Review: Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid, Liekki 290-T Classic & 57HM-H Master
This spring is bringing exciting news from Flaxwood Guitars – the Finnish maker has given its model line-up a thorough overhaul.
One important change sees Flaxwood rearranging their models into three distinct series:
The (newly-expanded) Hybrid Series encompasses Fender-inspired electric guitars, which combine Flaxwood’s famous injection-moulded WFC-necks (Wood Fibre Composite) with wooden bodies.
Flaxwood’s bona fide classics – such as the Äijä, Laine or Rautia models – have now been grouped into the aptly-named Classic Series.
The brand-new Master Series is offering the guitarist “factory customised” Flaxwood guitars. These models have received special finishes and/or hardware, in addition to pickup choices that differ from similar Classic Series instruments.
For this review we received one guitar from each series – the MTQ Hybrid (current RRP in Finland: 1.750 €), the Liekki 290-T Classic (current RRP in Finland: 2.054 €) and the 57HM-H Master (current RRP in Finland: 2.707 €).
The Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid is the company’s beautiful take on the Telecaster Custom theme, with its wood-composite Flaxwood-neck and a swamp ash body with a bound flame maple top.
The MTQ’s gorgeous Honeyburst finish shows off some luscious wood grain.
The golden machine heads on the MTQ Hybrid are locking Gotoh H.A.P. units with height-adjustable tuning posts.
The bridge is a traditional Tele-ashtray design, but it comes updated with six bridge saddles for perfect intonation and action adjustment.
The MTQ’s pickups are made by Seymour Duncan:
The Flaxwood Liekki 290-T Classic (liekki means flame in Finnish) is without doubt one of the best-known guitars from this Finnish maker. This slender and gracious f-holed beauty is offered in several cool finishes.
The Liekki 290-T Classic is an all Flaxwood-WFC instrument. This injection-moulded material – which was developed in co-operation with the University of Eastern Finland – is eco-friendly and fully recyclable.
The Flaxwood body is partially hollow, and capped from the back with a resonating back plate.
Flaxwood Guitars’ proprietary 3D neck joint is very smooth.
As you can see from this picture, newer Flaxwood instruments now sport a matte black neck, instead of the original, structured look of the early Flaxwood necks.
The company uses it’s own compensated X-Tune Nut on all Classic and Master Series models. The X-Tune Nut will make open chords ring out much more in tune than most traditional guitars.
The Liekki’s 290-T-version comes equipped with Schaller’s ingenious LP Tremolo vibrato bridge.
Two Seymour Duncan P-90-type pickups (SP90-1 Vintage Soapbar) have been installed on the Liekki Classic.
Flaxwood’s brand-new 57HM-H Master is a Metal guitarist’s dream machine.
The 57HM-H comes with a suitably moody matte black finish with golden pinstripes, Schaller Security Locks, and a pair of active EMG pickups.
The 57HM-H Master’s battery compartment has been installed into the instrument’s back plate.
The Gotoh hardware – locking tuners and a tune-o-matic bridge plus stopbar – has been finished in black chrome.
EMG’s 57/66-set comprises a pair of alnico-loaded humbuckers, and promises to deliver an intriguing combination of vintage warmth with active punch and clarity.
Even though Flaxwood Guitars’ brand philosophy is based on the ultra-modern use of injection-moulded WFC-composite material, there is still a surprising amount of traditional handicraft that goes into the making of each and every Flaxwood model. There isn’t a machine in existence that will churn out finished instruments from raw materials, you do still need lots of guitar-making skills to build a top notch instrument.
You can see and feel the touch of a craftsman when you pick up a Flaxwood guitar. Our review trio displayed excellent workmanship, and all guitars came with a top grade set-up.
Any old Telecaster lover will feel right at home with the Flaxwood MTQ Hybrid, because the most important design elements – like the vintage bridge or the control positioning – have been carried over from the classic to this new model.
The neck profile is slim and slightly oval, with a mere whiff of a V-neck’s spine along its back. The playing feel is fast, effortless and precise.
The tone of the Flaxwood MTQ doesn’t come as a surprise – this model offers an array of very tasty Tele-style sounds!
Flaxwood’s Liekki 290-T Classic is a lightweight and compact instrument that balances perfectly on a strap.
In addition to the three-way pickup switch, most Flaxwood models traditionally feature a single master volume control and two tone controls (one per pickup).
I can’t understand why Schaller’s excellent LP Tremolo isn’t used on more guitars as a standard feature. I can only applaud Flaxwood for featuring the LP Tremolo on several of their models!
The Seymour Duncan P-90s give you a wide range of different tones on the Liekki, from jazzy warmth all the way to gritty Rock.
The Flaxwood 57HM-H is a fantastic addition to the company’s line-up in my opinion:
The playing feel of the 57HM-H is quite similar to the Liekki model, but the fatter frets and stable, non-trem bridge will be just the ticket for fans of detuned high-gain riffage.
The EMG 57/66-set is a great update on the US-maker’s original active humbucker recipe. There’s more than enough power and punch on tap, but you could never call these active humbuckers cold, clinical or sterile!
It’s really great to see Flaxwood Guitars expanding their line-up further!
In my view the new three-tiered model range makes a lot of sense, making it easier to find the right Flaxwood for any player.
The Liekki 290-T Classic has become a genuine classic over the years, while the brand-new MTQ Hybrid and 57HM-H models further widen Flaxwood’s appeal to include both traditional and modern guitarists. A test drive is highly recommended!
MTQ Hybrid – 1.750 € (comes with a gig bag)
Liekki 290-T Classic – 2.045 € (comes with a case)
57HM-H Master – 2.707 € (comes with a case)
+ made in Finland
+ quality parts and pickups