Some guitars are homages to the most famous musicians that are well known to the general public while others like Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat are exact replicas of less publicly known but still quite influential musicians. Tim Armstrong of Rancid was a big figure in the punk music. The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat is a replica of the instrument Tim Armstrong played. Fortunately, that is not the only selling point of this guitar (I mean, come on, this is Fender). Apart from the looks of this guitar, it is also one of the best acoustic-electric guitars under $2000.
This is a beautiful, vintage concert body acoustic-electric guitar with solid mahogany top, back and sides. Apart from adding warm and rich sound, mahogany with Polyurethane gloss is definitely a stunner. The maple neck with rosewood fretboard has a satin finish which allows for better playability as well as obviously stunning vintage looks. The scalloped bracing uses less wood, which makes the soundboard a lot less heavy. The more lightweight soundboard obviously means less weight which is good but more importantly, it means that there is more top resonance which creates more nuanced tone and overall sound.
Fender uses a blackwood bridge and black pickguard for standard quality (and cool vintage looks, if I may add). Covered Chrome vintage tuning machines with Black Plastic Buttons are easy to use and keep the strings in place. As Fender won Dura-Tone 880L strings are a good match for acoustic-electric guitar. They have great sustain and do not make the sound seem tiny at all (and that is definitely not what you need if you just spent your entire month’s salary on a Fender).
Fender Hellcat Sound
When it comes to the sound that is where Fender usually shines. The mahogany body creates great warm sound while the more lightweight soundboard allows for better resonance. This yields much better tonal range which will be a great asset for any genre including rock, folk, and everything else.
When you finally get a great guitar with a sound that you could only imagine in your wildest dreams, the worst thing that would happen is getting it with the worst electronics that do zero justice to the sound and tone. That is kind of what happened to me when I got my first acoustic-electric model years ago and since then I have always been extremely wary of electronics. Fender equipped Tim Armstrong Hellcat with Fishman Isys III System which reproduces the sound of this guitar pretty well. The controls are pretty standard with volume, bass, middle, and treble knobs that give you the ability to “manipulate” the sound so that it is to the best of your liking. There is one issue though, due to not-so-good quality pickups there is some feedback. This is definitely my biggest problem with this guitar and it is fixable but at a cost.
If you are an acoustic-electric guitar enthusiast, an intermediate player (or, of course, Tim Armstrong fan) who is looking for a guitar in the mid-price range, Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat will probably be a good one to consider. The tonewood and lightweight construction along with rich sound and good quality electronics make this model one of the best acoustic-electric guitar in its price range.
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