Multiscale (also known as fan fret) guitars are gaining popularity in a way I never thought I’d live to see. The demand for them has grown tenfold in the time I’ve been aware of them, and companies are rising up to meet that demand. As with any innovation, it can be a steep uphill climb to acceptance, and when you get there, it’s still a manufacturing challenge. So far multiscale guitars have mostly existed as a premium feature on more expensive guitars, but now some inexpensive alternatives have arisen.
The Legator Ninja 200-SE Fan Fret 7 string ($785 direct from Legator) is one such example. If you are looking to get into the world of multiscale, then your point of entry could be a much lower investment than it has been. This guitar has a 27-25.5″ fan, which is ideal tension-wise for a 7 string. The neck is a 5-piece maple/walnut bolt-on, and has the Legator profile that I like so much with the flat spot on the back.
The body is mahogany, which is a pretty unique choice for this kind of a guitar, although it seemed to be a fine match for the guitar overall, which tended towards the darker tonal range. The guitar’s feel and playability were what you’d expect for a guitar in this price range, pretty solid but not as low and easy as I would like. This kind of import typically requires a set up when you first get it in to get the action to a more ideal state, so that’s something you can expect.
My two qualms with this guitar were thus: the pickups are passive, but they live in active/soapbar sized housing, which makes for annoying pickup swaps because of the lower availability of active-sized humbuckers, and the headstock design. The way the headstock is designed doesn’t allow for straight string pull, which in my experience can cause tuning stability issues. The main reason this irked me is that if they just tilted the headstock down a tad, it would line up beautifully, and the strings would only be angled slightly down, putting pressure downward on the nut rather than angled on two different axes. Also, just a personal preference thing – I like a big comfy forearm contour, and this guitar lacks any contour on the front of the guitar at all, aside from a slight arching.
All in all, this guitar is priced well for what it is – a great entry-level multiscale import. If you’re looking into the fan fret market, and don’t want to drop big money before deciding if it’s right for you, this is a good place to start. They also offer 6 and 8 string models.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for – the winner of our first Legator giveaway (the Facebook share one)! The winner receives the very guitar I reviewed in the video.
Congratulations to NATHANIEL GAFFNEY! I wanna see some videos when you get this thing. If you scrape some of my DNA off the fretboard, you could create a clone army of Treys to be your backing band!