Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bill Nash Guitars - Not just relic's

The relic crazy. At first thought I was certainly suspect of relic guitars because I have disdain for being a slave to fashion. Indeed, at first this concept was truly one where a person could own a guitar that looked like it had be played by a seasoned musician and had many sordid tales if only the instrument could speak. Without investigation I assumed that the instrument would have worn frets and basically was trashed and who in their right mind would pay EXTRA for this privilege? Let me allay some of these myths. Yes, most relic instruments have dents and scratches. Yes, there is a basic coolness to this look but let me assure you that most of these instruments are painstakingly prepared and generally play like a dream come true. The necks might be worn, the backside of the neck unfinished but the hardware (frets & saddles, etc..) are in fine working order. In many cases they are simply tarnish the hardware but the base product is top of the line hardware and electronics.
I first saw Bill Nash guitars at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California. This store is known globally for selling top quality instruments and therefore I trusted that someone knows something I didn't know at first glance. I picked up a Stratocaster (Nash calls them S- models to avoid copyright infringement) and found that the action was excellent.

The playability and tactile sense of the instrument has a profound resonance that I didn't feel on any of my most recent purchased pretty guitars. In addition, I didn't have to worry about bumping, denting or wrecking my destruction derby survivor guitar. The neck feel is exceptional. I've tried the boat neck Telecasters, Stratocasters and hopefully will someday try the Nash LP (Les Paul) guitar.

Nash uses nitrocellulose finish on his instruments and top drawer electronic with names like Lollar, Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio pickups. Sure, I've tried some that I wouldn't buy but for the most part, a great number of these instruments I've tested are winners. Have I bought one? Not yet but I've got a few friends who own them and call these instruments their "go to guitars." For the money, it's hard to find a better instrument for gigging. My only gripe would be the lack of a hard shell case but it the instrument are supplied with a top quality soft case. Again, for the money - Bill Nash guitars are certainly on my wish list. I especially would like to test the LP model. For now, the Stratocaster (S-model) and Telecaster (T model) are more than sufficient tone monsters for the ardent tone chaser.
Other manufacturers that make similar models are:
Both of these manufacturers make excellent instruments and I will review them individually in the near future. Scott


Anonymous said...

I conquer ... In fact I was treated to a Nash S-57 by my wife in November of '09. It was instantly my favorite guitar and has been ever since. I have been playing for 24 years and I have never fallen in love with an instrument so quickly. I'm so pleased with this guitar it feels like I'm 16 years old again ... learning new songs, practicing technique and jamming with friends. AC from Lodi, CA


I am an owner of a 2011 Bill Nash 'TC-72' with Jason Lollar pickups - its the best playing guitar I have ever owned - the resonance is incredible - once i tried to take off the neck (i love messing with things) - and with the back plate off and all strings out the neck wouldnt budge! - has to be the tightest neck pocket I have ever witnessed on a bolt on. Dont make the mistake of thinking these are just a 'relic partsocaster' like many people do - i promise you that bill knows the details of how to assemble and set up his guitars to perfection - I will never sell this guitar - same cannot be said for the many fenders and gibsons that have came and gone over the years. David - Liverpool England

Anonymous said...

Mine's a very early model. With Fender stickers. Hard tail. The best Strat around hands down. Clearly a replica. Artfully done. Twelve years old. Played every day. A favorite with seasoned players. Nash and Lollar magic. No comparison. Sorry, I'll never let this one go. Bury me with it.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could agree with you guys but i recently aquired an 08 S-57
and while it looks really cool and the tone is there the guitar will not set-up properly. Everything is there and in the right place but both me and my tech are baffeled as to why we can't get the guitar intonated correctly. The neck has a slight twist to it and the action, as low as we can go without fretting out is still pretty high.

Scott said...

There isn't much that can be done with a warped neck. It can be fixed but would it be economical??? The work is costly and at some point there are diminishing returns. Maybe purchase a new neck from Allparts, Warmoth or your favorite store. Providing the neck pocket is cut right, the new neck should take care of the problem. Then again, your string height requirement, string gauge and pick attach come into play. My action is set at .070 @17th fret,on my Nash Tele. I also finished the back of the neck with Birsch-Wood Casey Tru-oil, gun stock finish. I have a article about that process on this blog. That will help stave off moisture issues but it also takes some of the unfinished patina away but if you want to play, ya got to pay! Good luck!

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