The following content is related to the October 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
Many of history’s most iconic and influential guitars were created from amalgamations of parts: a body from one style of guitar, a neck from another, and pickup combinations that you wouldn’t likely find on any off-the-shelf ax. Custom guitar makers charge a small fortune for these player-
centric planks, but Samick’s collaboration with guitar-design guru J.T. Riboloff now makes it possible for players to own a style-blended instrument that is both thoughtfully conceived and budget friendly. Samick’s Marie MR10 benefits from Riboloff’s famously unique engineering approach, imbuing a sleek and fast metal-style guitar with personalities reminiscent of Telecasters and Stratocasters.
Looking at the deep double-cutaways, sharp body lines and pointed headstock, the MR10 appears to be a typical shredder. Upon closer examination, you’ll notice that it’s loaded with a vintage-style steel Telecaster bridge and custom-wound Tele-style pickups in a Strat configuration. Electronics include a plate-mounted five-way pickup switch (which allows for hum-canceling combinations) and volume and tone controls with crystal-topped knobs.
The MR10’s maple neck has all the elements that I look for in a shred stick: its D-shaped profile is thin, with enough wood to be highly resonant; the heel is contoured for comfortable upper-fret sessions; the nut width is narrow; and the jumbo frets facilitate a light touch for single-note speed and technical agility. In fact, the MR10 is one of those rare guitars that generates more of its resonant tonal qualities from the neck and long headstock rather than from its lightweight poplar body, making it more sensitive and responsive to variations in fretting style and finger pressure. This is an ideal setup for players who may otherwise struggle to achieve enough volume and attack from swept arpeggios and legato lines.
Tele-style pickups may not seem like the logical choice for metal tones, but these JTR-designed single-coils are definitely up to the task, offering supreme, yet warm note definition from the bridge position and buttery bottom from the neck and notched settings. As expected, they aren’t as quiet as humbuckers, but hum and hiss can be easily controlled with a noise-reduction pedal. Pull back the amp’s gain, and the MR10’s roots-rock and country tones shine through, making the guitar a perfect choice for those genres as well, not only with its tones but also with its slick playability, high-performance and speed.