Vintage Advance AV2

Vintage has carved quite a market in the UK, and overseas, for its range of knock-offs, replicas, copies – call 'em what you will.

Leading guitar designer Trev Wilkinson has been working with the brand for the past couple of years and we've not only seen the quality and specification rise but Wilkinson has also enlivened the range with, for example, the Icon range of affordable aged replicas.

But with the launch of the Advance series, copy cloning is put on the back burner in favour of some more original designs like this guitar on test here.

Overview

The AV2 again exhibits an impressive build quality with neat design references. It's semi-solid and more usually for this type of design the back is chambered from three-piece alder with maple-veneered maple top.

The more exotic figuring puts it into a posher 'boutique' category and again, finishing and binding is of a high standard.

The bolt-on maple neck with the easier-on-the eye Fender-inspired headstock and logos is again impressively shaped with a hint of a 'V' to the shoulders and a tidily fretted dark-brown rosewood board.

The fret slots, at the fingerboard edge, are colour-filled and the neck back is satin – only the head-face is glossed.

Where the neck joins the body there's a contrasting piece of bubinga visible at the neck heel that's actually an extension that passes under the neck pickup.

It allows firm fixing by the four screws, held in recessed washers not by a neck plate, and means that the last 22nd fret is easily accessible.

For the style the neck protrudes more from the body and played seated it feels like you have a longer 24-fret neck. Mechanically we have no problem but that additional piece of contrasting wood seems add to a design that's already full of stylistic contrast.

The face of the guitar you see looks a little crowed. Along with the small bass-side shoulder cutout we have a tortie three-ply scratchplate contrasting the busy flamed maple top with its subtle 'bursting.

Then there's the single f-hole and easily visible orange label, oh, and the cream binding. The well-placed controls have neatly knurled metal nickel-plated knobs, the dual humbuckers have open-coiled black bobbins – the bridge unit in a black surround, the neck pickup mounted to the scratchplate.

Then there's the black-tipped toggle switch that is cut into the cratchplate. In terms of function it's all fine – it's just aesthetically, it looks a bit of a mishmash.

The thru-strung bridge, however, is very neat, like the back half of a Tele bridge, with three brass saddles each shaped to provide correct intonation.

Sounds

We have a lightweight feel here and that extended neck takes a little getting used to if you're very familiar with the strapped-on 'hang' of a standard Tele.

With good resonance, played clean, the extreme single-coil sound of the bridge pickup is perhaps a little too light, but the mixed pickups and the neck pickup in these lighter modes sound very good.

At full humbucking we witness an excellent performance – meaty, with a really good playing neck and tremendous upper fret access.

While the looks may say Tele, the sounds don't quite capture that earthy twang but do expand the style into a much more journeyman-style performance. Hard to put down.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Excellent fret access and weight. Versatile sounds.

Cons

The guitar's front is a little busy – a seventies Tele vibe may fare better.

Verdict

The AV2 could look a little classier but offers sonic versatility and quality.

Available Controls

1 x 'Roll Control' (Humbucker to Single Coil) 3 Position Toggle Pickup Selector Switch Master Tone Master Volume

Available Finish

Honey burst, Flame, Natural flame

Body Binding

Single-ply

Bolt-on Neck

Yes

Bridge

Wilkinson WTB

Country of Origin

China

Cutaway

Yes

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

American Alder

Inlays

Dot

Neck Material

Maple/Bubinga

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

22

Nut Material

Graphite

Options

The AV2 ia available with humbucker at neck and ridge single-coil at £329

Pickups

2 x Wilkinson Humbucker WVCN (Neck) WVCB (Bridge)

Scale Length (Inches)

25.5

Scale Length (mm)

648

Top Finish

Flame Maple Veneer

Top Material

Maple

Weight (kg)

3.2

Weight (lb)

7

Width at Nut (mm)

42.4

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.