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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"The Hustler" by Badd Guitars,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $895 USD with gig bag + shipping 

Badd Guitars is a manufacturer of handcrafted, American made, custom electric guitars by master luthier Dave Badger. 

This "The Hustler" model, has a locally grown basswood body with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish dressed in a hand cut tortoise/white/black pickguard that flows into a bolt-on hard maple neck featuring a 21 fret 25.5" scale maple fingerboard with 12" radius that is topped with a 1.65" bone nut. 

Chrome Grover machine heads, Gibson style truss rod,  Gotoh 2 1/16 spacing hard tail string-thru body bridge, chrome strap buttons, chrome string ferrules and knobs.

(3) custom wound alnico 5 staggered pole Strat style single coils, 8000 turns of 42 awg poly coated copper coil, resistances measuring between 5.50-5.85(parrafin/beeswax potted), 5 way selector switch, 250k pots (1 vol, 1 tone), switchcraft 1/4" jack.


Amp used: 
Bogner Alchemist 2 x12

Cables used: 

Selector position 1: Just Neck
Bright, clear and full -- very 1978 single coil neck.

Selector position 2:Neck and Middle 
A bright balanced mix of the neck and middle.

Selector position 3: Just Middle
Twangy, and spanky.

Selector position 4: Middle and Bridge
A very thin and clear lead "sweet spot".

Selector position 5:  Just Bridge
An in your face super bright single coil lead.

Action, Fit & Finish:
The finish is a warm vintage antique burst - The action was low without any fret buzz and the intonation was dead on.

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

Where to start? This guitar is a combo of two guitars -- a Gibson Explorer and a Fender Strat. When I met with David Badger, the CEO and master luthier of Badd Guitars, I was shock to say the least when I saw this guitar. It's not every day you get a chance to see let alone play a guitar that combines the best elements form to outstanding instruments. Now I am not a fan of the Gibson or Fender guitar companies do to their recent business practices and the lack of attention to detail in their product, but you just can't argue with the design elements that went into their guitars in the late 1960's - mid 1980's. David has manage to capture these elements from both guitars and make them work as if this guitar could have come from either factory. 

One of my favorite features about this guitar is that you can tell that is was built by a human hand. It is like when you pick up a pre-1970 Gibson -- the guitar has it's own soul and personality that gives it character and depth. I'm also a fan of the basswood body. This is a softer lighter wood that makes the guitar weigh less with a deeper tone then other lightweight woods. This felt and looked like someone bought a new guitar in the mid 1970's and left it in its case for 30 + years.  

Over all this was a dream to play -- a very aggressive Fender Strat sound with the look and feel of a vintage Gibson. The best part was the price. At $895 USD, it has the price of an import with the playability of an
American handmade custom guitar. 

What I would change:
I would use a Tusq nut vs animal bone but that is just my preference and she is 100% out of the box perfect.

My advice: 
This is a great example of an American handcrafted custom guitar that you can add to your collection for $895. My advice is buy one. 

Badd Guitars 
New Jersey, USA
(P) 908 528-6333

Posted 03/2013