Gear Review: Fret-King Elise GG MKII Guitar

(Image credit: Billy Voight)

There’s something special about having an acoustic guitar rattle your entire midsection when you strum a chord. Why should we lose that connection when we play an electric guitar?

Gibson was the first to offer this two-fer in 1938 with the birth of the ES line. Since then, Gibson and many others have refined the semi-hollowbody electric. Today we're checking out a fine specimen—the Elise GG MKII by Fret-King.

As part of Fret-King’s Black Label series, the Elise GG MKII is the second collaboration between Trev Wilkinson and UK guitarist Gordon Giltrap.

I couldn’t help notice the striking resemblance this guitar had with the first electric guitar I ever played, my dad’s Sixties Hagstrom Viking. Don’t write this off as a nostalgia piece, though; the Elise sports plenty of modern features. The most obvious is a beveled cutaway for easier upper-fret access.

When I flipped over the guitar, before noticing the set neck, I noticed the plastic control cavity. It might not seem like much, but if you’ve ever had to fish electronics through an F hole, you know it’s no walk in the park.

The pickups are a WDGa mini humbucker in the neck and a WVC humbucker in the bridge. The WVC was created to get as close as possible to Seth Lover’s original PAF design. The controls are a three-way pickup selector, Volume, Tone and Vari-Coil.

Vari-Coil is something Trev Wilkinson thought of after a long-standing dislike for coil-tapping. Rather than having one on/off switch, the Vari-Coil is a pot that allows you to gradually travel from single coil sounds to humbucker sounds and stop wherever along the way.

Other features on the Elise GG MKII include a mahogany body with a flamed maple top, a mahogany neck with ebony fretboard, 22 medium jumbo frets, Wilkinson WJ55 tuners, a trapeze tailpiece and a graphite nut. The body and neck are outlined in a cream binding.

Out of the box, the Elise came setup well with 10-gauge strings. The neck and body have a satin smooth finish. Compared to similar models, the neck felt slightly chunkier while the body wasn’t as wide, making it comfortable to play seated or standing up.

Onward to the audio clips!

CLIP 1: For a better idea on the Vari-Coil, I played the same riff four times starting in single coil mode, each time adding more of the humbucker.

CLIP 2: The mini-humbucker in the neck for the clean rhythm part and the bridge pickup for the lead part.

PRICE: $1,249 Elise GG Gordon Giltrap MKII with padded gig bag

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at

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