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Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural  (Open Box)
Ships Internationally
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Product# 580406
OVERVIEW

An acoustic-electric with attitude.

Based on the battered '60s-era acoustic on which Tim Armstrong of Rancid has written some of the punk band's most memorable tunes, the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar incorporates all the distinctive touches of his original guitar. This big-toned, all-mahogany, concert-sized guitar gets the Armstrong-specified treatment with "Hellcat" acrylic pearl logos running down the fretboard, and a pair of skulls at the 12th fret. The guitar's ready to rip it up electric-style with a Fender FT3-TN preamp equipped with 3-band EQ and a tuner. The included Tim Armstrong "Let's Go" strap matches the guitar's edgy attitude.

FEATURES
  • Body style: Concert
  • Scale length: 25.3 in. (643 mm)
  • Top: Solid mahogany
  • Bracing: Fender Advanced Scalloped Bracing
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple
  • Nut width: 1.69 in. (43 mm)
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Bridge: Traditional
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Finish: Polyurethane gloss
  • Number of frets: 20
  • Tuners: Vintage-style open gear
  • Strings: D'Addario EXP 26 .011-.052
  • Electronics: Fishman Isys III System with Active On-Board Pre-Amp and Tuner
  • Accessories: Tim Armstrong custom "Lets Go" strap
  • Case sold separately
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
FenderArtist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar
 
4.8

(based on 60 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (50)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

93%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Electronics (3)
  • Size (3)
  • Sound (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Songwriting (4)
  • Jamming (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (16)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Fender Hellcat: truly one of a kind!

I'm normally not compelled to write reviews of this nature but I'm very happy to sing the praises of the Fender Hellcat. Great sound, great feel, great value. I highly recommend giving it...Read complete review

I'm normally not compelled to write reviews of this nature but I'm very happy to sing the praises of the Fender Hellcat. Great sound, great feel, great value. I highly recommend giving it a spin!
For the price you get quite the bang for your buck.

What initially caught my attention was the unique look. The vintage looking headstock, with very cool vintage tuners and the skull and "Hellcat" inlays help make it stand out among other guitars. Lookwise it has a nice vintage motif overall.

The Fishman setup sounds absolutely gorgeous and crisp when plugged in. You can never go wrong with a built-in tuner either. Unplugged it sounds great too, very crisp, especially with new strings (obviously, but still ;)). The concert style body has a really smooth feel, the neck is easy to play. I did a little adjusting on the action, mainly for preference, but other then that it sounds great right off the shelf.
It's pretty remarkable this guitar is in this price range. Like another reviewer noted, they could easily charge double. Fortunately for we consumers it's not going to break the bank. It's just a real quality product all around, well worth the investment.
I've only had it for a couple of months and I've already gotten plenty of mileage on it. I've played with it live, recorded with it, written on it. A great instrument to me isn't necessarily one that I'd have to spend more money for, but one that is a good fit to my tastes and sensibilites. And this one is a PERFECT fit all around. I know I'll be using it a good deal in the years to come.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Very Unique

I bought this guitar from Musicians Friend almost two years ago.

First of all, I love the way it looks. The mahogany body and the skulls on fretboard are awesome. It...Read complete review

I bought this guitar from Musicians Friend almost two years ago.

First of all, I love the way it looks. The mahogany body and the skulls on fretboard are awesome. It looks amazing hanging on the wall with my other guitars.

But with guitars, sound is most important. The sound it makes when unplugged is very unique. This is because of it's smaller size. The top face of this guitar is roughly the same size as my other acoustics, but the sides are an entire inch shorter. This makes it easier to transport and hold, but changes the sound. Yet it is still about the same loudness as my other acoustics.

If the unplugged sound was always like that it would be fine, but the wiring inside the body is not done well, and it makes noises. The plug connecting the wires from the jack/battery to the tuner/knobs often comes just loose enough to allow it to rattle inside the body when you are playing. It only takes a second to reach into the soundhole and put it back in place, and it only will happen once a week or so, but I would never want to play live with this guitar for fear of it happening in the middle of a performance.

