Trayser Sherman Robertson Signature Electric Guitar
Trayser Guitars, trayser-guitars.com
Originally published in Guitar World, July 2010
Trayser’s Sherman Robertson signature model is a variation on its semihollow Double Wing, built to suit the blues guitarist’s need for power, woody response and sparkling treble highlights.
In a world where most guitar designs are based on slight variations on time-honored concepts, Trayser Guitars takes a refreshingly unique approach to luthiery. The Austrian manufacturer has designed a series of guitars that abandons some elements of traditional styling in favor of performance. Trayser’s Sherman Robertson signature model is a variation on its semihollow Double Wing, built to suit the blues guitarist’s need for power, woody response and sparkling treble highlights.
Trayser's body shape is not exactly graceful, but those block-like horns help strong bass frequencies resonate through the instrument. At the same time, this is a semihollow guitar. Chambers within the body help tune its response and blend true acoustic qualities into the solid tones produced by the body’s heavy woods. A lot of that weight is attributable to the massive slab of curly maple that tops the mahogany back. In fact, the maple and mahogany are of equal thickness.
The neck is relatively narrow, with a D-shaped hill. It’s very easy to get your hand around it, but it doesn’t feel like an especially thin back carve. Trayser also uses flat crowns on the guitar’s 22 frets so that it plays more like a seasoned instrument and handles high bends without fretting out or digging into the frets’ center radius.
Trayser’s custom-wound passive pickups are quiet and particularly adept at illuminating treble nuances. The addition of a humbucker in the middle position harkens back to Seventies-era guitar design, when maximum pickup versatility was en vogue. A six-screw Wilkinson tremolo and locking Sperzel tuners complete the Trayser’s uncompromised feature set.
The Sherman Robertson model excels at producing deep tones that are accentuated by scintillating and complex highs. When the middle pickup is combined with either the low output single-coil or the ripping lead pickup, a layer of satisfying fat turns the semihollow tonal stew into a high-cholesterol sonic feast. Clean or overdriven, this is a treat for the ears and hands.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Trayser's Sherman Robertson signature model is a modern instrument that conjures yesteryear’s honky-tonk blues tones as easily as it hammers out classic rock riffs. If old-school versatility, absolute tuning stability and a worn-in feel are what you crave, give this Austrian soul machine a whirl. And if this beauty is a little beyond your wallet, have no worries: Trayser is currently developing a line of guitars that will sell for $600 to $800.
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