Our review of the semi-hollow Professional Acoustic from CP Thornton Guitars reveals myriad reasons to be impressed.
|Download Example 1|
|Download Example 2|
Hybrid Mode - Pos 4 (Neck HB Split)
|Download Example 3|
Electric Jazz - Pos 5 (neck HB), Tone 5
|Download Example 4|
Electric Rock - Pos 1 (Bridge HB), into Carr Mercury 1x12
SIGNAL CHAIN: Unless otherwise specified, all clips were recorded with a Sony PCM-D50 using Monster Cables into a Fender Blackface Bandmaster Head/Music Man RH150 2x10 Cab with the guitar's Tone and Volume at 10.
At PG we’re grateful for the number of exceptional guitars submitted for review consideration. They all have compelling attributes, whether it’s aesthetics, tone, playability, design innovation and craftsmanship, or any combination thereof. If you think analytically like myself, you could view these attributes as axis lines on a graph. When an instrument is able to excel across these all these attributes, its resultant plot lines intersect, as I like to think of it, at the “Axis of Axes.” The Professional Acoustic model produced by CP Thornton Guitars of Turner, ME, is an example of an instrument at the Axis of Axes. After 20 years of guitar study, instruction and performance, Chuck Thornton began pursuing his lifetime dream of “creating heirloom quality instruments that strike the rare balance of breathtaking beauty and engineering excellence.” In the mid-eighties, he began building custom basses and guitars, and in 1993 he teamed up with renowned luthier Dana Bourgeois, working in his shop producing handcrafted acoustics and honing his skills, particularly in the art of tone-tapping and wood selection. Three years later, Chuck broadened his knowledge of stringed instrument design and woodworking skills working with violinmaker Jon Cooper. In 2000, he rejoined Dana Bourgeois at his new venture, Pantheon Guitars, working with many fine luthiers, including future CP Thornton business partner Richard Shapiro. Since opening its doors in 2004, CP Thornton has produced over 200 guitars and offers seven different models (five semi-hollow and two solidbody designs) including the semi-hollow Professional Acoustic model reviewed here.
Axis 1: Aesthetics
The Professional Acoustic model exudes understated elegance with timeless appointments. The single cutaway body is carved from solid tone woods: master-grade Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, a design decision that gives a nod to the venerable Martin D-18, which served as a sonic standard for the instrument’s acoustic tones. The top features a pair of f-holes and is finished in Extra Vintage Tobacco Sunburst with a thin top coat of catalyst urethane. The finish has just enough yellow and dark maroon accents to make you think that the guitar has been around for decades. The top finish is accented by a scraped top binding of spruce and is further highlighted by a very tasteful strip of super thin black/white/black violin-style purfling.
The two-piece quarter-sawn mahogany neck is capped with an ebony fingerboard and joins the body at the sixteenth fret with a patented neck-through design. The neck and headstock are tied together with an inlaid white accent strip, along with an expertly applied snowflake mother-of-pearl inlay. To complete the timeless aesthetics of the guitar, black and gold are the basis for the hardware package that includes a gold TonePros stoptail bridge, black GraphTech bridge saddles, gold pickup covers with black surrounds, black bell-style knobs, gold 5-way DiMarzio switch with black plastic tip, black selector mode switch, gold Gotoh 510 18:1 ratio tuners with black buttons, and gold strap buttons with black felt bushings.
Axis 2: Design Innovation / Craftsmanship
Three distinct patents are incorporated into all of CP Thornton’s hand-built semi-hollow designs. The first is the sculpted neck joint that is made possible via the neck-through design, which helps maintain proper instrument balance and reduces feedback. The second patent covers the headstock design featuring radiused volutes behind the headstock and at the base of the ebony headplate veneer, adding strength and mass to a historically vulnerable part of a guitar. Lastly, the elegant single cutaway body shape is patented.
While they all share the same physical dimensions, the voice of each semi-hollow CP Thornton model is created by custom-carving the tone-tapped solid woods. The Professional Acoustic model uses Sitka spruce with mahogany to create its bold acoustic voice. Drawing upon Thornton’s violin-making experience, the carved top and back are designed to maximize natural sustain, and to fine-tune the “singing” voice of the instrument. The top and back are attached to the neck-through wood blank with sound posts, in a manner that not only permits sound to transfer seamlessly from the top to the back, but also reduces excess feedback when played at higher volumes. Likewise the carved top is designed so that it won’t distort under string pressure. Under the hood, the same level of craftsmanship is evident, as the guitar is expertly wired using Teflon-coated milspec silver wire. All in all, this innovative design is well-executed.
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
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.