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Sound Quality

I play indie/lo-fi/alt/progressive rock mostly and this guitar smokes! I tried it at the pawn shop I got it from on an average amp and it sounded like a dream, got a nice clean tone and a very organic sounding overdrive out of the mid-range solid state I was using. I have it running through a Boss DS-1 Distortion (modified to sound more like overdrive), Boss BD-2 Bluesdriver and into either a Vox Pathfinder 10 solid-state 10w practise amp for use in my room or a Gunn 50w all-tube head and 1x12" cab for really thrashing it out. The Bluesdrive works as a volume boost and overdrives the Gunn really nicely, the Vester sounds very 70's tube-rock with it going, though I am running it through a bass speaker at the moment and really need to sort a guitar one out (4x10 cab hopefully) so I don't have to drop the bass and up the treble to pan it out. The Mod 700 doesn't get a super-hard distortion without feebacking a lot if the strings aren't muted by hand - my mod'd DS-1 puts a stop to unnecessary noise, but I tried friend's Danelecto Fab-Tone in my chain instead of the DS-1 and it sounded much better as a distorted/overdriven sound, though the excess fuzz was annoying. (Having said that, the Fab-Tone is a noisy unit anyway and my DS-1, even when normal was nowhere near as rough.) I'm going to get the DS-1 mod'd back and see how that sounds, I wager it'll be the rock tone I yearn for. Currently, the tone produced by the boosted DS-1 is flat and processed, I want a more garage rock sound. Whilst I can play everything I like on this guitar, it's certainly not a metal axe. The hardest things I play are At The Drive In, Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters. I'm more a fan of bands like Interpol, The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Mars Volta and Incubus. The Vester Mod 700 is a perfect guitar for these sounds because of the hollowbody qualities and the split switch, which can really change the sound of the tone, especially on my tube amp. The Vester also plays very nicely acoustically (thanks to the f-holes) and on a clean tone. I never play clean-clean, usually employ a slight gain on my BD-2 Bluesdriver, which is one of the best Boss pedals you can have for either a boost or slight overdrive, though the crunch the Vester produces is pretty good as well. I can't comment on the pickups too much because the bridge one has been replaced, but unlike many other more reputable brands like Epiphone and Ibanez, there's no drop in volume from going to the neck humbucker to the bridge, regardless of whether it's set for single-coil or humbucker mode. I like the total sound of this guitar, the only thing that really limits it is the feeback from potential effects units due to the hollowbody, but I'd never make it a full-on distortion guitar except in the occassional instance. It's a highly-variable guitar apart apart from that one fact, but unless you're full-on metalhead, you won't worry. Besides, it's a blues-rock guitar anyway. It gets a slight reduction in score due to the afformentioned tonal knob issues and the feedback.

Reliability/Durability

I'd say this guitar would be gig-worthy without a doubt, I'd want to get a service done beforehand and slap on new strings. I wouldn't gig without a backup, I've got a Squire Strat as well, but I'd probably borrow another guitar if I could as I don't think my Squire would cope to well with live playing. Obviously, it's had some of the hardware replaced on it, but I wager things like the tuners, bride and switches will last the distance. Things like frets and pickups eventually need replacing, but I am not sure if I'll have the guitar in six months away - i change gear a lot. I wager I could depend on it - based on the pristine condition of the body, it looks rock-solid. There are a few scratches and signs of age, but nothing like what I've seen on other guitars that aren't as old.

Price/Value


General Comments

Been playing for about seven years on and off and been in a couple of bands, not gotten much better in the last couple, still only of average level. I've owned a plethora of gear over the last few years, loads of amps, both solid state and valve and more effects than you can shake a stick at. Currently, I'm down to a few things as I'm not gigging and until I do, I don't need all the fancy stuff. I'm in a prog-rog/indie/alt band right now, but we're still fairly new and starting up.

 

My previous main guitar was an Epiphone SG that I adored, but sold to make money - it didn't play anywhere near as nicely as my Mod 700 despite the fact that they are valued more in terms of price and I was pleasantly surprised by how good this guitar really is. I value it most because of the fact it's a hollowbodied guitar with a set neck and good (not the best, but better than average) pickups and a sweet, sweet neck.

 

Compared with other guitars in this price range, it beats everything I've seen second hand for the last six months (and I shop for gear at least once a fortnight) and even several guitars I have tried new. I played a second hand Squire Telecaster the same day as the Vester and it was pretty poor in comparison with the Mod 700. The only thing I've had to really get used to is the larger body size - my SG was reasonably smaller but the weight is about the same.

 

I chose this because it was both asthetically attractive and played far better than I expected. My experience with Vester in the past has only been with really {censored}ty Strat copies that play like crap and look awful so this was a pleasant surprise. My favorite features are the pickup splitter and hollowbody, just because it makes my tone more variable. I've never been a huge fan of the 335 shape - always looked to big and cubmersome, preferring things like SG's, Telecasters and Thunderbirds, but I've warmed to it a lot.

 

I'm toying with replacing the pickups, which I really think will make this guitar on par with guitars in the $1k+ mark. If it were stolen, I'd be really pissed off, because I know my chances of finding another one at this price are next to non-existant here.

 

The only reason that my Vester Mod 700 doesn't get a 10 is because it's not a real Gibson 335! Even then, it's closer then some Epiphones replica's I've seen!


Reviewer's Background



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