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MF MD HG Acoustic Festival 07-01-15
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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 57 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (48)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 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

  • Jamming (3)
  • Songwriting (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (13)

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 57 customers

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(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

    (6 of 6 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 :-)

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Comment on this review

                  (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  3.0

                  Punk Rock and Don't Care

                  Pros

                  • Sounds great plugged in

                  Cons

                  • Not So Hot Unplugged

                  Best Uses

                  • Coffee Shop
                  • Open mic
                  • Small Gig
                  • Small Venue
                  • Worship

                  Comments about Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

                  So, when I first got this bad boy, I dug it. It's looks, it's feel, everything.
                  Then I started to play it. The action was high and it was super buzzy. It has a nice tone and sound, but I'm just not a fan of the buzz. When I play chords lower on the fret board, it just buzzed way to much for me. But when I played high, it sounded wonderful.
                  It's a good guitar, feels great, looks great; I lead worship, played small gigs, and even recorded with it... But it was just too buzzy for my liking. Lower the action, adjust the trussrod and you'll have a great quality instrument.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Comment on this review

                  (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  My favorite guitar to pick up most times

                  By 

                  from Illinois

                  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 Tim Armstrong Hellcat 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

                  Comment on this review

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