Published On: Fri, Dec 4th, 2009

Indie Shape Total Natural

The Total Natural excels at clean runs the way few dual-coil guitars can. Its very
hi-fi, and I can imagine Bill Frisell digging it

Indie's Shape Total NaturalWe’d challenge you to name another guitar with a mahogany set neck and a maple fingerboard, and no, the Peavey EVH Wolfgang doesn’t count – it had a bolt-on neck. The Natural’s finish is excellent, the big slab of maple that caps the mahogany body suggests tone all the way to 11, and the veneer on the top is beautifully flamed. Hardware includes a hardtail bridge, a pair of alnico GR8 humbuckers and Grover tuners.
This feels like a simple, serious, professional instrument. The Natural positively zings when you give it an unplugged strum and the neck has a chunky feel that’s quite unusual for a Korean guitar; it’s pleasing in a Gibson sort of way, even if the 25" scale is slightly longer. The grain on the neck is quite open and feels rough to the touch but this is quite charming once you get used to it, and it rather adds to the hand-built feel of this mass-produced instrument.

Sounds

We’re about to blow this guitar’s chances of becoming a well-kept secret by hollering about how good it sounds from the nearest hill. There isn’t a huge degree of difference between the pickup selections, but they all deliver clarity or warmth by degree and perform well in all circumstances. Even without coil tap options this guitar gives you great versions of practical, classic tones: you can forget the technology and just get on and play. The maple fingerboard – which doesn’t have a raw or oiled finish, but seems very lightly sealed – is fast and adds a bright, zingy, snappy character. This guitar is loads of fun to play and ideal for speedy prog or jazzy rock with the amp nudging into distortion – or more pyrotechnic stuff when driven harder. It also excels at clean runs and licks in a way that few dual-coil guitars can. It’s very hi-fi. I can imagine Bill Frisell digging it.  

Verdict

Do beginners spend 400-plus on their first guitar? Probably not. So Indie is aiming at people who've got over the first hurdle of mastering the basics and are looking to find a guitar that can out-perform the one they've just grown out of. In terms of materials, set up, sounds and playability Indie guitars are definitely a step up. They sound good and they feel

Build Quality Playability Sound Value Vibe Score

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