Guitar World Review: Mitchell Guitars MD400 and MS400

Posted 07/14/2017 by Chris Gill

GOLD AWARD

Whether you’re a first-time guitar buyer or a professional with G.A.S. and a limited budget, there’s never been a better time to be in the market for an affordable new guitar than the present.

While it’s been pretty easy to find a good electric solidbody with basic features and above average playability in the sub $500 range for the last 10 or 15 years, most of these instruments featured hardware, electronics and materials that placed them in the entry level category, making them useful only as temporary solutions before necessary upgrades.

Recently the gap between entry level and professional guitars has become a lot narrower, as have the choices in the sub $500 range. When we looked at Mitchell’s HD400 and TD400 models a few issues ago, we loved how both models offered quality, playability and modern, custom design aesthetics normally only found on instruments costing two to four times more. Both of those models featured bolt-on necks, which we figured helped Mitchell keep construction costs at a minimum, but when they later sent us their MD400 and MS400 models, which both feature glued set-in necks, we were thrilled to discover that the overall quality and price remained the same.

The MD400 and MS400 also boast modern designs normally not found in this price range, along with upscale appointments and details that emphasize performance over the typical cost-cutting measures.

Mitchell MD400

FEATURES

The MD400 features an asymmetrical “Strat”-style double cutaway body, but with more contours and an arched top, the aforementioned set-in neck, and a dual pickup configuration. However, this is not the typical “super strat” as it also features a 3+3 tuner configuration on the headstock, a slim, seamless contour where the set-in neck joins the body, and a neck and body made of mahogany.

Our example had the transparent forest green finish with AAA quilted maple veneer top also featured with the transparent purple and natural finish versions, while the black and transparent ocean blue finish models have a carved mahogany top. The body top and Indian rosewood fretboard are bound with five-layer binding. The neck provides 24 tall/narrow medium jumbo frets (slightly bigger than “vintage” frets), a 25 1/2-inch scale, 15 3/4-inch radius, and shallow “C” profile, and the back of the neck has a gloss finish that matches the body.

The MD400’s electronics consist of an alnico V mini-humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the neck, a full-size alnico V humbucker also with dual rail polepieces at the bridge, individual volume controls for each pickup, a master tone control with pull coil tap function and a three-position blade pickup selector switch. Hardware includes knurled metal control knobs, a tuneomatic-style bridge with string-thru-body tailpiece, metal bridge pickup mounting ring and 18:1 die-cast locking tuners, all boasting a black nickel finish.

Mitchell MS400 Series

The MS400 has a modern single-cutaway design, and like the MD400 it also features a mahogany body and mahogany set-in neck with Indian rosewood fretboard. Upscale details and upgrades include flame maple binding surrounding the arched top and fretboard, comfortable belly and cutaway contours, slim neck heel and custom dual “slice” fretboard inlays. Neck features include a 24 ¾-inch scale, 11.8-inch radius, 22 jumbo frets and shallow “C” profile.

The MS400 provides a pair of alnico V humbuckers and also has individual volume controls for each pickup and a master tone control with pull coil tap function. Hardware includes 18:1 die-cast locking tuners, vintage-style “top hat bell” control knobs, tuneomatic-style bridge (also with string-thru-body anchoring), and three-position pickup toggle switch.

PERFORMANCE

From the second one picks up the MD400 or MS400, it’s obvious that quality was the primary concern of its construction. Each guitar is set up to play perfectly out of the box, requiring at most a simple truss rod adjustment to adjust for climate. The finish, binding, contour curves, fret work and more are simply stunning, but what’s even more impressive are the “little” details, like the way the cavity for the output jack is angled to keep the cable out of the player’s way or how the MS400’s control knobs are recessed for playing comfort.

The pickups also deliver their own distinct personality, with a voice-like midrange, tight bass and tonal versatility thanks to the coil-tap function. These are the kind of details that were previously non-existent on guitars selling for less than $500.

 

• Both the MD400 and MS400 feature set-in necks and bodies made of mahogany, Indian rosewood fretboards, and string-thru-body design.

• The MD400 has an alnico V mini-humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the neck and a full-size alnico V humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the bridge.

• The MS400 has a pair of full-size alnico V humbuckers with exposed zebra coil bobbins.

