FL1AC Review

manufacturer: Cole Clark date: 06/07/2010 category: Acoustic Guitars
Cole Clark: FL1AC
All solid timber dreadnought with internally carved top and back, natural satin finish, qld maple neck, solid bunya or A grade solid spruce top, solid bunya, qld maple or blackwood back and sides, Inlaid timber face edge and rosette. Solid rosewood bridge and fingerboard. Grover machine heads.
 Sound: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 8.7
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.3
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 9.2 
 Reviewer rating:
 9 
 Users rating:
 9.4 
 Votes:
 19 
reviews (3) 6 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
FL1AC Reviewed by: Battery Chicken, on december 12, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 835.24

Purchased from: Billy Hyde

Features: Cole Clark are a small Australian based manufacturer and their Fat Lady series of acoustics are emerging as the only local competitor to the very dominent Maton range. This particular model is a 2006 made cutaway Fat Lady 1 Dreadnaught. It's an A grade solid spruce top with Queensland maple back and sides, Grover tuners and Cole Clark electronics. As a cool bonus, Cole Clark are small enough that they still hand write the interior labels, doesn't exactly make the guitar any better but it's a nice personal touch. // 9

Sound: The spruce top and maple back and sides make for a very bright, tighter sounding guitar. The guitar has a lovely resonance that it holds right along all of it's 21 frets. In comparison to rosewood and mahogany guitars some may find it a little quiet, but in all honesty it produces more than enough volume for my requirements and it doesn't overpower my weak voice when singing along. The guitar certainly can't compete against higher end Matons, Martins and Taylors, but it will match or better anything else in it's price range and believe me I've played pretty well much everything around this price bracket. If your an Australian, you really won't find a better bang for you buck. It's just as good as a Maton E325C for a much more acceptable price. I would rate it's performance plugged in but I really have only plugged it in when in store, so my experience is limited here. Though from what I heard it was pretty impressive. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar is unique in its design as it incorprates classic spanish 'neck in body' design combined with modern computer routing, which makes for a very accurately made guitar. I haven't come across any flaws in the 6 weeks I've owned it. Personally I found the factory action to high, but as said that is a personal preference, others may like it. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I believe it will stand up as well as any other acoustic out there. Of course the wood is solid and has a satin finish, so a certain degree of care must be taken with it, but this is no different to any quality guitar. But apart from that it feels as solid as a rock, albeit suprisingly light. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been for 17 years (God, that a lot longer than I thought) and play blues, rock and folk music. I'm mainly an electric player and this is my first real foray into the world of acoustics. I did a lot of research and played a lot of guitars before settling on the FL1AC, it had all the features and the quality of sound at a price that I could stomach. I am 100% happy with my purchase and whilw there are certainly better guitars out there, the bang for your buck you get with the Cole Clark is impossible to beat. Please note I've rated this guitar on value for money, not just on how good it is in comparison to every guitar ever made. // 9

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overall: 9.4
FL1AC Reviewed by: DJaye, on january 04, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 911.24

Purchased from: Buzz Music, Cairns, Queensland. Australia.

Features: Beautifully handcrafted by Luthiers of a small company in Melbourne Australia, Cole Clark's Fatlady 1AC are constructed with solid carved AAA Bunya tops, and Queensland Maple sides and back (which is also internally carved) and Rosewood fingerboard, using AAA 100% Australian renewable timber. (Plantation Timber) of the highest standard. As the internal center of the front and back is carved in a bowl style configuration, no Kirfing is used to attach the sides to the back and front, which attributes to it's strength and light weight, giving it full tone. Only high end manufacturers used this method, until now. With Queensland maple necks which are integrated to the body during construction (not glued and bolted on at the end of construction), this is very similar constructions to Spanish guitars of early 1800's. This method has been dropped in modern times by many companies as it is a slower method of construction, and is not suited to mass production. Again, only a feature that true Luthiers can offer, and is a Patented Cole Clark feature. This wonderful instrument also offers dual pick ups, an under bridge Piezo, and a Patented face brace sensor, and 3 Band EQ. (see below). With chrome "Grover" tuning keys, and is factory strung with Elixir Custom Lites. For Maton fans, you may find it interesting to know that Brad Clark, Cole Clark's co-founder, worked with Maton for nearly 12 years, as Floor manager, designer, and finally Company President, prior to starting his own company. So, your instrument was more than likely made under his guidance. SO, rest assured, his instruments carry the same quality and beauty Maton is renowned for, plus several of his own innovations. // 9

