1991 PAUL REED SMITH PRS LIMITED EDITION 5 300 SEMI HOLLOW REDWOOD TOP
The LaSALLE™ brings the character and performance of those great instruments together in a modern instrument. All the details from the F-hole, to the end of the fingerboard, to the shape of the pickguard, are consistent with the original spirit of those great guitars.
The Duncan Designed™ pickups were essential to bring out the tone and character of this classic design.
Oversize Jazz headstock
Select spruce topBone nut
JZ 4 FEATURES
Single Venetian cutaway
Quilt maple hollow body, bound, arched
Select spruce top
Bound, mahogany set neck
Gold Grover™ tuners
Gold jazz tail piece
Rosewood jazz bridge
Single suspended pickup
Samick/Greg Bennett LaSalle JZ4
We revisit big-bodied jazz boat territory with the Samick LaSalle JZ4, designed in the U.S. by Greg Bennett, and manufactured in Korea. This guitar takes us back to the tradition mined by the Epiphone Emperor Regent above, although the LaSalle is generally more Gibson-like. It’s a 17" wide, 31/2" deep, parallel-braced archtop with a single Venetian cutaway, a laminated spruce top, and quilted laminated maple back and sides. The proffered 251/2" scale length of the bigger archtop returns here, too, coupled to a thin maple neck with flattish back and spliced-on headstock section. At around 7.5 lbs, this is also the heaviest guitar of the bunch, followed—in order—by the Ibanez, the Epiphone, and the Stromberg.
This instrument displays a number of elements that hint at an effort to achieve a somewhat upscale product, including the fancy gold-plated lyre-style trapeze tailpiece, seven-ply body binding (echoed in five-ply at the fingerboard, headstock, and pickguard), Duncan-designed mini-humbucker, bone nut, and gold-plated Grover tuners. To top off the high-toned looks, a honey-blond natural finish displays the top’s tight, straight grain beautifully, and really harkens back to those big, blonde Gibson Super 400s that thumped out everything from swing to bop for countless jazz greats of the 1940s and ’50s. The LaSalle’s rosewood fretboard carries 20 jumbo frets—de rigueur for contemporary jazz guitars, it seems—and simple, but attractive mother-of-pearl block position markers. We also have the 111/16" nut width that has proven standard in this roundup (although the LaSalle’s string spacing within that breadth is a little tighter than that of the others here), and the two-piece floating rosewood bridge, stained black much like the bridge on the Ephiphone.
With more than 40 years experience supplying instruments for some of the world’s biggest import brands, Samick certainly knows how to put together a guitar. The LaSalle makes a fine example of what experienced Asian manufacturing coupled with clever U.S. design can achieve. It’s an extremely tight and tidy piece of work.
The LaSalle has good acoustic volume, and a pleasing, balanced voice that, if not quite a rival to your favorite flat-top, could at least pinch hit for it on occasions. Amped up, it’s big, bold and booming, with good sizzle in the highs and a firm, swift attack. It’s a little too aggressive in the lows at times, with an over-pronounced bass at the lower frets, and a propensity to howl with feedback on the E and A in the first two octaves. A tweak of the amp’s EQ helps to cure both minor ills, however, and reveals the most muscular big-box electric performance of the bunch.
That said, it’s a powerful, but not overly rich or elegant tone. Good stuff for the price range, even so, but not as harmonically rich or as warm as the smaller-bodied Stromberg, for example. Still, the LaSalle packs all the archetypal moves, and it could please many a hard-gigging jazzer.
The pickup works. The volume and tone controls work. The neck is straight. There is no fret wear. There are some scratches on the pickguard. There is one spot on the binding on the top that sticks out a little. The guitar plays well and sounds good. The case is in good condition.
This item has been kept in a smoke free studio. The guitar stand is not included.
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