Guitar Shop, Spring 1998

Woodstock ‘98 Aural Exam (Citron CF1)
By Lisa Sharken
Guitar Shop, Spring 1998

Another famed Woodstock-area luthier is Harvey Citron, who has been building guitars since the early ’70s. In 1975 he co-founded Veillette-Citron guitars, best known for their bass designs, although they also built guitars and baritones. Citron has continued on his own, building high-end solidbody electric and electric/acoustic guitars and basses.

Citron’s new CFI solidbody combines technology with traditional design and style. In the traditional sense, the body is a smaller Firebird shape constructed from a two-piece solid mahogany back with a two-piece highly figured quilted-maple top. It’s stained in a faded iced tea sunburst and has a hand-rubbed oil finish, so both the body and neck have a smooth, satin feel. The back of the body is contoured to sit comfortably against the player’s body and has a matching mahogany control cavity cover. The bolt-on neck is three-piece, constructed from two outer mahogany and an inner curly-maple strip that all run the full length of the neck (it has a 251/2″ scale instead of the 24 3/4″ Gibson scale, which drastically changes the feel and balance of the guitar). The neck is on the wide-thin side, with a “C”-shaped back and flat fingerboard radius. The fingerboard is dark ebony and has mother- of-pearl side-marker dots, and an abalone and turquoise inlay marking the 12th fret. The 22 frets are jumbo-size and nicely crowned with a rounded shape. The neck joint is similar to that of the Tobias, using a sculpted heel and four recessed bolts that attach to the body.

For the modern accouterments, the headstock is reversed like on the classic reverse-Firebird of the mid-’60s, but has a sleek design, similar to that of the Parker or Steinberger (the guitar that does have a headstock). It has a laminated quilted-maple veneer that’s finished to match the body and the Citron logo on the headstock is a raised gold emblem. The CFI is equipped with a set of Steinberger’s state-of-the-art gearless banjo-style tuners. The bridge is a Wilkinson Tele-style in which strings go through the body and six individual saddles yield more accurate intonation than a traditional Tele bridge. All the guitar’s hardware is black.

The pickups are Seymour Duncans, an STL-3 Quarter Pound Lead pickup (tapped) in the bridge and a Firebird-style Mini-Humbucker in the neck position. There are two controls for volume and tone, and a 3-way Gibson-style toggle switch. The input Jack is located on the bottom.

The hybrid combination of the woods, pickups, and hardware make the Citron sort of a cross between a Firebird and a Tele, sharing characteristics of both instruments. The CFI has a round sound with very powerful midrange punch and lots of snap. As simple as this may look, you get a wide range of sounds with the best mix of both Gibson- and Fender-esque rhythm and lead tones. Using the neck and middle positions (alone or together) you’ll get fatter tones for playing rhythm or smoother sounding leads. If you tap the bridge pickup and use it together with the neck pickup (middle position) you’ll get a combination of that fat neck position sound with more edge. Then flip over to the bridge position for ripping lead tone with modern or vintage Tele tone, whether you’re using the full output or tapping the pickup.

Reprinted with permission from Guitar Shop Magazine