Sound: Being solid timber, the volume is a little less than your standard laminated guitar, but this is soon adapted to by use of a slightly heavier pick & strumming technique. Because of this, the mid tones are crystal clear, and sustain in the top end is something you need to hear to believe. It rings quality through and through, and offers a full bass sound, at the same time giving a balanced bright sound from strings of the top end. It is certainly a Studio quality instrument, and if you are after and instrument you will not grow out of, with all the features offered by instruments 3 times it's value, Cole Clark's Fatlady series is for you. I know of one situation where a very well known brand guitar used in a recording studio was ditched in favour of the Fatlady, which should give you some idea of it's quality. This literally indicates that the song is not over until the Fatlady sings. The internally carved Front & Back are another example of Cole Clarks innovations. It is odd when you look through the Sound Hole and not see the use of reinforced slotted kirfing. Instead, the front and back are carved like that of a bowl, giving a nice thick outer edges for assembly, with nice resonance from the thinner centers of the timbers. As mentioned in the introduction, Cole Clark has incorporated another Patented feature. Along with the industry standard Piezo Bridge pickup, is their innovative "Face Brace" sensor, which literally picks up the tone of the wood, and can be balanced by use of a slide controller incorporated into their pick up EQ control panel. This is where the Cole Clark come into a class of their own. I have had 4 acoustic/electric guitars before this, and in all the 20 years of playing, I am yet to hear a better tone. Simple as that. In fact, this was the reason I purchased this guitar. Feedback squeals are a thing of the past. Piezo's alone can be dry, but, by slowly balancing the front brace sensor with the piezo sensor, it comes together as a rich, clear earthen tone. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Due to Cole Clarks high quality contols, and professional Luthiers, the guitar arrived in perfect condition, and could be played right out of the box (after tuning). Its setup was perfect, the action is as soft as cotton, and barre chords are a breeze. I could not help but wonder where I would be today if I learned on a Cole Clark, it is just a pleasure to play. It sits proudly on a stand in our family room/sun room with my other guitars, and is the rooms main feature. It is impossible to keep your eyes off it, and soon beckons to be played. I truly wish that all guitarists could get the joy I get from this instrument. I am like a new dad, and can not help but sing it's praises. The guitar contained no flaws, no misaligned bracing, no finish flaws, it has a perfectly fitted saddle, and had no loose controls or noisy/dry pickup selectors. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will happily withstand the rigors of Live performances, and I have found it to be rock steady and reliable. The instrument rarely needs tuning, which is to be expected from a guitar of this value. Its ability to stay in tune is testament to the quality of workmanship and material. The hardware is professionally fitted, and I could see no reason why it would not last the life of the player (and longer). The strap buttons are fitted solidly, which is important with a guitar of this price. Certainly wouldn't like seeing it crash to the stage with crappy failed strap buttons, which will not be an issue with this instrument obviously. The finish is professional, and I could see no reason why it would need any attention in the future. So long as it was looked after by a caring owner (I always get in the habit of washing my hands before playing, and give it a once over with a warm moist cloth rinsed in mild soapy water, after each gig). // 9

Overall Impression: My overall impression is that Cole Clark's are the Duck's Nut's. I love the spirit of this guitar, my previous guitars were mass produced, with the soul of a shoebox. Not so with the Fatlady. They each have a unique personality. If you are after a Studio quality instrument, at an affordable price, this is the guitar for you. I sincerely believe beginners would be best holding off, saving up a little more and purchasing themselves a Cole Clark product. You will certainly not out grow this guitar, once you have it, it is an instrument for life. While the Fatlady 1AC (cutaway & pickups) are a little beyond most budget guitarists in price (AU$1200), they do sell a model without the cutaway & pickup for around $AU700 and has all the other features I mentioned above. This is the first instrument I have owned that only needs tuning every 3 days or so, and even then, it is only marginally off key. That says it all really. My guitar shop is on a 2 month waiting list. In a few years, once the word gets around, Cole Clark's will be highly sort after, and the price will rise accordingly. They are a true investment that will increase in value. In closing, my advice to you is this: Get one while you can, and remember, "The show's not over, until the Fatlady sings." // 10

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overall: 8.6
FL1AC Reviewed by: Floyd-Rose, on june 07, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 1299

