REVIEW > JASON Z. SCHROEDER
to hear audio clips of the guitar
appearance—a little like a nice leather saddle or a pair of handmade boots. The hardware is traditional but, like everything else,
a little fancy—locking vintage-style tuners,
Lollar Special T pickups, a Callaham bridge
with compensated saddles, and Schroeder’s
signature S-shaped jack.
Craftsmanship in the T-Pine is excellent,
and it’s especially evident when cradling the
neck: The rounded, medium-thick C shape
has a comfortable, late-’50s Gibson feel,
with fretboard edges that have a broken-in
feel and exquisite fretwork that’s precise,
ultra polished, and icy smooth. As a result,
playability is super fast right up to the 22nd
fret, which is easy to get to thanks to a clev-
erly sculpted heel. The 2-piece pine body
is light too, which makes the T-Pine extra
comfortable to hold whether you’re stand-
ing or seated.
likely result of the beefy Callaham bridge
and sturdy neck joint. Even up at the fretboard’s upper reaches, chords have surprising air and body.
These same fundamental flavors come
alive when plugged into a dimed Fender
Champ. With the guitar’s volume rolled
back a bit, the tones from the Lollar Special
T were fat and funky, with noticeably
more punch than you typically hear from a
bridge single-coil—almost a cross of T-style
tone and P- 90 attack that’s perfect for
rhythm sounds. Turning the guitar’s volume
back up yielded a detailed, slightly aggres-
to back off the volume a touch to get the
plucky clean sweetness you expect from the
middle position on a T-style instrument.
The Schroeder will drive a small tube amp deliciously
… conjuring tones that are at once rich, airy, and
replete with harmonic overtones.
sion that helped me hold distorted bends and coax cool controlled feedback out of the amp. But even in these more aggressive nvirons, it only took a roll-back of the volume knob to get a cleaned-up, Andy Summers-like sound with a dusting of crunch and nice presence.
Ride It Like You Stole It
Even without an amp, the T-Pine’s lively
resonance makes it easy to discern subtle
sonic differences in the softer pine body. It
has a bright, ebullient sound that’ s just a
bit rounder in the midrange than a traditional ash Tele, with a slightly softened top
end. Individual notes sustain beautifully, a
sive and bluesy clean tone. The Schroeder
will drive a small tube amp deliciously in
these situations—conjuring tones that are at
once rich, airy, and replete with harmonic
overtones. Really digging in with a flatpick
produced some of the rudest sounds I’ve
ever heard from a single-coil—percussive,
visceral, and gritty.
Switching to the middle position drives
home the T-Pine’s versatility. With the
volume wide open, I got a tasty, toothsome
bark that was punchy and a bit more compressed than I expected. And I only had
Though much of the Chopper T-Pine’s success is attributable to Schroeder’s knack for
taking the best from proven platforms, his
Bird’s-eye maple neck
Pros: Amazing fretwork. Beefed-up T-style tones.
Excellent build quality.
Jason Z. Schroeder Guitars Chopper TL T-Pine, $2,850 street, schroederguitars.com
Cons: A little expensive.
judiciously chosen tweaks, styling twists,
and penchant for quality and tone make
the T-Pine a very special guitar. It’s a wildly
versatile instrument—country guitarists
will like its ability to nail traditional tones,
and rock or blues players will appreciate the
added midrange power and unruly attitude.
The T-Pine is an instrument that would fit
into almost any player’s arsenal and probably replace a lot of lesser instruments for
good in the process.
PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012 163