Miscellaneous Rumbles

Oddly-Shapped Guitars You Find Strangely Appealing

76

Don’t tell Trini.

77

I find it interesting how even a small change in shape or curve can change a guitar from gorgeous to homely in my eyes. The classic contours of Gretsch and Gibson guitars, and those modelled on them (Epiphone, Heritage, D'Angelico, D'Acquisto, Robelli) almost always look beautiful to me --- with certain exceptions (Moderne, Explorer, the Beast, etc.) whereas I've never seen a Guild electric that didn't look somehow off, despite their reputation as excellent guitars. Their acoustics, on the other hand, usually look perfect.

And there are some guitars whose take on their inspiration are subtly different in ways that completely ruin the design for me. Gibson's ES-175 (and ES-295) is one of those guitars that just looks right. Epiphone's original version of the 295 had the same curvalicious shape, but then went out of production for a few years, and when it re-emerged, the cutaway was different --- open a bit wider for better upper fret access, I assume --- but completely ruined the aesthetic for me. And Epiphone's version of the ES-175 is even worse, with a flattened bottom in addition to the mis-shapen cutaway. I couldn't own one, no matter how well it played or how good it sounded. And it's puzzling, because my Peerless built Epiphone Sorrento has exactly the same shape as the 175, and its contours are perfect, so it's not like they COULDN'T match the shape correctly. Were they afraid that matching too closely would cut into the sales of the pricier Gibsons? Dunno, don't care. I likes what I likes, I does, and don't see the point in analyzing it too closely.

78

I find it interesting how even a small change in shape or curve can change a guitar from gorgeous to homely in my eyes. The classic contours of Gretsch and Gibson guitars, and those modelled on them (Epiphone, Heritage, D'Angelico, D'Acquisto, Robelli) almost always look beautiful to me --- with certain exceptions (Moderne, Explorer, the Beast, etc.) whereas I've never seen a Guild electric that didn't look somehow off, despite their reputation as excellent guitars. Their acoustics, on the other hand, usually look perfect.

And there are some guitars whose take on their inspiration are subtly different in ways that completely ruin the design for me. Gibson's ES-175 (and ES-295) is one of those guitars that just looks right. Epiphone's original version of the 295 had the same curvalicious shape, but then went out of production for a few years, and when it re-emerged, the cutaway was different --- open a bit wider for better upper fret access, I assume --- but completely ruined the aesthetic for me. And Epiphone's version of the ES-175 is even worse, with a flattened bottom in addition to the mis-shapen cutaway. I couldn't own one, no matter how well it played or how good it sounded. And it's puzzling, because my Peerless built Epiphone Sorrento has exactly the same shape as the 175, and its contours are perfect, so it's not like they COULDN'T match the shape correctly. Were they afraid that matching too closely would cut into the sales of the pricier Gibsons? Dunno, don't care. I likes what I likes, I does, and don't see the point in analyzing it too closely.

– Parabar

Totally agree. I've seen recent reissues of classic era 175 and 295s from Gibson that just aren't right shape wise...a bit squarish at the lower bout. Even that subtle difference bugs me...they just don't look as curvy as my '56 175.

Speaking of which it bugs me that the cutaway on all modern Gretsch 16" archtops is the same (they use the 1960- one) even thought the cutaway shape changed a few times between '55 and '60. I do appreciate it must be difficult to accurately reproduce guitars from a company that liked to change appointments all the time though!

80

I'm astounded that no Paul Bigsby desgns have appeared yet!

81

Hallmark Batwing!

– seadevil

82

You’ll poke your eye out.

83

1956 Carvin 3-SGB:

84

You guys are wearin' me out.

I mentioned Bigsby (and the Magnatone) guitars up-thread. Neither work for me. In both cases, it's not the shape so much as the gingerbread appointments. After all, it's hard to say a Bigsby looks wrong for a solidbody electric guitar - when it was kinda the template for the solidbody electric guitar.

Gotta put the 50s Carvins in same wrong-shaped boat. Or, rather...they kinda missed the right-shaped boat. Their failure to rise to anywhere near the sales and stature of the Big Three - despite having got an early start, right there in So Cal - could well be down to design.

The Batwing certainly abominates, but it's all in good fun...and I like the Futura, though not enough to have to have one.

I think something Mosritelike came up earlier in the thread; gotta confess, I didn't come to terms with its reverse-Strat body, crowned headstock, and skewed neckpup position till last year. I now see the charm, but seeing only followed on hearing - and understanding - the distinctive character of the tone. Any guitar that lends itself equally well to badass surftwang and In-a-Gadda-da-Fuzz has gotta be alright. I'm still not a fan of the German carve, but forgive Roger Rossmeisl for it only on the basis of his having designed the immortal Ric 620 cresting wave.

Also, just to poke the hive, the 620 (and its design derivatives) and the 4000-series bass are the only Rickenbackers that look right. The rest are oddly-shaped - though the 360 is OK enough. Can't argue with the tone of the 12-strings, and rockers like John Kay, Paul Kantner, et al found a grit and grind in the 6-string which recommend it to me.

Also also, not that it matters, I've come to give most single-cut Florentine cutaway hollowbodies a pass simply for their similarity to the 175 and 295, because you can't argue with those guitars' tone, and, thus, legacy. Like Parabar, though, I'm sensitive to those replicants and near-clones which get the overall shapes wrong, and especially when they further hollow the cutaway out to make it wider or, perish the thought, pointier.

