The HDC- 77 is equipped with smartly
designed hardware too. Vox’s MaxCon-nect
cast aluminum bridge is ultra-light—at under
two ounces—which helps transfer string
vibration to the body and improve sustain
and resonance. It’s also micro-adjustable,
enabling more precise intonation than on
many standard bridge designs. Vox’s cast
S-shaped Super Smooth tuners are also a
nice touch. These countered machine
heads fit snuggly under the fingers,
allowing easier gripping than conven-
tionally shaped machine heads—espe-
cially good for those with sweaty hands.
The HDC- 77 is also outfitted with
Vox’s brilliant CoAxe pickups, which are
built around single and twin coils that can
be selected via a 3-way switch—effectively
giving each pickup three distinct voices.
There’s also a standard 3-way switch for
accessing each pickup alone or both at once.
That means the HDC- 77 is a beast of ridicu-
lously broad tonal possibilities.
Overall, our Korean-made test model of
the HDC- 77 was very well built. The fret ends
were smooth, the binding tidy, the fretboard
markers cleanly inlayed, and the black-burst
finish evenly applied to reveal the flamed,
book-matched top and back.
Vox Super Smooth tuners
. . . the HDC- 77 is a beast
of ridiculously broad
As a hardcore traditionalist, I was on the fence
about some of the styling and design aspects
of the HDC- 77. But the doubts faded the
minute I removed the guitar from the case and
marveled at its remarkably light weight. At just
over 6. 5 pounds, it’s about two pounds lighter
than most center-block 335-style designs. The
guitar did indeed feel exceedingly comfortable
to hold, and it was very easy to tune it up to
pitch—and keep it there.
Unplugged, the guitar had impressive
resonance and sustain, thanks perhaps to its
innovative build and hardware. It also possessed an unexpected snap that’s likely due to
the scale length of 25. 125", compared to a traditional semi-hollow’s 24. 75". The HDC- 77’s
neck is low profile, but not pencil-thin, and it
was easy to play barre chords for an extended
period without experiencing much in the way
of fret-hand fatigue. The 22 jumbo frets made
bending strings easy anywhere on the neck.
And thanks to the substantial carve at the
neck’s heel, I found myself venturing up to the
highest regions of the fretboard to work with
fresh-sounding chord voicings.
I explored the HDC- 77’s amplified personality by plugging directly into an Electroplex
Rocket 22 and a Fender Pro Junior. While the
guitar’s electronics might sound a bit complicated on paper, they proved totally intuitive to
operate. The single Volume and Tone provided
an excellent range of expression. Highs weren’t
lost when I decreased the volume, and the
Tone knob had an agreeable and useful taper.
It was difficult to find a stinker among the
HDC- 77’s multitude of electronic settings.
The single-coil positions of both pickups
shimmered nicely on a clean amp setting, and
the hotter, more P-90-styled position had the
guitar growling like an old Les Paul Junior.
The humbucking position of each generated a
tone that, while not quite as massively present