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Axis 3: Playability
Whether you’re an electric or acoustic player, the Professional Acoustic has playability characteristics that make both camps feel at home. With a body depth of 1-3/4”, a 25” scale, 1-11/16”-wide bone nut, rounded C-neck carve, 6100 jumbo frets and 16” fingerboard radius, there is an instant familiarity when playing it. The semi-hollow design results in a relatively lightweight instrument (6 lbs 15 oz.) that is not at all neck heavy and balances well in every playing position. I especially appreciated the brazen use of .011 – .048 strings, which not only demonstrates the guitar’s exceptional playability (full+ step bends are a breeze) but also brings out the bold yet nuanced voice of the instrument. The setup has just enough fight in it to make one really want to dig in, either in acoustic or electric mode. The heelless neck joint design augments the instrument’s playability, offering easy access to upper fret registers. Layout of the instrument’s controls is logical and offers the flexibility to control the volume of both the electric and acoustic pickups.
Axis 4: Tone
As you might guess, the tone achieves the same high standard as the other attributes of this acoustic/electric hybrid. Unplugged, the guitar’s voice approximates that of the venerable Martin D-18 with its mid-range emphasis, natural sustain and blooming overtones. The guitar is voiced with a pair of Fralin Unbuckers along with a GraphTech Ghost Acousti-Phonic preamp system. The switching system allows the player to play the guitar in acoustic mode, electric mode or blended. The natural acoustic tones of the guitar are brought out wonderfully by this pickup system. In this mode, the guitar produced a snappy, yet bold acoustic tone that does not distort at high volumes.
Likewise, the Fralin Unbuckers are a fine choice for its electric voice, as their uneven coil winds augment the split coil modes, which blend very nicely with the Ghost system. The 5-way switch is as follows: pos. 5, neck humbucker (8.0K); pos. 4, neck split (4.5K); pos. 3, neck and bridge humbuckers (8.0K, 9.2K); pos. 2, neck and bridge split (4.5K, 5.2K); and pos. 1, bridge humbucker (9.2K). The electric mode offers up useable tones that range from jazz to blues to classic rock. While the guitar did not feed back at high volumes, high-gain applications left me wanting a little extra cut, which is typical of most semi-hollow designs. I found the blended tones quite appealing; as the electric tones became livelier their frequency range was extended by adding the Ghost system to the mix.
The Final Mojo
I would encourage readers to consider the offerings of CP Thornton and experience an example of a guitar at the “Axis of Axes.”
you're seeking a well-executed acoustic-electric hybrid that you can pass on to future generations.
your hair metal gig demands high-gain lead tones along side your acoustic intros.
MSRP $4125 (base); $5085 (as reviewed) - CP Thornton Guitars - cpthorntonguitars.com