Based out of Santa Clarita, California, LsL Instruments was founded by Lance and Lisa Lerman in 2008 after many years in the furniture-manufacturing business as well as guitar building. Today, the crew at LsL utilizes a mix of CNC machining and handwork to produce a variety of electric guitars and basses, as well as most of the pickups used in their instruments.
The latest from LsL is the Soledad. Based on LsL’s popular T-bone Tele platform, the Soledad features a chambered semi-hollow T-style body, a flame maple top with binding, bass- and treble-side F holes, and a nitrocellulose lacquer finish. LsL uses a single piece of swamp ash for their Soledad bodies and machines a proprietary “Wave Guide” chamber inside them. This unique feature guides or pushes the sound out the sound holes and relieves some of the body weight.
LsL offers several pickup configurations, including a classic dual single-coil setup, dual humbuckers, a single in the bridge with a humbucker in the neck, and the configuration that our tester was loaded with: a humbucker in the bridge and a P-90 in the neck. Controls are rear-mounted and include an upper-bout three-way toggle pickup selector, a master Volume control and a master Tone control with a push/pull to split the humbucker. In the hardware department, the Soledad features Gotoh vintage-style tuners and a short vintage box-style Tele bridge with brass saddles and chrome barrel knobs.
The Soledad has a comfortable and familiar feel that’s a mix of modern and vintage, with a nice slim vintage C neck profile, a modern and slightly flatter 9.5″ radius dark rosewood fretboard with larger medium Dunlop 6105 fret wire, and a classic narrow inline headstock. The neck is made of quartersawn maple.
The single-cutaway body is light and resonant, and the controls are in the familiar convenient locations. The nitro finish has a great vintage feel and look on both the body and neck, and the short box bridge with brass saddles is comfortable.
We checked out the Soledad with a Fender reissue ’59 Bassman (6L6/12AX7) 4×10 all-tube combo. The Soledad is available in several pickup configurations, and our tester’s bridge humbucker had a nice thick and rich sound with lots of clear, punchy midrange, yet it retained that snappy top-end twang, especially when split. When split, it surprisingly stout – not thin or weak like a typical split humbucker.
The neck P-90 was also very beefy, with a thick, warm tone that produced a shimmering jangle when mixed with the bridge pickup. It excelled with overdrive, providing a throaty and articulate solo tone, but also cleaned up well for very warm, smooth jazz chords.
LsL’s Wave Guide chambering bolsters the guitar’s natural sustain – our tester’s notes hung on without tons of overdrive, and the guitar offered a noticeable acoustic resonance feeling in the hands.
With its semi-hollow body and thick punchy bridge pickup, the Soledad loves to get dirty – chords are super crunchy with tons of overtones, sustain, and excellent clarity, even with the overdrive piled on.
The Soledad has a very cool and refined Thinline vibe that is great mix of a familiar classic and high-end custom shop – all with a killer fat tone, tons of sustain, and great playability.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2016 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.