This months review is that of the Roman Quicksilver. Sent to me by the
man himself, Mr. Ed Roman of World Class Guitars. Obviously derived out of the
boutique pool of guitar builders, this millennium style guitar incorporates
basic proven concepts of luthiery with a few unique and quite genius
innovations. So as usual I head to my studio (the vault), where my testing
comrades of amps and effects silently await my arrival. Of course and without
doubt, a six pack of tall boys a frosty mug and some peppered beef jerky prepare
me for my two hour voyage into tone-ville. Here's the mojo!
Out of the box and open up the case. I whole heartedly believe in first
impressions, even with guitars. Upon opening the case the first things that
slaps me in the face is the stunning quilted maple top. This particular model
is dark emerald green. Combine this with the classy look of gold hardware the
first impression is that of class. Double cut classic body style, matching
headstock, zebra dual humbuckers, recessed gold Tele style volume, tone,
and five way pickup knobs, Tune-O-Matic bridge with stop bar tailpiece in gold,
LSR roller tuning machines (quite unique), rosewood neck, with dot abalone fret
markers topped off with a Pearloid truss rod cover round out of the front of the
Roman Quicksilver cosmetically.
This particular model is Korina with a book matched quilted maple top. Korina
as you all well know, is a very desirable wood known for its resonant tone and unsurpassed
beauty. A classy touch to this guitar is a Pearloid control cavity cover, a
small thing yes, but no doubt contributes to its appearance.
Is it just me or is the first chord everyone seems to strike is an A? After
tuning up just a bit and striking an A, D and E9, I immediately notice how comfortable
the neck feels. I'm more of a Les Paul type of guy and this neck feels real good to
me. Not to thin, and no to fat, I guess that makes it just right. Medium jumbo frets
which are dressed properly, Mother of Pearl dot markers, and a rosewood board, round out
the features of the neck. This particular neck is a bolt on but a set neck is no
extra charge. A way cool feature is that the neck has absolutely no heel,
yielding great access to higher registers. Grover Jackson is personally manufacturing
this neck exclusively for the Quicksilver models, no wonder it feels so comfortable! This
particular model was sent to me with LSR (Linear String Rotation) tuners. A bit different than
traditional style tuners in both look and function. This
particular system allows for a 40:1 ratio and actually pulls the string as
opposed to winding. It's incredibly accurate and locks the string firmly, so
that intonation is more precise and the guitar stays in tune better. A guitar
that won't stay in tune is like drinking warm beer, it just ain't happening!
Anyway, the guitar feels solid, balanced and rings out with confidence even
unplugged, so lets...
PLUG THAT BAD BOY IN
As you all know, here is where it gets serious. As cosmetically attractive
any guitar can be, (and this one is a beauty), to me it's more about playability
and tone. Down to the vault I go, awaiting are my test amps which include a
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, a Peavey 5150, a Marshall JCM 800 and my
trusty ADA rack system, consisting of a MPI Pre amp and Micro tube 100 Tube
Power Amp. All the above are tested with a Marshall Silver Anniversary Marshall
Cab with stock 75 watt Celestion speakers. I test at moderate volumes as to
ensure sonic accuracy.
Using my rack system for it's variety of gain stages, the very first thing
I notice about the Quicksilver is that this guitar has impeccable sustain. In
the clean mode, the pickups are loud and punchy with balanced harmonics and a
great sonic range. The Quicksilver seems to clean up well by simply attenuating
the volume pot, the guitar has a consistent response in both the bridge and neck
pickup settings. The neck pickup of course is a bit more bluesy and more bottom
end and the bridge pickup is also capable of surprising clean tones even from a
In the dirty channel, the Quicksilver kicks some serious butt. The bridge
pickup has a tight defined punchy low end, the mids are right on but not
overdone 'cuz a pickup with too much midrange can sound harsh, sweet singing
highs and oh, did I mention, sustain from hell! The neck pickup is sweet
and creamy with, did I mention sustain from hell? I was then on a quest to
determine where and how all of this sustain comes from. The pickups are
of a non-disclosure origin, I can now see or should I say "hear" why! With
further investigation I find that a unique mounting system is used in the Quicksilver.
The front pickup is mounted directly into the neck
and the bridge pickup is actually hard mounted into the center section of the Archtop.
In theory and I agree, that the more parts that are in direct firm
contact with the wood the more the guitar will resonate and hence enhance
sustain. A Tune-O-Matic Tone Pros bridge with stop bar compliment this theory
well. The Tone Pros Tune-O-Matic is a splendid choice for precise
intonation. No doubt that the Korina body adds to this bad boys rich and
resonant tone. This particular model has a five way rotary switch for
pickup selection (similar to PRS Customs) and splitting of pickups. From Tele to
Les Paul it's all there, this guitar sports versatility and a tone
capable of providing adequate tones for just about any style of music you may
The Quicksilver offers tone, beauty, options, unique features, rock solid
construction and quality parts that guitar players have not only come to appreciate, but expect.
In the current boutique pool of guitar choices, one has
to weigh every feature and benefit and of course the investment. With a
starting price of $1395 and so many options available you can literally build a
custom shop guitar at the price of a mass produced model.
The Roman Quicksilver
needs to be seen and played to be fully appreciated, this guitar is a serious
contender for the "Best Value" award of 2001.
28 choices of body woods and various combinations
Ebony fretboards and 6 other choices
Choice of any pickup configuration available
Choice of any neck inlay work
Choice of 8 different tremolos
Choice of over 100 colors
Custom graphics available
Midi available and much, much more...