Purchased from: The Acoustic Centre

Features: First off, good luck finding one of these guitars in the same finish as this (Satin, Black) as they are pretty rare. Made sometime between 2005 and 2008, it sports 20 jumbo frets, Bridge and soundboard sensors, Active Cole Clark Pickup with volume, pickup blend, Treble, mids and bass. Rosewood fretboard with pearloid dot inlays and grover chrome tuners. Its a bit hard to tell the type of wood they have used for the body because of the matte black finish, but I assume it is the same as all guitars in this series (solid carved AAA Bunya tops, and Queensland Maple sides and back). The Guy who sold it to me also threw in a genuine Cole Clark case, worth about $185. One Thing I would add to the electronics of this guitar is a bypass, found on some Seagull acoustics I believe. Its not that its too much of a problem, I just like having it there. // 9

Sound: I play mainly Folk rock/Acoustic rock and this has no problems at all, obviously. This guitar has a strange, but pleasing effect of being absolutely beautiful sounding, no matter what style of music you are playing. Just practising, I play a fair variety, from soft finger picking licks, to up beat chord progressions. Even some Hard Rock/Metal riffs when I can't be bothered changing to my electric. Maybe its just me, but it sounds incredible all the time. When I bought my amp, a Vox vt 30, I intended only to use it for my electric, not having a plug in Acoustic at the time. But through this amp, you can get some pretty cool, chilled out sounds when using one of the clean channels and a bit of delay or echo. I should mention at this point, that this guitar is perfect for percusssive styles of playing. I dabble a little bit with this style of music but trust me, if that is your thing, this is the guitar for you. The solid top and satin finish means you get a really good, natural tone out of this guitar. It isn't choked by a heavy lacquer. My only critisicm to the tone would be that it lacks a prominent low end. The Bass notes are there, but I find myself having to change the EQ when playing chords so I don't get too much of the high end if you know what I mean. Sometimes its just nice to be able to hear the changing baseline when changing chords, and for the style of music I play, this is important. I gave this an 8, but I'm unshure about that rating. I want to give it more, but then again, I'm pretty sure if I wasn't being super critical, I'd give this guitar an 11/10 on all accounts. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The reason I'm not writing much for this section is that there really isn't a need to. Out of the store, everything was set up perfectly. I can see no flaws in the finish or anywhere on the neck and the way it is suits me down to the ground. The neck does not have any of that tacky cream binding on it, just straight fretboard to neck, all planed and sanded. The Pickups are just truly amazing. The sound and clarity you get from a blend of the face sensor and the bridge pickup is bright, warm and depending on your style of playing, can also be punchy. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Ill start off by saying that despite the fact that the finish is just incredibly beautiful, it does show scratches and marks very easily. Being a satin finish though, the more you play it, the more it shines up. In just a couple of weeks you can see the difference to the neck. It takes on more of a gloss finish than matte. It still looks awesome though. The Hardware is solid enough, and this guitar really keeps in tune well. Nothing moves or jiggles about as you would expect. I didn't have to tighten anything once I got it home and in my experience, this goes for most acoustics. It seems to be only electrics that have this problem, especially with loose strap buttons. I find the strap buttons on this to be a tiny bit too large, but its nothing I wont get over. If I was stupid enough to gig without a back up, it would be with this guitar, I can't see anything going wrong with it, unless a string breaks. Hence the backup. // 8

Overall Impression: Wow is my overall impression. For the price, this blows most acoustics I have tried out of the water. This guitar really has its own personality and style. I'm not so keen on the other finishes, and I don't think I would have bought this guitar had it not been in this, as I like a bit of an unusual look, rather than the plain old wood. If this were lost or stolen, I would hunt down the person who took it and strangle them with a bottom E string. A rather poetic death I think. If I couldnt find them though, I would buy another one as soon as I could track it down. Before buying this guitar, I spent about six months looking for a plug in Acoustic and tried a range of things from epiphones to fenders and everything in between. And I mean everything. I even stooped to trying a low end legacy. I know its all subjective and they want you to be as impartial as possible, but I love this guitar. Pure and simple. As soon as I played it, I knew it was coming home with me. Appart from the slight lack of bass, I can't really fault this guitar. Get one while you can, because these babies are a keeper. If I don't still have this guitar when I'm 90, something has gone horribly wrong and I deserve to be slapped for not hanging onto it. I'll never outgrow this thing. Never. // 9

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