One, October 2000
DiPinto Galaxie • By Michael Ross
In the early 80's, sideman extrodinaire David Lindley
discovered the joys of cheap imported and domestic guitars like
Teiscos and Silvertones. Their unique tone instantly put a sonic
signature of his music, and they looked really cool (at least on
a man who wore checkered polyester pants as rock garb). More recently,
Beck has favored Schecter imports that also wear their weirdness
proudly. For the new millennium, DiPinto guitars of Philadelphia
has designed model that straddles the line between classic American
design and import oddities.
The radical design elements shared by the DiPinto Galaxie 4 and
Galaxie 2 may require a certain sartorial confidence on stage, but
much of the guitars' strength is functional. True the Galaxie 4's
matching tortoise pickguard and headstock ensemble, star inlays,
and four (count 'em, four) pickups scream fun. But the angled headstock
combines the look of a Fender with the ability of a Gibson to maintain
tension across the 42mm nut without the use of string trees. This
is especially functional on the Galaxie 4, where it helps the tremolo
stay in tune.
These lightweight poplar guitars also balance extremely
well, with then neck hanging at a very comfortable angle when your
strapped in. The maple, four bolt necks are attached to the headstock
with a luthiers' joint. The Galaxie 4's Jaguar style tremolo maintains
the guitars tuning, and bending one string doesn't throw the others
out of tune, but dive bombing is not an option, and there is some
loss of sustain (though in general the guitar sustains well). The
Galaxie 4 brings Fender to mind with a 25 1/2" scale length
and a club-like shape to the neck. The Galaxie 2 nods to Gibson
with it's standard tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece configuration.
If three pickups are good, four must be better, right? Well, different
anyhow. At first it might seem that the DiPinto dudes decided to
go a little nuts with the wiring set up, but, like its looks, the
wiring of the Galaxie 4 is as functional as it is freaky. The five-way
switch offers bridge pickup alone, bridge and two adjacent pickups,
middle two, all four (yahoo!), or neck pickup alone. Positions 3
and 4 are hum canceling combinations of the single coils.
These DiPinto designed pickups are powerful enough
to let you lower the middle two a bit, if they get in the way of
your picking, and still have plenty of punch. The bridge pickup
provides a Strat-like skank tone but also has enough midrange to
sound good distorted. Position 2 offers a fine funk tone, and the
neck pickup by itself gives enough warmth for jazz combined with
beaucoups bite for blues. The middle two together make a unique
sound that will in future be know as DiPinto Tone, like a Strat
neck/middle combo but with more mids. The Silver Sparkle Galaxie
2 came with two humbuckers and a three way switch. But of course
two standard humbuckers would be too normal for DiPinto. In reality,
these humbuckers are made up of two single coils each, wired together
in series and mounted separately. This allows you to shape their
tone by raising or lowering half the pickup. Finding the neck sound
a little boomy, I just lowered the half of the pickup closest to
the neck and instantly had more focus without the output loss I
would expect from lowering the entire pickup.
Wave Your Freak Flag
I'd be lying if I said these were the most playable guitars I ever
picked up, but I could say the same about all the cool Teiscos,
Framus, Silvertones, and Danelectros (old and new) I have played.
The DiPintos certainly are playable but, like the aforementioned
bands, their strength lies in their style-visually and sonically.
Take one of these on-stage and the audience will be talking about
it for weeks.
Onstage or in the studio, these DiPintos will give
you a leg up on developing a sound of your own. At these prices
they can be a welcome addition to your collection for that special
sonic or stage occasion.
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