Kendrick Canary

Purrdy bird with loads of chirp
Purrdy bird with loads of chirp

Kendrick Amplifiers recently added a new variation of its Continetal guitar, their line’s Les Paul-inspired guitar.

Dubbed the Canary, it’s monikered after the wood used to make its top. We recently grabbed one for a once-over… three or four times. Here’s what we found.

The Canary is a Les Paul-style instrument made with a Honduran mahogany body with a narrower profile and a hand-carved Canarywood (Centrolobium ochroxylon, a.k.a. Arariba) top. Canarywood is a tropical timber with a grain similar to pine with small, tight knots.

The top on our tester had a sweet earthy look with a couple of well-placed knots and matched grain, framed in aged-look binding. The hand-carved neck is also made of mahogany, topped with a bound Madagascar rosewood fretboard featuring Dunlop 6105 fret wire and Kendrick’s trademark State-O-Texas inlays.

The body and neck are finished with several thin coats of nitrocellulose, allowing better resonance and giving great color and depth to the top and body.

The Canary has a locking tune-o-matic-style bridge, stop tailpiece, and vintage-style open Grover three-on-a-side tuners, all finished in chrome.

The electronics include two Lindy Fralin custom-wound humbuckers, volume and tone for each pickup, a three-way toggle, and ’50s-style braided wire.

The Canary was shipped to us with a low-action setup that didn’t choke out during bending, probably due to the outstandingly clean, level fret work. The polished frets and offset-V neck shape (thicker on the bass side, thinner on the treble side), along with the vintage feel of the nitro made it excellent for chording and soloing. Weighing in at 7.2 pounds, the Kendrick is light for a LP style guitar. That – along with the thinner profile (13/8″) and body contour on the back make it comfortable to play whether you’re sitting or standing.

Even before we plugged the Canary into our test amps, the guitar’s natural acoustic tone had a nice, clear chime. But through our ’70s Marshall half-stack, it simply came alive. Tonally, the instrument is very versatile; the bridge pickup offers a great crunchy tone with good note separation, while the middle position has a nice “spitty” quality. A capacitor on the neck pickup volume control helps clean up the tone when you roll back the volume.

In short, the guitar produces a lot of different sounds, with tons of sustain due to the tall Dunlop frets, lockdown bridge and tailpiece, and the Fralins.

Price-wise, the Canary is in line with most Les Pauls and PRSs, but delivers big-time in the “intangibles” and “hard to define” department, including a tremendous custom-made vibe. When you wrap your hands around it, you get the sense that building the Canary was a true labor of love. It’s just one of those guitars that’s hard to put it down… and it has proven even harder to send back!

Kendrick Canary
Type of Guitar: Solidbody electric.
Features: High-quality craftsmanship, light weight, lock-down hardware, custom wound Lindy Fralin pickups, nitrocellulose finish, offset-V neck shape.
Price: $3,295
Contact: Kendrick Amplifiers and Guitars, Route 2 Box 871, Kempner, TX 76539,

This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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