Three years ago after a thirty year break from guitar playing I decided to resume my Rock and Roll career, I took lessons (With Simon Cassidy) and quickly realised I needed them!!
What followed was the very typical roller-coaster of guitars bought and sold, looking for that perfect instrument that would somehow make me sound like Jimmy Page or Carlos Santana ….or at the very least magically transform my playing into something rather better than I was producing with the current guitar!
I soon discovered that practice was actually the key but nevertheless remained convinced that the perfect guitar was out there somewhere.
Inevitably I found eBay, and guitars came and went at regular intervals, some were really poor others were almost there….but not quite. Fender Strat, Aria Pro II, Gretsch, Gibson Les Paul (Yes! I sold it…), Ibanez Jem 7 (Steve Vai)…great guitar, but not hitting all the buttons. I went through around 30 guitars in a three year period and finally settled on a beautiful Ibanez Prestige S5470. I was 90% sure that it was for me and had decided that it was probably a guitarist’s lot never to find that 100% dream guitar.
Now while this was going on Simon Cassidy was teaching me guitar and becoming a good friend. I watched and listened to him planning his Guitar business and was impressed by his thorough approach to every aspect of the process. Not least the care he took to source not only the materials and components but the most important element of the plan – The Manufacturer. If you’ve seen the videos you’ll know that he has found excellence. The factory uses pretty much the same processes as the Fender and Gibson factories of the 50’s & 60’s but of course they have the added advantages of modern technologies. The Chinese have long been famous for their craftsmanship and the workforce demonstrate this most effectively.
It was on the strength of all of this that I promised to buy one of the first batch of guitars – my choice was the PRS influenced CE751.
When the guitar eventually arrived I was told by Simon that I’d have to wait until he had checked it and set it up (he is a perfectionist after all!) and so I exercised my patience for a day or two longer.
Finally I had it in my hands… nice. I was blown away by the look, the finish, the hardware, the neck …. the neck was my kind of neck! We plugged it in…played, it sounded excellent… the action was neat. Frets 12+ were a fraction closer together than I was used to but that would soon be forgotten. I loved it at first sight – but then there were 30 odd other guitars that had had much the same effect on me!
I was nevertheless very happy and walked away looking forward to putting it through its paces at rehearsals a few days later. At home I played it unplugged and was totally gob-smacked by the tone of the instrument… the notes seemed to ring and the guitar sounded like nothing I’d ever owned. Through the amp I was getting harmonics I’d only dreamed about ! I was falling in love with this guitar. The clincher was our drummer. We had been playing for around 15 minutes when he just stopped playing…. looked at me and said “That guitar sounds **expletive** fantastic !! … what have you done?”
Well, what I did was decide to sell the Ibanez … and all the other inferior guitars that litter my walls. The Cassidy CE751 is simply the best guitar I have ever owned, I currently rate it at 96% but it adds a little more every time I play! My advice is simple, buy one … you will not be disappointed and it wont break the bank.