Tyler Guitars Hollowbody Studio Elite Retro
Here, instead of sticking as close as possible to the classic Strat ideal, the Studio Elite Retro is much more of a de rigeur Tyler guitar.
Featuring a sunburst finish and boasting a slightly elongated tortoiseshell pickguard (thanks to the space afforded by the side-mounted jack), the body is high-grade alder.
All three JVT pickups, resplendent with their vintage mint-green covers, are angled slightly towards the bridge.
The bridge unit itself is sited slightly further away from the VSV vibrato when compared to the Classic (from its central point, just under 34mm compared to 36mm).
The maple neck of our example features Tyler's new 'V'-profile neck and James is typically relaxed about its genesis.
"Well, I haven't put any great effort into [the researching of neck profiles]. Over the years, I've found a few shapes that I, and a lot of other people seem to like and I work off of those."
Probably the most famous 'V'-profile can be found on the Clapton Signature Strat, and although the neck of this Tyler fills the hand in a similarly agreeable way, the apex of the wood is slightly rounder – a good thing considering this profile can be an acquired taste.
The final spec contrast is the provision of classic Kluson machines and a graphite nut.
Due to the tonal nature of alder, plus the siting of the pickups, accusations of harshness become completely redundant here.
You're left with all the Strat-type tones that we've all heard on our favourite records and, thanks to the feel of the neck that we've just about run out of superlatives for, this is a viable alternative to that dream Fender Custom Shop model.
In fact, silky smoothness is a reasonable description of the guitar as a whole. All five settings are rounder and bereft of even the merest hint of abrasion, allowing you to really stretch your technique with whatever crazy chord voicing you'd care to attempt: the tone is that good.
As you'd expect, there's plenty of resonance, both acoustically and when plugged in, which benefits any style and the only criticism we'd have is that the VSV is set slightly flat when compared to the more liquid setup of the Classic.
That's personal taste, of course: what should be obvious by now is that this guitar is one of the best of its type we've tried in aeons.
The awesome new neck profile and classic single-coil tones.
Any changes we'd suggest can be found within Tyler's custom options.
A truly fabulous guitar!