One of the best-kept guitar secrets, Prestige is a small Vancouver-based operation that has flown under the radar for 18 years. The company farms its own tonewoods, which are shipped to Korea, where the guitars are built then shipped back to British Columbia, for finishing and hardware installation.
Its Classic TBK model is a slimmed-down reimagination of an ubiquitous single-cut design. It has a solid mahogany body and neck, pau ferro fretboard with a 14″ radius, and 111/16″ nut width. Tone is supplied by two Duncan SP90-1 Alnico single-coil pickups. The top of our review instrument was finished in a classy flame maple with a transparent black stain. A generous belly cut helps relieve weight on this well-contoured guitar; strapped on, it feels significantly lighter than others of its type – a gift for those with aging shoulders. The Classic TBK is also perfectly balanced, sitting or standing.
Prestige focuses on quality components – Tusq nuts, Bigsby vibratos, TonePros bridges and tailpieces, Grover and Gotoh tuners, Alpha pots and switches, and pickups by Seymour Duncan and Fishman.
Plugged in, the Duncan SP90-1 pickups roared when played wide-open through a vintage National tube amp, but cleaned up nicely when rolled down. There was some 60-cycle hum, but that’s not surprising. The fretwork was impeccable, fit and finish masterful, the neck straight, and action exceptionally low with no dead spots or buzzes. Straight chord work was a breeze, and bending notes was effortless.
Given the light weight, this is an electric you could heft all night, playing just about any type of music. It’s a versatile workhorse at an extremely attractive price point. Let’s hope more people get hip to Prestige instruments.
This article originally appeared in VG April 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.