When Eddie Van Halen stripped his guitar’s electronics down to the bare essentials (a single humbucker and volume control), he proved that the best way to get the biggest, boldest tone is to keep things simple. The Hottie 429 confirms this philosophy, but it also shows that simple doesn’t need to mean no frills. Featuring high-quality materials and construction, the Hottie 429 looks classy and elegant with its nitrocellulose lacquer finish, numberless volume and tone knobs, inlay-free fretboard and metallic finish (my test model was a stunning Malibu Goldtop). But it also delivers incredibly versatile performance courtesy of a single “Bettie” high-output bridge humbucker, TonePros Tune-o-matic bridge and Bigsby vibrato. Despite having a single humbucker (two-pickup model also available), the 429 can summon pretty much any tone you need, thanks to its tone circuit and coil-splitting capability. When the tone control is rolled down, the pickup produces the fat, singing midrange honk usually associated with a neck pickup. Pulling up the tone knob splits the coils to deliver bright, sparkling single-coil spank. The intonation, setup and playability of my example were spot on right out of the box. With its exceptional tonal range and incredibly comfortable feel, the Hottie 429 is a guitar you’ll want to rock with all night and day. —Chris Gill
Be sure to check out the video review: http://www.