Wild Custom was founded by Julien Joseph Roure who, after a decade and a half as a cabinet-maker, started making guitars in 2008 in Creuzier- le-Vieux, a town in central France – the first design being the WildOne.
Today, there are four base designs: alongside the WildOne, we have the Telecaster-inspired Wild-TV, the classy offset WildMaster, the Firebird-based FireWild and the chambered, metal-topped WildOne deviant, the IronTop. On review, we have a base-specification WildOne Sober.
You can personalise your guitar with various parts – not least a 'Fuck-Off '(!) toggle-switch ring – or, of course, a full custom build, which means you can spec anything: scale length, wood, hardware, pickups, wiring, control plates and much more, based any on these base models or something totally unique.
The flat 'slab' body of the guitar's WildOne outline has an original shape and headstock that reminds you a bit of Rickenbacker's 'cresting wave' outline and a little bit of Gibson's Junior/Special, but creates what is now a signature shape of Wild Custom.
The only difference, body-wise, is that the WildOne Sober is all solid, while the IronTop one has been 'half chambered' before getting its screwed-on steel top. The Sober is the thickest (43mm instead of 39mm for the Custom) but is also lighter than the Custom: 3.2kg (7.6lb) as opposed to 3.8kg (8.3lb).
The Sober's set neck is mahogany; the IronTop's is a maple bolt-on. Both have rosewood fretboards, featuring tidily fitted frets and a medium C 'standard thin' profile that's pretty Gibson-esque and mainstream. There's plenty of Gibson influence, from the scale length, the fingerboard camber, and not least the tune-o-matic and stud tailpiece setup.
The hardware of the standard Sober is unaged, but the custom model, which uses TonePros bridge parts, looks wonderfully old and a bit knackered. Both are very tidily created, though, and those engraved plates on the headstocks and around the toggle switch really add some originality in the style of Tony Zemaitis or James Trussart.
Old-school aficionados will like the pickup setup on the Sober: the Wildkat 'buckers are hand-wound in Paris by Hepcat Pickups and inspired by Gibson's classic '59 PAFs. On the IronTop, we get a pair of humbucking-sized Gold Foils by the UK-based Mojo Pickups.
Feel & Sounds
With buckets of Gibson Junior/Special in the feel of these guitars, the sound of the standard Sober provides plenty of old-school warmth and charm, but with a surprisingly modern twist.
The neck offers a full-bodied depth, with a distinctive woody character. It's not as creamy as some, but with plenty of mids and a slightly tight low end. The mix position is nicely balanced, with added definition and there's plenty of bark and bite from the bridge.
Nice sustain, plenty of harmonic resonance and a soupçon of crystalline modern brightness – superb with any arpeggios. But you won't unleash the beast until you push the overdrive switch on your amp, which creates a perfect classic bite for a wide rock repertoire going from blues to classic and harder stoner rock.
These pickups seem more aggressive than vintage PAFs; they're really sensitive to dynamics, and can easily go into trashier territories, too. The Sober proves a lot more versatile than we expected – this guitar has clearly been made to rock hard!