Gaskell Guitars are an Australian based business who specialise in making left handed guitars exclusively. I recently picked up one of their newly released ‘All Rounder’ models, which is their offering for fans of T-style guitars.
The All Rounder is currently the most affordable guitar available from Gaskell and is their vision of an improved ‘Telecaster’ design. The contoured body provides a more comfortable and ergonomic feel, and the option to choose your favorite fingerboard wood and body finish gives this new model a slight edge over alternative choices. Read on to discover what I thought about it…
Gaskell All Rounder Left Handed Guitar Review
The guitar can be ordered in a variety of different finishes and in the end I settled on Lemon Yellow, for that extra wow factor! Kevin (Gaskell, owner) informed me that I was the first ever customer to order a guitar in this color, so it’s truly a unique specimen. If you ever see this guitar in the flesh you’ll probably agree with me when I suggest that Kevin should change the name of it to Nuclear Yellow – this finish is loud!
To make it in the fickle world of music today you absolutely have to stand out from the crowd and have something unique to offer. What’s more memorable than a southpaw player whose guitar has the power to burn out your retinas? I LOVE this finish, it never fails to raise a few eyebrows.
The guitar features a Japanese Ash body which has a good bit of weight behind it. It was almost a shame to have to cover it up with paint because Ash is one of the more beautiful woods to select for a natural finish. Perhaps someday if I tire of the yellow I’ll sand it back down. When playing, the body resonates extremely well, a sure sign of a quality guitar.
The All Rounder body differs from your typical T-style guitar in that it has borrowed a few design elements from the Stratocaster shape. So rather than having a completely flat body with sharpish edges, the All Rounder has a smooth radiused bevel applied around the edges, an ergonomic forearm carve at the rear and a tummy cut on the back. This results in a slightly more comfortable feeling body, especially during longer periods of playing.
The All Rounder neck is maple and comes with a choice of either maple or rosewood fingerboards. In order to keep the guitar looking nice and bright I opted for the maple board. The back of the neck as well as the fingerboard is coated in a beautiful, smooth glossy finish. The fingerboard is a gorgeous looking piece of maple with plenty of attractive figuring. The edge of the fretboard has also been rolled for added comfort, a nice touch! The frets themselves are very cleanly done with no sharp edges or protrusions anywhere in sight.
It was a surprise for me to open the box and find that the guitar had an ebony nut. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced a wooden nut, and as of yet I have no complaints at all – works well and looks fantastic! Kevin tells me that this ebony nut is a one-off and that future models will come with a more traditionally designed option.
The headstock is an interesting design which instantly alerts you to the fact that this isn’t your average T-style guitar. A simple trapezoid truss rod cover and traditional six in-line tuners give a very straightforward appearance. The tuners did their job, but they were a little cheap feeling and I much prefer locking options, so these were quickly swapped out for some Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Tuners.
Gaskell offers a service they call their ‘Platinum Setup Service’ which they claim will get the guitar into a no less than perfect state for playing. It’s basically a luxury that is usually only justifiable to professional recording artists who need their guitars to be absolutely flawless. Kevin was kind enough to let me try out this service and I can definitely see and feel the benefits of it. This guitar came all the way from Australia and arrived here in sunny Scotland perfectly in tune. Most of my own guitars don’t even stay in tune for a single night, never mind a week in transit. The All Rounder has immaculate frets, perfect action and zero buzz anywhere on the fretboard – I haven’t had to touch a thing!
If you can afford it, this is an optional extra which is well worth the money!
The guitar comes with chrome hardware and Wilkinson pickups – although mine is an earlier model and comes with whichever pickups Gaskell was using before the switch. I’m assuming they are some generic pickups made by the factory.
As a result, it wouldn’t really be fair to comment on the sound. From owning guitars with Wilkinson pickups I know that they are excellent, so I will most likely be throwing a set into this guitar later on. Unplugged it’s one of the better sounding guitars I’ve ever played, and it sustains for days.
My only minor niggle here is that the strap-pegs are extremely petite, much smaller than on any of my other guitars. I’d probably replace them before heading onto a stage and jumping around like a drunk grasshopper.
I’m glad to say that my first foray into the Gaskell family has been a pleasant one! The All Rounder feels great, plays perfectly and I love the bright and in-your-face finish.
The platinum setup service seems to have made all the difference in the world, as I can leave this guitar for a week and it will still be perfectly in tune when I pick it back up again. This is certainly one of the most stable guitars I have ever had the pleasure of owning. We’ll see how it fares during a harsh Scottish winter though!
For me personally I do wish that the neck was a little slimmer, as it’s quite a lot chunkier than any of my other guitars. But with more wood comes more tone right? ;) The finish also has a few areas which are slightly less than perfect, but this isn’t something you’ll notice unless you’re inspecting it very closely.
Gaskell are one of the very few companies out there who are specifically trying to make things easier for the left handed guitarists of the world. This is a business that I really want to get behind and I can definitely see myself being a repeat customer further down the line. It’s also a nice feeling to own a guitar that righties can’t get their grubby paws on for a change! ;)
For more information:
Gaskell Guitars Website