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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1957 LP Gold Top Styled by Vicious Monkey, ... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $799.99 USD with Gig Bag

A single cutaway 1957 LP gold-top style guitar by Vicious Monkey.

This guitar has 22 standard frets on a rosewood fingerboard ending in a tusq nut with inlays at the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, & 21st frets. A one piece mahogany neck through a chambered solid mahogany body with a maple cap and cream binding, with period style pickguard topping it off.

Standard LP style Tune-O-Matic style bridge and tailpiece in chrome. (2) volume, (2) tone controls, speed knobs, Grover 14:1 locking machine-heads.

Alnico II PAF style neck and Gibson 1957 Classic PAF bridge pickups, with Switchcraft 3-way toggle and jack with 500k pots. 

Amp used:
Bogner Alchemist 2 x12
Vox AC 30
Fender Blues JR 

Cables used:

Kerley 50's Pure Nickle

Selector position 1: Just Neck
Warm, round, well balanced tone, great for blues, jazz and mellow rhythms.

Selector position 2: Neck & Bridge
Bright with a good amount of attack, a well balanced mix of neck and bridge.

Selector position 3: Just Bridge
Authentic LP lead, very "Appetite for Destruction".

Action, Fit & Finish:  
This guitar was clean with a few small minor cosmetic imperfections; the action was low without any buzz.

Reliability & Durability: 
The guitar seems to be well made. It is solid through and through. There was no hum or crackle from the electronics with all knobs and hardware installed snug and proper.  

This is the second LP-styled guitar we have reviewed by Vicious Monkey and, just like the first the guitar, it is evenly balanced and easy to play with its "C" shaped neck. Because this guitar is designed after one of the most sought after guitars, I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison with the Gibson reissue. The only store in my area that had a 57' reissue was Guitar Center. Knowing that I could catch a case of the "stupids" just from walking in their door, I nonetheless put the Monkey in my car and made the trip. The first thing I noticed is that the appearance of two guitars was spot on. The Monkey had a little more gold in the paint mix than the Gibson -- making her have a brighter color. Sound wise the Monkey had more sustain with higher sensitivity to pick attack, giving her more of a vintage feel than the Gibson. 

Since I was in the "Walmart" of Guitar stores, I decided to walk around and give the employees the chance to play a real guitar.  After about an hour of sharing the Monkey with the staff and some shoppers, I packed it up and headed out. Everyone that played the guitar was impressed and shocked at the low price for the quality of the guitar. 

Now some will argue that just because a guitar has the Gibson Logo on it it is automatically superior -- so lets weigh out the facts. The Gibson is farted out of a CNC machine in Tennessee vs the Vicious Monkey that is hand carved by a luthier in New Jersey. The Gibson is $4,000 with the same setup as the Vicious Monkey that is $800. So for those of us that are all about the label -- this isn't for you. For those of us that care about tone and playability -- this is a must have for your collection; and for those of us that want the LP sound and do not want to bring your $4,000 guitar to your hole-in-the wall gig, this will look and sound the same (or better) on stage.

What I would change: 
Nothing - not a damn thing. 

My advice 
If you are an LP style player -- you should play a Vicious Monkey before you buy your next guitar.

Vicious Monkey Music
433 US HWY 202
Flemington, NJ 08822

Posted 09/2012