Tele-shaped guitar puts 12 tones at a player's fingertips

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The CC50 Deluxe from Michael Kelly Guitars combines a 4-way pickup switch and dual pull/push pots to dial in multiple tones on one guitar(Credit: Michael Kelly Guitars)

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Toggling a pickup selector mid-song can dramatically change the sound of an electric guitar, but available tones can be fairly limited. Built around the classic lines of Michael Kelly Guitars' 1950 Series instruments, the Custom Collection 50 Deluxe offers multiple tone options – selected by combining the 4-way blade switch positions with push/pull volume and tone knobs.

The CC50 Deluxe is the result of a design collaboration between Michael Kelly's team and pickup experts from Seymour Duncan. At the heart of the electronics are a pair of SD Hot Rail humbuckers, which can be split to move from a fat rock sound to the kind of single-coil tones traditionally associated with Telecaster-type guitars. But there's more on offer here than a simple coil tap.

Pulling up the volume knob while the tone knob is down activates the single coil mode on the neck pickup, while the bridge tap is engaged by pulling up the tone knob and pushing down the volume knob. Both knobs can be pulled up for dual coil tap madness and the tones can be further tweaked depending on the position of the pickup selector.

The blade pickup selector dials in the typical neck, bridge and both settings of a 3-way switch, but adds a fourth "series" option for three or four active pickups, depending on the combined switch/knob positions. All told, the CC50 Deluxe offers up a dozen tone variations on one guitar. Not too shabby at all.

Elsewhere, the guitar is made up of an alder body with a striped ebony top and maple binding. Attached to this is a bolt-on maple neck with a 22-fret, 25.5 inch scale rosewood fingerboard. And completing the classic look is a vintage-style bridge with brass saddles and chrome hardware.

The CC50 Deluxe carries a recommended retail price of US$1,100, but is currently available as part of an introductory deal for $699.99.

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