Italia Modena Classic
Since 2000, the Italia line of Korean-made guitars has been recapturing the long lost vibe of the 1960’s wave of European guitars that often take more inspiration from accordians than Stratocasters or Les Pauls. The Modena is based on an Italian Crucianelli from the early 1960s and while certainly recalling that closet classic, it is a vastly improved guitar and aimed at professionals but with a friendly price tag. Sporting an array of sparkle top finish options (red, blue, silver, green) the rest of the Modena’s Agathis body is sweetly done over in a special process where the back, sides, peghead and neck are all covered in what amounts to a heat-shrunk pearloid covering. The visual effect is dazzling and unique. It’s a real head turner!
Like all the Italias, the Modena was designed by English luthier Trevor Wilkinson and sports his proprietary whammy that hints at a Bigsby but with more balance and stability. Three nicely powered and crisp Wilkinson mini-humbuckers make for a wide variety of tonal colors and a 5 way switch can help the player get some nice Strat-like tones from different pickup combinations. This guitar begs you to play some crisp and clean surf but can roar like a tiger when pushed. Other fine appointments for the price are a graphite nut, rosewood fingerboard and locking tuners. The neck is beefy but not too cumbersome.
The Modena Classic is but one of four offerings in the Modena family. They offer a slightly less deluxe Modena Standard, a baritone Modena D-man and a Modena sitar guitar.
When I record I usually use several guitars per song for sonic variance. A while back I used my Modena for every single track on a song as I was able to coax a wide variety of tones out of it with minimal effort. The only thing that might make you want to put down the Modena once you strap it on is its rather formidable weight. Apart from that, it could easily be your everyday guitar for years to come.