UM3 review by Greg Bennett

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 6 (12 votes)
Greg Bennett: UM3

Features — 9
The first thing one notices is the high quality craftmanship that's gone into making this guitar. Lovely binding, mouth-watering maple top - it makes one wanna pick it up and never let it go! Grover tuners keep this baby in tune better than my Epiphone PRS Spotlight. The pickups made me suspicious - I've heard them before and they aren't high end but they seem to work in this guitar! May swap them for some Teslas though I know somebody who switched them for SDs and after a few weeks went back to the DDs... It's really a case of finding which pickups will work best in this guitar.

Sound — 9
Anything from Santana, blues, rock, indie, jazz it's perfect. Surprising considering the body type is kind of a thinner and lighter PRS/Les Paul. Definitely slightly thinner on the body than my Epiphone Spotlight. Currently using it through a Spectrasonics 611-G into a Seymour Duncan Distortion pedal then into a Focusrite PRO24 then into Reaper... It's not noisy at all... Excellent sustain too. Also sounds great with a Laney LC15R in the chain too. Even tried it with a Johnson J station - the distortion settings give that Santana sound straight off the bat. Not sure how it sounds with a Line Pod.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The shop set it up properly so not sure how well they come from the factory. No flaws though, once again, excellent workmanship. This has got a high quality feel throughout. The tuning up and down is excellent - in fact one of the best tuned guitars I've played. Up the fretboard and down it's a joy to hear the string be in tune with one another. Again, this may be down to the set up by the shop. The frets are well set too, nothing catches one's fingers or strings. Buzz is none existent, that's with a very low action too.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Seems like it will last forever. Had no issues in three years. Great hardware, pots are okay, pickup switch seems stable. Never had to adjust the truss rod. Never had to adjust the bridge though it seems to be pretty standard. The pots seem to be wired and soldered very neatly indeed, so once again no corners cut. I was looking to see if the pickups could be tapped but I think from what I can remember, I could only see two wires coming from each pickup - don't quote me on this, it was three years ago when I last looked!

Overall Impression — 9
Excellent value for money. It's a breeze to play across the fretboard as is holding and bending the strings due to the impressive sustain. Still not sure which pickups will work better but I am happy with the DDs so far. There is no coil tapping, not that it always works but this feature works well in my Epiphone Spotlight. Perhaps a brass nut may improve the sound more. The Grover tunes do hold the strings well even after bending so they are a great feature. The maple body is very enticing indeed!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have a Greg Bennett Torino TR2. It is a beautiful guitar, as well made as any Gibson, with set neck, Grover tuners, very high quality hardware. My only complaint are the Duncan Designed pickups. I've done everything in my power to try and get a decent tone. The neck pickup is fine but the bridge pickup is just muddy sounding; No bite at all. That said, I'm looking to buy one of these Ultramatics, as the build quality on the Torino is so impressive.
    I have an OM-7 and ,yes,it does have a truss rod. Look inside the soundhole at the bass of the neck under the guitar top and you will see a place to set a truss rod wrench.