If I got a 295, though, the flower pickguard would come off before I even played it. (However, we're talking about shapes...not adornments.)

85

I used to think that an electric guitar should merely be some sort of beam with a fretboard and strings, pickup(s), tuning devices and that's it (I somewhat changed my mind since). The Steinburger headless was close to the concept, but I could not afford it at that time, so I made do with a copy.

86

As Cort was distributed by Davitt-Hanser, out of Cincinnati, we sold them in the music store in Ohio. I thought they were pretty good, so far as that concept went. Seemed well enough made, played well, sounded good. Ish.

They had a headless Strat in the same series, and I owned that one for awhile. I liked it - but no better than a Strat Strat, so off it went.

87

double dolphin, A little heavy but a great player. Signed Lace Sensor pups, hand carved body. I'm just pissed I've gotten too old to go out and play electric regularly so I can show off all these cool guitars that now fill my closets.

89

I dig the Dolphin...not so much the Octo!

90

Proteus said: "Can't argue with the tone of the 12-strings, and rockers like John Kay, Paul Kantner, et al found a grit and grind in the 6-string which recommend it to me."

Not to pick nits, but I saw Paul Kantner many times with both the Airplane, KBC Band and Jefferson Starship, and even hung out with him backstage when my band was on the same bill with his at a big festival, and I've never once seen him take a 6 string guitar of any kind onstage. He was a live-icated 12-stringer from way back.

Now, John Fogerty, on the other hand, did play a Rickenbacker 6 string in the early days of Creedence (I'm pretty sure the first album with "Suzie Q" was a 6 string Ric). And I think Peter Buck of R.E.M. played both 6 and 12 string Rics. And Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, of course.

91

That's a reasonable nit to pick. Thanks for the detail. His crunchy-bright sound was crucial to Airplane's energy; if I ever knew it was a 12-string, I'd forgotten. Maybe my confusion is because under crunch, the Ric 12 doesn't do that Byrdjangle thing.

92

Meanwhile, betting back to Grimshaws, here's mine - an SS Deluxe.

More about Grimshaws here. They are pretty well made guitars, although this one needed some work.

https://guitar.com/guides/d...

93

I'm also a fan of the Martin GT-75

94

Now I’m thinking about the good old Maryland made Micro Fret guitars.

...and the got pretty oddly shaped.

95

You guys are wearin' me out.

I mentioned Bigsby (and the Magnatone) guitars up-thread. Neither work for me. In both cases, it's not the shape so much as the gingerbread appointments. After all, it's hard to say a Bigsby looks wrong for a solidbody electric guitar - when it was kinda the template for the solidbody electric guitar.

Gotta put the 50s Carvins in same wrong-shaped boat. Or, rather...they kinda missed the right-shaped boat. Their failure to rise to anywhere near the sales and stature of the Big Three - despite having got an early start, right there in So Cal - could well be down to design.

The Batwing certainly abominates, but it's all in good fun...and I like the Futura, though not enough to have to have one.

I think something Mosritelike came up earlier in the thread; gotta confess, I didn't come to terms with its reverse-Strat body, crowned headstock, and skewed neckpup position till last year. I now see the charm, but seeing only followed on hearing - and understanding - the distinctive character of the tone. Any guitar that lends itself equally well to badass surftwang and In-a-Gadda-da-Fuzz has gotta be alright. I'm still not a fan of the German carve, but forgive Roger Rossmeisl for it only on the basis of his having designed the immortal Ric 620 cresting wave.

Also, just to poke the hive, the 620 (and its design derivatives) and the 4000-series bass are the only Rickenbackers that look right. The rest are oddly-shaped - though the 360 is OK enough. Can't argue with the tone of the 12-strings, and rockers like John Kay, Paul Kantner, et al found a grit and grind in the 6-string which recommend it to me.

Also also, not that it matters, I've come to give most single-cut Florentine cutaway hollowbodies a pass simply for their similarity to the 175 and 295, because you can't argue with those guitars' tone, and, thus, legacy. Like Parabar, though, I'm sensitive to those replicants and near-clones which get the overall shapes wrong, and especially when they further hollow the cutaway out to make it wider or, perish the thought, pointier.

If I got a 295, though, the flower pickguard would come off before I even played it. (However, we're talking about shapes...not adornments.)

– Proteus

Don’t cover up those horns! I remember the first time I saw a Trini model at Marshall Music in Torrance CA. With the Firebird headstock I thought it looked so cool. Still do. Of course I had NO idea who Trini Lopez was.

96

Well, I didn't cover up the Firebird headstock - which is cool.

97

Permansite, that rocktapus is beyond awesome!

98

Now I’m thinking about the good old Maryland made Micro Fret guitars.

...and the got pretty oddly shaped.

– Bob Howard

I think that last one should be called the Anteater.

99

Some people find them an abomination, but I think Premier scroll guitars are cool as hell.

100

I like that just fine. The shape is well done and the headstock doesn't clash; gotta love the pickups, bowtie bridge, butt-wrapping Bigsby, knobs, and pearloid guard. My only quibble is the double-dot fret markers. (Or, depending on whether there's a single quibble for all the markers or a quibble for each one, my only quibbles are.)


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