The Fret-King Country Squire Semitone may look like a country gentleman, but there are a few surprises in its chambered body that mean there is more than meets the eye.

Fret-King is a British company associated with Trev Wilkinson, the man behind many innovative hardware designs. Fret-King guitars produce a range of instruments from entry-level priced guitars to studio quality instruments, but all of their instruments are built to a high standard. The Fret-King Country Squire Semitone is a very affordable instrument but it has a few more features than than you might initially expect.

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T CHANGE IT

The Fret-King Country Squire Semitone is built from quality tone woods with a two-piece American Alder body and a Canadian hard rock maple neck, along with a rosewood fretboard. The neck is easily accessible, right up to the 22nd fret, thanks to a sculpted heel and extra large cutaway design. This guitar has a very solid feel thanks in part to the extended tenon neck/body join, making it feel very sturdy and capable of years of abuse.

The body is chambered with an f-shaped sound hole, making it loud, and a great sounding instrument before you have even plugged it into your amp. The body is a string through design, the strings thread through the back of the body, which adds to the resonance. The shorter bridge design on this instrument makes palm muting and rock style guitar very comfortable, something that is not so easy on a traditional T style bridge. The bridge also features compensated brass saddles, making the guitar easy to intonate and keeping it in tune along entire the fretboard.

The pickup controls on the Fret-King Country Squire Semitone look like a traditional T style three-way selector and volume/tone control, but the Squire Semitone has a vari-coil feature that splits the humbuckers into single coil pickups, getting you closer to that T style twang. The humbuckers are also capable of getting very warm and mellow tones, making the Fret-King Country Squire Semitone a bit more of an all rounder guitar than your traditional T style guitar.

COUNTRY GENTLEMAN ON THE OUTSIDE, ROCK MONSTER WITHIN

There is a great deal of tones to be had on the Fret-King Country Squire Semitone, from humbucking fatness through to single coil twang. The single coil sounds may not be as authentic as the original T style guitar, but you do get in the ballpark. The humbucker tones are very full and warm, thanks to the higher than normal output of the Wilkinson pickups. The unique vari-coil coil-tapping feature gives you a much wider range of tones than a coil splitting push/pull pot or switch.

The Fret-King Country Squire Semitone is a comfortable guitar to play thanks to its 25.5 inch scale length and 10 inch fretboard radius. Chords are comfortable and the extra half-inch radius compared to a T style guitar means you can get the action that little bit lower. The finish on the neck is fast and slick, and the aesthetic of the whole guitar is pleasing, depending on your taste. The body is finished with a tasty tortoise shell binding, and a very tasty headstock shape reminiscent of early Epiphone designs.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Fret-King Country Squire Semitone does not have the twang you would associate with a guitar that has the word country in its name. It does however have some very useable tones, and for the price, it is great value. Thanks to its high quality hardware you will have no trouble setting this guitar up and getting years of playing out of it. Worth checking out if you are an intermediate or beginner player looking to upgrade your instrument.

PROS

Playability

Vari-coil option

Very comfy Wilkinson bridge

CONS

One finish available

CONTACT

NATIONAL AUDIO SYSTEMS

1 800 441 440

www.nationalaudio.com.au

PRICE: $1149