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Old 08-17-2019, 02:37 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Default NGD: Cole Clark Angel 2 - updated, two weeks in, video added

I'm going to try something a little different - a short and to-the-point guitar review. Those that know me and know my reviews will chuckle at this, but I'll try. Here's the quick and dirty: Cole Clark is an Australian guitar company. They believe in building guitars from sustainable woods and they designed the guitar around a killer pickup system that is made to be plugged in. In this they succeeded. Want more info? Google it!

I found myself in need of a killer, plugged in guitar. Something I could take to open mics and/or use live with little to no 'help' from external sources for my style of play. I've struggled immensely to find this. My yardstick these days is a guitar that can plug straight into my Bose S1 system and sound awesome with nothing but the very limited Bose EQ and whatever the guitar brings with it. I bought a used Cole Clark Angel 2 off Reverb from a guy in Australia. Great price, excellent shipping (only $75!) and fast shipping. He shipped it on Monday and I got it today - Saturday! Wow! This is a 2016 model in great shape, all blackwood body, Queensland maple neck, she oak fretboard and bridge and of course the incredible Cole Clark 3-way pickup system.

As advertised and reported in reviews here, this guitar's pickup system is the bomb! Plugged straight into my Bose S1 I am able to get a great tone dialed in with ease. The pickup system uses three things - a 6 element UST pickup and an SBT pickup with a blend knob, an internal mic with its own blend knob, a volume knob and three band EQ. Part of my problem as a fingerstyle player is my tone was always muddy without a lot of EQ. No more. I dial in a great tone for playing/strumming with a pick and if I want to switch over to fingerstyle I dial up the treble a bit, back off the bass a bit and increase the volume. Boom! Instant great tone.

The Angel is a GA body size guitar with a long scale neck. The carve is really nice, sort of a shallow C-ish shape neck that is not too thick, not too thin. The slighter narrower nut and string spacing make fingerstyle a little tight but still doable. It's a great strummer. The only thing I miss is a comfort bevel for my forearm but I'll hopefully acclimate. So if you're looking for a great plugged in tone from a guitar for performing, check out the Cole Clarks. The make a dread (the Fat Lady) the GA (Angel) and a small body (Little Lady), all with that great pickup system.

So, there you have it. Yes, this is a short review for me. Photos to follow.

Update!

So, it's just shy of couple weeks in with this guitar and I've gotten a lot of playing with it in so I thought I'd update with my thoughts and post a review video. I have yet to gig with the guitar but we did play an open mic last weekend. This is an open mic where I always struggle to get a good tone unless I bring my own preamp/EQ. As hoped for, I was able to quickly and easily get great tone playing fingerstyle. We ended up playing for about an hour (low turnout) so I was able to play a wide variety of songs which included strumming both with and without a pick and fingerstyle songs. Everything sounded great.

I've got the basic tweaks for the onboard pickup controls on lock. First thing I did was dial up the volume about halfway, bridge/soundboard knob around half, mic about half with treble and bass flat and mids dialed back a bit. This is my pick strumming default setting. Then I let the open mic host dial me in based on that as I strummed with a pick. Then as I changed to other songs I would dial up the volume to about 75%, dial up the treble a bit and back the bass off a bit leaving the mids alone. This would get me a great fingerstyle sound. I show this in the video below.

I was pleasantly surprised to how quickly a acclimated to the guitar's physical size. As mentioned above the guitar is generally larger than I prefer, has a longer scale and narrower nut width and string spacing than my ideal and lacks the comfortable body bevels and shaping of the Emeralds which as of late have been my preferred guitar. I seemed to acclimate to all these things rather quickly. Probably the two least liked things are the sharp edge my forearm rests against and the slightly narrow string spacing for certain fingerstyle songs. But nothing that kept me from performing well with the guitar.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that I did not get the extremely sore fingertips with the longer scale and therefore increased tension. This is due in part at least to the very low action the guitar came set up with. I am finding that I need to put much less pressure on the fretting hand. The downside is that if I'm strumming without a pick but simulating a pick with thumb and index finger pressed together tightly I do get string buzz on the low E. Rather than raise the action I am going to try to use this to make myself play lighter and with more precision. I am trying to play more with a pick whenever I can but there are still some songs that I strum that I cannot get a pick to work. I'm hoping that will come with time.

Anyway, to summarize, I am over-the-moon happy with this guitar from an amplified standpoint. We have a full 3-hour gig coming up in September and so I'm practicing solely with this guitar in anticipation of using it for the gig. I'll have the Emerald X10 nylon in the car as backup. But assuming all goes well between now and then I expect the Cole Clark to carry the night and give me what I need. So, if you're looking for a decent guitar that amplifies extremely well and gives you great on-the-fly tone regardless of your style of play, give the Cole Clark line of guitars serious consideration.

