Family-built by Brian May and his father, the Red Special has been reproduced several times by brands like Guild and Burns since the eighties. In 2006, May created ‘Brian May Guitars’ to market his own take on the ‘Old lady’. Loaded with three Burns Tri-sonic pups, it’s a great quality instrument for $800.
One of Fender’s prototype at NAMM 2012 this winter was the Fender Voyager. Designed by former Charvel master builder Josh Hurt, the Voyager has their pickups hidden below the pickguard, just like on the original Fender Marauder
Marc Bolan’s Les Paul was a FrankenPaul. It was built out of several LPs from different eras. Its whereabouts are unknown, but Gibson believed its last state to be a 50s Les Paul body with a 70s LP Custom neck. That’s on these specs that they built the Custom Shop Marc Bolan signature Les Paul. Of course, its a limited run of 100, on top of which another 350 VOS have been produced.
Gibson EB bass series was very popular, but getting old. They freshened up in 1973 with the release of two basses that would clash with the Gibson tradition: The Gibson Grabber and the Gibson Ripper.
Instead of the Mahogany body, the Ripper was built with Maple (and alder in 1975), woods usually found on a Fender Production line. The bass was kept at low cost by keeping it cosmetically basic. In 2009, Gibson released a limited edition reissue called the Gibson Ripper II.
The name Byrdland is a mashup of the names of Billy Bird and Hank Garland the two guitarists who participated in its design. They had requested a short scale archtop that would be less bulky than the traditional hollowbody, and this is basically what they got: A short-scale thinline L5CES.
P90s, PAF pickups, venetian or florentine cutaway, the Gibson Byrdland went through several phases, but was always seen as a remarkable and prized instrument. Some of Gibson’s finest. Hear it
Made in Japan as part of the G series, the G-40V uniqueness comes from its triple coil pickup. Push buttons allow to switch each coil on or off. If you’re interested in hearing how it sounds, one of these rare birds is currently for sale on ebay.
Before Casio came into play, Roland had no real competiton in the Midi guitar market. A total of five models were made by the japanese brand, all at the famous Fuji-Gen factory were Fender and Ibanez models were also produced.
The Casio PG-380 established Casio’s superiority over Roland. Like all the other Casio models, the PG-380 is a superstrat stuffed with loads of electronics; so many in fact the designers had to give up the contoured ‘beer gut’ typical to the stratocaster body. Hear some bits
Jewel of versatility, the the Carvin DC-150 is Gibsonesque only in appearances. Each pickup can be turned to single coils via a mini-switch, and a third mini switch acts as a phase inverter. Combined with stereo output, imagine all possibilities… Hear it.
Both DC-150C (blonde) and DC-150C (black) were exclusively made out of maple. An optional ebony fretboard was eventually offered. In 2002, Carvin reintroduced the DC-150 with a lot of changes that turned it officially into a Gibson clone: New pickups, rounder body shape, mahogany / maple top construction, no mini-switches, 22 frets.
This sumptuous Gretsch started its long lasting life as the “Electro II cutaway” and was offered in Sunburst (6192) and Natural (6193). It was then renamed “Country Club” in 1954 and a Cadillac Green option was added (6196). DeArmond pickups were replaced by Filtertron in 1958. Let’s forgive whoever installed the non-original bigsby on this 1956 model, it looks splendid.
There’s a lot of confusion over the Explorer model of the early eighties. The model went through a chaotic evolution process, changing construction as fast as names. Open any blue book, and you will find those guitars filed alternatively under E/2, CMT, Explorer 2 or The Explorer.
The original E/2 version has a beveled laminated body and, because of its Maple/Walnut pancake construction, turns out as a rather heavy guitar, nearing 12-13lbs. The E/2 CMT (as in Curly Maple Top), more classic in shape and construction, is lighter weight and amazingly good looking. Dirty, Dirty, Dirty Fingers…
Hofner’s holy grail. Rather fatty, its 18” body size is the largest body ever made by Hofner. Mother-of-pearl roses inlays florish through a zero-fret 11 piece laminated neck. Came in three versions (acoustic, electric and thinline).
Sold exclusively in the UK by Selmer, about 100 goldens ended in british homes. The rest of the world had to accomodate with the Hofner 470 model, very similar but smaller in size and with different inlays. If you’re curious, here is a ton of pictures and more details.
G&L Magnetic Field Design (MFD) pickups really shines when combined with Maple. Most nighthawks were made of ash or mahogany, but to this one has a maple body and it sound absolutely fantastic. Despite its heavy weight (10lbs), the killer neck and smoking looks make this Nighthawk bliss to play.
After producing only 269, Leo Fender had to rename the guitar to Skyhawk because of a trademark issue. Hey, Mr. Fender, didn’t it feel like deja-vu?