For several years now, the name Hahn is likely to have come up in any conversation about high-end T-style guitars. The man behind the brand, Chihoe Hahn, is a veritable Tele nut, but with a recent move further upriver from his old premises just outside NYC to the picturesque Hudson Valley town of Newburgh, New York, Hahn has also ventured into more original creations, such as this Model 910. Innately “Tele-like” in the broad sense, it’s actually a very different guitar where it counts—and once you plug it in—even if it relies on many upgraded-Tele concepts and constructs to get where it’s going.
As hinted by the stylishly down-swept lower horn, the 910 is really a long way outside T-town once you get in close. Excepting, of course, the bolt-on maple neck with unbound rosewood fretboard, and Hahn’s stylish ivory-lacquered headstock. It’s worth noting, however, that even this is attached with Hahn’s own 0.10” stainless-steel neck plate—and, like any other Hahn I’ve checked out, it’s attached in a neck pocket so tight you can carry the guitar around by the neck even after removing the mounting screws. The neck profile is an extremely comfortable rounded-C that’s .85” deep at the 1st fret, and a hybrid 1 21/32” wide across the bone nut. But it all gets more overtly original once we roll down to the body. Constructed from a single piece of mahogany with a lush, luminous grain, the 2”-deep slab is heavily chambered toward the goal of a versatile semi-hollow-like tone, with the bonus of a light weight of 6.5 lbs. Hahn has taken the 910 on a playful turn with a deep-red top finish set off by a thin white key line around the body’s edge—all achieved with 25 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer resulting in a finish that’s still only .004” thick, which still reveals a lovely, brilliant grain in the guitar’s back and sides.
Another new direction for Hahn involves the winding their own pickups, work done largely by assistant-builder Rob Banta, who crafted a pair of PAF-inspired humbuckers for this 910. Distinguished by their firestripe tortoise-shell tops, black hex poles, and cutaway covers, they’re spec’d toward the lower end of the vintage range with readings of 7.48kΩ bridge and 6.56kΩ neck. Also worth a nod here is Hahn’s in-house “H” bridge, a chopped-T-style cut from a solid billet of cold-rolled steel, then lacquered, and fitted with compensated brass saddles. It can be strung either through-body or top-loaded. The difference, Chihoe tells us, equates to a tighter sound with more bass and lower mids and added harmonic content done through-body, while top-loaded elicits a looser feel with a little less attack—and therefore more perceived sustain—with a more Gibson-like response, which is also potentially better with overdriven tones.
Tested through a Divided by 13 JRT 9/15 combo and a Marshall 2204 head and 2×12 cab, the 910 paid major dividends on its Tele-meets-335 premise. The guitar delivers major clarity and articulation, yet with plenty of meat and warmth behind it, and an airy sparkle that lends body to cleaner jangly and twang styles. Add some gain at either amp, though, and it sings with a muscular authority that never gets muddy or flabby, achieving many of the tricks of a great ES-335, yet with the big low-E “boing” of a 25.5”-scale guitar. Extremely versatile and appealing at every level, the Hahn 910 is a beautiful workhorse that has its own thing going on, and is a lot of guitar at this price.
PRICE $3,400 street
NUT WIDTH 1 21/32” wide, bone
NECK Maple, rounded-C profile
FRETBOARD Rosewood, 25.5” scale, 9.5” radius
FRETS 21 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Gotoh Kluson tuners
BODY 2”-deep mahogany body, heavily chambered
BRIDGE Hahn “H” bridge with compensated T-style saddles (top-loading or through-body)
PICKUPS Two Hahn PAF-style humbuckers with tortoise-shell tops
CONTROLS Master Volume and Tone, 3-way switch
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario .010-.046
WEIGHT 6.5 lbs
KUDOS Outstanding construction quality. Appealingly original styling. Versatile, top-shelf tones.