Update #2

Several weeks later and a few full gigs in and the guitar performed perfectly at the gigs. The sound was nothing short of outstanding through the EAE X6 digital mixer and into the Bose S1. I continue to be impressed. A second Cole Clark has been added as a backup and the other guitars are dwindling as they never get played and if I don't play them, they go on the block.

Here is a 20 minute video I did where I discuss the features and play the guitar a bit both acoustically and amplified using a pick, strumming and fingerstyle. Be warned - I talk throughout the video. A lot! For the best listening of how the guitar sounds, use high quality headphones.


Last edited by Methos1979; 10-07-2019 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:50 PM
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Last edited by Methos1979; 08-17-2019 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 08-17-2019, 03:20 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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That's a beautiful guitar that fits your needs! How does it sound unplugged?
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Old 08-17-2019, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
That's a beautiful guitar that fits your needs! How does it sound unplugged?
It doesn't sound bad at all but it's definitely not the tone monster that many guitars of this size and price point would be which is why so many pan its unplugged tone. If I was looking for an acoustic to play only unplugged I would look elsewhere. But plugged in it's right up there with Maton and Takamine.
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:16 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
It doesn't sound bad at all but it's definitely not the tone monster that many guitars of this size and price point would be which is why so many pan its unplugged tone. If I was looking for an acoustic to play only unplugged I would look elsewhere. But plugged in it's right up there with Maton and Takamine.
Based on my 2009 Cole-Clark Fat Lady FL2AC, I totally agree with your assessment of your Cole-Clark's acoustic-only properties. Plugged-in, they're a wonderful acoustic-electric guitar!
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:45 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Based on my 2009 Cole-Clark Fat Lady FL2AC, I totally agree with your assessment of your Cole-Clark's acoustic-only properties. Plugged-in, they're a wonderful acoustic-electric guitar!
Agreed. A couple things I didn't note in my short review... one thing I love, one (two, actually) I hate:

Love - there is circuitry in the cable jack so you can plug in or unplug without turning down your amp and there is no gawd-awful loud POP!

Hate - Cole Clark's use of gigantic strap buttons! Those were replaced before the guitar was tuned up and plugged in!!

Also not a big fan of their locating the strap button on the heal of the neck but this is necessary due to the neck heal shape which is concave in the area where I prefer the strap button be installed, the 'Taylor' location.
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Old 08-17-2019, 06:12 PM
ridethewind ridethewind is offline
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Yes, you have the same guitar I do, a Cole Clark Angel2 all-blackwood 2016. This guitar is designed to be strummed or played with a pick. Finger-only playing sounds muffled to my ears. If you finger-pick and want better unamplified sound in a CC, go for a different and softer top wood, like bunya or redwood. The top vibrates more easily.
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Old 08-17-2019, 07:43 PM
SoCalSurf SoCalSurf is offline
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Congratulations, and I am happy that it is what you were hoping for. I wanted a much longer review, though.
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Old 08-18-2019, 03:49 AM
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I never played one. Thanks for the nice review.... I actually look for the same thing gigging. Not holy grail tone... just simple and easy and pleasing. Congrats.

I had a Takamine P3DC which did all that, and it sounded great unplugged. Now I use an old D15 with an M1.
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Old 08-18-2019, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SoCalSurf View Post
Congratulations, and I am happy that it is what you were hoping for. I wanted a much longer review, though.
Oh, Lenny, how you taunt me so! Even as I attempted to write a short review I instantly went into a detailed background that led me there and had to go back and delete everything and start over! Part of my reason for the short review was the very limited amount of experience with the guitar having literally just received it that afternoon and played it for about an hour. Once I get some more time with it I'll add to the review, likely a nice video demo/review that I can embed into the first post. Probably in a couple weeks though as next week is packed. I might actually gig with it on Wednesday if the weather holds - outdoors farmers market. Calling for 50% chance of storms so that likely means taking the Emerald.

Quote:
Originally Posted by themissal View Post
I never played one. Thanks for the nice review.... I actually look for the same thing gigging. Not holy grail tone... just simple and easy and pleasing. Congrats.

I had a Takamine P3DC which did all that, and it sounded great unplugged. Now I use an old D15 with an M1.
Not holy grail unplugged tone for sure but I would argue that from an amplified standpoint it is holy grail tone. At least it's the best I've ever heard from any guitar I've ever owned, probably around 30 guitars.

I've been watching a lot of video reviews on YouTube about the little Maton Mini EM6 guitars. I might give one of those a go. I'd love to have a small travel guitar that can be plugged in and sound awesome.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:41 AM
silvereagle48 silvereagle48 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
Based on my 2009 Cole-Clark Fat Lady FL2AC, I totally agree with your assessment of your Cole-Clark's acoustic-only properties. Plugged-in, they're a wonderful acoustic-electric guitar!
My experience as well.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:13 AM
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Updated with thoughts after playing for a couple weeks. Added a review video that includes some playing both acoustically and amplified.
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