• Both offer upscale details like coil tapping, a recessed and angle output jack, fancy fretboard and body binding, and pro-quality electronics and hardware.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you love the features, playability and style of a high-end custom solidbody but have an entry-level budget, the Mitchell MD400 and MS400 offer unbeatable value for a pro-quality ax that will last a lifetime.

Guitar World Review: Mitchell Guitars MD400 and MS400

Posted 07/14/2017 by Chris Gill

GOLD AWARD

Whether you’re a first-time guitar buyer or a professional with G.A.S. and a limited budget, there’s never been a better time to be in the market for an affordable new guitar than the present.

While it’s been pretty easy to find a good electric solidbody with basic features and above average playability in the sub $500 range for the last 10 or 15 years, most of these instruments featured hardware, electronics and materials that placed them in the entry level category, making them useful only as temporary solutions before necessary upgrades.

Recently the gap between entry level and professional guitars has become a lot narrower, as have the choices in the sub $500 range. When we looked at Mitchell’s HD400 and TD400 models a few issues ago, we loved how both models offered quality, playability and modern, custom design aesthetics normally only found on instruments costing two to four times more. Both of those models featured bolt-on necks, which we figured helped Mitchell keep construction costs at a minimum, but when they later sent us their MD400 and MS400 models, which both feature glued set-in necks, we were thrilled to discover that the overall quality and price remained the same.

The MD400 and MS400 also boast modern designs normally not found in this price range, along with upscale appointments and details that emphasize performance over the typical cost-cutting measures.

Mitchell MD400

FEATURES

The MD400 features an asymmetrical “Strat”-style double cutaway body, but with more contours and an arched top, the aforementioned set-in neck, and a dual pickup configuration. However, this is not the typical “super strat” as it also features a 3+3 tuner configuration on the headstock, a slim, seamless contour where the set-in neck joins the body, and a neck and body made of mahogany.

Our example had the transparent forest green finish with AAA quilted maple veneer top also featured with the transparent purple and natural finish versions, while the black and transparent ocean blue finish models have a carved mahogany top. The body top and Indian rosewood fretboard are bound with five-layer binding. The neck provides 24 tall/narrow medium jumbo frets (slightly bigger than “vintage” frets), a 25 1/2-inch scale, 15 3/4-inch radius, and shallow “C” profile, and the back of the neck has a gloss finish that matches the body.

The MD400’s electronics consist of an alnico V mini-humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the neck, a full-size alnico V humbucker also with dual rail polepieces at the bridge, individual volume controls for each pickup, a master tone control with pull coil tap function and a three-position blade pickup selector switch. Hardware includes knurled metal control knobs, a tuneomatic-style bridge with string-thru-body tailpiece, metal bridge pickup mounting ring and 18:1 die-cast locking tuners, all boasting a black nickel finish.

The MS400 has a modern single-cutaway design, and like the MD400 it also features a mahogany body and mahogany set-in neck with Indian rosewood fretboard. Upscale details and upgrades include flame maple binding surrounding the arched top and fretboard, comfortable belly and cutaway contours, slim neck heel and custom dual “slice” fretboard inlays. Neck features include a 24 ¾-inch scale, 11.8-inch radius, 22 jumbo frets and shallow “C” profile.

The MS400 provides a pair of alnico V humbuckers and also has individual volume controls for each pickup and a master tone control with pull coil tap function. Hardware includes 18:1 die-cast locking tuners, vintage-style “top hat bell” control knobs, tuneomatic-style bridge (also with string-thru-body anchoring), and three-position pickup toggle switch.

Mitchell MS400 Series

PERFORMANCE

From the second one picks up the MD400 or MS400, it’s obvious that quality was the primary concern of its construction. Each guitar is set up to play perfectly out of the box, requiring at most a simple truss rod adjustment to adjust for climate. The finish, binding, contour curves, fret work and more are simply stunning, but what’s even more impressive are the “little” details, like the way the cavity for the output jack is angled to keep the cable out of the player’s way or how the MS400’s control knobs are recessed for playing comfort.

The pickups also deliver their own distinct personality, with a voice-like midrange, tight bass and tonal versatility thanks to the coil-tap function. These are the kind of details that were previously non-existent on guitars selling for less than $500.

 

• Both the MD400 and MS400 feature set-in necks and bodies made of mahogany, Indian rosewood fretboards, and string-thru-body design.

