Carlson PG60 Reviews 5

This PG60 guitar was made in 2008 in Clackamas, Oregon USA. This double cutaway features a solid ash wood body, hard maple neck with rosewood fretboard. I got the clearcoat natural finish, although I was tempted to get the black cherry because of how rich and sharp it looked. The 22 frets are medium jumbo size and the body has a contoured edge, so the center of the guitar is thick and the edges are thinner as if the top and back are arched. I think of it as a crossover between a Ibanez Joe Satriani model and a Fender Stratocaster. The PG60 is setup like a fat strat, it has a single coil middle and neck pickup, and a humbucker at the bridge and sound amazingly sharp and clean for passive pickups. The pickups are made for Carlson, I checked into where and how they are made and they are similar to a handful of other mid range higher output passive pickups. The company that makes the pickups for Carlson guitars also makes for other brands like EMG and are located in Korea. There is one volume and one tone control and a 5 way selector switch. The bridge is a Floyd Rose which is one of the Korean made Officially Licensed Original and Speedloader combo, I have seen some of these bridges before online and with a few guitar parts suppliers and are probably made by Gotoh or Schaller. The tuning machines match the gold colored hardware and are Gotoh sealed tuners. The neck and fretboard are the highlight of the guitar. The neck is really slim and easy to play, it is not toothpick thin but is certainly thinner compared to most guitars. The fretboard is pretty broad making shredding and solos easier to play, especially compared to my 70's Gibson Les Paul. Finish work is great, better than most guitars I own and have played. I was not impressed with the lack of shielding and the quality of electronics. The price of the guitar was reflected with the electronics used, I am spoiled with Gibson and PRS components I guess. I have been playing for decades, I play rock and blues mostly. I own a PRS SC245, Gibson Les Paul, MIM Fender Strat, Ibanez Joe Satriana model, Carlson PG60 and a Parker custom shop Fly Mojo. This guitar is the easiest to play on and hold, I like the Parker and Ibanez almost as much as the Carlson in how they play and feel, but I like the tone of my Gibson, PRS and Carlson the best. I might sell my PRS because it is worth more than what I value it, the Carlson is a far better value and similar quality guitar. I didn't plan on adding it to my collection, but after playing on it I had to have it, I will be checking out other Carlson guitars as soon as I get an itch to play something different.

I bought this guitar from a dealer in a suburb of Portland Oregon and paid $600 instead of the $850 sticker price. I couldn't work out a case in the deal, but after playing it for just 10 minutes I knew I was a sucker. I have a handful of other guitars but this guitar is the most comfortable I have played.

I really like how the guitar feels, the tone is fantastic too. The neck is thin but not too thin, and the fretboard is broad and easy to play solos on. The guitar fits my hand better than any other axe I have played on. The thing that I was blown away about was the fact that the guitar was setup. Seriously, the frets were fantastic, the action was great and the only thing I tweaked a little was the intonation which was nearly there.

The pots and switch it came with were not very good quality, run of the mill standard stuff but not high end. I switched them out and noticed an improvement in tone. I also changed out the stock pickups for DiMarzios but after playing with them for a few months decided to go back to the stock pickups. I also did not like the fact that very little shielding is done in the cavities. I upgraded the shielding with copper tape which has helped a bit. Other than that, craftsmanship and setup is great.

This guitar is built to last, it is comparable to my PRS and Gibson guitars with craftsmanship and how it has held up for the past year and a half. I was not thrilled with an officially licensed Floyd Rose instead of an original, but it has held up fine, the blades are still sharp and is working fine. The finish is very durable, I checked into that and it is a poly urethane clear coat. I have played gigs on the road with this guitar, it is as solid as any other American made guitar I own.

This is my favorite guitar to play on and is a fantastic value. I have spent triple on my Gibson and PRS which are not 3 times the guitar. I am surprised at how well rounded the guitar is, from design and craftsmanship to the feel and tone. It's not perfect but close. Fantastic.

Ryan Williams rated this unit 5 on 2009-08-14.

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