Electro-Harmonix Superego Synth Engine
There’s no shortage of cool, retro-looking solidbodies on the market today, from the big guys as well as the increasing numbers of boutique builders. Cool looks are great, but for any object to truly arouse passion, form must follow function. Built by Paul Schwartz in New York City, the Peekamoose Model 3 blends classic design cues with modern features.
The Peekamoose 3’s Jazzmaster-like offset body is one obvious nod to the past. Other tried-and-true details include a three-layer tortoise or “vint-mint” pickguard and back plate, Tusq bridge saddles and nut, Sperzel locking tuners, Dunlop strap locks, ivoroid knobs, and a Strat-style tremolo bridge. And, this being a custom axe, buyers can request the body and fretboard woods of their choice, as well as custom electronics and hardware.
Underneath the hood is where the Peekamoose 3 shows its modern chops. Custom-spec Peekamoose humbucking pickups by Seymour Duncan are wired to a four-way selector.. The pickup combinations are a lot of fun, especially for avid tone hounds, offering, from left to right: both pickups in full humbucking mode, in series; neck humbucker alone; both pickups in full humbucking mode, in parallel; and bridge humbucker alone. But this is just the tip of the iceberg: the volume knob has a high-pass filter, eliminating the loss of brightness as volume is decreased, and there’s a choice of 250K or 500K volume pots to expand tonal options.
Then there are the push/pull features. Two tone knobs activiate the Model 3’s “dual-sound switching.” Tone one is a standard tone, but when it’s pulled up, it puts the neck pickup’s coils in parallel. Tone two is a mid-shift that works in the upper-midrange spectrum and, when pulled up, puts the bridge pickup into parallel mode, resulting in a brighter tone. Crazy as it seems, this isn’t all. A phase-reverse mini-toggle elicits all kinds of puckery, twangy tones. Suffice to say, this versatile scheme achieves dozens of tones all day long just on an amp’s clean setting. Throw some gain and a stompbox or two into the fray, and the Peekamoose Model 3 is a ticket to a limitless universe of real analog guitar tone, all courtesy of good ol’ wood, wire, and magnets (take that, digital modeling!).
One immediately noticeable quality of the Model 3 is that, while the guitar looks like a Jazzmaster, the two-piece ash body doesn’t weigh as much as most Jazzmasters, which is a major improvement. The quarter-sawn, 22-fret rock maple neck offers a comfortable “soft C” profile – not too large, not too skinny – and features a Plek’d rosewood board with an 8” to 12” compound radius. A 25.5”-scale bolt-on neck has truss rod access at a six-on-a-side headstock.
The Peekamoose Model 3 is a high-quality solidbody with premium appointments and a pickup-wiring scheme to keep everyone from session guitarists to twisted tone merchants happy for years – it’s just darn fun to play and can cover everything from rock to blues to country to reggae, as well as the vast tonal range between clean twang and crunchy hard rock. The Model 3 excels in providing the sort of broad sonic palette for which the Strat is normally celebrated, and then some. If a Stratocaster offers 10 tones, the Model 3 gives 50 more, and that’s just for starters. For those in search of tricked-out, retro-vibed solidbody with tonal options up the wazoo, the Peekamoose Model 3 is worth checking out. It makes Grandpa’s surf plank look (and sound) like it’s standin’ still, Daddy-O.
This article originally appeared in VG June 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.