Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 144
VG APPROVED GEAR
The Jon Kammerer
Customs Dorado Deluxe
hen guitars made by Jon Kammerer
Customs first appeared, players and
industry folks recognized that its sculpted
tonewood paraboloids were... well, different.
So, what's the result when a progressive
builder rethinks a classic like that first
product of Leo's design genius? He likes it
so much that he names it Dorado after that
mythic place of fabulous wealth.
Kammerer offers the Dorado in Standard
and Deluxe versions, with optional chambered body, cherry finish over mahogany,
and a two-piece/bookmatched maple neck
in one of a dozen optional profiles. The neck
is finished with buffed gun oil, the body
with expertly applied clear nitrocellulose
lacquer. Gotoh gold hardware complements
the warm color of the Deluxe's figuredcherry top.
A closer look at the Dorado body shows it's
not just another Tele knockoff. Refinements
like the lines of its bass-side upper bout,
treble horn, and the widened curves of the
waist elevate the Dorado to a heightened aesthetic. A wing-shaped soundhole perforates
the top's bass side, and the contoured back
and recessed four-screw neck plate lighten
things up and provide a comfortable feel.
The headstock is a three-on-a-side design
with curves and sculpted surfaces.
The neck has a two-way truss rod that
is adjustable from the midpoint of the
headstock, and a compound-radius maple
fingerboard with "blind" fret slots (which
do not cut through the edges).
Stock electronics include reverse-polarity
Golden Age Vintage Spec Tele pickups with
Alnico V pole pieces and a three-way switch.
CTS pots with a .47-microfarad tone capacitor and a .0022 cap on the Volume pot for
consistent frequency response at varying
levels sit inside a shielded control cavity. The
snap-in jack offers assurance one's playing
won't be interrupted by a sudden, noisy
disengagement of the cable.
Fed into a reissue Fender Vibrolux with
Tone knobs at 12 o'clock, output from the
Dorado's neck pickup balanced well with
the bridge pickup. Though there was an
audible loss in volume from the selector's
middle position, the sound was tailor-made
for chicken-scratchin' funk rhythm,
and switching to either pickup by itself
produced an immediate gain boost
right in the zone for soloing.
When A/B'd with an older singlecut body with a '68 Fender neck and
Seymour Duncan pickups, followed
by a thinline-style parts guitar with
Rio Grande pickups, the Kammerer voiced a clarity that stood
out despite the chambered body.
For the pedal aficionado or band
guitarist finding his slot in a mix
that includes B-3, a horn section,
and an ES-335 player, that glassy
transparency will be welcome.
Another side of the Dorado
appears when the Tone control is
manipulated in the manner of Tele
players such as Roy Buchanan, who
Price: $2,500 (as reviewed)
negotiated the knob to produce wah
and other effects. With no discernible
volume drop, the Golden Age neck
pickup assumed an unexpected character more akin to that of a set-neck
solidbody; a Les Paul player who's
forced to switch axes will appreciate
its sound - and the tuner layout.
Like most custom builders, Jon
Kammerer offers several options.
His brand is highlighted by unique,
fresh designs, and the Dorado Deluxe,
though familiar-looking to most,
reflects that approach like a city of
gold. - Chip Wilson