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Monday, May 6, 2013

The Power Tele Blue Marlin by Chili Custom Guitars,... (Review)

Reviewed By: Jac Harrison
Purchased from: Manufacturer
Street Price: $2,995 USD with case + shipping 

Chili Custom Guitars is a manufacturer of handcrafted, custom boutique electric guitars by master luither Horst Weinelt, in Austria.

This Power Tele Blue Marlin model has a one piece solid white ash body that flows into a fat “D” shaped big leaf maple neck that is dressed in a 24 fret Zebrano fingerboard featuring and fat wengewood binding topped with a bone nut.

Axetec England locking machine heads, (2) Axetec England chrome knobs, Axetec England fixed Strat style fixed bridge with a dual action trussrod and strap locks.

Axetec Jailhouse Rail SC sized humbucker neck pickup, Axetec Iron Gear "Dirty Torque" bridge pickup, (1) 500 ohm linear pot, (1) 500 ohm linear push/push pot, orange drop capacitors, Axetec England 3-way toggle.  


Amp used: 
Bogner Alchemist 2 x12

Cables used: 

Strings used:
Dark Horse 10-46

Selector position 1: Just Neck
Not as thick as a traditional humbucker -- has the top end of a PAF with the bottom of a P90. Very useful with very little mud. 

Selector position 2: Neck and Bridge
A bridge heavy mix with increased harmonic response. 

Selector position 3:  Just Bridge
American vintage PAF bridge without the headaches you get from a true vintage pickup. Excellent for cutting through the mix without the fear of unwanted feedback and squeal. 

*This guitar is equipped with a push/push tone knob for coil splitting. 

Action, Fit & Finish:
The finish is a beautiful heavy wood grain translucent blue. FedEx manhandled her so she needed a quick setup -- but coming overnight from Austria to New Jersey via FedEx, that was completely acceptable and anticipated.

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.

This is the third Chili Custom guitar I have reviewed, and just like the other two she is amazing. The first thing I noticed when I opened her case was her gorgeous almost tropical ocean wave like grain pattern that cut through her translucent blue finish. So after giving her a once over -- I poured myself a coconut rum cocktail and plugged her in. One of the many features I truly enjoy about Chili Custom Guitars are their necks. Horst Weinelt (head luthier in charge at Chili Custom Guitars) hand carves each neck giving each guitar its own personality. You know you are holding an instrument and not a toy when playing this guitar.

I particularly enjoyed her pickup combination. The Axetec Jailhouse Rail in the neck was a nice touch giving her what I call a "soft voice" neck humbucker -- but she really came alive as a sing coil when split. A very vintage warm meaty Strat neck, and when combined with the bridge she had some Tele spank.

A few years ago the Fender Guitar Company released a dual humbucker Tele guitar they dubbed the "Blacktop" series. Now this Chili Power Tele may look similar to the Fender Blacktop at a quick glance -- but when you really look at her you can see the differences, and most importantly when you play her you can hear the differences. First off -- the Chili has a 24 fret set neck -vs- the Fender's 22 fret bolt-on giving the Chili what seems like never ending sustain and a little more room to play. Second -- the tonewoods used for the Chili are of highest quality -vs- the "B" stock Fender uses on their Blacktop series. Third -- a human being hand carved the Chili -vs- a CNC machine farting out the Fender. Overall the Chili is a great example of a "hybrid guitar". She has the traditional body lines of Tele and a heart of splittable dirty humbuckers. 

I believe that this Chili Power Tele is what the Fender Guitar Company was striving to build when they put out their Blacktop series. There is a night and day difference between the two guitars and the only way to experience it is to play one. 

What I would change: 

My advice: 
My advice about Chili Custom Guitars is you should play one and if you are collector you should own one.

This guitar is enrolled in the Local Music Gear Allstar program -- Try and buy the guitar from this review at the following independent retailer:

Allstar Music Academy
433 U.S. 202  Flemington, NJ 08822
(908) 788-9800
Chili Custom Guitars
5071 Wals Siezenheim
+43 664 223 72 77
Posted 05/2013