High End Quality, Amazing Value
Being primarily an electric guitartist for many many years, I was looking for an acoustic that was both a decent instrument and also relatively easy to play. A thinline seemed a logical choice to make the transition, I already had the needed components to amplify if required. After much research online, the Wechter Pathmaker intrigued me for a couple of different reasons: 1) The thinline design and proclaimed playability according to the sales information; 2) The Plek setup. I guess I should also mention that my budget was aimed around the $500 mark and I was seeking the best bang-for-the-buck. With these factors in mind I decided to give the Wechter a try. To say that I was not disappointed would be a huge understatement. The build quality of the instrument, both in sound quality and appearance, considerably defy it's price range. I was apprehensive about anything not made in the USA, this guitar "took me to school" regarding improvements with manufacturing techniques and quality control outside of the good ol' US. My first real guitar was a Gibson Les Paul Custom, (a beautiful instrument by any measure) so this was the bar by which I have measured everything else. Granted, the Wechter is not a $4000 instrument, but by every other practical measure this guitar stands it's ground. The fit, finish and playability are all very very good. I have owned and played other acoustics, some less expensive and some much more; this guitar could probably compare to instruments at 2 or possibly 3 times it's price range. My biggest frustration with acoustics has always been intonation; tune them to sound correct in one position and they tend to go sour the farther from that position you play. This was what most intrigued me about the Plek setup. This guitar plays in tune, to an AMAZING degree, everywhere on the neck. I am now a firm believer in the science behind the Plek system...impressive! The one down side to this is that to maintain that degree of intonation accuracy, you must use the exact strings the guitar was set up with (or have the know-how to properly substitute). This is common enough knowledge for anyone who plays an electric, the difference being that electrics can easily have the bridge and action adjusted to compensate for different strings, gauges and tension. This said, the "preferred" strings on the Wechter (D'Addario EXP 11's as I recall) are quite decent and sound good both with and without amplification. The Fishman electronics speak for themselves and are quite versatile. This is not the top-of-the-line Fishman kit but does sound very good amplified and includes a chromatic tuner that can used without being plugged in (very handy). As a thinline, this guitar will not produce the same unamplified sound level as a full-size concert guitar, this should be anticipated when considering this model.
All in all, I have yet to find anything I don't like about this guitar. I opted for the mahogany finsh with the abalone trim and this is one sweet-looking instrument. The included hardshell case is a very nice bonus, it too is well made and only serves to add to the "high end" mojo of this guitar. Again, the price seems way too low for the final product, but I'm certainly not complaining. Kudos to Wechter for this amazing bargain. I rate this a solid 4.5 only because a perfect *5* is always the next thing we look for but never quite find in the eternal quest for the perfect sound. Lastly, for the record, I am not on anybody's payroll but I am genuinely impressed with the value of this purchase.