Hi everybody, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and I have something awesome to talk about today. The awesome item in question is the Jay Turser 220Serpent Tiger Eye , this guitar is just stunning, with a top of gorgeous AA Flamed Maple, and a body of delightful looking figured mahogany. The Serpent comes stock with gold hardware, two equally gold vintage voiced humbuckers, a Graphtech nut, and all of it is binded with beautiful abalone all along the body and the headstock, but what really sets this guitar apart is the inlay work.
All along the rosewood fretboard, is an intricately inlayed abalone and mother of pearl scene of a Chinese dragon flying through clouds, with a yellow sun offset in the distance. I have never seen inlay work like this on a guitar that didn’t cost atleast a few grand, let alone on a guitar in this price range, this is just unheard of. When these guitars first came in, I remember looking at them one by one, and seeing how all of the flames were just slightly different, some more pronounced with rather wide stripes, some far more “tiger” like with many dark and light stripes all running together beautifully. These guitars are all in a word unique gems, all with their own beautifully unique qualities, from the figuring of the mahogany back, the style of the tiger striping on the top, all of it is unique to the pieces of woods that were chosen for each individual guitar.
Plugging in to what is rapidly growing to be my favorite amp, the Randall RT503H, the Jay Turser showed its true colors. The clean tones had a nice vintage warmth to them, with clean tones that evoke an almost acoustic quality. The bridge tone is bright, but balanced enough that chording on it is never harsh or “quaky”. The neck humbucker had a nice jazzy tone, with a big body and when playing jazz lines, it had that nice ethereal dark quality that made octave runs just a delight to play. Turning up the gain stage on channel one, I got to that classic AC/DC level of gain, which this guitar quickly transformed into some amazing vintage tone. Sounding somewhere between Jimmy page, and Peter Frampton, this stage of the amp and this guitar worked perfectly. The medium jumbo frets are perfectly smooth, and playing lightning fast runs on this neck is easy as butter, even with the gorgeous fretboard inlay, you never lose your place thanks to the side markers, and amazingly, the inlays beauty is only slightly distracting while playing, only once making me want to quit playing so I could stare at the way the light refracted through the abalone Dragon.
Cranking the amp up however revealed a very modern sounding side to this guitar, with body and boldness that made the “vintage” title of the humbuckers a little misleading, I was able to play drop tuned riffs for close to an hour, never once thinking the guitar sounded odd, or out of line playing any of the more modern metal style material I threw at it. This guitar really is a machine, with even the highest of high notes cutting through with a body that was really amazing.
At the end of the day, this guitar has surprised me more than any other guitar I have played since this blog began. Sure it might not be the best at everything, its not going to find favor with super shredders, or more conservative guitarists who have a problem with delightful works of art occupying their fretboard, but this guitar has a tone that is really stunning, never sounding thin, or overly dark, always a perfect balance of modern and vintage tones waiting under my finger tips. As for the “serpent” artwork, with the abalone dragon flying across your fretboard, you are going to get noticed, I wasn’t lucky enough to get to take this guitar on stage with me, but I imagine that the reaction from a crowd to having a dragon flying across your guitar would be a good one. For all of these factors, the Jay Turser Tiger Eye Serpent scores a well deserved 10 out of 10.