#1
Recently, I got a used Fret-King Blue Label Esprit 3 from Guitar Center for $513, shipped. They recently discontinued their entire Blue Label line, and there aren't many Fret-Kings sold in the USA, so IMHO, I got very lucky. Here's the reverse 6 headstock.


Here's the manufacturer's page for it:
http://fret-king.com/esprit-3.html#.VrhSLGK9KSM

In brief: 25" scale, medium-sized neck, mahogany body, and 3 Wilkinson P90s.

It has a chip out of the lowest point of the front rear bout, and there is a crackle in the 5-way selector.

Other than that, no actual issues. The chip will be left alone, but the crackle will be addressed. One more change might occur- moe on that later.

The neck is a nice flattened C or U shape, a little broader than I expected, but nice. That body is a slab of mahogany, raised slightly in the front, and with no belly carve. When you strap it on, you know this is serious.

Now, to be 100% honest, I prefer Joe Naylor's (owner of Reverend guitars & RailHammer pickups) standard P90s over Trevor Wilkinsons (owner of Fret-King and a bunch of other stuff). Compared to the ones in my Reverend Manta Ray 390 LE*, the ones in the Esprit seem to lack just a little punch and richness. But that isn't saying the Wilkinsons don't kick ass, because they do. I have been enjoying the Hell out of this guitar and how it sounds. It is just that there is a noticeable difference between Reverend and Fret-King P90s. I think part of that difference is down to electronics, as well. Reverend has a Bass Control knob on all of its instruments which does the same thing as the Tone knob. Fret-King has something similar on some of its guitars, like the Ventura (which IS on my G.A.S. list), and that might have helped. In any case, a pickup upgrade could be part of this guitar's future, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Now I just gotta find a damn hardshell case for it. Its ass end is so fat that Sir Mix-A-Lot would swoon and J-Lo & Kim Kardashian would be jealous. It doesn't fit in any of the universal cases I've tried, nor the one "pointy" guitar case my local GC had when I picked it up.

Fret-King DOES make a HSC for them, but they're NOT cheap: £149 (@$216** to my fellow 'Muricans), and I'd have to pay to ship it to Texas.

And now, the other pix:








* https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1659513

** amusingly, as I write this in the wee small hours, that price is dropping as the currency markets are active in GB...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Feb 9, 2016,
#2
Looks pretty sweet. Love me some P-90s dude! You gonna swap out the Wilks?


HNGD
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#3
Possibly, but not likely. They're pretty good, as is. I'll wait to see if the fact that the ones in the Revs I own sound better (to me) bugs me enough.

And then, which way to go? Getting some voiced like classic P90 tones- which I think is what Wilkinson aimed for and Reverend decided to deliberately overshoot- might not "solve" the "problem". Going significantly hotter might also be a mistake, though I DO love me some hot P90s. I have been looking at some of the offerings from Rio Grande and Bareknuckle for a while. Perhaps this guitar would be the proper vehicle for them.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
The answer is always Lindy Fralin hum cancelling P90s.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#5
THB, so far the hum- which I do hear- hasn't bugged me too much. Might be where I am, maybe the Wilkinsons & Revs are quieter than the norm.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Feb 8, 2016,
#6
Maybe but they sure arent Fralins
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#7
Nice! That shape somewhat reminds me of a Firebird. Good find!
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#8
Nice; HNGD!

A possibly interesting pickup option - a staple P-90 in the neck maybe? Costly, though, since I think only Seymour Duncan's custom shop make them.

If you're not looking to switch them out, that's somewhat irrelevant, of course
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I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
#9
Staple P90? Tell me more...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Staple P90? Tell me more...

As in one of these friends:








I mean I don't really know about these things, I just think they look and sound neat.
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Feb 8, 2016,
#11
I mean I don't really know about these things, I just think they look and sound neat.


I think I have to agree- very nice!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#12
Oh, so this is what you mean when you talk about the Fret King.

Very good.

