[Review] Burns Cobra

Here is another review I’ve made for Guitare Live a while ago which is now available on the Guitariste.com portal : Review of the Burns Cobra guitar. As usual for these Guitare Live reviews, you can watch the video there (however the quality of this video seemed to have suffered a lot in the conversion process… It’s still audible though).

I’m not going to lie to you… I saw this guitar, and I thought “nice one!”. I tried it, and I thought “That’s what I like”. After the review, I acquired the guitar because I was looking for a Stratocaster like for a while, and I’ve always found something that I didn’t like in all the Stratocasters I’ve tried before!

To me, this Burns Cobra is a serious alternative for those who would like to have a Stratocaster like guitar that is not a Fender or a Squier. Its price point is somewhere between Squier & Fender Strats (it costs about 320€ i.e. about £200 in the UK). It is made in China, and it is amazing to see how well it is constructed. Except for the push-pull knob on the tone control which is a bit resistant, I found nothing in its construction that would suggest that it is a budget guitar.


Why did I like the Burns Cobra guitar?

I will sum it up as following… The Burns Cobra has the qualities of a Stratocaster without the annoying little flaws that always made hesitate to buy one. I would even say that it brings some little extra. Let’s be clear though, I’m not talking about the Stratocasters from the U.S. custom shop blah blah, right? I’m talking in comparison to the affordable Fender, and Squier Strats.

First, the Tri-Sonic pickups are just awesome. I didn’t perform any measure but it seems that the output level of this pickups is significantly higher than the output of standard Strat single coil pickups. What I’m certain of is that the Tri-Sonic deliver a tone with more body, and punchier than most single coil pickups. It is very obvious on the bridge pickup position. Its tone is clearer yet edgy with more midrange frequencies in it. The overall tone remains in the Strat style but a Strat under steroids!

Then, the wiring of the guitar is special, and includes some interesting possibilities that I liked despite some redundancies :

  • Push position : 1- bridge PU, 2-bridgle/middle PUs, 3-middle PU, 4-middle/neck PUs, 5- neck PU
  • Pull position  :  1-bridge/neck PUs in series, 2-bridge/middle/neck PUs in series, 3 & 4-middle/neck PUs in series, 5- neck PU

Last, the vibrato of the Burns Cobra is just awesome for such a budget guitar. It is a vintage style vibrato attached to the body with 3 screws instead of the usual 6 but it is set as slightly floating (notice that you can do that with a standard strat too). Except if you play the vibrato like crazy (i.e. this is not a Floyd Rose trem), you will be surprised by how well the guitar stays in tune even after intense use. I don’t know if the reason is that the guitar was perfectly set or because the vibrato is particularly good though. Anyway it was a very pleasant surprise, and it opens a lot of possibilities.

Well to be clear, I found my Stratocaster like, and since then I am really enjoying it. The Burns Cobra is obviously not made for every genres of music but it inherited the versatile character of its model. It perfectly handles effects thanks to the Tri-Sonic pickups, and I’m guessing that the Burns Cobra could do well on many genres. I dig it especially for funky rhythms, abrasive rock riffs, and melodic licks that require a more subtle tone (well at least what my big fingers allow me to do in terms of subtle melodies…)

For more information about the Burns Cobras specs, please check Burns Guitars website.

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