Terry C. McInturff Royal Reviews 3

This is a 2001 TCM Royal with 2 T-90 single-coil pickups. The Royal has a carved mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fretboard and is chambered with an odd "porthole" instead of the more traditional f-hole. I paid roughly $1400 for this instument based largely on the feel of the neck and the overall outstanding build quality.

The Royal is a stunning looking instrument and has the best fretwork of any guitar I've ever seen. The standard neck carve feels great and is effortless to play. As I stated above, the overall build quality is outstanding ... here I refer to the body and neck of the instrument ... more on the electronics below.

The pick-ups and electronics of this instrument leave a lot to be desired ... especially in this price range. The T-90s are NOISY! I can't make my strat single coils hum like this even in the worst environment. Also, the bridge pick-up is thin and unbalanced. Even the neck pick-up is fussy and can't seem to decide whter it wants to be warm or muddy. Lord knows I've spent hours fiddling with both guitar and amp to find that certain tone ... sometime's it's there but it's damn painful finding it. I would also recommend checking out the TCM forum ... there's quite a bit of detail about problems with TCM's pots, jacks, and switches. I haven't had any major problems here but it seems other Royal owners have. One final note ... the finish on TCMs is NOT a durable finish ... yeah, it's nitro, yeah, it's pretty but a nat could scratch it ... if you just want to hang it on the wall that doesn't matter but if you're going to play it it's going to show use quickly.

Great "carpentry" with criminally poor (for this price) pickups.

Guitar body, neck, and hardware are top-notch. Electronics are another story. Test drive this one hard befor you buy. My opinion is that at this price you should love every aspect of the guitar rater than feel like you'll have to spring for real electronics after the sale. If it means anything to other potential buyers, I LOVE my American strat and feel ambivilent about this guitar.

bas rated this unit 3 on 2002-09-21.

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