• The MD400 has an alnico V mini-humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the neck and a full-size alnico V humbucker with dual rail polepieces at the bridge.

• The MS400 has a pair of full-size alnico V humbuckers with exposed zebra coil bobbins.

• Both offer upscale details like coil tapping, a recessed and angle output jack, fancy fretboard and body binding, and pro-quality electronics and hardware.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you love the features, playability and style of a high-end custom solidbody but have an entry-level budget, the Mitchell MD400 and MS400 offer unbeatable value for a pro-quality ax that will last a lifetime.

Guitar Player Review: Mitchell Guitars MD400 and MS400

Guitar Player Review: Mitchell Guitars MD400 and MS400

Posted 06/29/2017 by Dave Hunter

A pair of sub-$500 imports exclusive to the country’s largest guitar chain might not whet the average reviewer’s appetite, but the Mitchell MS400 and MD400 models available from Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend offered some pleasant surprises right out of the box.

For instance, with its glued-in neck, mahogany/maple/rosewood construction, single cutaway, 24.75″ scale length, and dual humbucker configuration, the MS400 ticks all the boxes for one of today’s major archetypes. Mitchell has also thrown some tasty design touches into the formula: The deep cutaway is beveled front and back, the Tune-o-matic bridge is partnered with through-body stringing, control knobs are recessed into the top, and the locking tuners feel solid and boast an efficient 18:1 ratio.

Beyond all this, there’s an impressive coherence of aesthetics too. The way, for example, the double-slash fingerboard inlays are echoed in the swoop of the string ferrules, the headstock tip, and the cover of the dual-action trussrod; while flame maple binding and a quilted-maple top veneer further dress up the package. The slim-C neck feels great, the fretwork is good, and the guitar played extremely well after a slight tweak of the trussrod. One note on both guitars: the positioning of the output jack does keep the cord wrapped out of the way, as intended, but makes it impossible to set the guitars on their butt-ends to lean against the amp. And if you step on the cord, you’re likely to tear a chunk of wood from the side of the guitar’s body rather than just pull out the plug.

I tested the MS400 through a plexi-style head and 2x12 cab and an AC15-inspired 1x12 combo. No surprise that at 13.28kΩ the bridge pickup is predisposed toward serious rock. There’s not a lot of sweetness or chime here, even at cleaner amp settings, but a barking, slightly nasal squawk that drives the amp hard for aggressive rhythm. It really shined, though, with a JHS Angry Charlie distortion pedal applied for hairy, squealing lead tones. The neck pickup (7.94kΩ) achieves some rich, bluesy semi-clean tones and sings beautifully through overdrive, while both pickups’ split-coil sounds are admirably bright and jangly.

Mitchell MD400

While the MS400 oozes modern design, its double-cutaway sibling, the MD400, has an even more contemporary appearance, and is significantly more “rawk” besides—or so it would seem at first glance. Not only do the long body horns lean toward a shred-certified look, but the pickup selection—a full-size dual-blade humbucker in the bridge position and a single-coil-sized humbucker in the neck—imply more incendiary potential, although the bridge unit’s reading of 10.86kΩ (less than that of the MS400’s) might run counter to that assessment. Other than noting the body shape, the tasteful multi-ply binding, the offset abalone-dot fingerboard inlays, and the 25.5″ scale length with 24 medium-jumbo frets and a flatter radius, there’s less to say here because body and neck woods, hardware, and control layout all echo that of the MS400. Likewise, construction and playability were similarly good after a very slight trussrod adjustment.

Mitchell MS400 Series

Perhaps surprisingly given the optics here, the MD400’s bridge pickup displayed more nuanced musicality and greater harmonic sparkle than that of its single-cut sibling, but the slightly gentler output and more overtone-laden 25.5″ template likely had something to do with that. Via distortion, this translated to a little extra sting in the upper mids and highs, with an eviscerating bite when hit hard, which really helped the guitar cut through the mud.

The neck pickup was rich and open, with just a little grit amid the airy warmth to lend texture to arpeggiated balladry or bluesy riffing. Tasty stuff. Ultimately, both guitars offer a lot in all essential departments for looks, playability, and tone, and provide excellent bang for the buck—again impressing me with what our friends offshore can achieve at this price point.

