3-position pickup switch. But moving between
voices became pretty simple once I got familiar
with the sonic signature of each setting. And the
coil-switching rings provided a wealth of useful
tones and sounds.
Selecting the parallel-coil setup added a little
extra brightness to the bass and treble pickups. And single-coil settings lent a chime-like
tone—particularly in the bridge position—that
sounded especially nice for clean chord voicings that I gently and happily manipulated with
the Wilkinson’s push-in vibrato bar to excellent
effect. My only complaint was with the relative lack of taper on both the Volume and Tone
controls—a substantial consideration when you
have this much tone on tap.
On a flat amp setting, the Pathmaker’s
Acousti-Phonic tones won’t be mistaken for,
say, a Martin D- 28 or a Gibson J- 200. But
with crafty use of the tone controls I was able
to lend a lot more girth to the piezo signal,
summoning a tone that would work well in
a band context where a super-authentic,
accurate, and detailed acoustic tone is less
important than creating acoustic textures without feedback.
One of the real (and unexpected) payoffs
of the Acousti-Phonic system came when I
engaged both the piezo and magnetic pickups
at once. This yielded a wonderfully warm and
slightly complex sound that lent extra body to
clean tones from the magnetic pickups. When
a standard mono plug is inserted into the 1/4"
output jack, the output from both magnetic
and piezo signals sum and are available on one
channel. However when a stereo plug (TRS) is
used the signal from the magnetic pickups goes
to the tip, and the piezo signal goes to ring. This
allows the player to use an electric guitar amp
for the magnetic signal and an acoustic amp for
the piezos—dramatically increasing the range of
tones at hand.
Wechter’s PM-7352 Pathmaker is a high-performance modern solidbody with a staggering
assortment of sonic possibilities. Well made
and eminently playable, the PM-7352 should
appeal to a broad range of players, from the
studio pro to the wedding-band side-man.
While the guitar’s acoustic tones aren’t the
strongest or most accurate, they would work
very well in a supportive role. In that capacity,
the Pathmaker would be an excellent choice
for a guitarist who plays mostly electric in a
band and doesn’t feel like dragging around
a separate guitar and amp for the occasional
acoustic song or texture. When combined
with the broad spectrum of tone available
via coil switching and two excellent pickups,
the only limits really become those of the
you want to get great humbucking
and single-coil tones and serviceable
acoustic tones from the same axe.
you’re a one-trick pony and don’t
need so many sounds or your back
is in bad shape.
or use a mobile device to read
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clips of the guitar at