HNGD!
"If you're looking for me,
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#13
This is my second FK, the first being a HSS Stratclone. That one got the attention of my uncle who gigs with a mid-70's era Bill Lawrence Strat.

Based on my sample size of 2 guitars, I really am surprised at their lack of presence here in the USA. My desire to track down a Ventura (and possibly a GG Elise) has DEFINITELY been fed some red meat.

My one concern about buying FK guitars going forward is that they discontinued the Blue Label line, which was their mid-priced Korean made line, just below their UK made Greens. The Black line was more entry level.

Things are a bit muddier, now.

The Black Label seems to be either a mix of what it used to be and the discontinued Blue line, or it has had its quality bumped up to the Blue's standard. From what I've seen, it is more the former, but I'm unsure.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
HNGD, again. Not jealous
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#15
Quote by The Judist
HNGD, again. Not jealous


Thank you!
Quote by K33nbl4d3
As in one of these friends:








FWIW, I found out SD also makes a HB-sized version of them:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtWjWHPS9HA&sns=em
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Feb 8, 2016,
#16
From the forum main page I saw "NGD: Guitar you've never heard of," and thought, "yeah, that's Danny's thread."


HNGD!
#17
Only 'cause Stealthtastic doesn't post here anymore.

And thanks!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Feb 9, 2016,
#18
Sweet

A good while back I was half-toying with the idea of getting one, but the quoted weight (10lbs! ) put me off. Is it heavy?
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#19
Looking good! ^^ Might be an alternative to the non-reverse Firebird I'm looking into.

HNGD!
#20
Quote by Dave_Mc
Sweet

A good while back I was half-toying with the idea of getting one, but the quoted weight (10lbs! ) put me off. Is it heavy?

With its mahogany body scoffing at ergonomic contouring, it is pretty hefty, but I'm a poor judge of light masses. And right now, I don't have an operational scale.

Let me get back to you on that.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#21
Quote by I K0nijn I
Looking good! ^^ Might be an alternative to the non-reverse Firebird I'm looking into.

HNGD!

That's the very axe that sent me down this path. In particular, the one played by the guitarist from Rival Sons. But something about their lines- as well as more faithful knock-offs by companies like Tokai- always put me off.

This didn't.

And, FWIW, I was initially looking for a Blue Label Esprit 5- which is the HH version- in natural mahogany.

http://fret-king.com/esprit-136.html#.VroNMGK9KSM

But every time one hit the used market, it was an ocean away, with big shipping costs. This was close enough, in every sense.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#22
Nice Axe very Firebirdesque (is that a word?) HNGD: Rock on!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
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#23
Quote by dannyalcatraz
That's the very axe that sent me down this path. In particular, the one played by the guitarist from Rival Sons. But something about their lines- as well as more faithful knock-offs by companies like Tokai- always put me off.

This didn't.

And, FWIW, I was initially looking for a Blue Label Esprit 5- which is the HH version- in natural mahogany.

http://fret-king.com/esprit-136.html#.VroNMGK9KSM

But every time one hit the used market, it was an ocean away, with big shipping costs. This was close enough, in every sense.


I love the original shape Gibson has, to be fair. I almost got one last weekend, but it wasn't the color I wanted and it had some minor flaws. :-) I might look into these however, if the price difference is big enough.
#24
I like it for the most part, but to my eye, the edges look just a little off. Too rounded.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#26
Quote by K33nbl4d3


I mean I don't really know about these things, I just think they look and sound neat.


I have three very old (mid-50's) guitars that have a staple pickup in the neck position. I have NO idea what makes these different from a stock P90 in that position. I'll have to ask SD what they think the difference might be...
#27
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Possibly, but not likely. They're pretty good, as is. I'll wait to see if the fact that the ones in the Revs I own sound better (to me) bugs me enough.

And then, which way to go? Getting some voiced like classic P90 tones- which I think is what Wilkinson aimed for and Reverend decided to deliberately overshoot- might not "solve" the "problem". Going significantly hotter might also be a mistake, though I DO love me some hot P90s. I have been looking at some of the offerings from Rio Grande and Bareknuckle for a while. Perhaps this guitar would be the proper vehicle for them.