MS400 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE $449 street, with trans-finish quilt top; $399 in solid colors
NUT WIDTH 1.65″, Graph Tech Tusq XL
NECK Mahogany with scarf joint, 24.75″ scale
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 11.8″ radius
FRETS 22 jumbo
TUNERS Die-cast locking
BODY Mahogany with quilted-maple veneer
BRIDGE Tune-o-matic style with through-body stringing
PICKUPS Two Alnico V humbuckers
CONTROLS Individual Volume and master Tone controls, 3-way switch, push-pull switch on Tone pot for coil-splitting
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .009-.042
WEIGHT 6.8 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS Good build quality and impressive looks for its price. Confident playing feel. Entirely usable set of tones.
CONCERNS Jack positioning not ideal.

MD400 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE $449 street with trans-finish quilt top; $399 in solid colors
NUT WIDTH 1.65″, Graph Tech Tusq XL
NECK Mahogany with scarf joint, 24.75″ scale
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 15.75″ radius
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Die-cast locking
BODY Mahogany with quilted-maple veneer
BRIDGE Tune-o-matic style with through-body stringing
PICKUPS Full-size Alnico V dual-blade humbucker (bridge), single-coilsized humbucker (neck)
CONTROLS Individual Volume and master Tone controls, 3-way switch, push-pull switch on Tone pot for coil-splitting
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .009-.042
WEIGHT 6.9 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS An elegant and easy playing electric for the money. Able rock tones aplenty.
CONCERNS Jack positioning not ideal.

Guitar Player Review: Mitchell Guitars MD400 and MS400

Posted 06/29/2017 by Dave Hunter

A pair of sub-$500 imports exclusive to the country’s largest guitar chain might not whet the average reviewer’s appetite, but the Mitchell MS400 and MD400 models available from Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend offered some pleasant surprises right out of the box.

For instance, with its glued-in neck, mahogany/maple/rosewood construction, single cutaway, 24.75″ scale length, and dual humbucker configuration, the MS400 ticks all the boxes for one of today’s major archetypes. Mitchell has also thrown some tasty design touches into the formula: The deep cutaway is beveled front and back, the Tune-o-matic bridge is partnered with through-body stringing, control knobs are recessed into the top, and the locking tuners feel solid and boast an efficient 18:1 ratio.

Beyond all this, there’s an impressive coherence of aesthetics too. The way, for example, the double-slash fingerboard inlays are echoed in the swoop of the string ferrules, the headstock tip, and the cover of the dual-action trussrod; while flame maple binding and a quilted-maple top veneer further dress up the package. The slim-C neck feels great, the fretwork is good, and the guitar played extremely well after a slight tweak of the trussrod. One note on both guitars: the positioning of the output jack does keep the cord wrapped out of the way, as intended, but makes it impossible to set the guitars on their butt-ends to lean against the amp. And if you step on the cord, you’re likely to tear a chunk of wood from the side of the guitar’s body rather than just pull out the plug.

I tested the MS400 through a plexi-style head and 2x12 cab and an AC15-inspired 1x12 combo. No surprise that at 13.28kΩ the bridge pickup is predisposed toward serious rock. There’s not a lot of sweetness or chime here, even at cleaner amp settings, but a barking, slightly nasal squawk that drives the amp hard for aggressive rhythm. It really shined, though, with a JHS Angry Charlie distortion pedal applied for hairy, squealing lead tones. The neck pickup (7.94kΩ) achieves some rich, bluesy semi-clean tones and sings beautifully through overdrive, while both pickups’ split-coil sounds are admirably bright and jangly.

Mitchell MD400

While the MS400 oozes modern design, its double-cutaway sibling, the MD400, has an even more contemporary appearance, and is significantly more “rawk” besides—or so it would seem at first glance. Not only do the long body horns lean toward a shred-certified look, but the pickup selection—a full-size dual-blade humbucker in the bridge position and a single-coil-sized humbucker in the neck—imply more incendiary potential, although the bridge unit’s reading of 10.86kΩ (less than that of the MS400’s) might run counter to that assessment. Other than noting the body shape, the tasteful multi-ply binding, the offset abalone-dot fingerboard inlays, and the 25.5″ scale length with 24 medium-jumbo frets and a flatter radius, there’s less to say here because body and neck woods, hardware, and control layout all echo that of the MS400. Likewise, construction and playability were similarly good after a very slight trussrod adjustment.

