technology-obsessed mood of the age
through contemporary form and finish that’s somehow also organic feeling.
Psychedelic and futuristic at once, the
Slipstream’s curves are amorphous, with
body contours that are balanced both
visually and ergonomically.
Thoughtful touches are everywhere.
The tight turn over the input jack is a
great body detail that protects your cable
from getting knocked around or yanked
out. The 16-gauge steel plates used for
the pickguard and control cover look like
the molten surface of some planet in a
far-off galaxy. Other metal surfaces, such
as the knobs, switch tip, and Hipshot
bridge and locking tuners are weathered
to evoke a well-oiled, broken-in machine
that’s been freshly cleaned up for use.
Even the aluminum dot inlays, which are
usefully arranged for visibility while playing, look like a constellation. To top it
off, our review model has a genuine Soviet
Sputnik badge inlaid in the upper horn—
a touch that Proctor has given to the first
four Slipstreams to come out of his shop.
The narrow-waisted mahogany body sits
comfortably on the thigh, while the 25. 5"
scale gives fretting-hand movements a
familiar Fender-like feel. Handcarved from
beautifully grained pau ferro, the medium-sized, C-shaped neck has a silky oil finish
that feels amazing. This exotic wood commands a $100 surcharge and adds a bit of
weight to the instrument, but it’s a beautiful match—and the fretwork is excellent.
The body resonance is apparent from the
first unplugged strum. Proctor attributes
much of this to the thin, water-based finish,
which he says helps the body vibrate more
freely. The resonance is no doubt aided by
the quality bridge design—a U-shaped outer
wall pinches the saddles together tightly for
efficient coupling and vibration transfer. As
a result, the strings ring with Fender-like
snap and definition, but with a unique tonal
dimension provided by the mahogany body.
Commencing Countdown, engines on One of the things that struck me most when I plugged the Slipstream in was how
REVIEW > m-tone
fat and punchy the tone is—even with
a little Fender Champ on the other end.
Cornell Dupree-like double stops have a
toneful percussiveness, with enough cut
for a heavy soul or funk setting. On the
neck pickup, the Slipstream has a super-thick lower midrange and bass that will
actually find you rolling off bass on your
amp to get clarity and note separation for
more densely voiced chords lower on the
fretboard. Once in the sweet spot, though,
the richness and ringing highs of the
Lollar P- 90 neck pickup produces pulsing,
complex clean tones that you can drive to
the edge of breakup. I was also impressed
by how well the neck pickup cleans up
when you roll back the volume.
A switch to the bridge pickup will drive
a Champ or low wattage Tweed into rude,
vintage-lead tones with a bright edge and
great sustain. You can just as easily nail
Leo Nocentelli’s lead sound on “They All
Ask’d for You,” because the Slipstream
barks and chimes with incredible presence and detail. Digging in hard with the
pick or slamming early Zeppelin chords
Digging in hard with the pick or slamming early
Zeppelin chords reveals how savage the combination
of the Slipstream with a small tube amp really is—
sizzling and gritty, with excellent definition.