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Tuning a guitar down a whole step or more puts players in the fast lane of the heavy highway, but the downside to down-tuning on a standard guitar is that the strings can get overly floppy and proper intonation can be difficult to attain.
Using heavier strings or a baritone guitar with a longer scale length can be a solution, but heavy strings don’t really make it easy to shred on solos.
Jericho Guitars offers a variety of models that solve these dilemmas. The necks of these guitars have longer scale lengths but they are set up to accommodate standard light string gauges.
We took a look at Jericho’s Fusion model, which is designed to appeal more to traditional-minded players who prefer the look and features of a classic guitar over those of a modern hot rod.
FEATURES Jericho describes the Fusion as “a modern hybrid of all classically built American guitars.” The single-cutaway body shape, mahogany body with flame maple top, contoured cutaway, and recessed controls are obviously inspired by certain American guitars, but the sum of these parts is a distinctive and different guitar.
Of course, the most distinguishing feature is the neck’s long 26.9-inch scale, which allows players to comfortably tune down to C or even drop the lowest string to Bb (for a drop D-equivalent tuning) while maintaining ideal string tension for playing and perfectly accurate intonation.
The set three-piece mahogany neck’s smoothly contoured heel/body joint has the seamless feel of neck-thru-body construction. Other neck features include a 17-inch radius, 22 medium profile frets and a rosewood fretboard with no inlays. The hardware is gold-plated and includes a Hipshot fixed string-thru-body bridge and Grover mini tuners. Pickups consist of Seymour Duncan Custom TB-5 (bridge) and ’59 Reissue (neck) humbuckers. Coil tapping for each pickup is engaged by pulling up on the pickup’s corresponding volume control, and individual tone controls are provided for each pickup as well.
PERFORMANCE Although the Jericho Fusion’s neck is nearly 1 1/2 inches longer than a Strat’s, the guitar doesn’t feel any different to play than a standard guitar. The standard light string gauges mean that playability and tone remains the same as a regular guitar as you play up the neck, but the extended lower range delivers the extra heavy bass that has inspired an increasing number of famous guitarists and music producers to use Jericho guitars for down tuning. The Fusion’s craftsmanship, hardware and playability are all pro quality, making the guitar an outstanding bargain as well.
DIRECT PRICE $899
MANUFACTURER Jericho Guitars, jerichoguitars.com
With its 26.9-inch scale length neck, the Fusion allows players to comfortably tune down to C while still using standard light string gauges.
Seymour Duncan humbuckers with coil tapping provide a wide variety of tones with exceptional clarity, definition, power and sustain.
The Bottom Line If you love the heavy tones of a down-tuned guitar but hate having to use heavy strings on a standard-scale guitar or baritone, the Jericho Fusion maintains the feel guitarists love while greatly extending playing range.