Lodestone's Electric Pro S (left) and Electric Pro (right).
The ceramic saddles make a great aesthetic accompaniment to the pickups.
The pickups on this instrument are by Seymour Duncan; a JB at the bridge and two direct mounted SSL-6 single-coils. A slightly lighter hued fingerboard shows off more visible black adhesive/filler around the 'tattoo' inlays.
The guitar has a bright edged, but not particularly woody sound. Expected, perhaps, with that dual fulcrum floating vibrato and the combination of the steel block and very hard ceramic saddles.
The Pro promises a modern tonality. It seems very happy with older blues and rock styles and with the help of some gain boost can slip into more contemporary gained voices too.
And the crisp almost active-like edge to the tone means that despite the relatively low/medium output pickups this guitar performs very well with ultra-gained, compressed amp tones.
Despite the visual style there's very little that's new here. Yes there's a crisp high-end - some might say too crisp. However, one man's 'too bright' may well be another's sonic nirvana.
The guitar plays well although a slightly higher fret would be preferable, and many would want more upbend on the vibrato. But the volume and tone tapers are very good and you can easily tame a little of the ceramic saddles' high-end edge by knocking back the tone.
Overall we're sure many players used to an H/S/S-with-vibrato format could simply plug in and go off and gig this without a problem. In some ways it lacks some sonic character, but in other ways it's that which will make it potentially suitable for a wide range of music.
This is, for the most part, a finely made guitar boasting quality parts and pickups, not to mention a very cool and practical gigbag, that makes the current Fender American Strat HSS look pricey by comparison.
There are areas for improvement, however. We certainly feel a higher fretwire would add a little in the playability stakes. The lack of upbend is a matter of increasing the neck pitch and raising the vibrato - easy enough to do on a bolt-on, but it would have been nice to see it sorted at source.
More challenging is that Laidback headstock which gives a different visual appearance - and we're not that sure that it adds any function.
Also, that ceramic saddle does give the guitar a crystalline high-end edge that players wanting a little more vintage sweetness might not like, although Lodestone does supply steel saddles too, which certainly tame down those highs. In short, the choice is yours.
But if Lodestone's brief was to create a modern looking - and quite modern sounding - versatile, working guitar at a semi-pro price-point they've certainly achieved it.
And, of course, this is just the start. A hard-tail model would certainly be welcome, as would a dual humbucking guitar - and both are on the drawing board. But for the time being, here is another guitar with a refreshingly modernistic and forward-looking vibe, to add to that ever-increasing list to try.