Balaguer Guitars has announced a comprehensive refresh of its Standard Series electric guitars, giving the mid-priced range a host of premium specs, and players plenty of choice in the process.
This is a range that has a bit of everything. There are the offset guitars that many of us first associate with a Joe Balaguer design, with the Espada offered as a regular six-string or a baritone guitar.
There are some new takes on retro designs, with the Thicket offered with a choice of a humbucker pickup pairing or dual single-coils. And, last but by no means least, especially if your musical tastes favor metal guitars, there is the Diablo, a modern weaponized S-style that is offered as a regular six-string or extended-range seven-string guitar.
All of these retail for $1,099, and on the face of it, there is a lot of guitar on offer for the money. Roasted maple necks come as standard and are a deep shade of caramel. Balaguer has sourced ebony for the fingerboards, with stainless steel frets for a premium feel. And you'll find coil-splitting options on all the models with humbucker pickups.
Standard Series models are fitted with locking tuners, which should help keep the tuning stable, and all come with a padded gigbag – which is always a good sign and not always a given.
The Standard Espada is the guitar many of us would most readily associate with Balaguer. It has the modern offset body, crafted from solid alder, with a bolt-on neck. Here, Balaguer has gone for a roasted maple fingerboard with black center dot inlay.
We have a simple H/S pickup configuration of a a Feral ‘bucker at the bridge and an Austral single coil at the neck, all controlled via a three-way pickup selector and volume and tone knobs, with a push/pull coil split for added versatility. It wears the Shell Pink finish and white pearloid pickguard well. It has a hard-tail bridge.
The Espada Baritone is constructed in a similar spirit but has a longer 27” scale compared to its sibling’s 25.5”, and an ebony fingerboard. It has a pair of high-output Hypernova humbuckers – again, with coil-splits – and comes in gloss Metallic Silverburst finish.
The Thicket is an attractive looking T-style that’s offset at the waist. The dual-humbucker model is finished in Pastel Blue and has a tortoiseshell pickguard. The single-coil model is finished in gloss White and has a black ‘guard. Like the guitar that inspired it, the single-coil model mounts its bridge pickup in a three-saddle Tele-style bridge.
Both pickups are the Austal single coils found on the six-string Espada. The Thicket HH, meanwhile, has a pair of Evergreen humbuckers with foil coverings for a little pawn-shop retro kitsch. These are splittable via the tone pot. Like the Espada, the Thicket models have solid alder bodies. Both have 25.5” scale lengths and a 16” fingerboard radius.
Now for the Diablo, which is really an after-dark design option for Balaguer. These are both finished in Trans Black, both equipped with a pair of splittable Hypernova humbuckers, both sharp, pointy and built for speed.
The Diablo bodies are fashioned from solid mahogany with the figured maple veneer making the most of that see-through finish. You get 24 stainless steel frets here. The seven-string has the longer 27” scale length, the six-string is 25.5”.
As mentioned above, all are $1,099 and available now. See Balaguer Guitars for more details and pics.