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580406 000010000

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar  Natural 

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Based on Tim Armstrong's beat-up old Sixties acoustic, on which he writes all the songs for the legendary punk band Rancid, the Fender Tim Armstrong ...Read More

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OVERVIEW

An acoustic-electric with attitude.

Based on Tim Armstrong's beat-up old Sixties acoustic, on which he writes all the songs for the legendary punk band Rancid, the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat acoustic-electric guitar is ready to slam its way into the mosh pit. Tim has given his acoustic some modern flair and style with pearl acrylic "Hellcat" logos on the 3rd, 5th, and 7th frets while a couple of skulls adorn the 12th fret. Other features include a Fishman Isys III preamp with built -In tuner, strap button, scalloped bracing, solid mahogany top and a look that will have you singing "Roots Radicals" till your Mohawk is ready for its next trim. Fender includes Tim's custom "Let's Go" guitar strap that perfectly complements this acoustic's edgy visuals.

Case sold separately.

FEATURES
  • Body style: Concert
  • Scale length: 25.3" (643mm)
  • Top: Solid mahogany
  • Bracing: Fender Advanced Scalloped Bracing
  • Back and sides: Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple
  • Nut width: 1.69" (43mm)
  • 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
FenderTim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar
 
4.8

(based on 59 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (49)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

92%

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 (15)

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 59 customers

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4.0

Fantastic Guitar for an affordable price

By 

from Providence, RI

Pros

  • comfortable concert body
  • Comfortable neck
  • Good Tone
  • Solid Mahogany Top

Cons

  • Poor quality control
  • questionable electronics

Best Uses

  • Recording
  • Songwriting

Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

I've been in the market for an affordable mahogany top concert/parlor style acoustic for a couple years. I had fallen in love with my bandmate's 1964 Gibson LG-0 and wanted to find something similar without breaking the bank.
I grew up listening to Rancid, and when the Hellcat was put into production, I fell in love with the looks. That beautiful solid mahogany top, smaller body, and vintage headstock and tuners have such a timeless look (though I could personally do without the Hellcat/skull inlays). I began searching the local stores to try one out. This is where I hit some problems. I had played about 6 different Hellcats, and they ALL had serious issues with their necks. Like, warped beyond repair. They look so cool and I knew if I found the right one it would be a great guitar, but it took me over six months before I found one without a warped neck (poor quality control, Fender fix this!).
I finally found one (used), gave it a setup, and it plays and sounds like a dream. The mahogany top gives it such a warm, rounded tone, and the shallow body gives it a little bit of bite/attack. The neck is extremely comfortable and it's just an overall fun guitar to play. I find myself picking it up a lot more than my higher end Breedlove.
I only really use it at home and with my band for writing and pre-production purposes. I have heard some bad things about the electronics and witnessed someone playing one live and they dealt with a lot of feedback issues and it just sucked all of the warm natural tone from the guitar. Maybe it was just that the performer didn't know how to EQ the guitar properly to sound transparent, but I have never used the onboard pickup, and I would personally prefer to mic the guitar to capture its natural tone, because it's THAT good.
In short, if you find the right guitar and put some time/money into a proper setup, you'll have a beautiful concert/parlor acoustic that plays and sounds better than some guitars over twice as expensive.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

Comment on this review

 
5.0

Absolutely love it!

By 

from Savannah, GA

Verified Buyer

Pros

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

        Absolutely love this guitar. I read the reviews and thought it over for two weeks before caving in and getting it. I'm beyond happy that I did. The sound and playability are fantastic.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Beautiful sound, and Amazing Look

        By 

        from Phillips, WI

        Pros

        • BEAUTIFUL
        • Good tuner
        • Great Pickup
        • Looks Sweet
        • Sounds Great
        • Tim

        Cons

        • Fragile
        • Thick Neck

        Best Uses

        • Gigging
        • Looking at
        • Playing around
        • Writing

        Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

        I got this guitar used from my older brother. Let me say these pics do not do it justice! It looks AMAZING!!! I'm one of those poeple who over scrutinizes every thing so every thing from this point on is me being nit-picky. I traveled with this guitar and the finish on the neck cracked. It's just the finish not the actual wood. Who knows whether or not this is problem with the guitar or if they really abused it in the loading process. Anyways it still works great, sounds great, and looks amazing!!!

