In 2008 Alex and his partner Amy set up Factory St Studios, a music hub in Bradford, England, with a spacious recording studio sporting a large format Calrec desk, tape machines, a selection of quality outboard as well as digital capability with Pro-tools and Cubase.
Over the years Alex has worked with many musicians of note including, Steve Cropper, Otis Grand, Kim Wilson, Ultrasound, Corrine Bailey Rae, The Somatics, The New Mastersounds, White Light Parade, The Whisky Priests, Geek, The Paul Middleton Band, The Heavens, Jasmine Kennedy and many more
Is white the new black?
A shiny black Les Paul has for sometime been the rock guitar of choice so the arrival of the Vintage VR100W certainly provoked some reactions around the office when it emerged from the box. ‘White all over’ it is a sight to behold, the flawless finish should appeal to Randy Rhoads wannabes and will certainly make an impression on stage. Free from binding and with no hard edges, there is a feel of the guitar being all one piece. It’s not of course, the neck is mahogany and the body eastern poplar, according to the JHS site, with the fingerboard sporting a decent piece of rosewood.
It is extraordinary ,that for the price a guitar that is so well finished and put together, can be sold for just £269
It’s been a few years now that Trevor Wilkinson has been associated with Vintage guitars. I remember meeting him in the JHS workshops 15 years ago and a fellow guitar making student being firmly corrected for using “trem” to describe a vibrato unit. The VR100w of course has no vibrato being more in traditional “Les Paul” territory. The bridge is well designed though, sticking with the older style wrap around tail-piece that has intonation adjustment for the whole bridge rather than individual strings. This doesn’t pose a problem practically, as it came, the intonation was fine. Using this guitar with a wound “g” string could cause problems but it’s unlikely that many people in the market for the VR100w will care about that.
The set up is good straight from the box with 9s as standard and a good low action, this will feel good for all the shredders out there and is normal for what you pick off the hangers in your local guitar shop. I’ve always thought that 9’s do no favours for the sound or tuning stability of most electrics but that’s not a convention that will change any time soon. All the frets are medium size, level and there are no sharp edges to catch your hands.
The black plastic (graphite composite?) nut is well cut with no buzzes and looks fine, a white bone nut would be an improvement in my book but that’s an extra cost to supply off the peg and is a simple upgrade to do when you’ve saved up.
The machine heads are positive, hold their tuning well and look good, and though the style of ‘guitar white’ plastic buttons aren’t my favourite, they certainly go with the look overall.
The Wilkinson W90SK stacked ceramic “P90” type pick-up is a welcome decision, thick but not woolly, with plenty of bright chimy high end that holds together well with crunchy and distorted tones.
The hum cancelling capability is very welcome, it handles high volumes well without any unpleasant squeals but will feed back nicely when pushed, responding well to light and soft attack.
Of course with a one pick-up there aren’t a ton of sounds at your disposal but creative use of the Volume and Tone pots gives you plenty to work with.
Overall the Vintage VR100w is a great guitar especially for the price, it sounds great, plays well, it’s well made and really stands out on stage.
If you are looking for a white guitar to compliment your dramatic on-stage persona, what’s stopping you?
Our thanks to JHS in Leeds for supplying the review guitar. You can check out the specs here