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In switching to the neck pickup, the Earlewood really has a fat and sassy tone that spanks out warm sustain. Both the Seymour Duncan JB (bridge) and JN (neck) humbuckers are direct mount pickups, allowing the electronics to resonate through the maple top and mahogany body. The Earlewood’s string-thru design further contributes to the sustain. Both pickup configurations dish up plenty of sustain and the bridge position offers up sweet harmonic overtones.
Cleaning It Up
Upon switching to the Mesa for my tone testing, I was able to examine the Earlewood’s cleanliness. The electronic package on the Earlewood features a fiveway switch that allows for coil tapping in positions two and four. In position two, the Earlewood is capable of producing transparent shimmering tones that would satisfy any clean tone purist. It was well balanced and nice and bright on the high end. I did encounter a bit of a buzz in this position, but it was inaudible while playing. Experimenting with position four, I found a real sweet spot that produced an enhanced bottom end and warmth not found in position three – also a nice place to hang out, obviously with a bit more rasp in humbucker mode, but still well-balanced and full.
The Earlewood neck features a conical (compound radius) fingerboard profile. With the ebony board and jumbo nickel frets, I found the neck to be very comfortable, and not a buzz or a fret out anywhere that I could find. The setup was flawless, with low, fast action – the bends were like butter and upper register access is great. Intonation seems to be balls on. Meticulous binding and fret inlay are aesthetically nice touches, but at the end of the day, the playability of an instrument of this caliber is what you would expect.
The Final Mojo
The upside is that the JET Earlewood is a handcrafted instrument that any guitar player will appreciate. Use of superior woods, innovative craftsmanship along with proven traditional luthering certainly puts JET in the well-respected category. Aesthetically, the JET Earlewood is as good as it gets anywhere, at any price. Hats off to Jeffrey Earl Terwilliger (JET) for producing an instrument that undoubtedly requires perspiration to provide guitar players worldwide with inspiration.
The downside is a bit of a buzz in position two and four with the humbucker coil tap. Not inexpensive, this investment grade quality requires investment grade pricing.
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