What I notice with the pickups is that there is no obvious bass, midrange or treble that dominates, regardless of the pickup position. Certainly the neck pickup is darker and warmer than the bridge pickup (true of any guitar), but it is not muddy or has too much bass. Likewise, the bridge pickup is not bright or shrill. They both sound balanced relative to their positioning and intended tone output. Overall, it could be stated that the Duncan Solar pickups are ‘flat’ in response, thus making it easier to tweak your tone with the tone knob and other gear, e.g., pedals and amps. The flatness of these pickups also make for an excellent Metal platform, since playing rhythm (chugging) and leads remain tight, yet full. Nonetheless, cleans are good and clear.
My favorite rhythm and lead tones come direct from the bridge pickup for the most part, but often I include the bridge pickup (either full humbucker or split) in varying degrees (30% volume is typical). Adding just that hint of warmness makes the tone fatter and thicker. Playing clean tones sounds good on just about any of the eight combinations. The GF1.7FBB allows for the blending of both humbuckers in full or split mode and the ability to adjust the volume level of both pickups independently, as well as their tone. Thus, you could have a lot of fullness with the full neck humbucker and then add a touch of sparkle with the bridge pickup split – or a shimmering soft response by blending and splitting both pickups. Regardless of the combination, the result is a very clear and straight-forward tone.
A Les Paul style guitar, the GF1.7FBB is a seven string designed for Hard Rock and Metal. It has ‘full spectrum’ Duncan Solar pickups, which are standard stock on Solar guitars, also offer great clarity for clean and crunch tones – even with high-gain amps. This 25.5” scale guitar has a ‘soft’ C shape all-access neck made with 5-ply maple/jatoba (through body design), an ebony fretboard and a 15.74” radius. The neck also boasts 24 super jumbo stainless steel frets, large Luminlay side dots, dual action truss rod and the Solar logo on the 12th fret. Moving up to the headstock there is an engraved Solar symbol/logo truss rod cover, a silver/metal ‘SOLAR’ logo, 18:1 locking tuners and a graphite nut. The body is made of mahogany with a flame black burst matte finish and has an arm, belly, and heel carve for improved comfort. There’s also a small carve along the single-cut horn for easier upper fret access. The GF1.7FBB also has an Evertune F-Type tail piece/bridge, a Mono 2Poval Steel jack cover and a 473k condenser. The 3-way toggle switch offers eight different pickup selections with its dual push/pull (for splitting) series/parallel combinations. Both pickups share the same Tone knob. The guitar comes with a truss rod tool and Black Smith 0962 Nano-Carbon coated strings, whereas a case is optional.
Overall Impression This guitar was an upgrade to my previous Solar. The ability to blend the pickups with individual volume controls was the biggest selling point, having experienced that function with an Ibanez and Eastwood guitar. Having a Metal guitar do the same intrigued me and the outcome is pure satisfaction. And then there’s the stainless steel frets, moving up from a 6-string to a 7-string (that low string comes in handy at times), the neck-through design and the 5-piece neck. I knew the playability and sound from the previous Solar guitar, and so neck feel, string action and tones were par for the course. All the extras above made it a worthy investment. The only drawback to this wonderful guitar is that I would prefer better high-fret access. The single cut is fairly decent and the neck heel not too thick, but I need longer fingers to get to those highest notes and bend those strings.