When La Grange founder Benjamin Wasservogel began his quest to create the new 'classic' instrument for the blues and rock guitar player, he made it clear that he would leave no stone unturned in finding that sound in his head. The Wheel was very much a product of that journey. In 2019, the brand looked to improve on the model that's helped make its name, with the latest incarnation of The Wheel. So, has La Grange guitars truly reinvented The Wheel, or is it just more of the same? Phil Short tells us more.
In a world full of 'boutique' guitars from an increasing number of emerging guitar builders, it can sometimes feel like there is possibly too much choice (if that can even be possible!) when it comes to finding that perfect instrument. With many manufacturers building their take on the most classic designs, the market can at times feel slightly saturated, and it can be tough to discern which guitars will really resonate with you (pun intended!). But every now and then, we get presented with an instrument that truly stands out from the pack – may we proudly present to you, "The Wheel" by La Grange guitars.
A truly stunning bit of craftsmanship, this beautiful offering from La Grange is a serious instrument, offering incredible build quality, attention to detail and jaw-dropping tones and luxurious playability. First impressions right out of the box are that this guitar is going to really sing. From just picking it up out of the case you can feel that its rock solid. The finish feels smooth, comfortable and robust under the hands, with that real sense of natural high quality that just oozes out of a guitar that we've come to expect from custom shop level instruments.
The guitar is extremely resonant down to a few key appointments. The finish is a nitro lacquer, used by many custom shop level builders for its natural feel and breathability of the wood. Over time the finish will age beautifully, and the wood can breathe freely, which helps the overall tone of the instrument. The neck is a set neck construction, which helps yield a darker tone compared to a bolt-on style neck joint, where the metallic screws bring a bit zing to the overall sound. The other very cool feature is the addition of locking studs in the tune 'o' matic tailpiece. This means that none of the resonance gets lost through any rattling hardware, but that the vibrations travel cleanly straight into the body of the instrument, increasing overall resonance and sustain. The guitar also features some very light ageing to the finish and hardware to give it a really authentic, worn-in feel – we are big fans indeed!
The guitar is inspired by the Les Paul Junior, but there is absolutely nothing junior about this guitar at all. The tones are top shelf as is the playability, with excellent fretwork and perfect intonation straight out of the factory. The balance of the guitar is also very good. Sometimes these designs can feel a little top-heavy, but not so with this instrument. It's very comfortable to hold making playing effortless.
Tonally we got some stunning bluestones, that were full-bodied with a beautiful sweet top end. Rolling down the volume control and splitting the humbuckers yielded some the best sounding split tones we've ever heard. Clean, sparkly and funky, this guitar will handle authentic funk tones with no problems at all. Higher gain tones are thick and juicy and gave us a throwback to that classic Gary Moore hot blues sound. For blues, classic rock, funk, country and roots styles, look no further than "The Wheel" from La Grange guitars.
Incredible custom guitar level craftsmanship
Extremely comfortable neck shape.
The price is going to be out of reach for many.
Premium Korina Body
C-Shape Maple Neck
22-fret Ebony Fretboard
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