Rarer still than useable Strat/Tele hybrids are guitars that offer a trio of P-90 pickups: semi-acoustics of that configuration are akin to a dog that speaks Norwegian!
This version of the AV3, designed to slightly smaller dimensions than a Gibson ES-335, boasts a trio of P-90-style stacked humbuckers, again courtesy Wilkinson.
The controls are the same as what has gone before with one important distinction: the tone control is also a push/push switch that selects the middle pickup irrespective of where the three-way toggle is set - a simple yet potentially very useful idea.
The offset body here is carved from a single piece of mahogany, and also includes a solid mahogany central block.
The slightly arched, hand-carved solid maple top is crowned with a flamed maple veneer and finished off with a very attractive tobacco sunburst: all in all the looks here are something rather special.
Also of mahogany, the neck is similar to the feel of more modern Gibson semis. It has a shallow 'C' profile that's equally wide and substantial, and we found that the low action of our example made it a great player.
The best news of all is that there's not enough room here for us to go into detail about all the sounds available here, but the Roll Control works very well here to offer a myriad of soulful, jazzy, twangy, rocky, bluesy sounds that will keep you busy for many gigs and sessions to come.
The neck and middle together give a tone that, although as fat and warm as a newly baked cake, offers a very acceptable treble edge that suggests some aggression beneath the nice augmented and 13th chords such a tone would normally require.
Of all here this would be the one we'd recommend for blues styles too. The body dimensions make it easier to get a handle on than a bigger ES-335, for example, and the stacked pickups provide ample bite on demand (and in full humbucking mode are hum-cancelling, unlike the single-coil P-90s that they ape visually).
Any doubts as to the versatility of the Roll Control circuitry are dispelled with a few minutes experimentation, and the glassy nature of the so-called 'single-coil' voicing is no more evident than with this guitar.
If it wasn't for the fact that the bridge pickup screws were too short, thus causing the unit to pop out of it's cavity without warning, we'd be reaching for our book of
plaudits, but even so the AV3 is still a very good instrument.
A staggering choice of top tones, during which the Roll Control comes into its own. It plays really well too.
A few small cosmetic/QC concerns stop us from awarding top marks.
Three P-90-style stacked humbuckers and a unique look add up to a serious guitar. Recommended.
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.
Country of Origin
Vintage tobacco sunburst
Wilkinson tuners – all nickel-plated. hree Wilkinson soapbar-style stacked humbuckers, three-way toggle pickup selector switch, master volume and tone (with pull/push switch to introduce middle pickup) plus Roll Control (splits humbuckers to single-coils)
Guitar Body Material
Left Handed Model Available
No. of Frets
The twin humbucking AV3H (£399)