I have pickups from Mike Reilander that are pretty much duplicates of the old late 40's and early '50's P90's from Gibson, soundwise. He's in Vancouver. He'll give you a choice of A2 or A5 magnets. Excellent pickups.

I'm not a fan of underwound P90's at all. There are winders that see these as a way of taming the RF noise of standard P90's, but I think they're simply emasculated. I'm not a fan of the overwound things, either. A P90 doesn't do well overwound.

Of the noiseless pickups that are out there, I think the Lindy Fralins are wimpy and adequate, but just. The Kinman Noiseless P90's are bang on...and noiseless. Best sounding of the bunch, but a bit pricey. I have a couple of sets of those.
#28
I know those Reilanders. Very nice.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#29
Quote by dspellman
I have pickups from Mike Reilander that are pretty much duplicates of the old late 40's and early '50's P90's from Gibson, soundwise. He's in Vancouver. He'll give you a choice of A2 or A5 magnets. Excellent pickups.

I'm not a fan of underwound P90's at all. There are winders that see these as a way of taming the RF noise of standard P90's, but I think they're simply emasculated. I'm not a fan of the overwound things, either. A P90 doesn't do well overwound.

Of the noiseless pickups that are out there, I think the Lindy Fralins are wimpy and adequate, but just. The Kinman Noiseless P90's are bang on...and noiseless. Best sounding of the bunch, but a bit pricey. I have a couple of sets of those.

Received a set of SurfMaster P90s and I prefer them to the SDs.

Edit: I just checked the price, pricey!
#31
Quote by dannyalcatraz
With its mahogany body scoffing at ergonomic contouring, it is pretty hefty, but I'm a poor judge of light masses. And right now, I don't have an operational scale.

Let me get back to you on that.


no worries (no rush either, it's just out of curiosity- I have too many guitars and they're discontinued I think now anyway )
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#32
Update: I finally got off my ass and took it to a tech after my sound output inexplicably dropped to zero. Fortunately, it seems that it was all because of a bad switch.

After the repair, I got to hear the guitar's full potential. Short version: Wilkinson's P90s are pretty damn good, but the Reverends are still better. So while this baby is good to go, I have to ask myself if I want to upgrade this particular guitar or can I be satisfied with it as is?

Quote by Dave_Mc
Sweet

A good while back I was half-toying with the idea of getting one, but the quoted weight (10lbs! ) put me off. Is it heavy?

It IS heavy, but I STILL don't have a working scale handy. I'll have to get back to you on that.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 25, 2016,
#33
Yeah some Wilkinson pickups arent bad. I had a set with my Gladiator and I thought they were plenty serviceable.


I swapped them out eventually.
Quote by zgr0826
My culture is worthless and absolutely inferior to the almighty Leaf.


Quote by JustRooster
I incurred the wrath of the Association of White Knights. Specifically the Parent's Basement branch of service.
#34
Enabler.


Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#35
sweet !! ..... have you cranked them yet ??..... I have some pick ups that are mediocre down low but come alive with some volume ..... put it through the paces before you switch anything
#36
I gave them a wee bit of petrol.

I bet the guys in the shop did more than I did, though. They were all commenting on how sweet it was when I picked it up.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#37
Well, I finally did it. As good as the Wilkinson P90s are, they're not quite as good as the Reverends. So, tonight, I ordered a set of Bareknuckle Supermassive P90s. They're a bit higher output than a standard P90, but far from the hottest ones Bareknukle makes.

I'm thinking that when I get these installed, I'm also going to have it set up for NST*- my first P90 guitar for that tuning.


* which, for the unititiated is the alternative tuning CGDAEG.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 10, 2016,
#38
Sweet can't wait for the update once the BKs are loaded!
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

Come and be with me
Live my twisted dream
Pro devoted pledge
Time for primal concrete sledge