DIAMOND GUITARS IMPERIAL AB WITH BIGSBY VIBRATO

Dynamic Music | (02) 9939 1299 | www.dynamicmusic.com.au | RRP: $1499

As we saw with the Hell_ re last month, Diamond is a company that’s not afraid to put its own very unique stamp on classic designs. The Imperial AB with Bigsby follows the general Diamond template that feels familiar while remaining completely different to anything you’ve ever seen before.

HYBRID THEORY

 

What we have here is a doublecutaway electric guitar which may look a bit like a Gibson ES- 335 from a distance, but when you get up close you realise it’s an incredibly thin solidbody guitar with extreme bevelling that puts it somewhere between an Ibanez Sabre and a Gibson SG. The body and neck are made of mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets, with classy block inlays that feel visually consistent with the cool two-tone finish. In terms of hardware, this particular model has a Bigsby vibrato bridge, master volume and master tone controls, a three-way pickup selector switch which feels just a little bit flimsy, although I couldn’t trick it into malfunctioning. It also has a recessed output jack which does indeed recall that used by the Ibanez Sabre, and a pair of Diamond’s own humbucking pickups: Diamond Custom an R11 and an N9C.  

 

CHARACTER STUDY

 

This guitar is oozing with character. Although it’s capable of really great full-on distortion tones, it utterly excels at ‘dirty clean’ sounds; think ringing chords, arpeggiated jangle, stinging blues licks, moody Bigsby-accentuated melody lines dripping in spring reverb. The bridge pickup is bright and punchy with plenty of upperfrequency detail and a restrained low end, while the neck pickup is a little juicier and fatter. Each is great on its own, but when you combine them you’ll get a great all-purpose tone that’s as suitable for indie and alternative as it is for blues or pub rock. The playability is also good, although if you’re not used to the quirks of the Bigsby, you might find yourself needing time to adjust to the reduced sustain and enhanced attack that this system imparts. The controls are easy to access, the Bigsby bar is easy to reach when you want it but also easy to stow out of the way when you don’t, and the  guitar balances beautifully. It’s hard to think of who the ideal owner of this guitar might be, because it seems to invite and reward experimentation. This is a really great guitar for anyone who wants something a bit different with a slightly vintage attitude but modern playability and unique styling. 

Hits and Misses

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Characterful tone

Comfortable neck

Awesome styling

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No coil splitting

No individual volumes

Specs

• Pickups: R11/N9C
• Tuners: Grover Tuners
• Neck: Mahogany Set Neck
• Fretboard: Rosewood
• Body: Mahogany

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