Review: Brian Moore Guitars’ iGuitar8.13

Brian Moore Guitars' iGuitar8.13

As a studio guitarist, I’m always on the lookout for a guitar that comes closest to meeting all my tonal needs for creating soundscapes. It was the search for a “swiss army knife” of guitars that led me to Brian Moore’s booth at a Guitar exhibition in Maryland. Their iGuitar series proved to be solid workhorse guitar, complete with Seymour Duncan pickups and offered myriad options to help make these guitars quite extraordinary. Here is my review of the Brian Moore i8.13 Guitar.

Specs:

• Comfort contoured body

• Unique sculpted headstock

• Bolt-on Neck construction

• Kalantas Mahogany body and highly figured maple top

• 22 fret, Maple neck, Rosewood fingerboard

• 25.5″ scale, 15″ radius

• Seymour Duncan Magnetic pickups

• Chrome Hardware

• Sperzel Tuners

• Fixed Bridge

• Innovative output jack location

• RMC piezo (via stereo ‘Y’ cable) for warm, authentic acoustic tone

• 13 pin RMC system for fast tracking access to Roland and compatible 13 pin guitar processors

• No need for externally mounted synth pickup.

• Improved tracking over externally mounted magnetic hex pickups.

• Compatible with all 13 pin guitar synth products.

• All 13 pin sounds can be blended with the magnetic pickups.

• Connects to your computer to explore online interactive music, recording and jamming.

First Impressions:

The guitar is extremely well balanced and the contours make it a very comfortable guitar to play in a studio or live. The small headstock also helps with the balance and I’ve played 2 hour sets with this guitar without any noticeable fatigue. The recessed jack location also helps ensure that the guitar cable isn’t accidentally pulled out during play. Aesthetics wise, the guitar’s figured maple top coupled with its unique headstock makes it stand out from the run of the mill guitars while still pleasing the traditionalists and purists.

The action on the guitar is set just right and is comfortable for blues players who like large bends and for shredders alike. The locking tuners help keep the guitar in tune and make string changes a breeze. The guitar I reviewed came with the 13 pin RMC system, and RMC Piezo systems installed. The interesting aspect of the Piezo is that there isn’t a separate jack for the pickup. It’s integrated with the main output jack and one must use a Stereo cable to utilize this option. The control layout is as follows.

• The chrome knob closest to the pickups is the main volume control.

• The black knob next to it is the Hex Pickup volume control.

• The first switch next to the black knob allows you to toggle patches on the Roland Synth module while using the Hex Pickup. You have the option to go up or down for patches. This works seamlessly with my Roland GR-33.

• The switch next to that is the selection switch for the Hex Pickup. You have three settings: only guitar, a combination of Hex and magnetic pickup and only Hex pickup.

• The chrome knob next to the switch is the tone knob that also allows for Split Pickup options.

• The last chrome knob is the volume control for the Piezo pickup.

• The 3-way Pickup selector provides access to the Bridge, Combination or Neck.

The blend options with this guitar when properly set up with Acoustic and a Roland Synth is simply magical. You can literally run a one man show by utilizing the sounds between synth pads and acoustic runs and standard pickups. Add a looper pedal and you’re all set. The controls for pickup selection, hex pickup selection, blend options, piezo pickup control are all well located and within easy reach, without crowding or getting in the way of playing. The layout works well when playing live as one can switch to the hex pickup and change MIDI patches from the guitar mid-song without any trouble.

Sound:

Sound wise the guitar does not disappoint. The Duncan pickups are on point with clear and warm Clean channel sounds while providing the humbucker fullness. Engaging the coil split option gives you a chance for a sound closer to a Strat. The out volume does dip a little, but I’ve seen this with other coil taps as well. Pushing my amp into the dirty channel, the guitar is able to shine and provide some great tones from “breaking amp” blues to a full throttle metal mayhem. A good point to note, the pickups provide note clarity even in the heavy settings, Heavy chunky rhythms and soaring leads are easily attained. I was able to get “Wylde Squeals” with minimal effort and the deep contour allows for full access to the higher registers of the neck for fast shred runs and tapping.

The Roland tracking is easily the best I’ve seen so far. It outperforms the mounted GK pickups and makes triggering synths and patches a breeze and without any latency. You can play synchronized guitar leads with a Deep Purple Organ patch or Trumpet, and the pickups track exactly what you play for a very full sound and create some very interesting effects. I tested the guitar with a Roland GR-33 system and I could trigger patches for flutes, synths, drums, and pianos without issues. If you’re an “all hands on the fretboard” kind of player, à la Stanley Jordan, you’ll be pleased to know that the piano tracks extremely well and I was able to get some great sounds playing chords and melodies at the same time. The only issue I did encounter is a stray note every now and then. Not enough to cause concern in a gig or in a studio, but it is something to be noted. Then again, my mounted GK pickups suffer from a similar problem.

The acoustic from the piezo is great as well. I usually blend the acoustic in with the main output for a slight crispness to the sound. The tone from the piezo pickups are great.

This guitar is right at home whether you play in a funk/ska outfit, metal band or a jazz-fusion ensemble. Its multiple options will save you the trouble of taking multiple instruments /guitar to your gigs or studio. It’s the perfect addition to any studio and an asset in any session guitarist’s arsenal.

Verdict:

A guitar like this is certainly not cheap but Brian Moore is able to offer these guitars at a very competitive price. It definitely falls in the Boutique Guitars category of the market. In my opinion, the guitar is a steal for the options it offers. The build quality is second to none. I’ve gigged this guitar multiple times over the years and it holds up exceptionally well. If you’re an active session musician or a studio looking to add some variety to your gear, I would highly advise checking out this instrument.

Visit their website for more at:

http://www.iguitar.com/i2000/i2000Models.asp?guitar=iGuitar8.13

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Rahul Mukerji is a composer and guitarist. Check his solo work through the official website or follow him on Facebook. He also plays in a band called Iritis. They are on Facebook too.