Perhaps surprisingly given the optics here, the MD400’s bridge pickup displayed more nuanced musicality and greater harmonic sparkle than that of its single-cut sibling, but the slightly gentler output and more overtone-laden 25.5″ template likely had something to do with that. Via distortion, this translated to a little extra sting in the upper mids and highs, with an eviscerating bite when hit hard, which really helped the guitar cut through the mud.

The neck pickup was rich and open, with just a little grit amid the airy warmth to lend texture to arpeggiated balladry or bluesy riffing. Tasty stuff. Ultimately, both guitars offer a lot in all essential departments for looks, playability, and tone, and provide excellent bang for the buck—again impressing me with what our friends offshore can achieve at this price point.

Mitchell MS400 Series

MS400 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE $449 street, with trans-finish quilt top; $399 in solid colors
NUT WIDTH 1.65″, Graph Tech Tusq XL
NECK Mahogany with scarf joint, 24.75″ scale
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 11.8″ radius
FRETS 22 jumbo
TUNERS Die-cast locking
BODY Mahogany with quilted-maple veneer
BRIDGE Tune-o-matic style with through-body stringing
PICKUPS Two Alnico V humbuckers
CONTROLS Individual Volume and master Tone controls, 3-way switch, push-pull switch on Tone pot for coil-splitting
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .009-.042
WEIGHT 6.8 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS Good build quality and impressive looks for its price. Confident playing feel. Entirely usable set of tones.
CONCERNS Jack positioning not ideal.

MD400 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE $449 street with trans-finish quilt top; $399 in solid colors
NUT WIDTH 1.65″, Graph Tech Tusq XL
NECK Mahogany with scarf joint, 24.75″ scale
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 15.75″ radius
FRETS 24 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Die-cast locking
BODY Mahogany with quilted-maple veneer
BRIDGE Tune-o-matic style with through-body stringing
PICKUPS Full-size Alnico V dual-blade humbucker (bridge), single-coilsized humbucker (neck)
CONTROLS Individual Volume and master Tone controls, 3-way switch, push-pull switch on Tone pot for coil-splitting
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario, .009-.042
WEIGHT 6.9 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS An elegant and easy playing electric for the money. Able rock tones aplenty.
CONCERNS Jack positioning not ideal.

Guitar World Review: Mitchell Guitars HD400 and TD400

Guitar World Review: Mitchell Guitars HD400 and TD400

Posted 05/22/2017 by Chris Gill

GOLD AWARD

Since 1986, Mitchell Guitars has built high-quality acoustic guitars that offer incredible value to beginning and experienced guitarists alike.

Last August Mitchell announced its first line of electric solidbody instruments, and like the acoustics they’ve built for the last 30 years these new electrics also deliver mind-boggling bang for the buck. Mitchell’s new electric venture made its debut in a big way, offering seven different series of guitars, which include the mini MM100 that sells for less than $100 and the single cutaway MS400.

Coolest of all is that, unlike most low-cost guitars on the market, there’s nothing generic or run-of-the-mill about these guitars, which boast excellent craftsmanship, high-quality parts, and custom design aesthetics normally found on much more expensive instruments.

The HD400 and TD400 guitars that Mitchell sent us to review, which represent the upper echelon of Mitchell’s offerings (models with the 100, 200 and 300 suffix are even more affordable), are impressively equipped with quality tonewoods with names that guitarists recognize and can pronounce and name-brand hardware that doesn’t require replacement after a few weeks of playing. A lot of know-how obviously went into these guitars, and Mitchell’s 30-year history of building quality affordable guitars clearly is on display here.

Mitchell HD400

FEATURES

The HD400 and TD400 represent two different approaches to the time-honored asymmetrical double cutaway solidbody design, with the HD400 being a hot-rodded modern “super Strat” while the TD400 has more traditional and classic design features. Our HD400 has a basswood body with a transparent blue finish that reveals the figured quilted maple laminate top and a rock maple bolt-on neck with maple fretboard, slim “C” profile, 24 extra jumbo frets, 25 1/2–inch scale, and two-way adjustable truss rod.

