GS1 review by Gordon Smith

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (2 votes)
Gordon Smith: GS1

Price paid: £ 330

Purchased from: GAK

Sound — 7
I am very ecclectic in my musical tastes and this guitar is good for alot of styles. There is no problem getting SG tones out of the guitar and the single coil sound is glassy, about as fendery as a mahogany guitar can get. The Acoustic tone of the is brilliant, very loud, bright and resonant with lots of sustain, which really was its selling point. The electronics were noisy when I got it but I don't think they have ever been serviced, it was especially noisy through my pocketpod and friends mixing desk. I use a 30 Laney tube combo which the guitar sounds great with. I am giving it a 7 because I think the humbucker doesn't do the Acoustic tone justice, once I settle on a pickup I'm sure this will be higher.

Overall Impression — 9
I think its worth mentioning that this guitar was ordered from the factory with its current configuration, it could of had 2 pickups, a gloss finish, P90's, adjustable bridge, maple veneer etc, you can even send them the electronics and hardware you want used in the guitar and they'll deduct the price of their own hardware for you. If I was to order a GS1 I would stick to this template though as I do love this guitar and my issue with the pickup is really a matter of personal preference, the company are helpful and replied to emails promptly. I own a Gibson Les Paul Special and a Fret King Esprit, this guitar can sit.

Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is solid, the strap buttons are larger than normal, the hardware is fine, as mentioned earlier the thin finish has not lasted but that's not something that really matters to me. I bought this guitar as a backup or my LP Special but it has its own character and after I change the pickup I intend for it to take centerstage. Its a great guitar for live use.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action is low, I love the brass nut which is well cut, it does bind if you use strings larger than tens, the frets are low and some of them are a bit scratchy. The guitar is economically made, far better than any Melody Maker I have played but in many ways simpler, for example the truss rod is adjusted underneath the pickguard, the nut is screwed in to the neck, the pickguard is very roughly cut. The wood working itself is very uniform, I can't find flaw with it. The finish is very thinly applied and has developed a flakey belt buckle blister. The only thing that detracts from the playing experience are the sharp fret ends.

Features — 8
Built in England in 1989. - 22 frets, rosewood fingerboard, 2 piece body and 1 piece neck (aside from the headstock wings) made from brazilian mahogany. - Thin clear satin nitro finish. - The guitar is similar to a double cutaway Gibson Melody Maker with a larger almost Epiphone sized headstock, the neck is a thin D shape the same as what Gibson calls a 60's neck. - Wrapover Bridge and brass nut. - Single passive Bridge Gordon Smith Humbucker with a coil tap, single volume and tone. - Grover style Gordon Smith tuners. - It came with a Fender gigbag. In terms of features its an 8 for me as I like simple guitars.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What I'm gathering from the review is that the frets are sharp, the pickguard isn't cut very well, the finish is too thin and is blistering, you aren't happy with the pickup and the electronics are noisy. The frets are low and 'scratchy'. Overall rating an 8?
    I have a very old GS1, which I have had since the mid 1980s but I think was made in the latter part of the 1970s. It had obviously lived a bit before I got it (they were popular punk guitars) but, in its simple way, it is a fantastic guitar. I agree wholeheartedly about the original pickup - it was unfocused and bland. I put a Bare Knuckles humbucker in it for a while, which worked brilliantly. That got moved to my Strat and I now have a cheap Kent Armstrong P90 sitting in there. It's neither subtle nor especially versatile but, shoved through a Marshall Class 5 at full tilt, it barks a treat!