BeLL CUSTOM GUITARS
Flamboyant in All the Right Ways
So here comes the million-dollar question,
“How does it sound?” I’m happy to report that
not only does the SS-ER excel at the high-gain
rocking that its flamboyant aesthetics practically
demand, but it also offers some pretty unique
tones. The addition of the acrylic wings seems
to add high frequencies that are very noticeable
and smooth sounding. Through a Friedman
Naked 100-watt head and a 4x12 cab, I really
dug how highs and upper mids sustained well
without any ice-pick stabs. The materials compliment each other very well, with the mahogany balancing the bright acrylic tones with plenty
of warmth and a lush, resonant midrange.
I was rather surprised to find that the moderate-
output Amalfitano humbuckers pumped out
such a punchy, powerful sound—especially with
ratings of 8.5k (bridge) and 8k (neck). “With the
acrylic added, the body is so much more reso-
nant that it actually makes the pickups sound
more powerful than they are,” explains Bell.
Their balance and clean, crisp, detailed note
definition all the way across the fretboard was
one of the guitar’s best features. I love the sound
of a great neck humbucker, in particular for clean
tones, and the vintage-voiced neck pickup yield-
ed some fantastic sounds with a nice, spongy
feel. It was hard to get a bad sound out of the
guitar, yet easy to achieve great traditional tones
with impressive high-end response.
The Final Mojo
For lovers of this classic body style, the Bell
Custom SS-ER is hard to beat. Some players
might prefer the warmer, more conventional
tones and feel of the original, but those looking for an added twist will find the SS-ER to
be a great alternative—especially with its
relatively affordable street price of $1199.
Its weight might be a concern for some, but
if you’re willing to overlook that in order
to wield a well-built guitar with wonderfully unique tones, the Bell Custom SS-ER
shouldn’t fly underneath your radar.
you’re looking for a vintage look
and sound with a little more
high-end bite and a visual twist.
you’re committed to single-coils or
need a lightweight guitar.
Bell Custom Guitars
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