Tradition Jerry Reid Classic Vintage

Sunday, November 1, 2009| by Will Chen

Those of us at Frugal Guitarist who've had the chance to play a Tradition are pretty big fans their guitars as they consistently offer upgraded takes on the classic guitar designs at an affordable price point. When I heard they were revamping and simplifying their Jerry Reid line with a new Classic Vintage model which comes with a TremKing TK-2 tremolo and newly designed pickups, I was very eager to give the axe a test drive.

The new Jerry Reid Classic Vintage is a Telecaster Deluxe tribute with the additional ability to tap the neck PAF style humbucker via a push/pull tone pot. The axe features a medium C –profile maple neck is a medium with a flat modern radius topped with a rosewood fretboard with nicely crowned medium jumbo frets and capped with Grover tuners. Our review model is a mahogany bodied prototype, but the production guitars will feature an Alder body.

Strapped up, the Jerry Reid lives up to the high standard I’ve come to expect from Tradition. Cosmetically, the guitar is flawless and construction across the board is solid with a high attention to detail. The single flaw I could find with the guitar was a slightly high 13th fret on the treble side which caused some buzzing on the high E string, a minor issue which could be easily remedied with a fret level.

The Jerry Reid Classic Vintage is a formidable mid-priced axe. No other company which I’m aware of offers similar customized features at a competitive price point.

I auditioned the guitar though a Peavey Bandit, Vox AC4TV and direct using a Digitech RP355 and in each scenario, the guitar performed admirably. Tradition’s new pickups include a AlNiCo bridge single coil wrapped with 42 gauge enamel wire measuring at 6.2K and a neck humbucker with a ceramic magnet measuring at 8.2k and both deliver the goods. Tonally, the bridge pup is twangy with a crisp bite and full midrange which loved rootsy rock strumming with a medium gain amp where chording was aggressive sounding yet retaining great chime and clarity. Dialing back the gain and kicking on a compressor yielded a tone which screamed country; I couldn’t help but fire off some chicken -picked runs. Switching to the neck pup yielded a warm tone in humbucking mode, perfect for copping a smooth woman tone at higher gain settings or split yielding a tone more akin to a Strat neck pup. Combining both pickups in the middle position provided tradition Tele tones in single- coil neck pup mode and the classic fat, yet articulate tone in humbucking mode which has made the Telecaster Deluxe a favorite among many players for years. The TremKing TK-2 elevates this already versatile guitar to a whole new level, as this unit is also sold as an aftermarket add on, it’s details will be covered in a separate review.

The Jerry Reid Classic Vintage is a formidable mid-priced axe. No other company which I’m aware of offers similar customized features at a competitive price point. If you find yourself constantly upgrading your axes, The Jerry Reid Custom Vintage might just be the perfect fit as all the typical custom upgrades come standard.

Price: ~$580
Pros: Innovative high end and custom feature set, good playability
Cons: None

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Filed Under: Tradition, Reviews