My name is Jay J Downs and I went to the Guitar Show at Kempton Park Racecourse on Sunday 23rd October as I had time off from traveling around the world on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines performing my one man show as a Multi-Instrumentalist / Vocalist with Saxophones being my main instruments and including all wind instruments, Mandolins and Guitars, Electric and Acoustic.
I am guilty of being a Sax player who has a fetish for great Guitars and so became a collector a number of years ago with Fender Strats being my main vice and have now collected a great number from around the world and apart from Tele and other great guitars I only have one Les Paul from 1997 and it sounds great.
The only other one I liked and wished I owned was a Joe Perry Limited Edition 1959 which sounded the Nuts and belonged to my Brother-in-Law in Melbourne Australia which he bought here at Peach Guitars in Essex. That’s when I tried to steal it from him!!
Now to cut a long story short I saw a Guitar at the Show at Kempton Park and it looked Fab on passing and as I took a look around all the other stalls I thought I’m gonna go back and see this Guitar. When I did it was right at the death and the Show was closing. It happened to be a Cassidy CE501 Les Paul shape Guitar with a lovely Spalted Maple Top and Gold Fittings and a Great finish to it all.
I got talking to Simon Cassidy the owner and Manufacturer of this Guitar and found him to be a Genuine True Musician and Gentleman who believed so much in his product that it had to be great. So we plugged it in in the short time we had left and just holding it in my hands I knew it was a Beauty to Behold and Damn near as the feel of the Joe Perry Les Paul I loved. I immediately thought I got to have this, which I did, and we packed it up quickly as we had the Security people breathing down our necks as I was the last Punter left in the building.
But to my surprise when I eventually got home on the outskirts of Essex on the other side of the country to where I was and took it straight to the Studio and plugged it in to my favourite Amp of all time (my beloved Roland JC120) I could not believe my ears as it sounded every bit as good as I had imagined, and when I put my own gauge of strings on and had another set up it sounds even better and is as close to my dream Les Paul as I could Imagine. I am so glad as I will be playing this more often than my own old Les Paul – and that is something coming from a Strat Head!!
I am so Glad I took a second look at the show and met Simon and I am sure I will in no doubt be getting something else from him and already I have my eye on one of his lovely Whorlton Acoustics!
I urge you to try out some of Simon Cassidy’s Guitars as I now believe we are all so obsessed with the name Brands that we have forgotten what we can produce here with the Love and Belief Simon and other small entrepreneurs put into their own Businesses and churn out some great products.
Cheers Simon, keep up the good work.
Jay J Downs
Review by Endy (Ian Wilson)
Here’s my review on two Cassidy Axeman guitars that I proudly own.
I am reviewing them together because they are similar instruments of the same model or range.
First of all I met Simon at the North West Guitar Show in Haydock in May 2016, I went with the intention of buying another guitar to add to my collection and because I was so impressed ended up buying 2 of them.
To be honest I’m always wary about buying guitars from an unknown source, at least unknown to me and it was my wife that spotted the AX401 six string because she liked the colour of it which is a nice blue satin finish where you can still see the wood grain through it and also has the texture which was a pleasant change from the usual smooth high gloss finish and gives it a classy appearance.
I agreed it did look beautiful and asked Simon if I could try it out.
Simon was so helpful and a great guy to talk to, he immediately plugged it in for me and I sat down and started to play.
The first thing that grabbed me was how easy it was to play because of the nice low action and the feel of the satin finished neck which is made from 5 piece maple with a through body construction, no screws or bolts here.
It also has 24 frets which I personally like and even the highest frets are easily accessible because of the nice cutaway on the body.
The pickups on this guitar are exceptional, they are high output pickups compared to some of my other guitars such as my Ibanez JEM and also my Gibson Les Paul.
They are also very warm and fat sounding while still having enough of those highs to really cut through the mix in a band situation, lots of punch for even the hardest metal freaks and there’s enough sustain to satisfy anyone.
The Bridge pickup has a nice bite to it and the neck pickup has a beautiful mellow tone without sounding muddy, great for those Santana type solos.
They are great for rock music and still sound great for clean sounds when your amp is set that way, for the really clean stuff rolling off on the volume control cleans the sound up even further without much noticeable tone loss.
With the 3 position pickup selector switch and the tone control which really does work great it is possible to achieve almost any sound you want out of this guitar.
The bridge is the Floyd Rose type tremolo and on this one it is the type where you have to cut the ball ends off the strings and clamp them into the saddles with an Allen key, The nut is also the locking type which clamps the other end of the strings using the same Allen key.
This is a system I personally prefer, it takes longer to change the strings but once done they are secure and stay in tune with even the most aggressive whammy bar use.
My only gripe is that the actual whammy bar/ tremolo arm stands a little high and angled away from the body but this is only personal preference because I like to hold the bar under my little finger while playing certain stuff.
However a little gentle bending of the bar should sort that out and Simon informed me that he also does it himself because he has the same preference.
The hardware on this guitar is chrome/silver finished which compliments the rest of the guitar nicely.
