EJ Lynch Guitar Review
I’ve made my living writing, recording, or performing music. It all started with a basic blond Tele that was modified to try and be a Stratocaster. During my career I’ve owned just about every guitar model worth owning, in the quest for ultimate tone. Strats, Pauls, 335s, Gretches, Rickys- you name it- I’ve owned and sold more great instruments than I can remember. Also custom-builds: Valley Arts, ESPs, Wayne Charvel customs, Ibanez, and more. Yes, I’ve tried all the modeling equipment as well. I expect a guitar to cover multiple styles of music, and varying venues. This brings me to the EJ Lynch guitar, my most recent and most prized acquisition.
Every time I take this instrument out, a small crowd gathers. “What is that?” “That’s the most beautiful guitar I’ve ever seen.” Then comes “Dude, that sounds amazing.” This EJL makes store-bought instruments green with envy.
The creation of this gorgeous axe began with a personal contact. Ed Lynch is easy to reach and a pleasure to talk with. He was developing his “S n P” model, which lined up exactly with what I was looking for; one guitar that replaces the multiple Strat and Paul- type guitars that most pro players carry. Ed asked me what pickups I like. I usually have an HSH layout. But what if the EJ Lynch guitar had custom wiring where I could switch the middle pick-up off and on? Done. How about a blend pot that mixes between two humbuckers, like a standard Les Paul? You got it. Blower switches- can we go to a single coil front pickup direct wired, or a back humbucker direct? No problem.
Ed sent me a picture of highly figured burled spalted maple top. Will this do? Are you kidding me? Yes, I’d like to have that stunning piece of wood, thank you. Can you do that in an ice-tea burst, Ed? Sure. What about the back, he asks? Let’s go with alder. I wanted to go with a whammy bar. We chose the new Stetsbar. 24 frets. Short-scale. Ed asked me what kind of neck I like. I like a medium neck. Not skinny, but not a baseball bat. I requested a satin neck finish, so I didn’t have to deal with a sticky glossy neck, like a Gibson. I hate that. Satin neck; check. See, Ed can turn your ideas into real wood and metal. He can build the six-string model of your dreams!
After only a couple of weeks and many photo texts, the EJ Lynch guitar arrived. It was like an early Christmas! When you take it out of the case, you can almost hear angels sing. The head stock is reminiscent of a high-dollar PRS. My initials “RKT” are on the truss rod cover. The neck joint has been fussed over- it is smooth, and stays out of the way. We had “10’s” put on the guitar. I thought that .009 gauge would be too rubbery. My guess was right. This Lynch S n P bends very easily, but stays in tune.
OK, I can promise you it is drop-dead gorgeous, but…. how does it SOUND? This beauty has EJ Lynch custom pickups in it. I tend to favor either true vintage pick-ups or Seymour Duncans (59s and JBs). Ed’s pickups have a unique mid-range voice. They are not quite as hot as DiMarzios, but much hotter than standard Fenders, with a glassy high end like a Gretsch. Wow. Somewhat like the Les Paul Deluxe pickups I love from the ‘70s. I need to go from full distortion to full clean. These pick up deliver! The EJ Lynch plays well with others, including modded pedals and classic amps. The mighty little Egnater Rebel seems to need a little less bass and a little less treble with this instrument. Makes me wonder if I have been adding in lows and highs to to make less stellar pickups sound reasonable good. All my amps love Ed’s pickups.
Last night I played with country star Billy Dean. He looked at the EJ Lynch guitar and said “Wow, your tone is killer.” This is high praise coming from a multi-talented guy who was playing some of the most adept (and best sounding) acoustic guitar I’ve heard in my life.
How does it play? At first, I thought played just a little too easy. I can play an F chord and wrap my thumb around to fret the root note. The Stetsbar worked just a little too easy, too. Then I picked up my ’61 Strat and realized…this old classic is a bit stiff! And the whammy has to be muscled! The Lynch fretboard is a spoiler. It might make you sell some of your other guitars! I’m selling a few that are gathering dust since this custom-build showed up.
If I was writing for Guitar Player Magazine, I would be expected to have give some constructive criticism of this guitar model: What can I pick on? Inlays are highly functional, but nothing fancy. Players who need that Fender-copy contour where your arm meets the guitar body might be disappointed. (The top is flat, like a Tele, the back is contoured.) No one knows what the re-sale market is on EJ Lynch guitars. They are that unique. (e.g. a “zero fret” design superior to any guitar I’ve ever owned.)
Ah, but the pros outweigh the cons about a hundred to one. I was recently considering buying a heavy-as-bricks 1999 Les Paul Standard. I not only bought the EJ Lynch for less money, but it replaces 3 or 4 instruments in my reckoning. Weight is not an issue, and body to neck balance is perfect. (I hate an unbalanced instrument with a neck that keeps falling down.)
There’s a thrill to asking for specifics and getting a hand-built American work of art. A custom guitar makes you stand out from the Chevy-or-Ford crowd. It’s like pulling up to a street race in a Lamborghini. It gets you noticed; but you better have the skills to get this thing up to speed. If you’re a weak, undisciplined player, this guitar can’t fix that. It may even show your flaws more clearly. Stick with some Guitar Center discounted signature copy. But if you’re a player looking to have an original instrument that inspires you to more clearly define your own voice, then you just may want to get in touch with master builder Ed Lynch.
Grammy Award winning songwriter, guitarist, vocalist with Shania Twain, ALLIES, Sweet Comfort Band.