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Hufschmid Guitars – H6E Dragon – Guitar Review

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Hufschmid Guitars – H6E Dragon – Guitar Review

This review was submitted by Guitar Jar contributor: Darius Wave

The H6E Dragon is a custom electric guitar made by swiss luthier – Patrick Hufschmid. This model was made to celebrate the chinese “Year of The Dragon”.

…I found it very useful especially in rock / metal playing where guitar needs to cut through the mix with a balanced mid-range…

It has original “tattoo” on the back and natural, organic, hand made purifying. Even though Patrick call it “stripped down H6″ there is no feel of any compromise and less-precise work or material selection.

Comparing to standard H6 it only has no top overlay and tuners are Gotoh (not Hipshot used in standard H6).

After years of experience in building guitars Patrick created his own style – very raw, natural and apparently simply but very effective.

Top surface is flat (no curved tops available) and the finish is oil / wax. That helps wood to breathe and keep better frequency response than in case of thick paint surface.

As for the uniqe features the nut and headstock strings pressure are made of Patrick’s custom material witch he called “DROID-SLIP” (one of favorite Patrick’s words – droid :)). As the name says…it’s very slippery and helps to avoid strings stuck in the nut while tuning.

To make it more ergonomic there is an edge cutoff in the right hand holding point.

Basicly it is overall very unique guitar that might look “similar to something” on photos but believe me… it has it’s own style and feel.

Features:

  1. Body and neck – 40 years old Sapele Mahogany (Premium grade !!!)
  2. Fingerboard – Premium Grade Indian Rosewood
  3. Neck joint – BOLT-ON
  4. Bridge: Hipshot with Strings-through-body system
  5. Nut & Strings pressure – Slipdroid (custom material adapted for this usage by Patrick)
  6. Frets – 24 medium jumbo (2,7 mm width, 18% nikel)
  7. Neck shape – C
  8. Measure – 25 1/2″
  9. Tuners – Gotoh
  10. Controls – Volume + Tone
  11. Switch – 3-way Toggle-Switch
  12. Pickups – Kent Armstrong Custom, chrome covers
  13. Extras / Custom mods – Year of the Dragon tatoo and hand made purifying
  14. Finish – Natural, oil/wax

Ease of use:

Even thought Sapele Mahogany guitars are often associate to heavy weight… this one is designed to not overload players back :)

Deep cutaways make playing in high positions very easy. C shaped, mahogany neck is very comfortable even for high-speed Shred licks.

It has perfect thickness and feel for my taste – not a kind of Ibanez S ultra-thin style (which I don’t prefer anyway) and nothing similar to fat, “baseball bat-like” necks in good old LP. Something between, that has enough wood to make longer sustain but doesn’t affect overall playability.

Switch, volume and tone pots are close enough to reach them but fortunately out of the right hands playing range.

Very precise fretwork – hand hammered, medium jumbo (2,73 mm” width), 18% nikel (+ silver) frets are all correctly leveled. After changing strings (my favorite Ernie Ball’s 10-46), adjusting the truss rod and bridge saddles height it’s easy to achieve extremely low strings action, without too much fret buzzing.

I’m not one of those, who likes strings to lay on the frets and feel like pressing some “ipod touchpanel” but I always need to check most extreme set-up, witch in this case showed how precise is Patrick’s work.

Sound Quality:

Here comes the Kent Armstrong pickups thing. Those are custom made for Hufschmid. Beautiful chrome covers and 12 pole pieces increases the H6E image but… I should better write about their tone. It’s almost transparent – they really keep the natural tone of the wood and add a bit of brightness to it.

Details are Patrick’s secret but I would say those were made with Alnico magnets and are rather in a :: moderately high output signal level :: class of pickups. No problem to get highly distorted but still very clear drive.

Because of the H6E body thickness, tone is not overloaded with low frequencies. Bottom end is tight and doesn’t make fast metal muted licks sound muddy.

Oiled finish helps the wood to give full, possible freq response and sustain. There is no lack of higher mid-range which I noticed when I was comparing some other guitars – painted versions vs oiled (the same guitar models – not Hufschmids to be clear).

In case of the H6E, that could be also a matter of absolutely no compromise, highest grade wood pieces. I also like that the neck position sounds much warmer than in some other guitars witch have 24 frets (this number of frets moves the pickups instalation position towards the bridge).

In the middle switch position easy to get sort of B.B King tone on a subtle crunch overdrive.

Reliability:

I’m pretty fresh with this one so I don’t want to tell any “fairytales”.

I suppose there is not much that can happen because of the instruments fault. If we take a good care of the wood condition, it should be working for many years.

There are no complicated electronics that might fail.

Overall Rating:

H6E is a very high quality instrument, hand made by Swiss luthier artisan – Patrick Hufshmid.

There is nothing wrong I can say about this one. I suppose there are some details that are a matter of a guitarist’s private preferences (for me everything fits well) but overall it is a very comfortable, professional music tool.

Great wood, pickups and hardware selection and a piece of really awesome luthiers work makes the H6E an amazing guitar.

I found it very useful especially in rock / metal playing where guitar needs to cut through the mix with a balanced mid-range and won’t loose the clarity in the bottom end while playing muted powerchords.

I also like to play some funky-fusion stuff where I use rather warm than bright tones. It this case H6E also doesn’t dissapoint me. Clean tones are full of harmonics, organic and not overloaded with Strat-like brightness.

This review was submitted by Guitar Jar contributor: Darius Wave

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