NJ Classic Mockingbird review by B.C. Rich

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.4 (56 votes)
B.C. Rich: NJ Classic Mockingbird

Features — 9
This is a Korean made, 24 jumbo frets, neckthrough, clear lacquer. I only got a leather strap with it, the guy actually paid me some money as my guitar was more expensive. The guitar doesn't have its original pickups, they are Seymour Duncan, I guess Pearly Gates. The restis original as described by other reviewers. Considering the deal, the money I earned, the guitar I got, the price of there guitars on market, I got a good deal, but don't know if I'd be prepared to pay 500 euros for it. It's quality is comparable to Epiphones, so I'd say it's a 350 euro guitar. But very well made.

Sound — 10
I use it mostly for rock, blues and hard rock, using a simple 5W tube Epiphone amp and Lorantz speaker. It sounds like a bird of two worlds. On the bridge position it wants to be a Gibson, on the neck it wants to be a Strat. So I can make it roar like an SG and with a flick of the switch, sound totally acoustic if I want. It doesn't need effects. Only for hardest of rock, a touch of a Overdrive preamp to make it louder. Very impressed. VERY. Also the fact that the guitar is basically one piece of wood, makes all the difference - you can really feel the vibration going through your instrument and the pickups really PICK UP that deepness and soft resonation of the woodwork. Excellent. I'll never again buy a bold-on guitar. NEVER EVER.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Typical Korean thing: excellent woodwork, quality finish, the guitar sounds and plays great, but the electrics was SHIT. So I had everything rewired and soldered and now it works like a dream. And exactly like the Korean Epiphone, this Korean Mockingbird suffers from the same stupid engineering error: the cable jack tends to unwind itself and fall apart, no matter how tight you tighten the bolt. It just comes loose all the time. I don't know what the original pickups were like, but if they were Korean, them must have been pretty much like Epiphone's stuff, so I guess 100% better than no-name Chinese stuff but also 50% less of what you really want.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar doesn't detune AT ALL, whatever you do it stays reliable. Just watch out for that cable jack. It doesn't need straplocks, the buttons are positioned very well. The only thing is that it is neck-heavy. Not much, but enough to notice and to make you hold it all the time. Also, you need a longer strap than usual. I use 135 cm strap on my other guitar, the Flying V, and it stands in PERFECT position, while Mockingbird is too high, so I need a 140 cm strap to have my right hand in perfect position while keeping the neck nicely closer to my face. And since it is neck heavy, you really have to HOLD it there, otherwise it wants to go down like a punk guitar. Once you have everything balanced, maybe with a nice wide strap which has more grip on your body to keep it straight - this is my weapon of choice for stage performance.

Overall Impression — 9
It's an excellent rock 'n' roll guitar. Playing it is relaxing, I like the jumbo frets, my left hand hurts less than with other guitars I have. The neck is not thin, not thick, not wide not narrow, somewhere in between. It's a bird of two worlds. I enjoy playing it as a rhythm guitar, holding keys is a relaxing thing. And also for my simple solos that are no Clapton, but still demanding, it is easy to play. To be more of a solo guitar one would need a pickguard or something else to lean on, this one is more SHOW than GO. I'd say it's a great all-rounder guitar, a Swiss army knife of guitars - it has everything but nothing GREAT. It can be a good solo guitar, a good rhythm guitar, a good rocker, it can give you acoustic sound, it can give you Strat sound, even if the amp is switched off, it is still quite loud for practicing at home. It's a must-have guitar for practicing and a great live performance guitar if you play versatile roles in your band and don't want to have 5 different guitars waiting for you on stage. So as far as versatility goes - this is the best guitar I have ever had. As far as perfectionism goes - there is none.

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