Spacetone review by MicroFrets

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (3 votes)
MicroFrets: Spacetone

Price paid: C$ 860

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 9
It is a good blues, country and soft rock guitar and all off-shoots of that. I play mostly blues and Indie rock type music, and it plays it well. This guitar was a favourite of some country musicians back in the day. Christian Wargo of Fleet Foxes uses a MicroFrets Plainsman, which uses the same pickups, so if you like them, give this one a try. It's a bright sounding guitar but still mellow, if you understand me. I really like using a bare bones type approach with it, just a lot of reverb and excessive amounts of its vibrato, it sounds amazing. It is really quiet, even with lots of gain or fuzz. There is a lot of variety in the sounds of the guitar, using the tone knobs to adjust from more bright to more mellow and a sort of in-between. It's a high quality sounding guitar, I haven't played enough of a variety of guitars to have to much a say in the score, whether or not its a 10 or a 9 or a 8. But a good quality guitar is a good quality guitar, so I'm rating a 9.

Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly old blues influenced Indie music, and just a real complicated amount of other genres. It's sound is really nice for all of these things. If you look at the players of this guitar, you notice the amount of genres that it is played in. I would murder the person who would try to steal this guitar. Its a piece of history and is a good investment in that it's held more than its price and will probably continue to raise in price as the years pass as there has been talk over the last 8 years of re-issuing the guitars. I'm in love with the way it looks, plays and sounds. The only bit of beef I have with it, is that it's sort of difficult to bend the strings on it in comparison to my telecaster. I'm still getting used to it, so it will probably get easier in the next few weeks, but that is a big part of my sound, so it's a little annoying. Other than that though, it is a perfect piece of musical history.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I think it would withstand live playing and touring. I know of some artists who used it, including Wreckless Eric, Carl Perkins, Depeche Mode (Martin Gore) and the above mentioned Christian Wargo. So I would think that if they were fine with using it live, I'm sure it would be fine for using on a tour. I've taken apart the guitar already, and all the pieces are just so heavy and well made. It's been 40 years already, even if you treat it badly, I have a feeling it's gonna last another 40. It's strap buttons are very well set into the guitar, I really trust it with my strap, and it holds well. The only thing I would worry about with playing it live, is that if something were to happen to its set up (the micronut) it would take 3-5 minutes to set it back up again. I would have a back up for it, in that case, but other wise, if you know it well (not like me), it would be safe to gig without a backup. So due to the dangers of what could happen, I'm rating it an 8 more on the reliability, but don't get me wrong, it is a very strong and steady guitar.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action of this guitar is just amazing. I think it's probably due to the micronut being set up nicely before being sent to me. I haven't had a single problem from it, and from what I've heard on the internet not many people do. And the finish is impecable, looks like the day it was made. Not a single bit of mischief on it. There is just one little dent in it, and that's it. For a 40 year old guitar, its really amazing. Due to the ability of it being able to change the action and its quality, I rate it a 10.

Features — 10
This guitar is a MicroFrets Spacetone, made in 1971 in Fredrick, Maryland. My guitar is a classic sunburst, and the finish has hardly any wear. The company that made these guitars were only around from 1967-1974, so only about 3000 guitars were made in that time. They had many futuristic designs and hardware. For instance, the micronut that was stock on every single one of the guitars they made. It was designed to adjust the intonation of each of the strings individually, and does it perfectly. It also allows you to set up the height of the strings and the distance from one another. It is a really amazing piece of equipment. The calibrato vibrato piece is another cool design. You can set it up for each of the strings to detune at whatever rate you want, making it completely possible to detune chords all in tune, or however you want it to. The body is moderately light due to its semi hollow nature. Most of the Spacetone guitars have an f-hole, although mine doesn't. The neck my guitar has was called a speedline neck, due to it's thinness. It makes for the easiest playing up and down the neck. It has 2 pickups, they are supposed to be P-9 esque, but my neck pickup was replaced at some point with a mini-humbucker which sounds pretty cool. The originals are designed by Bill Lawrence, famous for making many many different pickups for Fender, Gibson an D Framus. There are different configurations of the controls on the spacetones. Mine has two tone knobs and a volume, with a switch. Although some have only 1 tone knob and a second switch that further changes the tone. It's perfectly quiet when adjusting any of the parameters. All guitars were sold with a case so for the most part you'll get the original case with it. So to put in point form: - 22 Medium Frets - Calibrato Vibrato - Micronut - P-90 esque Bill Lawrence Designed pickups - Speedline Neck With all these amazing features, that were revolutionary and so before their time, I'm giving it a 10.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LOVE these! I prefer the green finish, but they're amazing. Very rare, despite the company coming back into business very briefly in 2004. I'd love one, I truly would. Apparently, some models had an FM transmitter in for wireless playing - in the Sixties!! :O
    And yes, Martin Gore does use one I'm a big DM fan, although I've only seen it on the 'One Night In Paris' Exciter DVD.
    MacMan2001 wrote: LOVE these! I prefer the green finish, but they're amazing. Very rare, despite the company coming back into business very briefly in 2004. I'd love one, I truly would. Apparently, some models had an FM transmitter in for wireless playing - in the Sixties!! :O
    Oh yeah those were called Orbiters. They had the FM transmitter in one of the guitar's horns, and then a receiving box you'd put on your amp. Pretty crazy for the sixties