Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 126
The Lace Cybercaster LS
he mere name of Don Lace's Cybercaster may set calloused fingertips to
head-scratching. After all, "cyber" connotes
cutting-edge, futuristic. How could that
possibly jibe with "caster," which implies
beloved mid-century designs?
Truth be told, though, cutting-edge and
retro go hand in hand on the sleek Cybercaster, which gives off a hint of Selmer on
its treble side and a note of SG in the bassside upper bouts. The entire lower bout is
stretched into a distinctive ergonomic form
with firmly rounded edges all around. A
lightly relic'd nitrocellulose finish completes
the effect, suggesting the Cybercaster is
actually an early-'60s survivor.
The Cybercaster LS (Limited Series)
is produced by Grover Jackson Guitars,
Laguna Hills, California. Our Blue Relic
tester was built with a two-piece swamp ash
body; production models are korina, which
the company says will produce a consistently
lighter instrument. In addition, production
models use a gold-foil logo on the maple
headstock, as well as a push/pull potentiometer for splitting the humbucker coils.
The Cybercaster LS has a slab-sawn
maple neck and birdseye-maple fingerboard
topped with a distinctive headstock shape
that's somehow angular, but with curves. A
25.5"-scale neck includes large, well-dressed
frets. Further, the neck and setup have been
submitted to the Plek process to ensure a
Hardware is simple, combining Don
Lace's popular Hemi humbucker pickup
with time-honored wiring - Volume knob,
Tone knob with a simple capacitor, threeway selector switch, and a string-through
adjustable bridge, all in chrome.
Hipshot locking tuners are mounted on
the headstock, which does not require string
trees, and experienced eyes will note the
tightly fitted four-bolt neck joint - a crucial detail done right and indicative of the
guitar's build level. Equally distinctive are
the design and fit of the chrome electronics
plate and triple-layer aged-white pickguard.
The LS Blue Relic nitro finish is a popular
'60s color, lightly distressed, worn, and
checked on the body, exhibiting "evidence" of playing time on the fingerboard
and neck edges. It's more than enough to
vibe you back five or six decades to a time
of classic guitar designs, that place from
which the Cybercaster draws inspiration.
The Lace Sensor pickups are known
for full-range response and quiet performance, and plugged into a small solidstate
amp, they shimmered with an acoustic
sound belied only by the lengthy sustain.
With the Tone control dialed back, the
neck pickup sounded round and fat. Hang
a picture of an ES-175 in front of it, and
go knock off some jazz gigs!
With effects pedals and a popular small tube combo with a single
12" speaker, the Hemis and the
Cybercaster worked together to
achieve a clean, chiming chorus/
delay sound. Pushing the gain envelope with a variety of OD boxes really
brought out the sonic character of
each pedal, as the pickups' transparency let the pedal color the sound,
with plenty of gain to enhance that
overdrive. The Tone control, with an
ideal, smooth taper, proved a handy
tool in tone-shaping, making the
most out of the familiar wiring. The
addition of push/pull coil tapping on
production models should add yet
another dimension of possibilities.
The popularity of effects pedals
and the need for a quiet, responsive
sound should be enough to draw
attention to Don Lace's Cybercaster.
The timeless appreciation guitar
freaks have for a fine modern build
which captures that old-school allure might be enough to make it an
instant classic. - Chip Wilson