After following Ormsby Guitars online for so long and attending a few informal Ormsby get-togethers, it’s been great to see the company go from strength to strength in 2016. Beginning with a successful appearance at Winter NAMM in January, this year has brought us to a point where you can stroll into a store like GH Music in Melbourne and see a selection of Ormsby multiscale guitars right alongside brands like Ibanez and Schecter. The guitar reviewed in this issue is at GH Music at the time of writing. It’s an 8-string HypeGTR Exotic model with a sexy-as-f walnut burl top on an alder body (swamp ash bodied versions are available too, distinguishable at a glance because the alder has a black forearm cut while swamp as has a plain wood one).
This is a multiscale instrument: the lowest string’s scale length is 28.2”, with the highest being 25.5”. This gives you a more relaxed hand position and great intonation, plus a more consistent tension from string to string. The neck is made of laminated rock maple and is set, although the smooth transition from neck to body feels like a neck-through. The ebony fretboard radius is 16” and the frets are jumbo stainless steel. It’s great to find stainless steel frets on an instrument in this price range, and they’re bound to hold up for a ridiculously long time even with all the abuse you’re likely to throw at them by not being able to put this guitar down. The offset inlays look classy and the white binding on the body and headstock really completes the look.
The hardware includes a custom Hipshot string-through-body bridge and Hipshot locking tuners, 500k volume and tone pots with a push-pull on the tone for coil- splitting, and Ormsby-designed Nunchucher A8 bridge humbucker and De La Creme A2 neck humbucker.
The first thing you’ll notice with this guitar is that you don’t need to blast the hell out of the gain to get it to sound aggressive and powerful; it’s such a bold-voiced guitar that you can get a great tight percussive chunk out of more medium gain settings. The bridge pickup is voiced well for the kind of extended-scale riffage you’re likely to do on an instrument that lets you go so low, and the deepest notes never get muddy. The neck pickup has a sweet, lyrical tone, which is great for chord work or noodly solos. The single coil settings are very clear and detailed, and they really let you explore the full range of the instrument. If you’re into wide chord voicings or intricate bass/chord/melody clean work, this is the instrument for you. Then you can pop it back into humbucker mode and wreak sonic havoc.
This is a serious instrument with great build quality, a flawless setup and plenty of useable tones. And if you’re on the fence about trying a multiscale instrument, a dealer like GH Music will be happy to let you pick one up and see just how natural it feels and how much your sound will benefit from the more logical scale arrangement.
(6 string model pictured)
For more details, head to ormsbyguitars.com.
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