I first came across Cole Clark guitars while watching Amazon Prime’s “Patriot” series, which is absolutely one of my top ten shows of all time. In it, the protagonist was a CIA agent playing a Cole Clark and singing folk songs in cafes to cope with his PTSD. Or maybe he just wanted to be a folksinger instead of a spy. Either way, he and the guitar sounded awesome. I did a search and tried as many Cole Clark guitars as I could find. They are quite special with a very unique sound due to their almost exclusive use of Australian Blackwood, which makes sense since they are based in Melbourne.
Blackwood is warm yet punchy and not overly resonant, so it’s the perfect complement to a successful songwriter. However, I have found that they also record very well. Balanced but not too boomy. The latest addition to their range is quite brilliant: an acoustic guitar with not only a superb acoustic pickup system but also a built-in Humbucker. Yeah, you heard right and it sounds good. Even better, Cole Clark was smart enough to give them their own individual, separate outputs so you can route the acoustic mic to the PA/mixer/DI and the humbucker mic to an amp. Or via the pedals first then the amp. The possibilities are limitless.
The “Fat Lady” FL2-EC BLBL HUM I got my hands on for this review was nearly impossible to put down. I tried it acoustic first, not plugged in, and while it had definition and clarity, it wasn’t as complex and loud as my super high end boutique guitars, but let’s I tell you why that’s a good thing: It’s perfect for gaming. In my long experience, super thin guitars are great for recording, but they don’t always translate to road use as they can be somewhat overwhelming when singing. Not to mention the beatings they can take from the airlines, but once you play a Cole Clark and sing along while you play him, you’ll understand the whole concept behind the company. They are designed for singer-songwriters.
Cole Clark was also a pioneer in their three-pickup technology, so their acoustic guitars always sounded better live than even their much more expensive counterparts. With the addition of the Humbucker and the two outputs, they bluff everyone in my humble opinion. Honestly, the guitar sounded great either way and very usable, but once I plugged in both mics and started playing with both outputs, I got lost for hours, and oh yeah, a new song came out. For me, it’s priceless.
You have an integrated switch to use both pickups at once or one at a time as well as tone control, just like an electric guitar, on the underside of the FL2-EC BLBL HUM. In addition, you have an integrated mixer for the acoustic microphone where you can mix the three acoustic microphones, control the volume and you also have a three-band equalizer. Just phenomenal.
The retail price is around $2900. So it won’t kill your bank account either. I paid at least double for decent acoustics without a mic. Rumor has it that they are also releasing a Thinline Humbucker guitar in May, for those who want a thinner electric guitar experience. Check one out soon and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.