Review of Vintage V100 AFD Paradise Guitar
To tie in with our special Slash-centric issue, we wanted to
look at a cheaper alternative to the obvious Slash Les Paul. Back
in Issue 4, we'd been bowled-over by a Vintage 'Single Cut'
style guitar, which got us very close to Joe Bonamassa's sound, at
a budget price. So what could Vintage offer if we were after the
Slash sound, we asked? The company offered us the "V100AFD
Paradise" Whatever could that stand for, we wondered? Jamie
For many a classic and hard rock fan, the "LP" classic single cut
style guitar has long been the favoured choice - in fact it's
pretty much the Holy Grail guitar. The likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff
Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde, Paul Kossoff and, of course, Slash,
have all made this style of guitar their number one choice at one
stage or another. But for many of us, particularly guitarists on a
budget, the prices of genuine Gibson Les Pauls - however good they
may be - are just unattainable.
Obviously, to some, only the original will do, but if you're
looking for something that is like that classic body styling,
without being exactly the same, yet still offers killer looks,
great tone and feel, but at a pocket friendly price tag, then this
guitar may just be what you are looking for.
For a number of years Vintage guitars have been producing
approximations of a variety of classic instruments. They have also
enlisted the design skills of Trevor Wilkinson, who is renowned for
producing high quality hardware. The AFD Paradise model is a
slightly "pimped" version of the standard V100 Series, which is
even cheaper in price than the AFD - something, frankly, we find
quite amazing, considering how good this one turned out to be!
Before the lawyers start to take too much interest in this
review, let's get down to basics. The AFD Paradise's body is made
from mahogany, with a set mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and
22 medium height frets. So, no surprises there! The machine heads
feature classic style Wilkinson "tulip" design tuners and the
fingerboard has pearloid crown inlays. The body features a carved
maple top, with a stunning amber flamed finish - at this price?!
The neck and body also include a very classy vintage-looking edge
binding. The control layout is exactly what you would expect too,
comprising a three-way toggle switch for pickup selection plus two
volume and two tone controls. There is a classic Tune-O-Matic style
bridge and the guitar also features a pair of Wilkinson Zebra
humbucking pickups. Also included are a strap locks - which is a
very nice touch for a guitar of this price range.
From the off, this guitar felt great. It isn't too weighty, but
has enough body meat to produce a vibrant and resonant tone
unamplified, which is always a good sign. The guitar also balances
well, so I didn't feel like it was a struggle when I was sitting
down with it. The neck had a nice feel, and the fret finishing was
of a high quality, with no rough edges, or proud frets. I have to
say that the feel and set-up of this guitar would put many more
expensive brands to shame! I can't speak for every sample you'll
find in the shops but this one was fantastic!
Plugging the Vintage in, I was able to produce a wide variety of
tones, from warm Jazz style cleans, to blues/rock crunch to harder
edged more high gain sounds. The volume controls had a very nice
gradual curve to them, which was great for backing-off the volume
and cleaning-up the tone (a nice pro touch that and often missing
on cheaper guitars and even a few expensive ones!). The tone
control was also matched well to the pickups and when backed off I
could produce warm Clapton-style Cream tones.
Although, for my taste, the pickups lacked a little bit of
presence and sparkle when using a clean tone (and this really is me
being picky) the guitar really shot to life when I kicked in the
crunch channel on our test Marshall. The bridge pickup had plenty
of bite and harmonics jumped out, while the neck was warm and
I have to say that this guitar really surprised me and that I
was pretty blown away that an instrument in this price bracket
could look so stunning, feel so comfortable, and sound so
authentic. If I didn't know any better, if were to see and hear the
guitar without a price ticket hanging from a tuner, I would
honestly think it would cost four figures. As I have already
mentioned, this guitar is from the V100 series, so if the AFD is
slightly out of your price band, the standard V100 would do the job
almost as well. But to my mind, the additional cosmetic styling,
and of course the influence of a certain long haired, top hat
wearing guitarist, makes this a very attractive and great choice
for an alternative to the classic "LP" style guitar. I loved it so
much, I even used it on my tech session this month, so check it out
in action in both video!
To sum-up? This is the best value for money instrument iGuitar
has yet seen. It's simply stunning!
Check out the full review inc. video of the Vintage V100 AFD
Paradise Guitar by Jamie Humphries in Issue 11 of
Guitar Interactive Magazine (