Long time family friend of the Ball family and one of the gems of the Ernie Ball Music Man stable, Albert Lee has long been hailed as one of the ultimate country guitar players of all time. Since 1993 Albert has continuously played his signature namesake model on his unrelenting solo touring and recording career, during his time with The Everly Brothers, and on recordings with other country pickers like Brad Paisley and John 5. If you’re in the market for an Albert Lee guitar, this handy buying guide will get you set up with the right instrument for you.
Using a fusion of right hand picking techniques known as hybrid picking and possessing an unparalleled knowledge of the guitar, Albert has remained one of the kings of guitar over the course of five decades. The Albert Lee signature model was designed to accentuate Albert’s playing and provide him with the versatility of tones he’s needed for his gigs touring with other artists, as well as providing him the twangy accents he uses in his solo playing.
The angular body shape is made of Swamp Ash, and will balance perfectly while sitting or standing and has a contoured belly cut on the back.
The Albert Lee model is noted for its fast and comfortable neck, which features a C shaped contour and a 10″ fingerboard raidus. It comes equipped in a traditional three single coil pickup configuration, with a slanted pickup in the bridge position. The SSS model has a maple neck and fingerboard, and is finished with Ernie Ball Music Man’s famously comfortable hand rubbed oil and wax finish, and is seated in the patented contoured 5-bolt neck pocket.
The pickups in the SSS model are custom wound Seymour Duncan single coils thart are voiced specifically for the Albert Lee’s body shape, and to match Albert’s demand for a mix of twangy and clean tones. The three single coils have typical 60-cycle hum eliminated by our patented Silent Circuit powered via on-board 9V battery.
The Bottom Line
Buy this guitar if you’re looking for twangy clean tones and a guitar with a striking, lightweight, comfortable body shape and unbeatable neck.
More recently introduced, the dual-humbucker version of the guitar was developed to provide a completely different tonal palette from the original SSS version. We changed up the electronics, body wood, neck wood, and pickup switching to provide a darker and more driven sound that lends itself not only to crunchy distorted rock tones, but also clean and chiming single coil tones.
Retooled from the ground up, this guitar not only features different pickups and wiring, it is made with a lightweight African Mahogany body to complement the heavier sound imparted by the dual DiMarzio custom humbuckers.
The Albert Lee HH carries over the same neck and fingerboard design of its predecessor, but instead of maple the neck is constructed completely out of rosewood to darken the tone and provide a slightly slicker feel.
Two custom DiMarzio humbuckers power the Albert Lee HH’s bold and punchy sound. Like most humbucker-equipped models, the HH lends itself to heavier, distorted playing, but can still fit the role of a clean playing guitar. The 5-way switch provides the versatility to play the neck or bridge humbuckers either alone or together, but the 2 and 4 positions provide coil tapped settings that take one coil in parallel from each humbucker to offer bright and versatile sounds.
The Bottom Line:
Buy this guitar if you want a guitar that provides you with the ability to play powerful distorted hard rock tones, but also has the flexibility to put out surprisingly clean and bright single coil tones via the custom switching.