An Australian semi-hollow S-style with dual P-90s
|Download Example 1|
Both pickups, ran through a Fryette S.A.S. overdrive pedal
|Download Example 2|
Neck pickup on both guitar parts (tone rolled back on lead)
|Clips recorded using Fender Pro Junior amp, Planet Waves Custom Pro cables, and Apogee Duet into GarageBand|
Carved Halves, Greater Whole
Cole Clark’s construction, while not unprecedented, is an uncommon approach. The body on our review model is made from bunya—an Australian pine comparable to spruce but said to be slightly stronger (it’s also available in Queensland maple.) Whereas a typical semi-hollowbody, say a Gibson ES, is built from separate parts—laminated maple rims, top, and back, and a solid hunk of maple running through the middle—the Hollow Baby begins life as a solid hunk of wood that is cut in half, chambered, given a bass-side f-hole, and glued back together.
Made from quarter-sawn maple and capped with a slab of rosewood, the bolt-on neck on our review model is more traditional in construction. (Blackwood and maple fretboards are also available.) On the headstock, a curlicue carve looks like a nod to the pioneering designs of guitar pioneer Paul Bigsby. The neck also features an easy-to-access truss rod adjuster.
The Hollow Baby is outfitted with choice components: vintage-style six-in-line Grover nickel tuners, a Graph Tech nut, medium-jumbo Dunlop frets, and a proprietary two-point tremolo system, which offers more stability than a vintage six-screw configuration and incorporates a solid-steel sustain block and a push-in arm.
The Hollow Baby is available with a choice of fine single-coil pickups: a trio of Seymour Duncan Vintage Flat SSL-2s, Cole Clark Ultrasounds, Kinman Zero Hums, or a pair of Kinman P-90 Hxs like the pickups in our review guitar. The electronic components are made by CTS, Switchcraft, and OAK, and include a traditional three-way switch along with a master volume and tone control, connected with vintage-style cloth-covered wir-ing.
Overall, our Hollow Baby is well built and handsome. The fretwork is impeccable, the nut and saddles are tidily cut, and the neck sits snuggly in its pocket. More time could have been spent, though, sanding the f-hole and smoothing out the pickguard’s edges. While the sunburst finish is attractively colored and flawlessly applied, the nitrocellulose satin finish (standard across all of Cole Clark's guitars) feels a little cheap—especially given the care given elsewhere on the guitar. It's a personal preference, but I would liked to see it offered in gloss. On this model the crème pickup covers clash with the white pickguard. But all things considered, it’s a nicely done guitar.
Warm and Multifaceted
The Hollow Baby is a super light guitar—our review model weighed a mere 6.4 pounds—and comfortable to hold in both seated and standing playing positions. The neck is very comfortable as well, C-shaped and slim but not overly so. It has a Fender-style 25.5" scale length, but a relatively flat radius of 12"—more commonly encountered on Gibson guitars—allowing for wide bends without any danger of notes fretting out.
The Hollow Baby sounds loud and resonant before it ever meets an amplifier, thanks to its chambered build and thin nitro finish. Chords in all registers ring out with clarity, and single notes sound thick and snappy, with a pronounced midrange. The vibrato works well for adding subtle pitch-bending effects without disrupting the tuning.
Plugged into a Fender Pro Junior, the guitar really comes alive. Overall, the guitar sounds warm with a great deal more sustain than that of a traditional hollow body guitar, and the pickups are indeed nice and quiet.
The P-90–equipped Hollow Baby sounds at home in a range of styles. With the neck pickup engaged and the tone rolled down, the guitar provides a warm Grant Green–like tone. In contrast, with the tone turned up and the bridge pickup selected it has the twang of a Tele, with both pickups engaged it has a Strat-like spank. The guitar also works well for rootsy type stuff from riffs in the manner of Elvis Presley’s Scotty Moore to slack-tuned strumming à la Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty. One application that the Hollow Body might not work well for is in situations calling for ultra high-gain, but then again, shredders wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to this guitar.
Cole Clark’s Hollow Baby is a smartly designed chambered electric with a unique vibe that typifies the whole Cole Clark range. The guitar combines elements of Fender, Gib-son, and even Bigsby design in a unique hybrid. Best though, it’s featherweight and highly playable and offers a really wide range of hollow- and solidbody tones. And whether you’re a working pro or a weekend guitarist trying to cover as much stylistic ground as possible—short of metal shred—you can’t go wrong with a Hollow Baby.
you want a stylish chambered guitar that excels in a number of different contexts both in terms of playability and sound.
you're staunchly loyal to either Fender or Gibson.
Street $2230 - Cole Clark - coleclark-america.com
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.