Mitchell TD400 Series

Pickups consist of high-output, paraffin-dipped, high-output neck and bridge ceramic magnet humbuckers and a ceramic magnet center single-coil. Rounding out the main features are master volume and master tone controls, a five-way blade pickup selector switch, and a licensed double-locking Floyd Rose Special tremolo system. The TD400 comes with an alder body and a rock maple bolt-on neck with Indian rosewood fingerboard, shallow “D” profile, 22 jumbo frets, 25 1/2–inch scale, and two-way adjustable truss rod.

This model features a bridge humbucker and center and neck single-coil pickup configuration, and the pickups have Alnico V magnets. Controls also consist of a five-way pickup selector and master volume and master tone knobs, but the tone knob can be pulled up to engage coil splitting on the bridge humbucker. Hardware includes 18:1 diecast tuners with staggered-height posts, a Graph Tech Tusq XL reduced-friction nut, and a Wilkinson VS50-II dual-point fulcrum tremolo with nickel finish.

PERFORMANCE

Whoever it was that designed these Mitchell models, they certainly are very familiar with what players need and want. The HD400 boasts generously sculpted belly and forearm contours as well as inner cutaway contours that facilitate access to the uppermost frets. The TD400 has more traditional belly and forearm contours, and both models have a modern rounded neck heel with offset mounting bolts that also provide easier access up the neck. Both models are light, comfortable and well-balanced in both seated and standing playing positions. While the necks on each model have different profiles, both provide outstanding playability and immaculate fretwork.

The TD400’s neck may be slightly beefier, but it still plays quite fast and comfortably, while the HD400’s neck has the slim, fast feel that modern shredders prefer.

 

Plugged in, the tone of both models impress as well, with the HD400 having a more aggressive growl thanks to its high-output humbuckers and ceramic magnets as well as the lightning fast attack and dynamically responsive resonance of its basswood body. The TD400 delivers classic triple single-coil tones that are in a class well beyond its brethren in its price range, and the added punch from the bridge humbucker is welcome for guitarists who want to rock even harder.

In a blindfold test, most guitarists would guess that these instruments probably sell for three to four times more. Even more impressive is that those opinions likely wouldn’t change when the blindfolds were taken off. These Mitchell models offer incredible value, and beginning players who start with one will likely become players for life.

• The HD400 features neck and bridge humbucking pickups and a center single-coil pickup with a high-output, ceramic magnet design.

• The TD400 features a bridge humbucker (with coil tap switch) and center and neck single-coil pickups featuring a vintage-voiced Alnico V magnet design.

• Hardware on the HD400 includes a licensed Floyd Rose Special double-locking tremolo system set up in a floating configuration.

• The TD400’s hardware includes a Wilkinson VS50-II dual-point fulcrum tremolo and a Graph Tech Tusq XL reduced-friciton nut.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Whether you’re a beginner looking for an affordable guitar or an experienced player looking for a new ax, Mitchell’s HD400 and TD400 offer incredible value for players searching for high-quality construction and professional performance at an outrageously affordable price point.

Guitar World Review: Mitchell Guitars HD400 and TD400

Posted 05/22/2017 by Chris Gill

GOLD AWARD

Since 1986, Mitchell Guitars has built high-quality acoustic guitars that offer incredible value to beginning and experienced guitarists alike.

Last August Mitchell announced its first line of electric solidbody instruments, and like the acoustics they’ve built for the last 30 years these new electrics also deliver mind-boggling bang for the buck. Mitchell’s new electric venture made its debut in a big way, offering seven different series of guitars, which include the mini MM100 that sells for less than $100 and the single cutaway MS400.

Coolest of all is that, unlike most low-cost guitars on the market, there’s nothing generic or run-of-the-mill about these guitars, which boast excellent craftsmanship, high-quality parts, and custom design aesthetics normally found on much more expensive instruments.

The HD400 and TD400 guitars that Mitchell sent us to review, which represent the upper echelon of Mitchell’s offerings (models with the 100, 200 and 300 suffix are even more affordable), are impressively equipped with quality tonewoods with names that guitarists recognize and can pronounce and name-brand hardware that doesn’t require replacement after a few weeks of playing. A lot of know-how obviously went into these guitars, and Mitchell’s 30-year history of building quality affordable guitars clearly is on display here.

