By early 2016, I had been hearing about Jaden Rose for a while. He’d built some of the prototype Chapman guitars, and one or two people on the Rob Chapman forum kept going on about them, so I was curious. However, I already had – let’s be honest – more guitars than I need, and no space left on my walls for more. What’s more, I’d just bought a guitar, my Gibson Les Paul Classic, so there really was no excuse to buy another.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Internet (on AVForums, to be precise), a group of us who only knew each other through that website, where we play Rocksmith and chat about guitars, had been talking about arranging a meet-up for a long time. The site is based in the UK and I live in Belgium, so there wasn’t much prospect of me joining the others. However, the stars aligned for one special weekend at the end of February, when the British Guitar Show was due to take place in Birmingham. That’s not too far from where my mother lives, and it was also my brother’s birthday that weekend, so I could combine a lot of elements – visiting my mum, going to my first guitar show, meeting the guys from the forum and seeing my brother on his birthday. And finally, I knew that Jaden was going to be at the show and he was selling some stock guitars at discount prices!
The journey to England on the Friday evening was a pain, but I won’t bore you with the details (metro, Eurostar, London Underground, airport bus, hire car…need I say more?). On Saturday morning I drove up to the outskirts of Birmingham to arrive before opening time, so that I could go straight in and find Jaden’s stand, so that I would have the pick of all of his guitars. He had several guitars on his stand and I tried two or three of them, and really liked one of them in particular, a variant on his Glaive model. Curiously, it was being sold as B stock because although it has a beautiful quilted top, there were a few small imperfections that had appeared while the top was being sanded down. Other than that, it was gorgeous, and in fact these imperfections didn’t bother me at all – in a way, they make the guitar even more unique. The normal price would have been around £2300 but it was being sold for £1500, so I snapped it up.
You can see the imperfections, marked by yellow arrows
Jaden later told me that he could have sold it to two or three other customers, so I was glad that I’d got there before anyone else!
So that’s the back story, what about the guitar? It’s a slim-bodied double cut with two custom-wound pickups from Oil City. The neck is quite slim, and it doesn’t get much thicker going towards the body, so it’s very easy to play high up the fretboard with great access right up to the 24th fret. The pickups have a really nice hot edge to them, and the middle position gives a slightly twangy, Tele-like sound (I don’t recall the exact details; I think the coils are split and maybe out of phase – I need to check with Jaden). Although the body is rather slim, the back is made out of Bloodwood which is quite heavy, so the guitar has a decent weight and doesn’t feel too light. All in all, the construction is great, and I find it really comfortable to hold and play. In fact, it’s vying for first place in my guitar collection, together with my PRS Custom 22. The PRS might shade it by a whisker, but that’s no shame at all.
Me and Jaden at the guitar show, with my new guitar!
There was a coda to the story, because after getting it home, I noticed that the fret ends were a little prominent. I was back in England six weeks after the guitar show, and I popped along to see Jaden and he filed them down for me at no charge. I stayed and we chatted for a couple of hours which was thoroughly enjoyable – he’s a top bloke as well as a great luthier.
- Bloodwood body, quilted maple top, rosewood fretboard, maple neck 25.5″ scale
- Bolt-on neck
- Two custom wound Oil City humbuckers
- Hipshot locking tuners
- Individual saddles (I think Hipshot too)
Jaden’s website: Jaden Rose Guitars