Now there is the issue of playing while plugged in. The guitar has built in volume, bass, middle, and treble knobs, which is great, but they cause problems due to the poor quality pickup. The higher you turn up the volume knob, the more static you get, but if you turn it down, it is too quiet. The higher you turn up you turn up the bass the more feedback you get, and the higher you turn up the middle and treble the more of this annoying humming sound you get, but if you turn these knobs down you lose all your tone and the guitar sounds dull and boring. To achieve the best sound I just put all the knobs around the halfway point.

Even if you do this, depending on how loud you want your amp, you have to be a specific distance away from your amp or else you will get the most horrendous sounding feedback (it's comparable to holding a mic right in front of the same amp its plugged into). If your amp is on the quiet side, you need to be about 5 ft. away, if it's kind of in the middle you need to be about 10 ft. away, and if it's loud you have to be almost 20 ft. away from your amp.

The other thing I would like to address is the guitar's playability. Due to its smaller body and thinner neck than most other acoustics, it is very easy and comfortable to hold. However, the action is so high to the point where it is difficult to play certain songs, but that can be fixed by filing down the saddle.

Oh, and for some reason the bridge on mine is slowly starting to come off, it's just the edges now, but I fear it will get worse. Under close inspection, it appears that hardly any glue was used. This is probably just a defect and not all are like this. I will simply glue the bridge back on should it come off completely.

To sum it up:
If you permanently fix the wires in place, and lower the action, this would be an amazing acoustic guitar; one that would be (for the price) deserving of 5 stars. As an electric it would need a much better pickup, and that would require addition money to replace (if you even can, I haven't checked), so as an electric instrument, I would give it 2 stars. But it does sound alright through an amp if you carefully set your tone and stand back.

Overall I'd say it's a decent guitar, so I'll give it 3/5 stars.

Reviewed by 60 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Fender Hellcat: truly one of a kind!

By Christopher Neri

from Houston, TX

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

I'm normally not compelled to write reviews of this nature but I'm very happy to sing the praises of the Fender Hellcat. Great sound, great feel, great value. I highly recommend giving it a spin!
For the price you get quite the bang for your buck.

What initially caught my attention was the unique look. The vintage looking headstock, with very cool vintage tuners and the skull and "Hellcat" inlays help make it stand out among other guitars. Lookwise it has a nice vintage motif overall.

The Fishman setup sounds absolutely gorgeous and crisp when plugged in. You can never go wrong with a built-in tuner either. Unplugged it sounds great too, very crisp, especially with new strings (obviously, but still ;)). The concert style body has a really smooth feel, the neck is easy to play. I did a little adjusting on the action, mainly for preference, but other then that it sounds great right off the shelf.
It's pretty remarkable this guitar is in this price range. Like another reviewer noted, they could easily charge double. Fortunately for we consumers it's not going to break the bank. It's just a real quality product all around, well worth the investment.
I've only had it for a couple of months and I've already gotten plenty of mileage on it. I've played with it live, recorded with it, written on it. A great instrument to me isn't necessarily one that I'd have to spend more money for, but one that is a good fit to my tastes and sensibilites. And this one is a PERFECT fit all around. I know I'll be using it a good deal in the years to come.

(9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great acoustic for a non-acoustic player.

By Michael Fitzgerald

from NYC

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

The only and I do mean ONLY issue with this guitar is finding a hardshell case that fits it. I bought the Musician's Gear dreadnought case, which is way too big. Fender does make a case specific to this model, but no store ever has it in stock. I have one backordered but I am not optimistic about receiving it, its been months.
Its got everything you need and more. Wonderful neck profile, Fishman electronics, just leaves nothing to be desired.
100% perfect out of the box, which I was not expecting from a guitar for this price. The only thing that wasn't 100% spot on was the on-board tuner, which isn't always very accurate, especially when tuning the sixth string.
They could easily charge double for this guitar if they wanted to. At the price its a no-brainer for anyone who wants a nice acoustic but doesn't want to break the bank.

(8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Very Unique

By Duftite

from FL

See all my reviews

Pros

  • Built in tuner
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Looks Awesome
  • Unique sound

Cons

  • Buzzes Hums And Rattles
  • High action
  • Poor Quality Pickup

Best Uses

  • Practicing

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

I bought this guitar from Musicians Friend almost two years ago.

First of all, I love the way it looks. The mahogany body and the skulls on fretboard are awesome. It looks amazing hanging on the wall with my other guitars.

