibson than a Fender, and it's ability to give me more options means that it is my main two-humbucker equipped guitar (my other choices are a Jazz/JB loaded Epi Les Paul, a Gretsch 5120 and a BC Rico Eagle). The fullness of its basic sound means that the cleans are very strong and distorted, saturated sounds are very thick. If you prefer tight bass or an accentuated midrange this may not be the guitar for you, but I find it immensely versatile and useful in many different styles of music.

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        • #19

          Incidentally Roger also told me that Michael Bashkin is the designer for the Swift and that they are considering putting in covered humbuckers as an option. 

          I should also note that when I play out, the Avian is a great guitar if you are the only guitar player. If there's another guitarist, I prefer my Strats as I find it easier to cut through with them; they're much much brighter.

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          • gardo
            gardo commented
            Editing a comment

            Didn't I see one of these on an episode of The Jetsons ?  I think Judy's boyfriend had one .


        • #20

          Dream Guitars here! We recently started carrying Avian guitars. We chose them for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that they are designed by the living legends Michael Bashkin and Harry Fleishman. Michael and Harry trained the builders and staff in both construction techniques and voicing. Whereas many instruments made overseas are in massive factories that churn out multiple brands of guitars, Avian has their own one-of-a-kind facility, located in Guangzhou, China that produces only their designs to an extremely high level of precision and care.

          In voice, their guitars are highly versatile and sound great acoustically or plugged in whether picked, strummed, or plucked. They have plenty of headroom and have a much sweeter, richer sound than other guitars in their price range - Taylors tend to be brighter and Martins dryer and crisper in sound. And given that they sound, look, and play as good as they do... They're pretty tough to beat. Even their cases look cool! http://www.dreamguitars.com/instruments.php?sname=avian

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