hipshot products

Photo 1 — The Hipshot string-bender is our columnist’s mod, but otherwise this offbeat blend of body and build styles arrived as is, with a P-90 in the neck slot and a single-coil slung T-style in the bridge position.

Three offers and a partial refund—the beginning of a beautiful 6-string friendship.

I was surfing on eBay a while ago and checked out some of the auctions that a favorite seller of mine had going on. My seller is a Cozart dealer and specializes in China-made instruments. This month’s guitar caught my eye. It’s kind of a cross between a Tele, a Mustang, and a Les Paul Special. It has a mahogany body and neck, a T-style headstock, and an ashtray bridge with a 3-way adjustment. The bridge is top-loading and has a T-style single-coil pickup, and the controls are mounted on a T-style chrome control plate. The neck pickup is a P-90 (Oh yeah, mama! My favorite flavor!), and the guitar has a Mustang-like body shape. The headstock says “King.” I’ve bought a few King-labeled guitars before, with good luck, so I bookmarked it and kept an eye on it.

Usually 5 to 10 percent lower than asking price is still in the ballpark. What do you have to lose?

After a few days, I started thinking more and more about this guitar. You know how it is. A guitar starts speaking to you in your dreams or something. There was a buy-it-now price of $189.99 with free shipping, but the listing also said, “or best offer,” so, being the bottom feeder I am, I made an offer of $165. The bid was automatically declined, so I inched my way up to $170. Declined again. So, finally, having only one bid left, I said $175. That seemed to be the magic number. The offer at that point was sent to the seller, who accepted it within a few hours, and the deal was made.


Photo 2 — Note the Will Ray signature Helle-Bender, the standard T-style control dial plate, and the ashtray bridge with 3-way adjustment. Despite the latter, fret-filing was required to knock out this guitar’s buzzing upon arrival.

Bottom Feeder Tip #377: Since eBay allows you to make a total of only three offers during the auction cycle of an item, I try not to offend the seller with an offer that is too lowball. Usually 5 to 10 percent lower than asking price is still in the ballpark. What do you have to lose?


Photo 3 — This instrument’s exact origins are a bit unclear, but it’s ostensibly made in China and it’s not the first King in the Bottom Feeder collection.

I received the guitar about four days later. I was excited to unpack it. It had a cool look. I did a quick setup. The King T-Stang played very well, but there were a few high frets that bugged me. I kept adjusting the bridge and truss rod to minimize the problem, but the buzzing still continued to bother me.


Photo 4 — With its bolt-on neck, mahogany body, and poly finish, this instrument appears to have gotten some genuine love on the production floor.

I finally made the decision to email the seller and explain the problem. I made a suggestion: How about a $25 partial refund so I could get the problem addressed by a good guitar tech? To his credit, the seller immediately PayPal’d me the $25 and we were both happy campers. I decided to work on the buzz problem myself by filing down the high frets in a couple of areas, and then I slapped a Hipshot bender on the guitar—a sure sign that an instrument is a keeper. I can’t explain it, but this King is just a fun little guitar to play. Listen to my MP3 online and hear it sing!

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Can an entry-level modeler hang with the big dogs?

Excellent interface. Very portable. Nice modulation tones.

Some subpar low-gain dirt sounds. Could be a little more rugged.

$399

HeadRush MX5
headrushfx.com

3.5
4
4
4.5

The allure of portability and sonic consistency has become too much to ignore for some guitarists, making smaller digital modelers more appealing than ever.

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Emily Wolfe lets loose, with an Epiphone Sheraton around her shoulders. Her signature Sheraton Stealth was released in 2021. "The guitar is the perfect frequency range for my soul," she says.

Photo by Brittany Durdin

The rising guitar star blends classic and stoner rock, Motown, and more influences with modern pop flourishes in songs replete with fat, fuzzy, fizzy tones from her new Epiphone Sheraton signature.

For so many artists, the return of live shows means the return of the thrill of performing, much-needed income, and, in a way, purpose. The third definitely goes for guitarist Emily Wolfe, who, when asked about her goals, immediately responds, "I just want to play arenas every night for the rest of my life. When I go up there, something could hit me at any point—an emotion that I felt 10 years ago could come out in a bend on the low E."

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