Price paid: $ 5900
Sound — 9
This guitar's strong suit lies in it's thick, rich sound. While clearly meant to be rooted in sounds such as those of Stevie Ray Vaughn or Buddy Guy, this guitar shone through in numerous different situations. From the muted, smooth sounds of jazz, to searing metal leads, this guitar held it's own. When the tone knob was turned all the way down the sound of the guitar was overly muted in my opinion. That being said, that was my only real complaint about the sound of the guitar. The humbucker was rough and raw as is to be expected and the neck pickup really seemed to capture the essence of that classic, thin, Ray Vaughn sound.
Overall Impression — 8
The Marchione Vintage Tremolo is a exquisitely hand-crafted example of what happens when a custom builder turns his sights on improving the classic sounds and styles. The result, while graphically a little more modern, combines all the aspects that players have come to love over the last 50 years, but with so much more depth, clarity, and sonic versatility. But at 5,900 dollars the price to be paid for superior tone and ergonomics is not a small one. Overall, while the price is high, the Marchione Vintage Tremolo is a prime example of careful, Precision focused luithering and top-notch sounding electronics. For more information, or to order a custom Marchione please visit their website.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Overall this guitar has the feel of exquisite ruggedness. It has the rock solid feel of a guitar that will really last. The durability of this guitar was especially shown in the combination of the tuner and whammy bridge. I was very impressed how well it stayed in tune, even when the whammy bar was being heavily used. The strap buttons are solidly mounted Strap Loks.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I was very satisfied with the height of the action of the Vintage Tremolo. It seemed to be low enough to allow for easy playing, but was high enough to prevent any fret buzzing, even when voicing chords in the higher octaves. The finish on the Vintage Tremolo was beautifully applied, and while the look of the guitar was very modern, the sound was completely grounded in classic blues rock tones. I was rather disappointed to see that the finish was applied on the neck as well as the body. To me, this implies a bit of a cheapness, usually when finish is applied on the neck it tends to detract from the ease of playability, the butta if you will. However, this was not the case on this guitar. Moving around the neck was very comfortable, and smooth, it almost seemed to melt in your hands. The other problem that I have as far as finish is found on the back of the guitar. The panel where the springs for the tremolo bridge is located didn't have a cover. While I know that this was done on purpose, to give a more Vintage look, I would have still liked to have seen a cover come with it, and give the player the option to remove it.
Features — 7
The Vintage Tremolo Guitar by Marichone isn't exactly feature laden, but it holds to it's Vintage title with pride. Featuring only a five way pickup selector, volume and tone knobs, this guitar's true beauty lies in it's rich sound. The Vintage Tremolo expands on the classic design of the Stratocaster, adding a humbucking bridge pickup and throwing in a swamp Ash body, a sugar maple neck and an African ebony fretboard. In addition, the fretboard sports beautifully crafted stainless steel frets, that are incredibly comfortable and easy on the fingers. The pickups and electronics are custom made, and it shows. Despite minimalistic controls, this is where the real difference is made in this guitar. They produced a sound that was rooted in classics, but allowed for all the elements of it's clearly modern engineering to Shine through. I was equally impressed with the combination of the Sperzel tuners and the Wilkinson tremolo. Wilkinson tremolos are notorious for forcing the guitar out of tune with the slightest of touches, however this is not the case on this guitar. Even when you completely dive this guitar's whammy it stays mostly in tune. What bit out of tune it goes is more than acceptable for not having to deal with the hassles of fine tuners and locking nuts such as are found on Floyd-Rose tremolo systems.