Review of the Vintage Maple VRC-800 AMF Electro-Acoustic Resonator Guitar

This electro-acoustic resonator has a clean, simple, but visually effective maple-flamed body and chrome resonator with a singular F hole to help complete its unique look. The neck is also made of maple and has a rosewood fingerboard with dot position inlays and chrome, die-cast tuning machines on top. The VRC-800 features 12-frets as well as nice looking knurled-knobbed volume and tone controls. Overall, the simplicity of the look is what makes this resonator a delight to behold as you either play it or even just keep it on display. The build quality is very good and will leave even those that go over it with a fine toothcomb happy and pleased with the craftmanship.

The resonator is a 10.5” aluminum spun cone that comes equipped with a single coil pickup, which allows its owner instant plug and play gratification at home or on the road. The sound that the model produces both with and without the pickup is nice and loud and rewards both players who like to really let it rip, but also those who prefer to take it a little lighter and more thoughtfully. When it’s unplugged, the VRC-800 will produce those delightful sounding resonator tones, which won’t be too loud and can even come out sounding a little more polished than some National-esque models out there.

The only real downside to the VRC-800 is what many would think would turn out to be quite the positive, and that’s the plug in. When plugged in, the bronze strings get exposed quite quickly as not belonging on a guitar that features a magnetic pickup. Things don’t seem to improve when you take into consideration the output that is created when plugged in, which is quite uneven as the wound strings are quieter than the others, which is not what you want when you’re trying to perform and be heard. The problem here is that the strings clearly do not match the pickup and so there seems to a conflict as to what the vision was when this guitar was put together, was it meant to be a slide, as the set-up suggests, or was it meant to be more of a standard electric?

With the VRC-800 featuring a fairly hefty price tag, you will most definitely want to try it out for yourself before you finally make the purchase, as whilst visually it looks stunning and will most likely have you hankering to buy it straight away, the sound issues when plugged in with the pickup could end up being a deal breaker if you have a keen ear. As previously mentioned, unplugged, you can have it wailing like many of the top end resonators and this alone could easily sway some to take the leap of faith, but with a guitar that is specifically designed to be plugged in and enjoyed by the masses, the VRC-800 becomes a little bit underwhelming in the sound department, which is something even the most stunning visuals cannot gloss over when you’ve stumped up the money for such a guitar.


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