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Brand/Model: Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat
Number of Strings: 6
Hand Orientation: Right
Body Material: Mahogany top
Neck Material: Maple
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Price Range: Under $400
Our Rating: 9/10
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Guitar Review
Fender pays tribute to Rancid front man, Tim Armstrong, with the Hellcat. While it might not be the iconic black that the left-hand playing musician is known for, it still features a lot of the recognizable symbols that many punk fans identify with.
The guitar hasn’t been spray-painted black, but it does have everything vintage about it. From the pick guard to the sleek and black headstock, it’s a Tim Armstrong Hellcat all the way.
It’s made with a solid mahogany top and laminate mahogany back and sides. The maple neck is finished with satin – no cheap gloss here. The cream body bindings match perfectly with the brown aesthetics, and it couldn’t get any more vintage than that.
Fans will immediately identify with the hellcat inlays on the 3, 5, 7, and 9 frets. This wouldn’t be a Tim Armstrong Hellcat if it didn’t have the two skulls on the 12th fret. This is a bad-ass guitar!
When it comes to sound, amplified it is with the Fishman Isys III System. The mahogany top lends to its fullness, but the higher frequency range is expected to be pretty heavy.
It wouldn’t be fair to label this a beginner and entry-level guitar because it packs some powerful punch that can be maximized with a skilled musician. So, we’ll leave it at bad-ass for now.
- Vintage appeal
- Brand tribute
- Fishman Isys III System
- Scalloped X bracing
- Fret buzz/defective neck
There’s not much to report on the negative side of things. The only downside is the fret buzz that can be experienced with a defective neck. Because all wood is different, it’s important to maintain room conditions that support TLC of the guitar.
However, the positive far outweighs the minor marks against the Hellcat guitar. Players can’t get over the custom design work that went into making the git. They rave on and on about the inlays and little details that really make all the difference.
It’s playable right out of the box and newbies more than appreciate this important factor. For others, they like how easy it is to wield and rock on with the authentic and acoustic tones.
We can’t forget to mention buyers that love the satin finish on the neck. You can expect some fast action on this guitar, like cat out of hell fast!
Alternatives to Consider
When considering an acoustic electric guitar under 400 clams, you’re going to have a heck of a time filtering through your options. Let’s help you out. The Fender Sonoran SCE Acoustic Electric Guitar falls into that budget with a traditional yet vintage appeal. It has a solid spruce top with the same Fishman pickup system.
However, if you’re a lefty like Tim Armstrong and you still want a Fender, the left-hand model is worth the hefty cost. We know, it’s not fair that you have to pay more just because you’re special. But, you’ll find it’s worth it when you have a perfect fit.
To keep things in budget perspective, the Yamaha APX500III Thinline Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar is worthy competition to the Hellcat at under $300. It has an APX thinline body with the black finish. Of course there are other finishes available, but to keep things as “Tim Armstrong” as it gets, this would be your best bet.
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Q&A
Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need:
You’ll need amplification equipment for plug-in power. You’ll also need some basic extras of accessories that you can’t go without. Don’t be left in the silence when your string snaps or your battery dies. See our “Must-Have Necessities Guide” to touch base with the extras you’ll need.
- Fast playability
- Comfortable size
- Satin finish
To strum things up, the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic Electric Guitar appeals to all players searching for a guitar that’s under 500 bucks. On paper, it might seem like a neat deal, but come strumming time, it’s a fierce force of music magic. It’s much more than a beginner guitar, it’s the cats-meow!