Vintage AV1H

Although a single-cut design such as this always brings Gibson to the tip of one's tongue, the vibe here is more Washburn Idol or ESP LTD EC series than anything else.

What's more, this is in effect a double-cut guitar as the small amount of body mahogany that's been removed from the upper bout between the 16th and 19th frets allows for a much cleaner access to the highest frets.

Overview

Like the ESP LTD EC-200 the AV1 is a slab-bodied affair that has been given a contour around the front and back edges, as well as the lower cutaway.

A Gibson Les Paul Standard's top is more deeply carved of course, so this design allows for a more streamlined look that brings with it more of a Gibson SG-like, rebellious vibe.

The heel is also different from what you may expect. The neck pocket is deep, and a portion of the neck tenon extends under the neck pickup.

Also, when bending the treble strings way up the dusty end, the neck wood makes for an efficient pivot for your hand, increasing accuracy in the fingering, one's technique notwithstanding.

Pickups here comprise a pair of Wilkinson's own-design WVC humbuckers that sit beneath two genuinely sexy nickel covers that and tune-o-matic-style bridge.

The bound rosewood 'board and well shaped mahogany neck here certainly make for a comfortable playing experience of sorts, although we did find the binding to be overly scruffy and the 'board itself very dry, so much so that a modicum of rasping was unavoidable.

A little rub with fine wire wool and an application of lemon oil not only takes minutes but will transform the feel dramatically.

It's also worth mentioning the frets at this point. They're a little on the low side and aren't levelled then redressed after they're inserted.

That said, the job here is tidy enough for the price, but it's one reason why we'd strongly recommend you play your potential purchase before you buy it - hitting your mouse won't let you feel what you're buying.

The graphite nut, too, is rather untidy with the D-string sticking quite seriously in its slot - again a very easy fix but one we'd have liked to been done before we - or you - receive the guitar.

The nut has also been seated poorly, with too much glue blobbed around for certainly our, and doubtless Mr Wilkinson's, liking.

The headstock bristles with six of Wilkinson's own Kluson-style tuners, which work perfectly well.

You can make your own mind up about the black plastic pegs' visual merits and, as we alluded to in the original AV1 review, pegheads and logos also seem destined to divide opinion.

Sounds

It's difficult to go far wrong with the classic combination of solid mahogany construction and a quality pickup or two - and the AV1 doesn't let us down.

The two WVCs are warm, mellow and wholly musical, just as a great PAF-style pickup should be, and, by using the Roll Control, the guitar is full of tones.

We should say that the transformation from humbucker to single-coil isn't as formidable as you may think - a Variax this ain't - but the reduction in tonal girth and additional twang does allow you to alter your tone plenty enough to be of genuine use.

For example, with a decent level of amp drive, the neck pickup is full, with plenty of push: simply altering the Roll Control reduces the urgency without losing too much tonal heat: a very useable feature.

For classic rock styles the AV1 soars, offering a rhythm tone we've experienced on our favourite albums and, as there's no maple cap here, the overall performance can become as dark as you like.

String definition is particularly good, which is great for blues styles - especially with the toggle switch in the middle position and the Roll up to half.

We have pointed out a number of construction concerns here but as far as playability and sheer quality of tone goes, the AV1 is very impressive indeed.

There are without doubt a number of cool innovations within these three electrics, with the AV3P, after much wrangling, coming out on top.

It plays very well indeed and offers a choice of tones that are uncommon at this price - it looks pretty smart too.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

A good rock tone with lots of drive and warmth.

Cons

The untidy nut and rough 'board of our example doesn't do it any favours.

Verdict

If Wilkinson cracks his QC whip, subsequent AV1H examples will be far more compelling.

Country of Origin

China

Available Controls

Tone Volume Volume Roller

Available Finish

Trans cherry (as reviewed), black.

Back Material

Mahogany

Bridge

Tune-o-matic

Cutaway

Yes

Features

Tune-o-matic-style bridge, stud tailpiece, Wilkinson tuners – all nickel-plated . Two Wilkinson humbuckers

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Fretless

No

Left Handed Model Available

No

Neck Material

Mahogany

Neck Profile

Set Neck

No. of Frets

22

Options

AV1H, with a flamed maple top or AV1H, loaded with two Wilkinson P90-style pickups (both £349.

Pickups

3-Way Toggle Pickup Selector

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.

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