Stevens Guitars: Home

Electric Guitars, Basses and Mandolins
by Michael Stevens, Alpine, Texas

Stevens Fetish Model 7 string Explorer

Summary

Features
10 (1 response)
Sound
10 (1 response)
Action, Fit, & Finish
10 (1 response)
Reliability/Durability
10 (1 response)
Customer Support
10 (1 response)
Overall Rating
10 (1 response)

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Price Paid: US $7,000.00

Purchased from: Stevens Electrical Instruments

Features: 10

The guitar which I have chosen for review is a 1997 Stevens Electrical Instruments Fetish Model.
This particular Fetish model is a seven string split headstock Explorer prototype. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Michael Stevens’ work, school is in session.
Michael Stevens has been building guitars for the elite of the guitar world for quite some time now. His clients have included Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Junior Brown and so on and so on. He was tapped by Fender in the late 1980’s to start the now legendary Fender Custom Shop. He left Fender in the early 1990’s to start Stevens Musical Instruments where he continues to build the finest electric guitars with which I have ever come into contact.
The seven string Explorer which I am reviewing has the following specifications:

One piece flamed Korina Body (featherweight), Tom Holmes Tune-o-matic bridge and barstop, Seymour Duncan seven string PAF style pickups, Three way toggle switch, Korina Neck with offset V (one piece), Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard with 22 6105 frets (24 3/4″ scale), Split Headstock with Futura style string rollers, 17 degree angle Gotoh Keystone Klusons, Antique natural Nitrocellulose finish, Gold hardware, G&G hardshell case.

Sound: 10

If you went to Gibson in 1958 and asked for a seven string split headstock Explorer, this guitar would be the result.
Mike’s experience with and knowledge of Gibson’s Korina guitars is legendary. In fact, while this guitar was being built, Michael was doing repair work on a 1958 Gibson Explorer, so needless to say, he had a precise frame of reference for measuring and constructing this instrument.
This guitar is truly old-school Gibson. There are no coil taps, just two volume controls, a master tone control and a three way toggle switch. Tones are what one would expect from a two humbucker guitar. Lots of fat clean neck pickup, suitable for comping or playing dense chord voicings and great for linear applications, but let’s get real here. This guitar is built for high gain super crunch aggression.

Even with the 24 3/4″ scale length, there is nothing floppy or loose about the low A on this guitar. I’ve used this guitar with Mesa Triple Rec’s, various Bogners, Trace Speed Twins, you know, the cream of high gain amps, and it retains all of the character that has made the Korina Gibsons the most desirable of all 1950’s solid body guitars. Creamy sustained neck pickup and crazy rich harmonically laced bridge pickup tones ala Reverend Billy.

This guitar was built to rock and rock it does!

Action, Fit, & Finish: 10

The setup on this guitar was impeccable. String bending is effortless and this guitar does not fret out, even with extreme bending.
The guitar weighs around 6 1/2 pounds. The one piece Korina body is beautiful and it is free of any mineral streaks or worm holes.
Michael Stevens attention to detail is legendary and this guitar is no exception.

There is absolutely no room for improvement on this instrument.

Reliability/Durability: 10

My grandchildren will be inheriting this guitar and it will probably be in much the same condition that it was in when I received it.
Maybe it will have been refretted a couple of times, maybe I’ll replace or rewind the pickups someday but not anytime in the near future. Mike supplied me with “Rubbers” which are straplocks for those of us who prefer vintage style strap buttons, and I have not had any gravity related mishaps with this guitar.

This is the most badass fixed bridge seven string guitar that I have ever owned and I have had no problems with it in the time that I have had it.
No neck movement, no trussrod adjustments, no pickup adjustments. This guitar was murder right out of the box.

Customer Support: 10

I’ve been dealing with Michael Stevens for several years and he has had the patience of a saint.
Realize that this is a prototype guitar, with no frame of reference in the seven string world, other than my freak of nature Gibson seven-string-36-fret-split-headstock Explorer.

Mike made me exactly what I wanted and he blew up the spot on this piece! He has been incredible and he will back up any aspect of his work with a smile!

Overall Rating: 10

I’ve been playing guitar for 26 years and I am a total gear whore. I have had guitars built for me as an endorser by all of the major players, including Gibson, PRS, Klein, Terry McInturff, Hamer, Tom Anderson, etc, etc, etc, and I have owned seven string guitars built by Gibson and Fender – so you could say that I’ve seen, had and played it all.
When I asked Mike to build me this guitar I knew what I was getting myself into in regards to this particular instrument.
I was not disappointed.
It has all of the aesthetics that make the vintage Gibson Explorers so desirable, it weighs nothing, it has serious “ASS” to it in terms of bottom end focus and clarity and it’s a SEVEN!

There is no guitar on the market that could even come close to this guitar or either of the other two Stevens seven string guitars that I currently own and operate. What are the alternatives? A balsa wood Ibanez square-wave-pitch-generating-garbage-guitar? No thanks. 36 frets ala my Gibson Explorer? Hells yeah! 24 frets and a hobometal forged Floyd Rose? I ain’t the one.
Mike is building the most incredible seven string solid and chambered guitar that I have ever seen played or heard. No one can come into the house with his work.

We’re talking functional art here.

Submitted by Matte Henderson at 04/03/1999 01:30


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