We review the Rock Guitar from Brown''s Guitar Factory.

Download Example 1
This example toggles through each pickup configuration in humbucking setting. First the neck pickup only, then both pickups together, followed by the bridge pickup only.
Download Example 2
The Guitar Rig amp simulator plug-in was used for signal processing.
Download Example 3
This example starts with the neck pickup in single coil mode, followed by an example with both the neck pickup in single coil mode and bridge pickup in humbucking mode.
BGF Rock Guitar plugged into an Avalon Vt737sp Tube preamp, and then directly into Digidesign Pro Tools. No other plug-ins or processing used unless otherwise specified.
Brown’s Guitar Factory (BGF) originally started as a repair shop in Inver Grove Heights, MN. The company started designing tools for guitar repair and building, and eventually they took advantage of their guitar knowledge and experience to begin building guitars themselves. Their first innovative creation was the Fretted/Less Bass, which contains frets from the nut to the 12th fret and a fretless fingerboard for the higher octave range. We were the lucky recipients of the prototype Rock guitar for review, and if this instrument is an indication of the quality BGF is capable of, we have much to look forward to as they grow the business.

Rock It
When I first saw the BGF Rock guitar, it reminded me a little of Robin Guitar’s popular body shapes from the early ‘90s, with nice curves and asymmetric body style. The body, neck and fingerboard are Hard Rock maple and this particular guitar features a 25.5" scale length, 15" radius fingerboard, Sperzel locking tuners, Floyd Rose tremolo system and Seymour Duncan pickups. However, BGF is indeed a custom shop, so the customer has the choice of wood, finish, hardware and electronics for their own guitar. It’s available in either Fretted/Less or standard models, 6 or 7 string, and a solid or chambered body.

The feature that caught my eye right away was the flamed spalted maple bookmatched top. Spalting occurs when wood rots or is eaten by insects, leaving dark veins that look like a pen and ink drawing. I know that doesn’t sound too pleasant, but once it is stabilized, the result is a beautiful decorative wood. Spalted maple figuring must take place under just the right conditions and is pretty rare, so it’s no surprise that you usually only find it on high-end guitars. The spalted maple on the top and headstock of this BGF guitar has a unique, attractive pattern that adds more class and style than a boring one-color paint job on a solidbody electric.

Rock On
The BGF guitar definitely rocks out with two Seymour Duncan pickups—a PAF-like’59 and a JB Trembucker. I plugged into a variety of amps—an Egnater Tourmaster 4212, a Vox BM1 Brian May and a Marshall MG15MSII. The different pickup combinations and the addition of a coil tap switch contributed to the Rock’s multiple personalities. With a dirty sound, there was nice blend of distortion with tons of sustain, with singing highs for soloing. Backing off on the distortion, I was able to play other styles with ease—everything from jazz to funk to country, and the BGF adapts well to any environment. However, this is named a Rock guitar, and a guitarist won’t have any problems rocking out with the fast neck, hot pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo.

The real test was playing the guitar unplugged as well as plugging directly into my Pro Tools rig with the signal unmodified, to get the true tone of the wood and pickups. The maple body stayed true to its reputation for having a lot of high end and a powerful bass. The midrange is somewhat scooped out, and I actually prefer that in a clean tone.

Rock To Go
I would only change a few things if I were to order a BGF Rock guitar for myself. I did like the smooth, unfinished neck, but the neck profile took me by surprise at first. The two-piece neck on this particular guitar doesn’t immediately curve from the edge of the fingerboard, resulting in about a quarter-inch flat edge on either side of the neck before the curve starts. Because I have smaller hands, I would prefer a slightly smaller, thinner neck than this one, however, this was built for one of Brown’s clients who specified that neck profile. Also, I would prefer a deeper cutaway since accessing the highest frets was a bit of a challenge. BGF is more than willing and able to cater to those preferences when custom-making a guitar.

The Final Rockin’ Mojo
Brown’s Guitar Factory’s philosophy seems to be, “You dream it, we’ll build it.” Adding your personal specs to their available options, such as their innovative Fretted/Less concept, is an excellent combination. Since they are just getting started with building solidbody electrics, it will be exciting to see what the future holds for BGF.

Buy if...
you like to choose the wood, finish, hardware and electronics for a well-built custom-made guitar.
Skip if...
you’d rather have a run-of-the-mill guitar, or can’t wait a couple of months for a custom-made instrument.

MSRP $3800 - Brown’s Guitar Factory - brownsguitarfactory.com

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