But with guitars, sound is most important. The sound it makes when unplugged is very unique. This is because of it's smaller size. The top face of this guitar is roughly the same size as my other acoustics, but the sides are an entire inch shorter. This makes it easier to transport and hold, but changes the sound. Yet it is still about the same loudness as my other acoustics.

If the unplugged sound was always like that it would be fine, but the wiring inside the body is not done well, and it makes noises. The plug connecting the wires from the jack/battery to the tuner/knobs often comes just loose enough to allow it to rattle inside the body when you are playing. It only takes a second to reach into the soundhole and put it back in place, and it only will happen once a week or so, but I would never want to play live with this guitar for fear of it happening in the middle of a performance.

Now there is the issue of playing while plugged in. The guitar has built in volume, bass, middle, and treble knobs, which is great, but they cause problems due to the poor quality pickup. The higher you turn up the volume knob, the more static you get, but if you turn it down, it is too quiet. The higher you turn up you turn up the bass the more feedback you get, and the higher you turn up the middle and treble the more of this annoying humming sound you get, but if you turn these knobs down you lose all your tone and the guitar sounds dull and boring. To achieve the best sound I just put all the knobs around the halfway point.

Even if you do this, depending on how loud you want your amp, you have to be a specific distance away from your amp or else you will get the most horrendous sounding feedback (it's comparable to holding a mic right in front of the same amp its plugged into). If your amp is on the quiet side, you need to be about 5 ft. away, if it's kind of in the middle you need to be about 10 ft. away, and if it's loud you have to be almost 20 ft. away from your amp.

The other thing I would like to address is the guitar's playability. Due to its smaller body and thinner neck than most other acoustics, it is very easy and comfortable to hold. However, the action is so high to the point where it is difficult to play certain songs, but that can be fixed by filing down the saddle.

Oh, and for some reason the bridge on mine is slowly starting to come off, it's just the edges now, but I fear it will get worse. Under close inspection, it appears that hardly any glue was used. This is probably just a defect and not all are like this. I will simply glue the bridge back on should it come off completely.

To sum it up:
If you permanently fix the wires in place, and lower the action, this would be an amazing acoustic guitar; one that would be (for the price) deserving of 5 stars. As an electric it would need a much better pickup, and that would require addition money to replace (if you even can, I haven't checked), so as an electric instrument, I would give it 2 stars. But it does sound alright through an amp if you carefully set your tone and stand back.

Overall I'd say it's a decent guitar, so I'll give it 3/5 stars.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

the Tim Armstrong Hell Cat

By Shreddnasty

from hillsboro, Oregon

See all my reviews

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

Best Guitar For The Price Range You Will Not Be Displeased!!!
Awsome Guitar!!! The tone is amazing both just kickin' back jammin' on the front porch or plugged in on the stage. It's nice on the eyes too the cat and scull inlays are pretty cool too great for seasoned vets or anyone just starting out!!!
I have played lots of guitars in my16 years of guitar playing history and in this price range the Hell Cat Takes the cake for me!!! the tone is great and playability awsome!!!
the sound and feel of the Hell Cat is un touchable for this price range. it is great for anyone who is just starting out or a seasoned guitarist just looking for an awsome guitar at an easy price!!! great axe!!!

(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

This Hellcat Rocks!

By Jennifer Powell

from Minnesota

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

Overall, this guitar will satisfy both beginners and seasoned pros! It's great out of the box for beginners and for the pros, they set it up to their liking, they will be quite pleased with the Hellcat in terms of sound, performance and the quality of this guitar! I use this guitar everyday now and haven't looked back! I still have my Washburn but it's currently on vacation! Kudos to Fender and Tim Armstrong on this guitar!!
This guitar is above all else in it's price range! The appointments on this thing are top notch and sound great through Fender;s Acousticsonic SFX II!!
The quality of this guitar is outstanding! It feels solid and one can strum this thing pretty hard and it stays in tune! I would give it a ten but I had to get this guitar setup and I also changed the strings after which this guiatr shined even more! Now I use this guitar for everything from recording to live applications! In fact, I just used it for a recording last week and compliments were flying all over the place! This guitar rocks!
Despite some changes I made to the Hellcat to fit my personal needs, I feel this guitar is excellent in it's class! Right out of the box she's ready to go! You may need to get it set up and perhaps change the strings but, all in all, the sound is great and the electronics are fantastic! Fishman is cool!! The price is affordable but for a little more, perhaps the case can be thrown in as a package deal. It's tought to find a case that will fit this most awsome guitar!!

