Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Review & Prices

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Review
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  • From Fender's 2012 Artist series
  • Tim Armstrong Signature
  • Made in China
  • 12 strings
  • 25.3"'' scale
  • 11.81" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid Mahogany top
  • Laminated Mahogany back
  • Laminated Mahogany sides
  • Maple neck
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fishman CD Preamp (Preamp/Passive)
  • Walnut bridge
  • Acoustic C Shape Set neck
  • 19 Vintage frets
  • Vintage-Style with Aged White Plastic Buttons tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 72
Sound 79
Build quality 72
Value for money 84
Overall Score 74
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String
  • Expensive Wood
  • NuBone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Electronics
  • NuBone Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $600, which means that the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String is around 17% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 12 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Videos

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Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String meets 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not bad for beginners, but it could be better. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's 25.3" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Scale Length Comparison
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale, but slightly shorter than what's commonly found in acoustic guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, strings will feel stiff and more difficult to bend, but the tone will feel brighter. It will also be less likely to produce fret buzzing and rattling when strumming hard.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Neck Profile
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String has a 11.81" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's fretboard radius compared to others

The main advantage of an 11.81-inches fretboard radius guitar is that it provides more room for the fingers to move around on the fretboard. This can be especially helpful for players with large hands or who want to use wide vibrato techniques. Additionally, the increased radius can make string bends easier to execute.

A disadvantage of this type of guitar is that it can be more difficult to control when playing at high speeds; some players may find that their hands “slide off” the fretboard more easily. Additionally, guitars with a larger radius may require higher action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) in order to avoid buzzing sounds when fretted notes are played.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.3'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.77'' Nut Width
11.81'' Fretboard Radius
25.6'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.89'' Nut Width
15.748'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Nut Width
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Nut Width

The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String has a nut width of 45mm (1.77''). This is considered a narrow width for a 12-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String Fret Size Comparison
Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String's frets are Vintage size. This is one of the shortest fret sizes you can find. Most modern guitar players prefer taller frets because it's easier to bend and press down the strings. However, some people love the feeling of a small fret that lets them feel the fretboard while playing. We recommend newbies choose a taller size for an easier experience.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 65
Playability 72

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Top, Back, Sides
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Walnut wood pattern used for guitar building
Walnut Fretboard

Mahogany Top, Back and Sides: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Walnut Fretboard: It's a hard wood with a chocolate color that is often used to give an elegant finish. Since it's quite expensive and rare, it's mostly used for guitar tops.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fishman. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Sound Score

Sustain 75
Versatility 70
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 79

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Walnut: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String has a NuBone nut. It's a synthetic nut from the same creators of Ivory TUSQ. It's a hard and self-lubricating material that helps a lot with tuning stability. It produces a brighter tone similar to TUSQ, but it's not as hard.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 76
Features 85
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 72

All Specs

Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12 String
General
Brand: Fender
Year: 2012
Configuration:
Strings: 12
Made in: China
Series: Artist
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid Mahogany
Bridge: Walnut
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Vintage-Style with Aged White Plastic Buttons
Fretboard: Walnut
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: Hellcat and Double Skulls
Scale Size: 25.3"
Shape: Acoustic C Shape
Frets: 19 Vintage
Fretboard Radius: 11.81"
Nut: NuBone
Nut Width: 45mm (1.77'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Fishman CD Preamp (Preamp / Passive)

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