When it comes to custom, hand-made guitars, many prefer an instrument that innately reveals the work of its craftsman – the type that, instead of merely being a replica of a famous body shape, can be held and admired for its details. Matt Proctor’s M-Tone Slipstream is a good example.
While many custom axes are modified/“improved” versions of Strats, Teles, and Les Pauls, M-Tone guitars are knock-offs of nothing. Its double-cutaway design reaches more for a gumby’d Teisco or Eko body shape than anything immediately familiar. Same with the headstock; it’s six-on-a-side design says “Fender,” but the shape is more a stockinged foot than a Tele, and its logo is set in relief. It’s complex, but attractive.
The Slipstream has a one-piece mahogany body and gorgeous, hand-carved Pau Ferro neck with an oil finish; prepare to swoon, folks – it’s downright seductive, and topped with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with a 12″ radius and 25.5″ neck scale. Other details include Hipshot locking tuners, Lollar P-90 single-coil pickups, black-finished master Volume and Tone controls, a snazzy six-saddle bridge, and three-way pickup selector.
Proctor throws in other interesting features, such as a lack of plastic; the pickguard and control plate are 16-gauge steel, surfaced to match the finish of each guitar. Final appointments include a pleasantly quirky array of aluminum fingerboard dots (“strategically placed,” Matt notes), and a 1957 Sputnik badge sunk into the top horn. Nicely done, comrade! The whole kit-and-kaboodle comes in a manageable 7.6 pounds, comfortable for a long gig, especially with the Slipstream’s curvaceous edges and rear contour cut. There’s also a “Jackbite” body cut in the rear, which shelters the cable end and provides a nice design nuance.
Plugged in, the Slipstream exhibits many personalities despite its simple layout. With dual P-90s, you might expect your basic Les Paul Junior attack. Sure, you can play all the driving rock-and-roll you want, but the M-Tone has a great jam-band dimension, ripe for any Jerry Garcia-isms you care to roll its way. Ladle on some tremolo and reverb, and take the Slipstream for a surfy ride along the beach, or delve into whatever blues, country, or funk ideas you have in mind. The Slipstream sounds terrific with washes of chorus, reverb, and echo, creating a retro shimmer perfect for post-bop improvisation. Personality-wise, the sky’s the limit and, with the guitar’s supple neck, getting there is a joy.
The M-Tone Slipstream is what we want to see in a custom guitar – true uniqueness and superlative craftsmanship in a compelling package. This guitar is gorgeous, plays great, and sounds wicked.
This article originally appeared in VG February 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.