ARCH OF TRIUMPH
Prestige Classic electric guitar
BY ERIC KIRKLAND
British Columbia’s Prestige Guitars is one of the youngest manufacturers in the industry, garnering rave reviews soon after its first guitar rolled off the line in 2003. Although the basic shapes and configurations of Prestige axes are inspired by classic instruments, each guitar is distinguishably modern in design. For example, the new Prestige Classic appears to be a standard, midpriced Les Paul–style guitar. Look a little closer and you’ll see that its maple top is gracefully arched. Plug it in and you’ll hear bright and lively sounds that are just as unique and unlike the expected tones of a mahogany singlecut.
THE CLASSIC HAS a gorgeous, AAA grade flamed maple over an extremely light mahogany body. Prestige isn’t the first company to use a bowed top, but its application is perfectly arched and less radical than others.
The guitar’s ergonomic appeal is obvious when you feel how the curved top places the forearm and right hand in an ideal position. Left-hand and arm positioning are similarly guided by the long and precisely shaped belly cut, which aligns the Classic against your body naturally. The curve also puts more wood under the pickups and less on the outer edges, which makes it possible for the Classic to produce copious high-frequency levels. This abundant spank helps the chrome-covered Duncan JB and ’59 humbuckers sound more aggressive and sharp than they do in so many other guitars.
The moderately deep C-shaped carve puts a lot of mahogany neck wood in the palm, making the Classic not the fastest ax in the shed but certainly one of the more comfortable tools for everyday chores. Extra jumbo frets aid string volume and touch sensitivity, while the rosewood board balances the ample upper midrange.
THE CLASSIC’S CLEAN tones are bouncy, stringy and precise, attributes that are especially appreciated onstage, where the ability to cut a clear sonic path through the band is more important than conjuring the sweetest nuances. When the Classic runs into an overdriven amp, its punchy mids and edgy highs snarl and snap. These stinging responses can easily be transformed into whining cocked-wah-style overtones when a little pinch harmonic flavor is added to right-hand attack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
THE PRESTIGE’S CLASSIC is one of the most interesting and playable adaptations of the singlecut mahogany theme. Its bowed maple top is an ergonomic marvel, and the slicing highs add a unique excitement to every note.