Tone.A.Cane Copper Guitar REVIEW

With few exceptions, the standard construction of electric guitars utilizes wood. Every now and then designers and creators come up with new materials, and new methods of construction, from hi-tech resins to composites. Tone.A.Cane has taken an old material, copper, and made a unique guitar that has a modern and interesting design, that still sounds like a guitar.

Most of the structure of the body is made from three copper tubes, soldered together, while a strip of copper wraps around forming the body’s overall shape. The lower bout that contains the traditional 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way toggle switch and a standard 1/4” output jack, is boxed in with copper. A copper pipe neatly routes the humbucking pickups wires to the control box (can’t really call it a “cavity”).  The pickups support is also again, made from copper and mounted to the tubing, along with the bridge/tailpiece.

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If you thought the body was uniquely constructed, wait. The neck is formed by two copper pipes that run from the body, and are connected by two elbow pieces at the headstock. This gives it a minimalist steampunk look. The locking tuners are attached through holes in the tubing.

The fretboard is made from a composite material called Richlite, which feels fantastic, while looking like ebony. Overall build quality is fantastic; there are no globs of solder or gunk, and the copper is clear coated to prevent any green oxidation.

Picking it up, its weight is noticeable, as our test guitar came in at just over 9lbs. It balanced well, though. As the back of the neck are two copper pipes with a gap between them, there’s no curved radius there that would be on a traditional guitar neck. This makes hand placement is a bit unusual. Depending on a player’s fretting hand technique, this may or may not be an issue. We had no problem adapting to it overall, and it’s truly a guitar that makes you approach your playing differently. Yes, we did have to make some adjustments, but nothing that felt limiting. Slide players may like this feel, though.

Plugging it in, the overall tone is big and chimey, with no lack of bottom end. Clean sounds are as you would expect from a two humbucker guitar. Nice and snappy tonal response that felt complete. When things get dirty, now that is where it gets interesting. The neck pickup really sings. There is a bit of top end here, but it is more than welcome, as it seems to round out the overall sound. Players who find neck pickups too dark, or lacking definition, this will really open up some new sonic doors. The bridge pickup doesn’t get too bright either, it sits where it needs to be. Chords are nice and crunchy, while leads soar easily. The pair balances well together.

Tone.A.Cane is a small company, and that has some added cool factor. Each guitar is individually hand made. The starting price is $949. There are some tailpiece options, as well as gold or chrome hardware, which will change the price, depending on the player’s choices.

The only downside might be the neck, again, as it’s certainly non-traditional, but considering how some uniquely constructed guitars are usually flat-out unfunctional and fall into the “wall art” category, you might be able to adapt with no issues. The fact that this is a reasonably priced, handmade, unique and functional instrument is amazing. For players looking for the functionally untraditional, this is right up your alley.

PROS:

Unique, sounds fantastic, excellent craftsmanship. Because of the neck’s rigidity, future setups become far less frequent and neck adjustments may become unnecessary altogether.

CONS:

Neck might take some getting used to.

STREET PRICE:

Starts at $949

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2 Comments

  1. Joe P

    February 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    I do not own a Tone.A.Cane but had the chance to meet them at a few guitar shows and play these great guitars. One of the key benefits that copper construction offers over wood is that, because of its strength and rigidity the neck never shifts or moves. So once the guitar is strung and set up upon assembly, they never need to be set up again. This is a key benefit, and leaving this out of the article does a great disservice to Tone.A.Cane. Any chance of a revision/addendum?

    • Benjamin Ricci

      February 6, 2019 at 12:42 pm

      Great points, we’re happy to amend the original text.

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