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Total Guitar (UK), October 2004

DiPinto Galaxie 4 Review

What the f..?

Yes folks, we're talkin' serious visual attitude here. Like to stand out from the crowd? Then feast your eyes on this bad boy. American company DiPinto produces some of the wackiest retro designs we have ever seen. We love them. And it's not just us. DiPinto guitars have found favour with the likes of Rocket from the Crypt and Jack White of the White Stripes - and he knows a bit about pawnshop prize guitars. This Galaxie 4 model - endorsed by Mexican wrestling, mask-wearing, American surf mentalists, Los Straitjackets - is a quirky take on a Fender Jaguar that ups the glitter/kitsch count to cartoon-like levels. This axe would not look out of place in an episode of The Jetsons, but don't be fooled into thinking that this isn't a serious electric guitar. it actually offers a great range of old school rock sounds. But more on that later.

Tell me more...

It should come as no real surprise to learn that the Galaxie 4 has been inspired to some degee by Fender's classic alt-rock and surf stalwarts, the Jaguar and Jazzmaster. The body outline is undoubtedly a slightly sharper-horned variation of the Fender design, and while that champagne sparkle finish has the odd flaw upon close inspection, it looks the bomb under stage lights. The headstock outline is a near-caricature of a Fender peg head, reminding us why the crazy proportions of instruments like the Musicvox have appeared in Austin Powers movies. Groovy, baby... The custard-like hue of the pearloid scratchplate and headstock facia is entirely in keeping with the madcap visual identity of the instrument. The oversized headstock could have made this guitar a little neck-heavy, but the instrument balances well when strapped on. We dare you to walk past a mirror with one of these babies in your hand and not throw a rock n' roll shape or two.

Stop posing! Plug it in...

Strummed acoustically, there is a brash, upfront response with a slight lack of sustain on the high E and B strings. If you've ever played a Jaguar or Jazzmaster you will be in familiar territory. The whole feel of the Galaxie 4 promotes wiry single-note lines and biting riffs rather than bluesy noodling. The vibrato apes the classic vintage Jaguar design and includes chrome plates across the bridge saddles, which can actually make it difficult to mute the strings; but it is removable. Getting back to that awesome looking trem, we found that anything but the daintiest of shimmers on the whammy bar would result in a game of tuning Russian roulette. A good set up with some heavier gauge strings would help a lot here, we reckon. The maple neck is more of a palm-full than the lollipop stick we were expecting, but it's very comfortable and should be agreeable to most players. On this particular model, there is even a hint of subtle flame on the bass side of the neck from around the 10th fret onwards; a reassuring sign that the guitar hasn't just been thrown together and that some care has been taken with timber selection.

For those about to surf?

Plugged in, there's no doubting the madcap authenticity of the trashy, grungy surf tones on offer - a raw rock 'n' roll vibe that conjures up sonic images of Link Wray, Dick Dale and The 5, 6, 7, 8s. The four pickups allow for a decent range of sounds, giving some Strat-like tonalities that found us drifting into Dire Straits territory - yikes! - but fear not, we found that the searing, raucous bridge pickup guided us into different waters and allowed for the coolest range of tones, loads of attack and a really aggressive presence. A bit of slapback delay or reverb increases the authenticity and makes for a truly inspiring tone. Just try stopping us from belting out and abrasive and probably, mistake-ridden version of Miserlou.

The lobotomy line...

If surf, trash-rock and garage-punk are your bag, then this DiPinto is right up your street. We had a lot of fun playing with this wild-looking axe, and really nailed that cool 60s tone which made bands like the Ventures such huge cult figures. This guitar is all about vibe. Whack on some reverb, a little overdrive and you'll be in trashabilly heaven. DiPinto guitars offer all the cool visual impact of 60s guitars with the level of playability that today's players demand. And the price is good too. Run, don't walk, down to your local guitar store and be sure to have yourself a Rumble...