GCRA-202 EL FM review by Giannini

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
Giannini: GCRA-202 EL FM

Features — 9
Giannini is a Brazilian based guitar manufacturer but this guitar was made in 2013 in China. The body is mahogany, and has a flamed maple top with a beautiful translucent "crimson" red finish. The body has the unique Giannini patented "Craviola" shape. The neck is 24 3/4 scale with 22 standard frets and rosewood fingerboard. As for the pickups, I can't say what brand they are, but they make my "Duncan Designed" pups sound dead in comparison. Also, it has individual mini 3-way switches for both pickups that control coil-taps/splitters. This feature used in conjunction with the very responsive tone knobs really triple the number/types of sounds you can get without even touching the amp.

Sound — 8
Though I typically play classic rock, folk, and blues through a small practice amp with NO effects, I'm sure this guitar would be suitable for just about any type music you should choose to play especially with the options the coil taps make available to you. Since I play mostly "clean" (a little dirty for blues) I can't say how well it plays when really driven, but I think the pups have enough depth to them to handle most effects you might use. Though it doesn't have as much bottom as my RL 2's Gibson pups, it holds its on on the top end.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Right out of the box, it was literally tune and play. I can't say the same for past purchases. I've always had to tinker and fuss with the neck, and intonation and never getting it quite right. If I wasn't so cheap I would take my other two electrics in and have them professionally setup. No need with this one!

The flame maple top is bookmatched beautifully and the deep crimsom red finish is flawless. The frets are finished well with no protrusions, and no rough or low spots, high spots (like a couple of Epi's I've played). I really like the size of the neck; probably equal in size to my Agile Les Paul and a bit smaller than the Greg Bennett RL 2. The rosewood fingerboard and pearlized dot/blocks are very well done.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't "gig" with good reason. My wife makes me go to the front of the house and close the door to play. However, I can say that it's a solidly made guitar and I have no reason to think it wouldn't hold up to serious playing time, but, since I've only been playing it for a few weeks I can't really comment on its reliability and durability. I can say that the quality of the hardware and finish is equal to or better than my Agile and better than my Samick. Some of the big brand name guitars have at least some of their offerings made in China and they seem to be well made; some are junk. Time will tell how well the finish on my Giannini will hold up.

I will say that the strap buttons are hefty; so much so that I was barely able to get the new strap I bought on it. I'm not sure I like the front strap button's placement on the back where the neck attaches to the body. I had to attach the strap backwards to keep it from twisting. Evidently some people like the front button mounted there.

Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing off and on (for personal pleasure only) for almost 50 years and tend to play music from that era; rock, folk, and blues. The coil taps (a new concept for me) really open up the types of music I can play and look forward to finding different genres to try. I still have my first guitar; 1975 Alvarez 5022. I also have Greg Bennet RL 2 semi-hollow modified with Gibson USA pickups and an Agile Dauntless. This Giannini will fit right in. If you are considering an Epi, Agile, etc., take a look at one of these beauties.

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