Price paid: $ 3295
Purchased from: Builder
Features — 9
Made in USA in Lake Zurich IL
- Custom Made in 2013
- Weighs: 7 lb 9 oz
- Flame Maple Neck with Slab Rosewood Fretboard
- Satin finish on the neck
- 21 Stainless Steel Frets (Dunlop 6105 fret wire)with a 25.5" Scale and 10" Radius
- Custom neck profile to my specification. (Matches my 1994 PRS Custom 22 Wide Thin neck)
- Alder Body with thin Nitro Finish, Purple Plum Metallic (My custom color request)
- Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot Pickups in S/S/S with 5 way, CTS Pots, Volume, Tone, Tone
- PRS Trem (My request, I like the spacing of the bridge)
- Gotoh Vintage Locking Tuners
- Custom inlay at the 1st fret (My request)
Sound — 8
I was very impressed with all the tones from this guitar. Played through a Fender Princeton Reverb this guitar has all the classic Fender tone you can handle. Bridge pickup has plenty of grind. When I clicked on my TS9 Tube Screamer I got an excellent blues/rock tone. Neck pickup is smooth and clean. Has that Hendrix "Little Wing" vibe. With the Tube Screamer on I got excellent sustain and no muddiness in the low end. The 2 and 4 position have just the right amount of quack. Good for country but better for blues soloing especially with the overdrive on.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The purple finish is breathtaking. Finish is extremely thin and after playing it for a year a few little areas in the finish had sank in a bit. Paul was more than happy to fix them but it doesn't bother me. Setup was good. Neck a little straighter than I like. With a little relief it played like a dream. I have only had to slightly adjust it over the last year. Neck joint is very tight and has no movement. Frets were extremely well done and the edges have been rounded. The pickups were a bit quieter than I was used to due to the pickup cavity having been shielded. The bone nut was cut perfectly.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have played about 80 gigs with it over the last year and it has held up extremely well. I play pretty hard and do lots of big bends. I use GHS Boomer 9's for strings and it always stays in tune even when using the trem. The carbon fiber rods really helps to stabilize the neck and it has only needed a slight adjustment over the year. The neck joint pocket is still very tight. No wear at all on the frets since the frets are stainless steel. Tuners, bridge and pots have given me no problems. The thin Purple finish has not faded. Other than all the scratches and dings I have put into it it looks like new.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly rock and blues and some country. This guitar is perfect for what I do. I have been playing over 35 years and have owned and played dozens of guitars from many different manufacturers including Fender Custom Shop Master Built guitars and have to say this is on par with anything else on the market. I was very impressed by the workmanship and the fact that Paul was not only able to do the custom work I wanted but also kept in touch with me through the whole process. In hindsight I should have had it built with 22 frets but that is not a big deal. Guitar has really grown on me and is now only one of two guitars I own, the other being a 1994 PRS Custom 22. Not much to dislike about the guitar. If anything it exceeded my expectations. Love the custom #3 inlay at the 1st fret and the purple finish. You could pay twice as much for a Fender Custom Shop Master Built guitar. Was worth every penny and looking forward to owning another Bergen guitar.