The guitar has some innovative design elements that are precisely executed. For example, the strings are strung through the lower end of the instrument at a 12-degree pitch to match the 12-degree pitch of the headstock. The added six inches of string length and symmetrical string pull certainly contribute to the resonance and sustain of the guitar. These sonic properties also appear to be augmented by the modified neck-through design, where the neck is set into the body up to the bridge prior to the top being installed. The handcarved rosewood and maple laminated control knobs, truss rod cover and pickup surrounds are nice design touches that are functional and add to the guitar’s attractive color palette. The strings pass over a chrome Tune-o-matic bridge and a 1-11/16" black Earvana nut, and anchor into a set of locking chrome Sperzel tuners. One of my few nits with the guitar was that I noticed some glue residue around the nut, which had some sharp edges that could’ve been softened. The chrome strap buttons pair well with the chrome Switchcraft sidemounted input jack. The size of the neck joint, along with the location of the strap button set into it, did hamper upper fret access, but it’s my understanding that Mellozzo is addressing both of these issues on future models. Lastly, the Nikita signature on the back of the neck joint is classy touch.
The high degree of craftsmanship embodied by the Classic model translates into an instrument that has exceptional natural sustain and tone. The guitar is lightweight, resonant and balanced in both sitting and standing positions. Strung up with a set of Thomastik-Infeld Power Brights (.010–.050), the guitar exhibits a prominent acoustic voice with a diversified frequency response from its combination of tone woods, giving the guitar a voice as unique as its design. Notes have ample bloom with a certain degree of immediacy that is likely contributed to by the 25.5" scale in conjunction with an ebony fingerboard. The neck has a comfortable, two-degree pitch that feels quite Gibson-esque and the fretwork is well executed.
Plugged into amps from Carr, Fender and TomasZewicZ, the Classic offers up an array of usable tones that are diverse enough to handle rock, blues and jazz applications. The guitar has excellent clarity and note separation, and it sits well in the mix, particularly in the lower mids. It also has a singing quality whereby single line notes simply hang for as long as you need them—a great attribute for a blues guitar. The humbucker combinations had a great blend of fatness and quack. While not as clear as a single-coil combination, they offer up an added harmonic complexity that gave the guitar more of an acoustic quality, perfect for fingerpicking. While I am a fan of Fralin PAFs for their ability to deliver classic humbucking tones with the right amount of airiness and bite, the High Ouput model in the middle position was a personal favorite. Its position and design gave it a thick, gritty quality that had more of a fundamental emphasis than the PAFs, making it a good choice for harder, classic rock-applications.
The Final Mojo
The Classic stands out as a top-notch guitar that solidly delivers in both the tone and looks departments. At a price of just under $10,000, one would need to recognize that a substantial portion of its value is derived from the degree of time and craftsmanship embodied in this handcrafted instrument. That said, with its broad tonal offerings and meticulous craftsmanship, it is an instrument worthy of consideration amongst guitarists who can appreciate fine art and fine tone in a single offering.
you share an equal appreciation for fine woods, handcraftsmanship and tone.
you don’t highly value a premium handcrafted instrument.
MSRP $9989 (as tested) - Nitkita Guitars - nikitaguitars.com