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Xotic may well be a new brand in the market place, as far as many guitar players are concerned – Some may well be familiar with Xotic pedals, which initially was the starting point for this small boutique USA company – For a  number of years now, the likes of Anderson, Suhr and Tyler Guitars have all acquired a serious reputation within the custom built guitar industry – With the introduction of the Xotic California Classic XSC1 we now have a new member of this boutique club and no prizes for guessing the influence for such a build – Yet the Strat influence raises a valid question – How much better than a Fender Strat can you make a ’boutique’ Strat ? – I think if you judged a guitar based on its build quality and attention to detail, then make no bones about it, such boutique guitars are built with an impeccable attention to detail – Yet the feel, playability and tonal character will always be a matter of taste – Not just between brand A and brand B, but equally within the brand itself – Two Custom Shop Strats are not the same regarding the fine points of feel + tone – I feel that there is a purity of tonal character within many boutique guitars – Not a fault, but they can generally possess a crisp clear glass like tonal character, which will of course find favour amongst many players

When I first played this Xotic California Classic XSC 1 a few factors instantly stood out for me  1) It sounded so much more in tune – Play 2/3/4 string melodic chord passages around the fingerboard and it just sounds so in tune – Why this should be the case then I can’t fully say, as it is not just about the intonation – Those who play and are familiar with a PRS Guitar will know where I’m coming from  2) It is set-up with such a slinky easy action – effortless to play and responds to a very light touch, which certainly suits me and my technique – Very rarely will I come across a Fender Strat that is as slinky as this – Again a matter of taste and some players require a guitar that fights back against you – In which case I suggest a heavier set of strings and/or raise the action a touch  3) The tonal character is far more ‘organic’ and far more in keeping of what I’d expect from a Custom Shop Strat and indeed a vintage Strat – More crisp and glassy than the classic SRV tone, but you’d expect that with a maple neck/fingerboard – But overall the tone, is rich, warm, smooth and luxurious

Before I update you with a host of product details then I suggest it is well worth reading the following product reviews, courtesy of Guitar.com  Guitar World and Music Radar – So click here, click here and click here for details – Please note that there is a good video clip of the Xotic California Classic  within the pages of the Guitar World review – All 3 reviews are well worth reading – They support many of my comments and thoughts, as well as the overall ethos that such a boutique brand is all about

Additional info regarding this used Xotix XSC1 with a super cool sonic blue aged finish, from 2018 :-

A quick re-mark or two with regards to the feel + tonal character – I’ve touched on this above and the reviews certainly give you plenty of input – The pick-ups are certainly vintage flavoured with a medium/low output of 5.24K – In my opinion this supports a clean or more subtle overdriven amp setting – Less is more maybe the answer – It doesn’t mean you can’t load the amp with sustain/gain – But with less gain you hear so much more expression coupled with excellent dynamics that respond to your touch – Caress and play light for a softer voice, or dig in and attack for more bite – So a very ‘vocal’ response as required – On a blues/light rock overdriven amp setting, then use such an approach in-conjunction with the volume pot to maximise the guitars tonal character and response – Roll off the volume pot a touch to find a more chilled out ‘cleaner’ voice for lush chord work and melodic cool licks – Then wind the guitar volume pot back towards 10 as/when you require a touch more bite, edge and attitude, so more of a turbo boost when required

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.