Schroeder Radio Lane Edge
Though Jason Schroeder began to follow his love of instrument-building in 1985, it wasn’t until 2005 that he made the jump to full-time guitar builder. His strong eye for detail and design gave him a leg up in producing instruments that are classic in spirit and feature accoutrements that take them to another plateau of craftsmanship. And though it is easy to see the influence of heroes like Benedetto and D’Aquisto, Schroeder focuses mainly on solid and semi-solid guitars.
One of Schroeder’s top-of-the-line instruments is the Radio Lane Edge, with a flamed koa top over a limba body. Flamed koa is also used on the head plate, truss-rod cover, back plates, vibrato handle tip, and switch tip, while the artisan-grade Brazilian rosewood touches fall on the neck, fingerboard, handmade pickup rings, and the control knobs. Maple and Brazilian rosewood purfling is used throughout, and the fretboard is beset with striking rectangular gold mother-of-pearl inlays. Additionally, the Radio Lane Edge features a beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay on the face of the headstock and an even more beautiful hummingbird inlaid between the tuners on the rear of the headstock.
The Radio Lane Edge’s scale length is 24.625″, and its nut is a hand-filling 1.7″ wide. The frets are of the medium jumbo variety, and the fretboard radius is a bend-friendly 12″. Hardware-wise, the instrument features a Callaham vibrato bridge along with Waverly tuners topped with classy ivoroid buttons. Not to be outdone, the electronics feature a primo set of nickel-covered MXV (“maximum vintage”) ThroBak PAF-style humbuckers which alone would set one back more than $500. The controls comprise Volume and Tone knobs, along with a standard three-way selector switch. A black Ameritage case with gold accents is included.
The Radio Lane was tested with a vintage Deluxe Reverb and a recent Vox AC15. Before it’s even plugged in, the guitar in hand amazes with its level of detail work, especially Schroeder’s use of top-grade exotic woods. The top of the instrument’s contours, set off by maple purfling, put the Radio Lane in the “top shelf” category even before one is drawn to the flamed-koa cavity covers on the back, the sweet grained limba body, and the multiple levels of binding.
With all of this breathtaking beauty to behold, it’s quite thrilling to finally plug a cable into the Radio Lane’s custom S-shaped side-mount jack and hear the guitar in action. Starting with the neck pickup, the Radio Lane reveals itself to be round and warm, yet with every note exhibiting a very strong fundamental that allows the plucked tones to sound fat, yet distinct. Skipping the middle position for now, the bridge also offers the strong fundamental tones found in the neck position, with plenty of cut and vibrancy that one would look for in this position. But the blended middle position is the real revelation here, striking a perfect balance of the two ThroBaks and giving a vibrant yet full sound. Owing to the Radio Lane’s strong tonal characteristics, it capably handled everything from fuzz to drive to delay and modulation without getting lost or overwhelmed.
With such a finely crafted guitar – and one with such premium appointments, at that – it could have been easy for Schroeder to gild the lily, but thankfully this is not the case with Schroeder’s Radio Lane Edge. Not only is it an over-the-top beauty, the Radio Lane Edge is a great-playing instrument. Although the price certainly puts it in the high end of the market, the Radio Lane Edge’s craftsmanship, materials, and feel certainly justify the princely sum.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2014 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.