Devlin Imposter

Tuesday, September 30, 2008| by Will Chen

Devlin guitars is a division of SHS International, parent company to such other brands as Morgan Monroe acoustic instruments and Modtone guitar effects which features a variety of modern and original designs and a 10 year warranty on their instruments.

When I first saw the Devlin Imposter, I was immediately drawn to its sleek funky offset body and z shaped pearloid pickguard which is very reminiscent of the “futuristic” Italian guitars of the 60’s. The guitar ships in a high quality gigbag which I stripped away quickly as I couldn’t wait to strap this beauty on. The alder body features a tummy contour cutaway making the lightweight guitar extremely comfy. I’m always worried the first time I strap on a more unique shaped instrument as the designs while pleasing to the eye are often neck heavy, a big pet peeve of mine. Thankfully, this guitar is fairly well balanced sitting horizontal to the ground if left to hang free.

Set up out of the box was pretty high, I had to lower it significantly in order to play comfortably and though crowned decently, the fret ends along the 24 ¾” bound maple neck were a little rough in several spots. Tuners on the reverse headstock weren’t as precise as I like with a little play in them making it a little difficult to tune up. But once in tune, the guitar stayed in tune decently.

Though the limited cutaway of the Imposter inhibits access to the highest frets, the set neck joint is completely unobtrusive and coupled with the comfort carve of the neck joint feels more like a neck through than a set-neck. The hand set abalone block inlays are immaculate.

There were some small pin sized finish flaws in the subtly sparkle red finish around the bridge and on the top side of the neck joint. Additionally, there was a slightly smaller than a fingernail dark spot, presumably glue bleed, where the neck met the body.

Tones from the humbucking bridge pickup were nice and round with a fairly open top end, but the highlight of this guitar is the lipstick neck pickup which delivers serious jangle especially when combined with the bridge pickup. Surprisingly, there is also very little hum from the neck pickup. Absolutely fabulous!

Controls include dedicated volume knobs for each pickup, a master tone knob, and a 3-way selector. The volume and tone controls are effective across their entire sweep. However, the bridge volume control was a bit finicky and extremely sensitive the first quarter rotation before smoothing out.

Though named the Imposter, thankfully the tones are as vibey as its retro looks.

Street Price: ~$210 - $260 USD
Pros: Original looks, great neck pickup
Cons: Several minor finish flaws, some rough fret ends

Filed Under: Devlin, Reviews