Mitchell HD400

FEATURES

The HD400 and TD400 represent two different approaches to the time-honored asymmetrical double cutaway solidbody design, with the HD400 being a hot-rodded modern “super Strat” while the TD400 has more traditional and classic design features. Our HD400 has a basswood body with a transparent blue finish that reveals the figured quilted maple laminate top and a rock maple bolt-on neck with maple fretboard, slim “C” profile, 24 extra jumbo frets, 25 1/2–inch scale, and two-way adjustable truss rod.

Pickups consist of high-output, paraffin-dipped, high-output neck and bridge ceramic magnet humbuckers and a ceramic magnet center single-coil. Rounding out the main features are master volume and master tone controls, a five-way blade pickup selector switch, and a licensed double-locking Floyd Rose Special tremolo system. The TD400 comes with an alder body and a rock maple bolt-on neck with Indian rosewood fingerboard, shallow “D” profile, 22 jumbo frets, 25 1/2–inch scale, and two-way adjustable truss rod.

This model features a bridge humbucker and center and neck single-coil pickup configuration, and the pickups have Alnico V magnets. Controls also consist of a five-way pickup selector and master volume and master tone knobs, but the tone knob can be pulled up to engage coil splitting on the bridge humbucker. Hardware includes 18:1 diecast tuners with staggered-height posts, a Graph Tech Tusq XL reduced-friction nut, and a Wilkinson VS50-II dual-point fulcrum tremolo with nickel finish.

PERFORMANCE

Whoever it was that designed these Mitchell models, they certainly are very familiar with what players need and want. The HD400 boasts generously sculpted belly and forearm contours as well as inner cutaway contours that facilitate access to the uppermost frets. The TD400 has more traditional belly and forearm contours, and both models have a modern rounded neck heel with offset mounting bolts that also provide easier access up the neck. Both models are light, comfortable and well-balanced in both seated and standing playing positions. While the necks on each model have different profiles, both provide outstanding playability and immaculate fretwork.

The TD400’s neck may be slightly beefier, but it still plays quite fast and comfortably, while the HD400’s neck has the slim, fast feel that modern shredders prefer. Plugged in, the tone of both models impress as well, with the HD400 having a more aggressive growl thanks to its high-output humbuckers and ceramic magnets as well as the lightning fast attack and dynamically responsive resonance of its basswood body. The TD400 delivers classic triple single-coil tones that are in a class well beyond its brethren in its price range, and the added punch from the bridge humbucker is welcome for guitarists who want to rock even harder.

In a blindfold test, most guitarists would guess that these instruments probably sell for three to four times more. Even more impressive is that those opinions likely wouldn’t change when the blindfolds were taken off. These Mitchell models offer incredible value, and beginning players who start with one will likely become players for life.

Mitchell TD400 Series

• The HD400 features neck and bridge humbucking pickups and a center single-coil pickup with a high-output, ceramic magnet design.

• The TD400 features a bridge humbucker (with coil tap switch) and center and neck single-coil pickups featuring a vintage-voiced Alnico V magnet design.

• Hardware on the HD400 includes a licensed Floyd Rose Special double-locking tremolo system set up in a floating configuration.

• The TD400’s hardware includes a Wilkinson VS50-II dual-point fulcrum tremolo and a Graph Tech Tusq XL reduced-friciton nut.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Bottom Line Whether you’re a beginner looking for an affordable guitar or an experienced player looking for a new ax, Mitchell’s HD400 and TD400 offer incredible value for players searching for high-quality construction and professional performance at an outrageously affordable price point.

Mitchell’s TB500 Traditional Bass is a Modern Classic

Thousand Oaks, CA – March 2017…

With its traditional looks and tone, Mitchell’s new TB500 electric bass is a true rock, blues, and pop workhorse. Bassists will immediately appreciate its traditional-style, custom-contoured alder body; one-piece, 34-inch-scale maple neck; and smooth Indian rosewood fretboard with 20 jumbo frets. High-tensile-strength fretwire provides durability and a smooth playing experience.

Standard split-single and single-coil, paraffin-dipped alnico-V pickups let you switch instantly from blues to classic to modern rock, while mitigating microphonics and feedback. Separate volume controls for each pickup and a master tone control enable extensive sound sculpting. As a result, you can quickly and easily adjust your sound for a wide variety of musical genres.

TB500 Mitchell Bass Guitars
TB500 Mitchell Bass Guitars

The TB500’s high-mass, adjustable bridge ensures a robust tone, smooth sustain for days, and solid intonation. A Graph Tech TUSQ XL friction-reducing nut and high-ratio, Y-type tuning machines enhance tuning stability and make precision tuning easy.