On this particular guitar one of the threads was stripped on the locking nut due to someone probably over tightening it and the whammy bar needed tightening up because it was loose.
Simon was very quick to point this out to me in detail before I even tried it and gave me a very substantial discount because of this, a lot of people would have kept quiet about it and sold the guitar as it was if gone un-noticed
I purchased a new locking nut online for peanuts and the whammy bar just needed a couple of turns with an Allen key, 5 minutes work, after that the problem was solved.
This is by no means a complaint, it was simply a one off situation which this particular guitar and the only reason I mention it is to express Simon’s Honesty and what a great guy he is.
This guitar is very much the same specs as the AX401 only instead of being blue finish it was black which the same texture and effect which gives it a real classy expensive feel.
The guitar also sports 7 Strings, the extra string being a low B string, great for heavy metal and annoying the neighbours LOL…
The Pickups are the same fat rich sounding humbuckers as the AX401 with the same volume, tone and pickup selector switch.
The neck, although having 7 Strings is very slim and not to planky so it is still easy to play on and also has the nice satin finish as the AX401 which is great for on stage when sweating under the hot lights because your thumb can still glide nicely up and down the neck better than with the more common heavy gloss lacquered necks which tend to glue to your thumb when your hands are sweaty.
This gives a more pleasant feel to it altogether.
The bridge on this guitar is also a Floyd Rose type only this system doesn’t clamp the strings at the bridge end and they are fed through the barrels behind the bridge.
I was a bit dubious about this at first as I prefer the clamping type as on the AX401 because I have another guitar with the same system and had a problem with the E string breaking at the ball end but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the problem doesn’t apply to this one and even with lots of string bending and Swinging on the whammy bar like psychopathic T Rex on cocaine the strings remained intact and still in tune, no gripes here.
The same applies to this model as the AX401 where I personally find the Whammy bar a little high and angles from the guitar but it’s a simple solution as with the other.
The hardware on this guitar is Black finished which compliments the rest of the guitar nicely.
I am also told that there were only 2 of each of these guitars made which appeals to me because they are not massed produced and gives me the satisfaction of knowing I have something quite unique.
In Closing for both guitars:
Pros: Nice action, Nice Sound, Great construction and finish, very reasonably priced.
Cons: The whammy bar is a little too high from the guitar body but this is not really a fault and is purely my personal preference and it may be perfect for other people.
Conclusion: These are excellent guitars and the construction quality playability and sound far exceeds many of their competitors even at the higher end of the market.
The price range puts them in reach of anyone looking for a good guitar at a reasonable price, even if you have money to burn they are still worth checking out before you go spending your hard earned cash on some high brand name guitar I’m confident you will get a great instrument and still have enough over to buy that amp you’ve always wanted.
I will finish this review by saying that Simon Cassidy is a true honest gent, very helpful and a real pleasure to do business with, in fact I already have plans to get together with him and have a double neck guitar built to my own specs by him.
Apart from that happy rocking and have a great day 🙂
Endy (Ian Wilson)
Review by Robb Weir of The Tygers of Pan Tang
Review by Ian Trust
Ok so here’s my Review.
What can I say other than I have nothing but praise for this guitar.
The fender Jaguar has always been my weapon of choice with my Telecaster bringing up the rear, but now with the Cassidy CE531 I have a new problem and that is which of the former do I leave at home because this guitar it compact beautiful to look at wonderful to hold and easy to play with a sound that’s every bit as good and in some cases better than the top name brands. The pickups are very good indeed.
I’m always a bit worried buying a guitar from a relatively unknown source but those fears were quashed as soon as I plugged it in .
It’s all very well having your Gibson Fenders and Gretsch’s but these are produced on mass and in my opinion lack the personal touch you get from Cassidy and to discover recently that my axe is only one of three was a bonus.
I for one will be spending a lot more money with Cassidy and if this guitar is anything to go by I won’t be disappointed.
From Chris Wells :
I Purchased the Cassidy CE501TK guitar in January 2015.
Full details and specifications of the Cassidy CE501TK can be found here…
Take a look at the final setup and demo video of Chris’s guitar here…
This review is a little unusual as the guitar in question was a UK Custom Built project for a very lucky young man called Michael Eastham who worked alongside me in my workshop during his Half-Term School holidays throughout the build. This was a great experience for Michael and has produced a top quality guitar which I’m sure he will treasure for a lifetime. Although still a young man Michael has attended lessons for a number of years at the Cassidy Guitar Studio and is now an accomplished Guitarist and Bass player. He also has a fine collection of guitars – so he knows what he is talking about…….
Review by Michael Eastham
This guitar is by FAR the best guitar i have seen, played and owned. As if the fact that it was custom built wasn’t enough, I can gladly say I had the brilliant opportunity to help build this excellent instrument.
It sounds perfect, it looks perfect and it was great to help build, and everything extra; the stands, and string changes, the extra work put into the build, have been greatly appreciated.
This guitar could not be any better, and i would rate this guitar a definite 10/10, thanks again Simon Cassidy!
Full specifications of the Cassidy UK Custom Built ST1 can be seen here.