NAMM 2022: This year’s NAMM may have officially ended, but that doesn’t mean the plentiful supply of six-string goodies and note-worthy gear drops has completely dried up.
In total, there are three types of electrics and a sole bass involved, with the guitars taking inspiration from some of the most iconic body shapes in guitar history – namely, the Les Paul, Telecaster and Stratocaster. An offset semi-hollow, the Elise, has also been introduced to the mix.
The inventively named Perception bass, meanwhile, aims to add a “contemporary twist” into tried-and-trusted four and five-string formats.
For each range, a number of model-specific colorways have also been introduced, including the ornate Tobacco Sunburst and Butterscotch and more modern Firenza Red and Laguna Blue.
Cast your gaze below for a full breakdown of Fret-King’s latest collection.
First up is a pair of unapologetically LP-style six-strings, the Eclat Custom and Eclat Standard. The former takes its inspiration from a classic ‘burst, and boasts a two-piece center-jointed mahogany body and flame maple cap, as well as a mahogany neck, Trapezoid-esque inlays, tune-o-matic-style bridge and Stop Bar tailpiece.
The Eclat Custom also comes loaded with custom-designed Alnico 5 Focusfield mini humbuckers, which are controlled by a versatile Varicoil control that progressively winds the selected pickup down to single-coil, as well as a Kill Switch-equipped volume pot.
It’s joined by the Eclat Standard, which features the same core build specs minus the flamed maple top. It also swaps out the hardware for a Wilkinson wraparound alternative and opts for a set of P-90-inspired Fret-King Soapstack pickups. The same versatile control circuit also makes the cut.
Fret-King Country Squire
Joining the above are a boatload of Tele-inspired Country Squire models. Our favorites include the vintage-esque Classic – flashing a Staggertwin neck humbucker and Tapped-Fifty bridge single-coil – and the HSH-equipped semi-hollow Semitone De Luxe, which boasts the Varicoil control for a wealth of tonal possibilities.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of the drop, though, is the Music Row. Featuring an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, the Music Row is supercharged with a pair of Country Road single-coils in the neck position, a Dallas Special in the middle slot and a Tapped-Fifty in the bridge.
The latter also offers the now-familiar Varicoil control, which works to wind the pair of neck pickups from stacked to true single-coil.
The offset Elise is available in two iterations – Custom and Custom with Vibrato. As the names would suggest, they’re both the same instrument at their core, featuring a chambered semi-hollow mahogany body, maple top, mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard.
Other appointments include a subtly extended cutaway for upper fret access, and a pair of Fret-King Fifty-Five pickups design by Trev Wilkinson. Unsurprisingly, the Varicoil control is called into action once again.
A Maestro Vibrola-style tailpiece, complete with the Fret-King crown logo, comes attached to the Vibrato version.
The final six-string family of the drop is the Corona model, which wears its Stratocaster inspiration on its sleeve. Again, two options are available – Classic and Custom – with both sporting an alder body, maple neck and either a rosewood or maple fingerboard.
Where they differentiate is in the pickup department. The Classic offers a conventional HSS configuration, comprising two proprietary Vintage Sixty single-coils and a Fret-King Fifty-Five Wilkinson-designed humbucker.
The Custom, meanwhile, swaps out the single-coil combo for a Dallas Special middle single-coil, neck Soapstack P-90 and Fret-King Prizefighter bridge humbucker.
Owing to these deviations, the control circuits are also slightly different. While the Custom offers an “all pickups on” voice, as well as a handful of out-of-phase tones, the Classic features a five-way switch, master volume and tone parameters and a flexible Varicoil pot.
Concluding the collection is the Perception bass guitar. Arriving in four- and five-string versions, the model comprises an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, and makes use of an impressive set of Aguilar 4SD-D1 pickups.
Elsewhere, the Perception sports an array of flexible control knobs – including a push/pull selector on the middle tone knob – as well as a Wilkinson WBBC bridge.
For more information about its 2023 Collection, head over to Fret-King's parent company, JHS.