This week, we're checking out the new Route 66 Modern model by Monoprice guitars. You might remember my review — posted last summer — of one of the company's California Series models.
You’ll instantly notice similarities between the Route 66 Modern and another iconic guitar design — but Monoprice found a way to offer the sound, look and feel of that model for less than $150.
The Route 66 Modern has 22 frets on a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. The carved-top body is basswood with two humbuckers, a three-way toggle switch, separate volume and tone knobs for each pickup and chrome hardware.
Finish options are Black, Honey Burst, Vintage Sunburst and Gold. Accessories include a gig bag, truss rod wrench and certificate of inspection. Each guitar Monoprice ships out is inspected by in-house luthier Roger Gresco in southern California.
Out of the box, my Route 66 Modern (in Gold) was ready to go with a straight neck and no sharp fret edges or string buzz. The stock strings are 10s. They’re Monoprice’s own coated steel strings. The neck is slim and easy to play.
Strapped on, the guitar feels well balanced. My scale puts it at 9 pounds. A peek inside the tidy electronics cavity shows there’s plenty of room for mods if you choose to go that route. Looking at the headstock, you’ll noticed it’s angled. I’d suggest upgrading to a hardshell case if you plan to take it on the road.
I was pleased with the stock electronics. The bridge pickup can scream without harshness, and the neck pickup can get fat and mellow without sounding muddy. The knob arrangement is a bit different; both volume knobs are up top and the tone knobs are closer to the floor. I've included a labeled photo below.
Here are a few clips of the Route 66 Modern plugged into my Fender Bassman amp.
Clip 1: Open chords, clean with both pickups on
Clip 2: Bridge pickup with some distortion
Clip 3: Neck pickup, clean.
Street Price: $136.32
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.