Downtowner Custom Koa Limited says a
lot about why he’s a fast rising star among
big-name players: Uniting quality, craft,
and precision with a raunchy, classic rock-oriented tone palette, the guitar can be
A night on the town
The Downtowner is a simultaneously
stunning and understated instrument that
cleverly fuses design elements from a few
famous vintage guitars—the curvy bout
of the Les Paul and simplicity of the SG
Classic—with funky Supro- and Silvertone-like lines. The body itself is a beautiful,
single piece of African mahogany that’s
finished in Echopark’s green-gold tint. This
finish is infused with bronze powder for a
sparkling, Cadillac-luxurious look that will
stop you in your tracks when the light hits
it right. An aged mother-of-toilet-seat pickguard harkens to the quirkier guitar designs
that populated Montgomery Ward catalogs
decades ago, but feels sturdy and made
from quality materials.
A deep tenon joint affixes the two-piece
neck, which is fashioned from bookmatched,
40-year-old Hawaiian koa. With a deep grain
that looks exceptionally three-dimensional,
the koa is quite striking. The neck’s highly
polished nitrocellulose lacquer finish offers
protection against wear and tear.
With the 24 3/4" scale, the neck has
a very vintage heft that some might liken
to a baseball bat, but which is really quite
comfortable—almost like a big C profile. A
12"-radius rosewood fretboard caps the neck
and is dressed up with abalone dot markers,
bamboo dot markers, 22 frets of Dunlop
6100 fretwire, and a hand-polished bone nut.
The electronics and hardware in and on
the Downtowner are all top quality and are
hand-aged by Currie. A nickel TonePros
AVT2 wraparound tailpiece keeps the strings
taunt over the body, and a set of prewar-style
Grover open-back tuners keeps the strings
anchored on the other end of the guitar.
Currie’s excellent aging work doesn’t hamper
ball of wax here. The combination of the
guitar’s exemplary build quality and materi-
als, a killer set of pickups, and fine-tuned
hardware result in a smorgasbord of tones
brimming with vintage rock gusto.
Even with the tone knob rolled
down about two thirds, pick dynamics
came through loud and clear.
the mechanical function of the hardware in
the least. Moving the saddles for intonation
was effortless, and the tuners were some of
the smoothest-feeling machines I’ve encountered in quite some time.
The body is home to two handwound
Amalfitano humbuckers with vintage PAF-like output specs of 8.5k in the bridge and
7.4k in the neck. The pickups’ nickel covers are aged by Currie, as well. Volume and
tone knobs and a 3-position toggle switch
regulate the pickups’ output.
attributable to the wraparound tailpiece,
which gives high frequencies an even more
cutting quality. To coax darker tones for
jazzier or Santana-inspired solos requires
using the tone knob, but this brightness
makes the bridge pickup stand proud and
tall for blusier lead work.
The Downtowner is also capable of driving an intimidating set of barrel-chested
tones at wide-open amp settings. Fans of
rock ’n’ roll Ain’t noise Pollution
The Downtowner is a classic rocker’s
dream, though that certainly isn’t the whole
to hear audio clips of the guitar at