What is it?
There is no shortage of electric guitars that were inspired by the Telecaster. Some squish the body proportions a little, play with the waist and use some custom pickups. Others play it a little closer to the classic workhorse style.
Then you've got something like Patrick James Eggle Oz Cream T. A three-way collaboration between Eggle, Norwegian pickup maker Thomas Nilsen and Sound Affects’ owner, Tim Lobley, the Oz Cream T is somewhere in between.
There's undoubtedly a sense of classicism in its stylings, in its lightweight swamp ash body and ashtray-style Gotoh bridge. But then you've got the flame maple neck; sure it's carved into a ‘Soft-V’ profile, which screams old-school, but then it's considerably less bulky than period instruments, and is fashioned from an eye-popping piece of roasted maple. For a workhorse electric, that's a boutique move.
Furthermore, the neck join is contoured and it's also the first of Eggle's instruments to feature Cream T pickups, with a Cream T single coil in the bridge offering teeth 'n' treble and a Cream T Banger And Mash humbucker in the neck – a meatier proposition entirely.
There's a careful aged but not-quite-relic'd feel to the Oz Cream T. Eggle's 'worn-through' neck finish is incredibly tactile, the result of clever experimentation with Tung oil and wax. It looks as though the guitar has been broken in a little and is just coming into its own.
The body finish is new for Eggle. He calls it his '58 Formula' and it's a nitro finish from a company whose product has changed little since the 1950s. Apparently it smells like pear drops – isoamyl acetate in the recipe? – and exchews modern plasticisers. Tasty, just what you want with your Banger And Mash. You can order it pristine but this Oz Cream T – finished in deepest Butterscotch – is crazed, and it looks incredible.
This Cream T single coil pickup is the same pickup as the one Thomas Nilsen made for Keith Richards, and is wound a little hot.
The body's deep Butterscotch finish is a work of art.
Eggle uses a classic 'modern' Tele circuit.
The Gotoh SD91 tuners are finished with aged-nickel plating.
The neck joins the body with four screws and a heel plate, but that heel is rounded and countoured. And check out the flame on that roasted maple neck while you are here. Wowzers!
Performance and verdict
The Oz Cream T might be dressed in work togs and has that blue collar vibe down pat but it's really all about presenting an instrument of incredible feel. It's ridiculously playable. The 'Soft-V' neck profile is a fine vintage-modern compromise. Its dimensions are just right, its depth measuring 22.35mm at the 1st fret and 23mm at the 12th.
The fretwire is too tall to be vintage yet stops short of being jumbo. It is as though Eggle is surreptitiously introducing his own modern spin on the template – not too much as to break the spell.
Sounds-wise, the bridge single coil is based on the hotter of two Tele-style single coils that Thomas Nilsen wound for Keith Richards, and it has a delicious steel clarity to it, all that exhilarating high-end that leaves you in no doubt as to what style of guitar you are playing. Dial in a little crunch on a Fender combo and you've got all the excuse you need to get out the Exile On Main St chordbook.
• Fender Relic 1962 Telecaster Custom
There's little not to like here - price notwithstanding. And if you're a Tele fan in the market for something a bit special, hand on heart, we couldn't point you in a better direction.
• Fender Vintera 50s Modified
The Mexican-built Vintera series offers incredible value for Tele enthusiasts looking for some old-school mojo. It has a great neck and perfectly weighted body.
You could say the pugnacious bridge pickup is the sharp English mustard to the fattier main course of the Bangers And Mash neck pickup. It's an incredible pickup, unconventional, like being tag-teamed by two Tele neck pickups, and just like a good Tele neck pickup it's all but impossible to switch from it.
There's a whiff of the PAF about it, certainly with the more mellow mid-gain tones, but it retains a crisp quality and high-end elasticity, much like a fattened up Tele single coil. The fact we're namechecking PAFs and Tele neck single coils to describe it speaks to how subtly iconoclastic this guitar is. On one hand it's got classic blackguard DNA, and on the other it's taking the Tele to different places. On the one hand it looks vintage, and on the other it feels that little bit more modern.
And so on... That's what makes the Oz Cream T so special. It's no vintage wannabe and yet it isn't reinventing the T-style. It does something in between, offering a truly boutique feel and tone in an instrument that just looks old enough to be cool. It's a lot of money, but you get a lot of guitar for the money, especially when compared to Custom Shop models. All in all its very tasty indeed.
MusicRadar verdict: With its classic set-up, lightweight construction, great tones and awesome neck, the Oz Cream T is one seriously addictive guitar.
- PRICE: £2,999 (inc case)
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Single-cutaway solidbody electric
- BODY: 2-piece lightweight swamp ash
- NECK: Roasted figured maple w/ ‘Soft V’ profile, bolt-on
- SCALE LENGTH: 648mm (25.5”)
- NUT/WIDTH: Bone/42.36mm
- FINGERBOARD: Roasted figured maple, black dot inlays, 305mm (12”) radius
- FRETS: 22, medium tall (Jescar 55090)
- HARDWARE: Gotoh BS-TC1S ‘low profile’ bridge with brass In-Tune compensated saddles, Gotoh SD91 tuners — aged nickel plating
- STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 54.5mm
- ELECTRICS: Cream T single coil (bridge), Cream T Banger and Mash humbucker (neck). 3-way lever pickup selector switch, master volume and tone controls
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 3/6.6
- OPTIONS: The standard Oz starts at £2,800 with Mojo single coils. Options include a contemporary neck shape, slimmer in depth with 254- 406mm (10-16”) compound radius fingerboard and Jescar jumbo frets plus fretboard material and fi nish
- RANGE OPTIONS: Macon Single Cut (from £4,200), Macon Junior (from £2,800), The 96 (from £2,800)
- LEFT-HANDERS: Yes, to order
- FINISHES: Butterscotch (as reviewed) – ‘58’ Nitro aged finish to body; worn-through oil-finish neck
- CONTACT: Patrick James Eggle