Ravenwest 590T

Monday, June 30, 2008| by Will Chen


Quothe the Raven…

Ravenwest is the child of Raven guitars, a company which made a name for themselves offering imported guitars with beautiful custom shop looking finishes at affordable prices. We’ll put the 590T model to the test this month.

At first sight, the 590T is an absolute stunner. To some degree it’s a Thinline Tele variant, but the semi-hollow double f-hole mahogany body, bolt on unfinished feeling maple neck with ebony fretboard, carved quilted maple top, and a pair of P-90 pickups really give it a style all its own. From the moment I set my eyes on the guitar, I fell in love with the deep “Lizard Quilt” finish which is comparable to emerald bursts offered by other companies. Pictures really don’t do the depth of the finish justice as it’s absolutely hypnotizing. An incredible amount of detail was put into finishing the guitar such as painting the interior of the f-holes black and flawless body and neck binding. Turning the body over however, I noticed that the holes for strings to pass through the body were not 100% straight. Not an absolute deal breaker, but something I certainly don’t expect in a guitar in this price range.

I eagerly strapped the guitar on and was immediately disappointed by how neck heavy the guitar was. Allowing the guitar to hang only by its strap, the neck fell lower than parallel to the ground. In the guitar’s defense, it is very light due to the semi-hollow construction and I’ve played some much more expensive instruments which suffer the same ailment. That being said, it is a pet peeve of mine and I personally do not enjoy guitars which suffer from neck dive.

The setup out of the box was good, perhaps a bit low. Fretwork was excellent on the comfortable, medium profiled neck. The 12th fret inlay features a bird which appears good from a distance but on very close inspection, a good deal of filler can be seen.

The bridge pickup is voiced extremely sweet, offering up the chime of a single coil and the low mid growl of a humbucker. I didn’t like the neck quite as much as the bridge. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds good, but a slightly darker sound would have really extended the guitar’s tonal versatility. So, I dialed back the tone knob slightly to try and get a smokier tone only to discover it was pretty much ineffective. The tone control is extremely subtle for the first 90% of rotation, then suddenly completely rolls off. I would expect this in a rock bottom budget banger but is absolutely unacceptable for a guitar in this price range.

At this point I decided to really look over the guitar with a fine tooth comb to make sure I didn’t overlook any other issues. Unfortunately, I found the bridge to be mounted just lightly crooked in comparison to the bridge pickup. [Editor's Note - Per Eric at Ravenwest, this is not consistent with their standard levels of quality] This was extremely disappointing. While it didn’t really seem to affect the guitar’s sound or performance, it really nagged me and negatively affected my overall impression of the guitar’s workmanship quality.

Price: ~ $400 USD
Pros: Incredible finish, good tones
Cons: Various small construction flaws, poorly wired tone circuit

Filed Under: Ravenwest, Reviews