The latest range from Eggle includes some models that indicate a determined intention to depart from established Eggle tradition and instead explore fresh avenues of design. The Wave Deluxe falls firmly in this category, employing original styling already seen on earlier examples in this series.
Design and construction
Looks owe little to Eggle's past or indeed any other maker, while construction incorporates concepts claimed to be innovative and beneficial to performance. The Wave name is well chosen, as the body horns and cutaways suggest an appropriately aquatic appearance. There are hints of Rickenbacker and early BC Rich, but this Eggle succeeds in being both original and appealing.
While body styling may be all-new, the Wave sticks with the standard, neat and tidy Eggle headstock, which actually matches well. It carries a set of locking Sperzel tuners, arrayed to ensure all-important straight string travel, along with shallow but sufficient break angle off the nut.
Like the body, the glued-in neck is English sycamore (which has similar characteristics to maple). It comes with a two-way adjustable truss-rod and a comfort-inducing shallow-ish C-profile, while width is mainstream finger friendly. The smooth rosewood fingerboard also contributes to a high stay and play quota, as does a 22-strong set of impressively finished, medium gauge frets. The 20th marks the neck's meeting point with the body and the appropriate join is accomplished via a sturdy heel, with airy cutaways ensuring easy upper-end excursions.
The body's two-piece sycamore top features some fair flame figuring and comprises almost half the overall depth. It's mated to a slightly thicker rear section executed in a single slab of strong-grained sycamore, complete with numerous knots on the review example. All are visible via a satin sheen, nitro-cellulose finish in blue-green, while the front has a lighter-toned, subtly shaded equivalent that Eggle call Adriatic 'burst.
Body depth is a super-slim 28mm at the edge, but is thicker further in, as the face employs a gently indented 'German Carve' around the edge. A complimentary-shaped, single soundhole on the bass side indicates air inside and the semi-solid construction apparently employs computer-calculated cavities and ports, all aimed to enhance inherent response. There's no front or rear contouring, but the slim depth and well-balanced proportions help keep things comfortable, as does a lighter-than-usual weight.
Electrics and hardware
Pickup-wise, the Wave Deluxe plays it pretty straight, packing a pair of Patrick Eggle-branded humbuckers said to be closely based on Seymour Duncan designs. The neck position pickup emulates the Alnico Pro II model, while its bridge partner is akin to the Custom Custom. Their surrounds are cream coloured and angled, but their slope is steeper than that of neck to body, so pickups aren't parallel to the strings, which means the flat alternative might be better.
Another cosmetic niggle is the use of chromed pickup height screws, which contradict the gold hardware employed elsewhere, while the same criticism concerns the pickup selector and jack socket. This points to lazy sourcing, as the correct colour parts aren't hard to obtain and many cheaper competitors do it properly, even down to gold-plated polepieces in the pickups, another aspect absent here. While these are obviously minor moans, they really shouldn't be apparent on a guitar at this price level.
Controls keep to a sensible minimum, but circuitry isn't quite as straightforward as it seems. The pickup selector and master volume are as expected, but the tone pot is actually a three-way rotary switch governing pickup coil choice. The centre position provides full humbucker operation, while either side selects the inner or outer coils of both pickups, thus yielding three distinctly different sounds; a simple but effective alternative to the often ignored and therefore irrelevant tone control.
The six-saddle bridge is the TonePros update of the tune-o-matic type, adding grub screws for firm anchorage to the twin height posts. The accompanying string anchor bar incorporates the same locking concept, but is Eggle's own: a stylish design apparently executed in AMST, a form of duralminium.
Electrics are under a small plastic coverplate recessed on the rear, but this could be cut better for a more accurate match to the adjoining woodwork. It's another trivial complaint, but again one that's out of place at this price point.
Played acoustically, the Wave Deluxe is louder and more resonant than the average solid electric. This character confirms the internal construction is making a contribution, while so much sycamore makes for a bright overall tonality.
These qualities are conveyed when the instrument goes electric, aided by impressively voiced pickups that ensure the Wave Deluxe never descends into mid-range muddiness. Output is sufficient without being over-the-top and even in full humbucker mode there's an appealing airy clarity, regardless of which pickup is selected. This in turn adds great definition to notes in all registers and playing positions, allowing great expression and even subtle nuances to come through with equal authority.
The neck pickup is full and fruity, but still with a breathy edge that makes for appealingly precise performance. This ingredient is equally apparent from the bridge position humbucker, which adds raunchy grit but never becomes too harsh. Although obviously lower volume-wise, the single-coil selections are even more natural in terms of tonal balance and take on an almost acoustic openness.
The Wave Deluxe responds well to digging some dirt, but doesn't really feel right for the full-on filth treatment. Instead, a more mature approach reaps much better sonic rewards.