smaller than it is. And because the guitar is
rather thin compared to other hollowbody
axes, you can really feel the resonance when
you strum it. The other thing you notice
right away is the neck and string spacing.
Our review guitar’s neck is built around
what Soloway calls fingerstyle spacing,
which goes from 1 13/16" at the nut to 2
3/16" at the bridge (standard spacing is also
available— 1 11/16" at the nut and 2 1/16"
at the bridge). And if you aren’t used to this
wider spacing, you’ll instantly feel like you
just hopped into a king-size bed after sleeping in a twin-size bed for years. But with
the wide neck and big frets, bends are about
as smooth as can be.
The radius of the neck is a rather flat 16",
which is standard on all of Soloway’s guitars.
25 1/2" scale 2 13/16" string spacing DiMarzio 36th Anniversary humbuckers Ash body with flame maple cap African blackwood bridge
BY JASON SHADRICK
Mention a hollowbody electric and most players will think of a thick jazz
box with heavy strings. But Jim Soloway
has few qualms about turning those preconceptions on their heads. Over the years,
Soloway has pushed the boundaries of guitar construction with his innovative designs
that focus on playability as much as sound.
The Single 15" is the latest hollowbody creation to come out of his Portland, Oregon,
workshop, and with options like the fingerstyle string spacing on our test model, it’s
a fine example of how Soloway is bending
convention to build a better playing—and
potentially more expressive—guitar.
Soloway is all about options. Just about
every part on the guitar from pickups to
nut spacing to scale length is customizable
for the individual. Soloway stands behind
his guitars too—so much so that he even
makes a few models available for a test-drive for the cost of return shipping.
Like many Soloway instruments, the
Single 15" represents an evolution of earlier
designs. And in this case, it’s a fresh take
on his signature Full Hollow shape with a
larger lower bout that extends the body further past the bridge. Our Single 15" came
in a beautiful Loarburst finish. Soloway says
he developed the finish after coming across
some pictures of Lloyd Loar mandolins,
and it’s a perfect match for the lovely one-piece maple body, which features a remarkable flame pattern that spans the width of
the body. The back is made of swamp ash
and has a more subtle grain. Elsewhere,
African blackwood abounds, and Soloway
uses it for the bridge, the Master Volume
and Tone knobs, and the pickup selector,
which switches between DiMarzio 36th
When I first picked up the Single, I
immediately noticed how comfortable the
guitar is to hold. When you’re seated, the
contours on the back and front where you
place your forearm make the body feel