Peerless Retromatic P3 [hard tail model] (Peerless, Korea, 2013)

Scale Length: 628mm / 24.75 inches
No. of Frets: 22
Hardware: Hard Tail with t-o-m bridge, die-cast tuners
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Neck: Maple
Pickup Peerless humbucker (bridge), P-90 single coil (neck) (designed by Matt Gleeson of Monty's Guitars, London),
Guitar Body: Mahogany Maple Laminate
Circuitry: Master volume and tone, 3-way pickup selector, 6-position Varitone.

Total Guitar gave the following 4 star review for the Stetsbar version of the P3, so I have cut out the bits that refer to the Stetsbar. twangCORP currently has a Stetsbar P3 available in a separate listing (

'With a market dominated by the same old brands and - for the most part - the same old guitars, it's getting increasingly rare for a non-heritage company to take too many risks. And that's why this Peerless' Korean-made single-cut P3 semi is such a welcome change. Built like an ES-335 but slightly smaller, it's a bigger fish than a Les Paul but not so small that it puts off jazzers, especially when played seated. Still, while it does jazz very nicely, like the ES-335 (which was originally conceived as a 'jazz' guitar), it's far more versatile. [twangCORP NOTE: the back of the guitar is slightly arched, unlike a Les Paul, which makes it particularly comfortable].

'The P3 is also a rather nice player, with a chunky shouldered C-shaped neck, very tidy medium jumbo fretwire and mother-of-pearl inlays. Overall, it's a bit on the weighty side, but aside from that and some rather spongy feeling tuners and extra-large Retromatic logo'd truss rod cover, there's little to dislike.

'Aside from the usual volume and tone controls, we have a Varitone, an old passive (no batteries) circuit that offers five filtered sounds via its six positions: fully anti-clockwise, it has no effect on the pickup's output. Again, if that's not your bag, go for the P2 (£699) or the P1 (£599), which both sport just a single humbucker at the bridge.

'Speaking of the pickups, these are made by Peerless in Korea but designed by ace repairman and pickup specialist Matt Gleeson. It's little surprise, then, that plugged in, we're in for a bit of a treat. After your EMG-loaded shred machine, this P3 will sound positively weedy, but turn up your amp controls and a lovely clarity emerges, spikier on the bridge pickup, beautifully clean and mellow from that neck-placed single coil.

'Clean, the Varitone options sound almost effected; fully clockwise, there's a usable electro-acoustic voice, while the other positions sound a little peaky and nasal - they're great with a phaser, though! Try the same experiments with a crunchy amp, however, especially with retro effects such as analogue delay, tremolo and fuzz, and these filter settings take on a new textural dimension. ...and while the semi nature might lack the midrange clout of, say, a Les Paul, the width and openness of the sound is impressive.'

To that I might add that it has proved a VERY versatile and comfortable studio guitar, with the combination of p90 and Varitone covering so many bases.


Light studio use only.

  • RATING = B+ (Very little usage)
  • SOLD