Review: Relish Guitars Walnut Jane
More than seven decades ago when inventors were developing the first solidbody electric guitar designs, the goal was to isolate the vibrating string as the sole source of tone.
Over the years, guitarists and builders soon realized that great tone was influenced by numerous other elements such as body and neck resonance.
The Relish Jane is an innovative new design that combines the best features of solidbody, hollowbody, semi-hollow, and chambered guitars to provide an ideal combination of resonance, sustain, attack, feedback resistance, dynamic responsiveness, and aggressive tone. Instead of rehashing old ideas, the Relish Jane offers guitarists a totally new and revolutionary design.
The Relish Walnut Jane is a hybrid instrument in every sense of the word. The body is comprised of an arched top and back made from pressed-walnut veneer, held together by a continuous band of aluminum that’s just less than one-inch wide and about 1/4-inch thick. As a result, the body is completely hollow, but the neck and bridge are held in place by a semi-hollow-style aluminum block that runs down the center of the body. The center block and body edges are made from a single, continuous piece of aluminum to form the guitar’s tonal core.
The maple neck is bolted to the aluminum center block and features a bamboo fretboard with 24 medium frets and a 25.6-inch (650mm) scale. Electronics consist of a Good Tone Mr. Brown (bridge) and Classic PAF (neck) humbuckers, master volume and tone controls, and a pair of illuminated touch switches for engaging the pickups individually.
The back cover is held in place by powerful magnets but pops off easily when a pick is inserted in the access groove, providing unrestricted access to the electronics and nine-volt battery for the switching system. Hardware includes Schaller M6 Mini tuners and a Hipshot Hardtail bridge.
The Relish Walnut Jane has its own distinctive voice that, like its design, combines the best attributes of solidbody, semi-hollow, and hollowbody electrics. The guitar responds impressively to playing dynamics. I could go from Tele-like twang to fat jazzbox honk just by varying how I attacked the strings. The treble is brilliant but not harsh, particularly when using the Mr. Brown bridge pickup (which lives up to the tone its name suggests). The Jane’s design may seem simple, but a rainbow of tones is readily accessible. The guitar’s ergonomic design and light weight also make it enticingly comfortable to play.
LIST PRICE $5,243
MANUFACTURER Relish Guitars, relishguitars.com
• An aluminum core surrounds the outer edges and provides a continuous center block to provide exceptional resonance, sustain, and responsive dynamics.
• The Good Tone pickups are wired using RAF connectors, which allows users to swap pickups in minutes without soldering or removing the strings.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Relish Walnut Jane may have very plain and simple-looking aesthetics, but its revolutionary design provides a satisfying rainbow of tones that combines the best of hollow, semi-hollow, and solid body guitars.