The Country Squire is one of Fret King's most enduring styles—a proud benchmark for the brand, blending the familiar with the contemporary. The best attributes are sometimes hidden, as they are in the Country Squire Stealth with an intriguing pairing of visible and invisible pickups delivering "Old school", period-perfect tone, or an "altered state" hum cancelled edge—the Stealth delivers either and more with Fret-King's signature versatility. Sam Bell explores the emblematic tonalities and great sustain of the Fret King FKV27SBK Country Squire.
In this Guitar Interactive review, I'll be diving into a visual and audio treat from Fret King Guitars. This time, I looked at a Tele-style design called the 'Country Squire' in Stealth Gloss Black. This beautiful object does more than country, though. Tele's are known for their simplicity and versatility. The Country Squire has a few cool hidden features, cool looks, great sounds and a price tag that isn't too shabby!
First of all, this is what you'd expect of a T-style design; we have the T-style body, 22 frets, 25,5 inch scale length, Wilkinson Ashtray 3 brass saddle bridge, and 3-way pick-up selector for the two visible pickups. The guitar features a unique pickguard and a strat-style pickup selector placement. The Steal Gloss black looks awesome in the flesh, and the painted F hole gives the guitar a classic/contemporary vibe.
The body is made from American Alder; it's made from three pieces with a 4-inch centre block. The neck is bolt-on and made from Hard Rock Maple with a light oil finish. It feels almost satin-like to me. The fretboard features an easy-playing 10' radius on an Indian Rosewood fingerboard. The headstock sports Fret Kings' unique, flashy design and is topped off with super sturdy Wilkinson WJ05 tuners. Everything feels solid out of the box, nothing coming loose or looking particularly shabby. Great quality guitar!
Stealth Black might be the name of the finish, but there's another reason for the stealthyness of this guitar. First of all, you might see that the pickups look standard for a T-Type. Two Fret King pickups designed by Trev Wilkinson himself. They sound amazing! However, under the pickguard, there's also the Bukka Phantom Coils, which can be switched on via the push/pull volume pot. This allows us to get hum-cancelled style tones from the single coils, adding a new level to the tonal pallet. If that wasn't enough for you, this guitar, like other Fret King guitars, features the Vari-Coil control. This allows us to 'wind' the pickups either hotter or cooler. In the Country Squire guitar, this allows us to go from a hot tele sound to a more classic T-style sound. And if country is your thing, you'll be able to dial many different eras of sonic exploration. However, it's not just country this guitar can do. It sounds great with high gain and processed sounds as well. There's a reason why lots of metal bands use Teles on recordings: there's plenty of twang and punch. So, in my opinion, this guitar is incredibly versatile.
The neck feels great: C shape, 10-inch radius, 25'5 scale length—nothing really gets in the way. It's probably a bit slicker than a classic tele without being too "wizard-like." So, no matter what your playing style or needs, it's a great all-rounder. The medium frets feel great...and of course, no dings or rusty edges. Everything feels like the quality you'd expect.
If you're in the market for a T-style guitar and want something a bit different, the Country Squire might be worth checking out. It's not a bad price for what you get (check out Fret King's website for the current RRP), and you get a gig back; what's not to love? Fret King makes unique yet classic designs affordable for the practising musician, and I'd say they are worth considering if you're looking for a great T style in your collection.
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