plucking my wechter

I got a new guitar today. It’s a Wechter Pathmaker Model 3120. I like it a lot so far. The strings that came with it were horrible. I took them off and replaced them with some cheapo strings I had laying around, until I can get to the music store to pick up some Elixirs. Much better.

The acoustic tone has a lot of potential. It’s a small-body guitar, so it’s not going to have the punch of a Dreadnaught acoustically. But it has some sparkle to it, a very even, balanced (if a bit boxy) midrange, and I should be able to dial in the bass setting I need electrically. Acoustically, the low end is a bit better than my 15-year-old Alvarez WY-1. In all, I expect the guitar to sound better with age. It definitely has that “new guitar” sound. Slightly boxy in the midrange. But I look forward to recording it with some nice condenser microphones.

I haven’t plugged it in yet, but that looks to be the most interesting part about the Wechter. It has a 3-pickup system: a piezo pickup under the saddle, a magnetic pickup across the soundhole, and a condenser microphone on a little gooseneck inside the guitar. It will certainly give me a much wider tonal range than what my Alvarez provided.

The construction on the guitar is very, very solid. I expect this guitar to be much more durable than my last guitar, which I played pretty hard. To me, acoustic guitar is a percussion instrument, and while always respectful, I am not always gentle with my instruments. The neck joint is the most solid I’ve ever seen. The cutaways are actually a single, curved piece of solid wood. The assembly is very strong and vaguely shaped like a crossbow. The acoustic body is then attached to the cutaways, resulting in a very solid guitar from the neck joint up.

There was no strap button installed. I got a new drill bit and a new strap button from the store and installed it myself, according to instructions provided on Wechter’s website. Now that the strap is in, it hangs nicely and comfortably. Because the neck is so solid, and the wood in the cutaways is substantial, the guitar is very balanced in weight. If anything, it’s a little too heavy toward the neck. I look forward to playing this thing live.

There were a few small blemishes in the finish. Nothing I’m too worried about. One small annoyance is the placement of the fret markers. For most of the markers, they are placed closed to the fret itself, rather than halfway between 2 frets as on most guitars. However, the 17th fret marker is off; it is placed exactly between the 16th and 17th fret. Someone’s measurements were off slightly.

The current action is a bit too high for my tastes. I need to lower it, which will entail sanding down the bottom of my saddle. I may take it to a luthier to have it done for me.

I’ve been looking forward to having this guitar in my possession, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. It sounds good acoustically, should sound great electrically, and is durable. For the money, I don’t think there is a guitar that more closely fits my needs at present. I am grateful to be playing it.

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