        Comment on this review

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Fun Sized Music Fest

        By 

        from Tallahassee, Florida

        Pros

        • fun sized

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Campfire Singing
          • Jamming
          • Songwriting

          Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

          I can see why Tim Armstrong writes with a guitar like this: thinner body equals more comfort, longer play sessions and more fun (hence fun sized). I read all the "top 5 or 10 guitars under 5 bills" articles I could find and the Hellcat showed up a lot, so I ordered one. A thinner guitar does produce less unamplified bass but not that much less. It has a nice sound and I love the neck. I even like the hellcats and skulls--reminds me of the 60's. It's hard not to pick this guitar up, even when I should be doing something else.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Comment on this review

          (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Very Unique

          By 

          from FL

          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 Tim Armstrong Hellcat 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

          Comment on this review

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fantastic sound

          By 

          from Seattle, WA

          Pros

          • Quality Tone
          • Smaller body
          • Solid Top
          • Stylish look

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

              I love this guitar! It is perfect - good acoustic sound or plug in and let the amp carry the sound. Either way, the tone isn't compromised. The smaller body size is exactly what I wanted. The neck fits my hand perfectly and it has very playable action. What a great guitar for the price. Love the look of it, the small details that give it extra style. The inlays are very cool and the finish sets off the mahogany. If I could say one thing that I would change, and it is very minor, it would be the strap. It doesn't quite look as nice as the guitar. I am using it and will continue to until I find something that I like better, but that's one thing that might be improved upon. Otherwise, this guitar rocks.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Comment on this review

               
              4.0

              Rad Guitar

              By 

              from Long Beach ca

              Pros

              • Decent pickups
              • Good Action Out Of Box
              • Sounds Great

              Cons

              • Blemishes Out Of Box
              • Inlays Are Dumb

              Best Uses

              • Americana
              • BLUEGRASS

              Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

              I really love the feel and tone of this guitar, especially at this price range. Unfortunatly, it has a handful of blemishes out of the box. Im not suprised, but a little bummed. The fishman sounded pretty good at the live gig. The tuner could be more accurate, but overall a great guitar.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Comment on this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Even better than hoped for

              By 

              from Covington, VA

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Comfortable to play
              • Good value for the money
              • Rich sound
              • Well Made

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Church function
                • Entertainin
                • Home

                Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                Wonderful sounding instrument that played well out of the box. Quality sound and look for the price. The chording is so much easier than the two Yamaha guitars I have. Love the size and weight of it.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Comment on this review

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Nice guitar, after some adjustments

                By 

                from St. Louis, MO

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Unique sound
                • value

                Cons

                • Bridge needs adjustment

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                  Nice guitar, unique look, and the all mahogany body has a very pleasant sound. Many reviews complain about fret buzz at higher frets. My guitar was no different. But after shimming up the bridge and some adjusting of the truss rod, i was able to achieve some very nice low action and completely eliminate fret buzz. Now i am extremely happy with this guitar. Great guitar for the price. Sounds very nice through an amp too.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Comment on this review

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Bought it as a gift

                  By 

                  from Sydney Australia

                  Pros

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                        Just purchased the Fender Hellcat as a Christmas gift for my son. I asked the guy in the store to recommend a good quality acoustic that would suit a beginner - i.e. an easy action, slim neck etc. He recommended the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat. Over the years I've had a variety of electric Gibsons and Fenders and only infrequently picked up an acoustic. After playing the Hellcat I'm finding it difficult to put it down. The neck is not to bulky and is easy to get your fingers around. Even with the action left at its factory setting I find it is only a bit 'buzzy' around the lower end of the neck (F bar chord for instance - but that could be a defect in the operator as much as the instrument). Further up the neck the sound is really clear - almost as clean sounding as my Stratocaster. Although the sound is not as loud as some acoustics, its crispness and well rounded sound makes up for what it lacks in the volume department. I like this guitar so much I'm starting to think I'm going to have to buy my boy something else for Christmas :-)

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                        • No

                        Comment on this review

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