Minarik Lotus Studio Extreme Reviews
The Minarik Lotus Studio Extreme is the Korean import version of their USA Custom Lotus model. The guitar I'm reviewing is set in a Dark Cherry Burst finish. I'm a professional guitarist/educator with 31 years experience. I've been an instructor for 18 years and perform with a band. In addition, I produce instructional DVD's and Software Packages for Elmore Music.
I acquired this guitar from Bill Minarik at Minarik Guitars. You can purchase a Lotus for around $500 by contacting the company directly or visiting a dealer found online.
This guitar is based on a traditional 'Les Paul' shape but is anything but traditional. The Lotus stands out in the crowd thanks to its unique body shape. The guys at Minarik call this the most technically 'perfect' single cut-away guitar on the market. The frequency problems with the traditional single cut-away guitar have been 'corrected' by adding more mass at the bottom of the body and an additional tail on the upper left bout. This has become the signature look of Minarik.
I love the tone of this guitar. It features a chambered mahogany body, mahogany neck and a bound rosewood fingerboard. The tone of this guitar is amazing. I actually use this guitar for everything I do because of its versatility. You can feel the body resonate as you play it, which just makes performing on this instrument very personal. The pickups help attribute to this sound as well. The humbucking pickups called, 'Tone Perfects' are made in Minarik's shop and are unique to their import line. Played cleanly, the guitar shimmers and every string is articulated and balanced. When I play it through a little overdrive the guitar sounds punchy and retains its articulation without sounding muddy.
Finally, I had a positive experience with the electronics. The volume controls actually work! Many times in the past when rolling the off the volume on other guitars, the knob acted as an on/off switch! Usually, there is no gradual taper of sound from 0-7 on the knob. On the Lotus, I got a nice surprise when I rolled the volume off - I got exactly as expected, lower volume. I like to execute volume swells and this is a test I perform if I'm considering a new guitar. This one passed with flying colors.
The only thing I would change on this guitar is the glossy finish on the neck. It doesn't slow me down or feel uncomfortable in anyway however, everything on this instrument is designed so well and ergonomic that if I had to change just ONE thing it would be a satin finish neck.
The feel of this guitar is really elegance in motion. The neck is chunky enough to grab but not too much to slow you down. The binding makes for a very smooth feel for shifting around the fingerboard and fatigue is not an issue...and I have small hands!
This guitar has to be the best that I've seen come out of Korea. The Lotus Studio Extreme oozes quality from the mother-of-pearl 'M' on the headstock, stepped gold tuners and matching gold hardware, unique inlays and beautifully bound body. Sometimes with imports you'll notice sloppy craftsmanship in the binding work but not here. The fit and finish on this guitar is comparable to guitars costing twice as much.
If you're looking for a guitar that produces a range of tones, plays great, looks great, is easy on the wallet and has everyone asking, 'What kind of guitar is that?' You owe it to yourself to check out the Minarik Lotus Studio Extreme.John Gorbe
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