Steve Casper of Casper Guitar Technologies builds a really nice guitar using high quality materials and his excellent luthier skills. The model that Steve sent me to check out is based on the archetypal Tele style guitar. You’re probably thinking here’s another T clone, like there aren’t enough of them out there already. But wait….. Steve has a very unique approach to guitar building that really caught my attention. Read on and see.
Back in September of 2010 Steve wrote an article and it was published here at 300guitars. The article was long and in depth so it was split into two parts and was called “The Anatomy of an Eco Friendly Guitar“. You see, Steve uses materials and building processes that have the least impact on the environment. From using “recycled” hardware, a solar powered shop to eco friendly finishes and “smartwood” Steve has got it down to impact the environment as little as possible with every guitar he builds. Ok, so Steve’s guitars are not affecting the environment that much but how do they sound?
I received the CGT-TS guitar in a very well packed and padded hardshell case which is included in the modest $1495 price. The finish is really nice, thin nitrocellulose which helps the guitar breath and resonate. The assembly looks super clean along with the wiring in the control cavity. Fret work is excellent and the nut is one of the nicest I’ve seen. Some specs include: Poplar “smartwood” body, maple/Indian rosewood neck, 12″ radius fretboard, bone nut, Duncan STL-1 and STR-2 pickups, CTS pots with orange drop cap, 4-way switch and D’Adarrio .010-.046 strings. This particular guitar weighs in at about 7.5lbs. It is very comfortable to play because of the lighter weight and front forearm contour. The neck shape is similar to a 1960’s Fender C shape which is very comfortable. Another unique feature is that this guitar is fitted with a SNAGG microchip. This chip provides a method for police to identify the guitar if it were lost or stolen. A lot of great features! Traditional Tele pickers will like this guitar as well as modern Tele guys.
With the specs out of the way it was time to plug and play which is always my favorite part. I used my small 30 watt 1×12 Pennalizer amp which is based on the last amp I built for Brian Fallon of the Gaslight Anthem. Starting with the bridge pickup I played some chicken pickin’ Tele lines and let some chords ring out. The sound was full bodied with some twang on the top. It reminded me of a healthy alderbody/rosewood neck vintage type Tele. No anemic sound here! Both pickups together gave me a nice round rockabilly sound and the neck pickup by itself was also full bodied and warm sounding. I liked the neck pickup sound a lot for blues and jazzy lines. Then there was still the 4th position to try. In this position both pickups are in series instead of parallel which yields a loud, punchy tone as opposed to the sweet sound of the usual two pickup combination in parallel. Lots of versatility here for a two pickup guitar. Tweaking the volume and tone controls with each pickup combination got even more usable sounds for live gigs and recording.
The neck was very comfortable to play. It seemed to fit into my hand very nicely. I could bend strings with zero choking anywhere on the neck even with the nice low action because of the 12″ radius. This was a pleasure because I like to do those nice country bends and it’s a pet peeve of mine when the notes don’t ring out as you execute the bends and use the volume control to get steel guitar type effects. The larger 6100 frets make bending very easy as well. Each fret was crowned nice and round on top to minimize string friction/drag. This is super important!
I really like this guitar for a number of reasons. 1- The production of this guitar has a very low impact on the environment. 2- The quality level is excellent and the price tag is modest. 3- Steve is a great guy and if you have any questions or need to contact him he answers back very quickly. I love his customer support! This would be a great guitar to take on live gigs and recording sessions because it is comfortable, versatile and very easy to play for hours on end. You can get a wide variety of tones from CGT-TS because of the 4-way switch so studio cats will like this as a “go to” Tele type guitar. All of this and the build process has low impact on the environment. This is win-win in my opinion. Thanks for letting me check out your guitar Steve!!!
Click here to visit Casper Guitar Technologies for more info.