Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: GuitarGuitar
Features: With 22 nickel silver frets resting on a 25.5 scale length, the Peavey Rockingham is a comfortable axe to pick up and play in the garden, on the sofa or standing up. The multiple woods used in the Rockingham's construction offer tonal diversity. The rosewood fingerboard is complemented by abalone binding which actually runs from the headstock to wrap itself seamlessly around the body. The Rockingham can be purchased with, or without the Bigsby B6, and with the presence of the retro styled hum-buckers, it's advisable you do add the tremolo if you have that extra cash to part with for increased flexibility of this already dynamic instrument. To control the tone and volume of the hum-buckers, there is a master volume control, one gain control for both pick-ups and two separate tone controls, so there are plenty of tonal options. The shapely 'F' holes ensure that the Rockingham can be played acoustically, but also accommodate for that jazzy tone that any self respecting guitarist loves to achieve when playing on the clean channel of the amp. Peavey's employees have given this guitar some thought with a laminate spruce top and maple sides and back. Spruce is known for it's strength, thus this hollow body isn't as vulnerable as some.
Tuning is not a problem, maintained even in hot and humid Cyprus (island in the Mediterranean) so if you can't get it to stay in tune, lubricate the nut, stretch the strings and stop waggling that Bigsby so much, it ain't a Floyd Rose you're pulling on! The tuners are ship shape and the distinctive Rosewood bridge caters for palm muting and finger style picking most accordingly. We've mentioned the spectacular abalone binding, but just to assert their dedication to the class of this instrument, Peavey has included some eye candy down the neck with pearl fret blocks with abalone inserts so you can be sure of keeping your eyes on the fret board rather than that attractive person in the audience. For the price, the guys at Peavey have ensured that the Rockingham is well equipped for styles such as rockabilly and jazz. I got mine with a top quality hard case with a lock (perfect for air travel), so look around for a deal. // 8
Sound: Played clean through a Fender Frontman Amp, the Peavey Rockingham excelled with its warm tone, particularly effective when the selector switch was set in the middle. Perfect for jazz, rockabilly, early rock 'n' roll, the Rockingham can even deliver when playing stuff by the likes of AC/DC thanks to its ability to feedback at a higher gain, unlike similarly styled guitars. With a slapback delay, and a little gain on the dirty channel, the Rockingham soared. It's a sonic burst of wonder and I just wish I had been able to afford the delay pedal I tried with it. This feature, and the Bigsby of course, make playing songs by artists such as, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Brian Setzer smooth, almost definitive playing experience. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: Stunning looks. This guitar is highly suitable and recommended to those of you Who get told off for playing too much guitar. If you can't play it, the Rockingham is like a dirty magazine, except that it oozes all the class they lack. Aesthetically, the Rockingham has no competitor in the price range and even a lot further. The action suited my taste, but some of us may prefer it to be a little lower for fretting purposes on the higher, more difficult to reach frets. The nut and tuners hold the tuning well and this is from someone Who uses alternate tuning quite often. The pickups are at an optimum height as well. My one major concern is the bridge. Fine it doesn't affect the playability of the instrument, but hours on end of staring at my pride and joy took away a little touch of the novelty. The bridge is a little squint, as is the neck pick-up. However, the despondence lasted only momentarily, and soon I was back to ogling my favourite axe. // 8
Reliability & Durability: Never play a Bigsby fitted guitar Live without a back up, not even the high end Gretsches. The hardware is supposedly tantamount to the axe's worth. However, it is here where the Rockingham truly provides what the Artcore does not. The strap buttons however could do with strap lock for safety purposes and Live play. I packed this guitar and shoved it in the hold to take abroad and guess what, it is still in mint condition. I've knocked it against the bedpost and it didn't even have an effect. That said, I don't recommend you to smash it on the ground, since it is essentially a vibrating box of air. The fact of the matter remains that this is hollow, it's not made to last in a sense. // 6
Overall Impression: I tried The Artcores, the Epiphones and the Yamahas. My thirst unquenched, I asked the sales assistant for an alternative. He told me to hang on for a second, before emerging from the back with the Rockingham. Bliss. As soon as I held the guitar, caressing the neck I knew it was mine. In fact, my uncle Who was with me was so impressed (he owns a high end Telecaster and could afford much more than this) bought one too. So it has some feedback problems It's a box of air. What do you expect? The Peavey is ideal for punk, rockabilly and jazz. Its tone is groundbreaking at this price, and with the right upgrades, could truly be an indispensable axe. // 7