(7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Nice

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

This guitar from the factory is nothing to brag about, but with 3 changes this guitar sounds like my Martin. To start with the strings that comes from fender stink. Replace them with a set of Martin?s the heaver the better I went with 12?s. Next I put an o-port in the sound hole, it made the guitar sing like it was solid wood. The last thing I did was change the bridge pins to bone. I did all of this for $45 and the guitar sounds like I spent over $1,000 on it.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Great sound for a Great Price

By SleepTakeFlight

from Louisville, Ky

Pros

  • Built in tuner
  • Electronics
  • Look
  • price
  • Sound

Cons

  • SIZE

Best Uses

    Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

    You don't have to be a fan of Rancid to love this guitar, although it certainly was a buying point for me! But serioulsy, I've never really been a huge fan of Fender accoustics but this little guitar sounds amazing! It is simply the best Fender accoustic I've ever played. I've had it now for 2 months, I play in an Indie/Folk/Rock band blending a lot of accoustics with electronics and needed a hybrid that could handle the job. The Hellcat nailed it! If I had any con, it would really be the size of it. It is a concert body guitar, so when playing accoustic it looses some of the low end punch. But plug it in and let it sing!

    (5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    I love this guitar!!!

    By Lloyd Rummell of One Adam 12

    from Nanty Glo, PA

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

    best acoustic i ever played, best looking too!! make sure you get the Hellcat case for it.
    this guitar is amazing, i can't believe they are selling these for the price... i love the classic white plastic tuner pegs, the tuner and preamp are great as well.. very comfortable to play... i play this guitar more than all my others.
    the quality is great, mine is flawless!!!
    i can't believe that these guitars are being sold at this price, plays and sounds just as good as acoustic guitars in the higher price ranges.. you really have to play it to believe it... an amazing value!

    (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    My favorite guitar to pick up most times

    By Cyber

    from Illinois

    See all my reviews

    Pros

    • Electronics
    • feel
    • Looks
    • Neck
    • Size
    • Sound
    • value

    Cons

    • not the loudest
    • Some Strings Sound Blech

    Best Uses

    • Practice
    • Songwriting
    • Take anywhere

    Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

    My title says it all in my humble opinion. This has become the guitar I am most likely to pick up and play, noodle or practice. My Taylor sits all the time now. My electrics are also getting a lot less time.

    I started with Electrics. I always wanted an acoustic that played, fit and felt like my electrics. Well, that is nigh on impossible. However, this Hellcat comes as close as you can ask for.

    I also wanted a smaller body. For practice, I don't really need the volume of a big dreadnaught. Of all the other Acoustics I tried of similar size, The Hellcat just sounded best. It's a balanced tone, not too bright, not too boomy, scooped, etc.

    The neck is one of more comfortable I've found. reminds me of my Taylor, as well as my Les Pauls. Satin finish is very fast to play. Also has a nice radius that I like. Body fits and feels nice. Really comfortable to play.

    Love the Mahogany grain all the way around. The guitar is really beautiful look to it. I could do with, or without the hellcat and skull. But, they do set it apart.

    The Fishman electronics were MADE for this guitar. They sound great together. Ran through my Zoom A3, the Hellcat sounds glorious.

    A part of me knows my Taylor is a better guitar. But, I am likely selling it, as it is NOT a better guitar for me. The Hellcat, fits well, plays extremely well, is comfortable, and sounds good. I'm giving it a 5, because at this price, it rates a 5. If it were 100 to 200 more, then a 4.5.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    rivals others in much higher price ranges

    By thomas atkisson

    from osage beach MO

    Comments about Fender Artist Design Series Tim Armstrong Hellcat Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

    i love this guitar amazing sound for an amazing price. i was unsure about what to get and my friend will owner of will west recomended this it has such a big sound for the middish body. and all the looks i got from my friends and band mates was increddible.even one of my friends takamine was nothing compared to this little rocker. fender really did it again such a bright full tone. i definetly recommend this guitar.

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