SOUND: Russ Strobel made a fine choice with the ‘very musical’ Belcat BH-20 Pickups. The Bridge Pickup does not sound thin or harsh, and has a good balance between midrange and treble. The Middle Pickup and Neck Pickup selections are very bell-like, ringing out with a very decent amount of sustain. The YouTube video below goes through the sound of each pickup selection, both clean and with added overdrive (Maple Leaf Royal Drive into the Le Lead Preamp [clean channel]). Have played a few Les Pauls, I find the sounds from the Strobel Rambler ® Classic are very much similar. In fact, the overall design and direction of the Rambler Classic is to emulate a Les Paul, but in a much smaller and highly portable package. Not often a fan of the middle pickup selection, I find this position highly usable, whether clean or driven. The Neck pickup (9.2KOhm) has a well-rounded tone, perfect for jazz or blues, without a hint of mud to it. The Bridge pickup (16.2KOhm) is both clear and has just the right amount of bite to get through the mix. Both pickups produce a lot of harmonics and have excellent output/power, to suggest they are not ‘vintage’ in their voicing (e.g., 1960s), but more Classic Rock in character. Its headless feature certainly lends itself to better portability, but also serves to increase sustain, which it has plenty of when combined with the Belcat pickups. FEATURES: Made in the USA by Russ Strobel, weighing in at about 5-pounds and carrying some unique patents, the Rambler® Classic is a 21-medium-jumbo-fret guitar with a solid maple body, flamed maple top and maple neck with ebony fretboard. The neck is a standard Gibson 24.5-inch length with a 12-inch radius, and the Strobel inlay at the top fret position adds a nice touch. Its three-way pickup selection also emulates a Gibson Les Paul. The Rambler® Classic uses a Tune-O-Matic bridge and now implements Graphtech string trees. Other new features on the Rambler® Classic include a TUSQ adjustable 1-5/8-inch nut (allowing quick set up to accommodate playing slide guitar), recessed custom thumb wheels (used to remove the neck, which is interchangeable) and chrome finish on the patented StringKeeper™ and StringCatcher™. I’ll describe briefly the StringKeeper™ and StringCatcher™ before addressing the other features. StringKeeper™, a metal plate of sorts, is located past the nut and at the end of the neck, where the strings pass through. It fits over the end of the neck and attaches with a chromed thumb screw – and once removed it keeps the strings together for storage. The StringCatcher™ is a small chromed piece of grooved metal next to the top guitar strap button. With the neck removed, you wrap the strings over top the front of the guitar’s body and onto the StringCatcher™ (which serves to prevent damage to the finish), and the strings then wrap around and under the body with the StringKeeper™ positioned (held in place) between two of the tuners. And if you cannot fathom what I’m describing, the video does demonstrate how the Rambler® Classic can be taken apart for transportation in a briefcase, laptop bag, etc. Russ Strobel also demonstrates this in a YouTube video: Although the Rambler® Classic can be disassembled, it does come with a custom gig bag, stitched with the Strobel logo. The gig bag does have a decent amount of padding for typical transportation, but I would not trust it with airport baggage handlers (then again, Strobel guitars are small enough and are meant for overhead stowing and to keep on your person). It measures about 30-inches long when assembled. Finally, the Rambler® Classic has Japanese made quality locking tuners, as well as a scooped out leg carve to help with balance when playing while sitting. However, because the body is smaller than a typical guitar it sits lower on the lap. Consequently, to prevent slouching I prefer playing this guitar with a strap – doing so places the body of the guitar close to center of the torso and feels well-aligned as a result (and there’s no slouching and low back discomfort that comes with poor posture).