Hartung is one of those brands I have been meaning to try for a while. Frank Hartung’s designs are unique, plus according to an interview I read, he learned partially from Ulrich Teuffel, whose guitars I love. After scouring forums for reviews/NGD threads & asking dozens of fellow gearwhores who have attended guitar shows in Europe about Hartung’s work, everyone seemed pleased with his instruments --- so I went ahead and purchased this Hartung Caligo from a friend of mine. That being said, one thing that gave me a bit of anxiety before purchasing is that there aren’t really many people who have had the chance to try the Caligo model, so I couldn’t find much information about this model specifically.
The workmanship on this guitar is as good, if not better than other luthiers & brands charging similar prices. Unlike some luthiers, the nut is very cleanly installed, with no excess glue. The neck pocket is also tight and free of deformations that you typically see with a lot of wannabe boutique brands.
The flamed maple wood insert is done very well, again, no glue residue anywhere which you would probably see on most “boutique” guitars. The headstock is done well.
The finish is very cool & similar to that on the Teuffel stuff. Its not as textures though, which was surprising.
Tonally, this guitar is great and exhibits all the qualities of what well-made boutique instruments should. This sounds snappier with a faster attack than most guitars in this style due to the 25.8” scale length plus neck joint. Now, fair warning, I am a metal guy and maybe not the best judge of what constitutes a good mid-gain/low-gain tone, but this seems to do that fine. In terms of a metal tone, if you are looking for a super refined sounding modern metal guitar, this is not it. If you want a more open, less compressed, tone like you can get from a hotter PAF equipped guitar, then this will do that great. I personally love that PAF on steroids sound for my bridge tones, so I’m happy! The neck pickup isn’t quite what I go for, I usually put a BKP VHII in all my guitars neck position because they sound great for neoclassical style leads and the clean/midgain stuff.
Ergonomically, this guitar is quite comfy, it does aggravate my shoulder issue, but almost every guitar bugs my shoulder other than Teuffel/Strandberg, so it’s not the luthier’s fault. I play in classic position with guitars resting on my left leg if it matters. The cutaway is nice and I can comfortably play on higher frets with ease. The one thing that does bug me is the thicker neck, again, I am used to thinner necks, so this probably is something most people wouldn’t be bothered by.
Now for the best part, PICS!!!!