Price paid: £ 269
Purchased from: Andertons, Guildford
Features: My Wilshire's a little different from the previous review being the 1966 replica with the mini humbuckers from 2009. Guitar was made in Indonesia, 22 medium frets on a Gibson 24 3/4" scale. Body is three pieces of (Epiphone say) mahogany and the neck is also mahogany. Both have a satin polyurethane finish. The neck is fairly wide but quite shallow (like some Ibanez models)and this can make it a little whippy. This is not a guitar for players who tend to pull back on the neck while playing. Upper fret access is unrestricted due to the body style and neck joint. Body style is pretty much the same as the original (or previous re-issue) but with a beer belly cut out on the top rear edge. Bridge is a lock tone tune-o-matic plus a stop bar tailpiece. Passive 2 volume 2 tone controls. Two mini humbuckers fitted which I've seen described as both alnico and ceramic, I don't know which is correct. A good quality Ritter gig bag was included in the price but that was a dealer specific offer. // 8
Sound: Straight off I've got to say this guitar doesn't sound like any other guitar I own nor is the most versatile. If I had to describe it I would say that it sounds like a cross between a Telecaster and an SG. I don't do gigs so this guitar, like my others, is only used for general playing at home or home recording so I just use a little Vox Pathfinder 15R or a Pod amp simulator.
I play many styles of music but mostly pop, jazz/mor and country. The Wilshire handles those OK but I think for heavy rock or metal an SG or Les Paul type may be a better choice than the Wilshire. The guitar itself does not seem to suffer from any noise problems even when used around a PC. // 7
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was fairly well set up (and still in tune) straight out of the box. I had to do a some work on the nut slots to stop strings binding and I also had to loosen the truss rod a little but apart from changing the strings and adjusting the action the way I want it, that's it. The overall pickup height was OK but I have adjusted the pole pieces to get the strings balanced the way that sounds right to me. I would say that all the (nickel plated)fittings are of good quality for the price with no problems other than those already mentioned. One thing to mention is that while changing the strings I took off the scratchplate to have a look under it. While the woodwork/routing was very good the soldering to the controls was some of the worst I've seen. It all works perfectly but it's something I may redo in the future. (Note that the adjustments I made were for my personal preference, the guitar was playable straight out of the box.) // 7
Reliability & Durability: I don't play live anymore but I don't think using the Wilshire live would be a problem. Using it on a gig without a backup wouldn't have been an option for me, I always carried two guitars, but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be up to the job of a whole gig. Like most guitars, it depends how hard on it you intend to be. The hardware is all very good for the price and there seems to be no problems with loose fittings, strap buttons etc. The satin finish is thin and well applied but the neck and parts of the body have already gone shiny. // 8
Overall Impression: I've been playing for over 40 years (yes I'm that old) and I've owned, and still own, quite a few guitars. This is a good guitar that sounds unlike a Gibson or Fender and it's refreshing to find something with its own voice and style. It's not the most versatile guitar in the world but nor is a Telecaster IMO. The quality is at least on a par with the higher end Squires or lower end Fenders and better than some other makes I've tried at twice the price. It's not a guitar that's going to suit everybody but I like it and if it were lost or stolen I'd certainly get another one. // 7