Agile AL-3000

Thursday, July 31, 2008| by Will Chen

 

Agile is the premium brand of guitars sold (exclusively) at Rondo Music. While featuring top of the line accoutrements, they are extremely affordable. The Agile brand is most known for the AL line, which is a series of Les Paul tributes offering a wide variety of pickup configurations and aesthetics. Our review model is the Korean made AL-3000 with a Natural (Spalted Maple) finish.

Spalted wood is basically wood which has started rotting. As you might expect, the results are completely unpredictable and can form some very beautiful to the point of almost surreal patterns but can also yield some odd and even ugly patterns. The review model falls somewhere in the middle with a unique look that many will love while some might find odd. Our review model's two piece top was not book matched like the model on display on Rondo's website.

The abalone fretboard inlay is beautiful and really gives the guitar a high end look. Equally impressive is the near perfect triple binding on the mahogany body and headstock. I found two extremely small flaws on the headstock. However, those were the only cosmetic flaws I could find. The attention to detail is extremely high. Very nice…

The fretwork on the ebony fretboard was perfect with no rough edges or high frets and the medium profile one piece mahogany neck was a pleasure to play. Bending was oh so smooth due to the 13.7” radius neck.

The AL-3000 is loaded with Alnico V humbuckers and are dripping with sweetness, among the best stock humbucker pickups I’ve heard. The highs are incredibly smooth yet retain excellent definition with a midrange bark and rounded low end. They’re fairly hot, but well balanced allowing them to easily conquer any tone desires I had. Using a Tech 21 Trademark 60, a Pignose G40V, and Digitech processors (direct to mixer), I able to coax classic woman tones and driving riffs as well as fluid jazz and surprising spanky funk riffs. The dual volume and tone controls are also well voiced and usable across their entire sweep. A quick peak inside the control cavity also revealed a shielded control plate and four-conductor pickups, offering the do-it-yourselfer a nice little opportunity to split them for single coil tones. If the great tones the pickups offer as humbuckers are any indication of how they’d sound split, this quick mod would really push this guitars tonal options over the top.

Many claim weight has a direct effect on the tone of a guitar, with a heavier guitar having better tone. Well, this is one heavy guitar, at ten pounds a little too heavy for my tastes.

The Agile AL-3000 is quite an excellent find. If the heavy weight isn’t an issue, this is a great Les Paul alternative with a nice custom shop appearance. One last note, per the members over at the Agile Guitar Forum, Rondo frequently carries a large assortment of left handed guitars. However, their stock can vary and the early bird gets the worm…

Price: ~ $380 USD
Pros: Awesome tones and great attention to detail
Cons: Heavy.

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Filed Under: Agile, Reviews