Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 126

VG APPROVED GEAR

GRADY'S
CHOICE

The Koll Super Glide Almighty

W

hat do you get when you cross a
Jazzmaster, Les Paul, Gretsch Duo
Jet, ES-335, and Tele? You just might end up
with an axe from Koll Guitar, a Portlandbased builder who's been at it for more than
three decades.
One of their instruments is the Super
Glide Almighty, a retro-themed electric
with a chambered mahogany body and
overall weight of just over eight pounds.
The handsome hand-carved top is locally
grown maple that shows ample figure
under a natural satin-nitro finish. Its set
neck (also mahogany) is topped with an
ebony fingerboard offering 22 mediumjumbo frets, a compound radius of 10-14",
and a 24.625" scale; speaking of the fingerboard, take a moment to appreciate the
inlays - dubbed "pearl-striped thumbs,"
they're miniature Art-Deco masterpieces.
You don't see this kind of craftsmanship
every day.
The headstock is lovely, too, with its
unique shape echoing the horn on the
upper bass bout. It's finished with a
veneer of Macassar ebony and pearl logo
inlay. Tuners are Schaller GrandTunes
in chrome. Down south, there's a Bigsby
B-11 and Schroeder tune-o-matic bridge
tastefully mounted on an ebony base. Fitted with clear knobs, the controls include
two Volumes and a master Tone with a
three-way pickup selector.
Finally, on to those mysterious pickups...
If their design looks familiar but you
can't put a finger on it, look up Nashville
session legend Grady Martin and his early
Bigsby solidbody. The TK Smith C.A.R.
(cast-aluminum replica) single-coils here
aim to nail that '50s tone that melds jazz,
country, blues, rockabilly, and Texas swing
with an emphasis on the woody/airy tones
of incredible sonic girth. Videos online
offer great examples of Grady's magical
low-output vibe.
On the job, the Super Glide Almighty
combines a lot of old-school charm with
modern playability. The neck on our tester
was expertly set up, the frets perfectly
dressed, and the Bigsby bar was also set at

Price: $5,900
Info: www.kollguitars.com

the correct angle. On so many guitars,
it's positioned too close to the body,
but Koll has it angled up for proper
twang-bar jiggling.
Tona lly, the C.A.R. pickups
deliver a sound that moves from
jazzbox fat to countr y t wang
without much effort. Remember
that '50s and '60s country guitar
was not all about Fenders - the
great players of the era used all
manner of guitar to produce those
twangy sounds, including models
from Gibson, Guild, Gretsch, and

VINTAGE GUITAR

126

July 2018

a few great Bigsbys. You'll be
surprised how massive the neck
pickup sounds, with its huge
bass dimension. It has a dark,
├╝ber-warm tone prized by players of the pre-rock era. The lead
pickup jangles aplenty, with more
of what we'd call a P-90 tone than
Leo f lavor. Don't be afraid to dial
in the overdrive, either. The Super
Glide Almighty exhibits plenty of
sass with gain, from Malcolm Youngfueled power chords on the bridge to
Slowhand-styled "woman tone" in
the neck and middle settings.
While the Koll is a pricey plank,
it's exquisitely crafted and has that
hand-built vibe that can't be duplicated by large-scale production.
Keep in mind, too, that you can get
the Super Glide Almighty in several
variations with different tonewoods,
finishes and pickup choices, as well
as two- and three-pickup versions.
Scanning the company's catalog
online can be a an enjoyable timesuck, and like this guitar, every one
you see is pretty damn gorgeous.
- Pete Prown


http://www.kollguitars.com http://vintageguitar.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - IFC
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