Agile Valkyrie Double Neck

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The double neck guitar is a legendary icon of rock guitar since Jimmy Page strapped one on in March of 1971 to debut “Stairway To Heaven” to a rapturous audience in Dublin, Ireland. Generally seen as a tool of stadium and progressive rockers like the aforementioned Led Zeppelin, Rush, Family, Yes, Genesis and more, it also could be seen in the hands of seminal power-poppers The Raspberries and their guitarist Wally Bryson and even Pete Townshend played one in 1968 just before switching to the SG Jr. for the Tommy years.

However both Gibson and Mosrite designed and built double necks since the late 1950’s with players such as Joe Maphis and Jimmy Bryant utilizing them to great effect in the country music field. In 1962 Gibson introduced the EDS1275 which was essentially a double SG with six and 12 string necks.

Rondo Music, an online only retailer, since closing their Union, NJ store a few years ago carries several lines of high quality Korean and Chinese guitars. The Korean guitars are generally found under the Agile name. Agile are of extremely high quality and the Valkyrie Double neck is no exception. Sporting a Contoured, dual cutaway Solid 3 piece mahogany body and 2 set in maple necks, The Valkyrie is an incredible value for someone who has thought about the double neck but didn’t want to gamble on a big ticket item like the gibson and even the Epiphone’s Chinese production model, which costs $200 more. Epiphone’s Korean model is twice the price. Neither include the case whereas the Agile indeed includes a case not to mention it has really nice grover tuners. Don’t even get me started on the price of the Gibson!

Of course there are some differences. The Valkyrie has an offset lower bout that kind of hints at the ESP SG-styled guitars or if Salvidore Dali had a hand in its design. It does not add to the weight, which at 12lbs, is considerable but not uncommon. Like all double necks the weight and bukliness take some getting used to, but it’s not really a guitar you strap on for 4 one hour sets.

The Valkyrie plays and sounds like a much more expensive guitar. The workmanship is excellent. The pickups, ceramic humbuckers with a nice chime as well as bite, serve both necks well. The 13.7″ radius makes for fast fretting and both necks are solid but not too chunky. The 12 string is sonic heaven. It stays in tune quite well despite the extra strain of 6 more strings. The six string neck is lethal and though it does not quite have the super access to the highest frets like a single necked SG, it serves its purpose well. The bound rosewood fret-board is nicely done and the fret edges were spectacular out of the box. All I had to do was change the strings on the 6 string neck and I played a gig with it the day I got it. The hard shell case included is nice for the money but possibly not something that is gonna hold up too well for all you road hogs I suspect. Mine is still doing fine though.

So if you feel you have to get your prog rock on and aren’t worried about the Spinal-Tapesque stigma that some have attached to the double neck, the Valkyrie Double Neck is the way to go. I have played the real Gibsons, Mosrite, Ibanezes and the Epiphones and this stands on par with those and actually surpasses the Epiphone in build quality and appointments as well as price.

www.rondomusic.com
$589.95 Heritage Cherry with chrome hardware
$599.95 White with gold hardware

Reviewed by Mike Nicholson, lead guitarist of stratocruiser, the KinKsmen, former guitarist of Bullwinkel Gandhi and legendary punk band the Village Pistols. Mike is a 30 year veteran professional guitarist and owner of too many guitars to count…

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