“The TB500 is an outstanding bass that looks and sounds like a classic instrument yet takes advantage of modern design and manufacturing techniques,” explains Mitchell VP John Larabee. “We used superior materials and worked hard to get every detail right so the TB500 plays and feels as comfortable on stage as it does in the studio.”

The Mitchell TB500 Series basses come in four-string and five-string versions and is available in black with white pearloid pickguard as well as transparent white blonde with tortoiseshell pickguard. Attractive nickel hardware further adds to the instrument’s classic look.

Get your hands on the new Mitchell TB500 at Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend or visit www.mitchellelectricguitars.com for more information.

Mitchell HD Series a Shredder’s Delight

Thousand Oaks, CA – February 2017…

Mitchell’s new HD400 Hardrock Double-Cutaway electric guitars are a shredder’s delight. A great choice for hard-rock, heavy-metal, and fusion virtuosos, they feature a resonant basswood body and lightning fast, slim-taper, C-shaped, hard rock maple neck with real abalone inlays. The wide, flat, maple or Indian rosewood fretboard with 24 wide/tall jumbo frets composed of high-tensile-strength fretwire makes bending and legato phrasing a breeze. A deep bevel double cutaway enables complete fretboard access, while a Floyd Rose™ double locking, floating tremolo provides superior tuning stability.

HD400 Mitchell Electric Guitars
HD400 Mitchell Electric Guitars

Paraffin-dipped, high-output, custom-voiced, ceramic humbucker/single-coil/humbucker (H/S/H) pickups minimize microphonics and unwanted feedback while delivering killer tone. The five-position pickup switch combines with master volume and tone controls to let you shift instantly from a low growl to a powerful roar. A back-angled jack helps eliminate accidental unplugging.

“The HD400 was designed by players who understand the emotional rush we all feel when we play and how we love to lose ourselves in our art,” offers Mitchell VP John Larabee. “Mitchell has honored traditional, time-tested motifs but reimagined them for the current generation of expressive, high-performance guitarists. If you have a passion for playing and appreciate an instrument that lets you stretch out, you really need to check out these special instruments.”

The HD400 is available in black or transparent red with a rosewood fretboard; or in lime green metallic with a maple fretboard; or in optional ocean blue with a AAA quilt maple veneer top and maple fretboard. Street prices range from $399 to $449. Get your hands on the new Mitchell HD400 at Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend or visit www.mitchellelectricguitars.com for more information.

Mitchell TD400 Brings Old School Feel to the 21st Century

Thousand Oaks, CA – January 2017…

For blues and rock aficionados, nothing comes close to the classic look, feel, and tone of a traditional double cutaway electric. Now, Mitchell’s newly reimagined line of high-performance electric guitars brings that timeless double cutaway vibe to today’s modern guitarists.

The all new TD400 Series electric guitar is designed for players who love the sound of classic blues and rock, but want a bit more versatility in their tone. Featuring a versatile pickup configuration that includes a coil-tapped humbucker and two single-coil paraffin-dipped alnico V pickups, the TD400 delivers a range of tones that goes beyond the classic single coil sound of more traditional models. The paraffin-dipped alnico V pickups offer incredible tone, while the coil-tap ensures massive sonic versatility from the bridge-position humbucker.

TD400 Mitchell Electric Guitars
TD400 Mitchell Electric Guitars

The TD400’s premium alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard come together to deliver the ultimate in playability, with a slim, tapered neck that feels comfortable in any player’s hands. Staggered-height tuners keep tension on the nut without the need for string trees, while locking tuners provide unequalled stability. A color-matched headstock bevel accentuates the finish, and a Graph Tech TUSQ XL nut keeps strings in tune. More features include a Wilkinson VS50-II premium tremolo bridge with locking saddles, and a back-angled jack to guard against accidental unplugging.

“The traditional double cutaway has always been an iconic part of the electric guitar’s history, and players who appreciate it are dedicated to that sound, that look, and that type of instrument,” remarked Mitchell Product VP John Larabee. “We wanted the new TD400 to deliver on all those promises and more.”

The TD400 is available in black and sunburst finishes, with a street price of $399.99. Check out the TD400 Series and all the new Mitchell Electrics at Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend.

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