In a world where many instruments are similar, there are still classic guitars that stand apart…
It’s pretty much an accepted truth that with their earliest designs, both Gibson and Fender created instruments that are pretty close to perfection. This is supported by the fact that these guitars are all but unchanged today.
In a sense, this has disguised the fact there are plenty of more unusual, but nonetheless, classic guitars out there.
Here are five of them…
Let’s face it- when you think ‘Gibson’, you generally think ‘Les Paul’ or ‘SG’. Most would never think of the Nighthawk, and that’s a real shame…
Though it could be said that this guitar owes a debt to it’s rather well known ancestor (well, which guitar doesn’t?), the Gibson Nighthawk is a very different beast. The single-cut design and flamed maple top are reminiscent of the Les Paul, but with a tighter waist and sharper lower bout.
The shape and pickup configuration is indicative of the adventurous period of guitar design in the ‘90s into which the Nighthawk was born. The 3-pickup version employed a humbucker, single-coil, humbucker arrangement, with coil-tapping allowing for a huge array of tones.
A cursory glance at the Fender Coronado usually inspires thoughts about what you could sell to buy one. Then, you might think it looks familiar; maybe like an early Rickenbacker…? This is because former Rick designer, Roger Rossmeisl, designed the Coronado in ’65.
It’s an absolute stunner, and a real hidden gem in Fender’s back catalogue. Hollow bodied, with ‘F’ holes, and twin pickups, De-Armond pickups it looked great, and played better.
The recently released version retains these stunning looks with a semi-hollow maple body, with alder central block, and dual Fideli’tron pickups.
Fender Bass VI
The Fender Bass VI is a truly strange thing. Sized like a baritone, it is stung with bass strings, but tuned to an octave below standard guitar tuning. So, it looks and plays like a guitar, but with bass strings, and bass-like tuning.
You can use it as a bass, for the lowest power chords you’ve ever heard, or tune it a touch higher, and play it like a baritone.
There are few reissues that aroused guitarist’s interest as much as this one. The affordable Squier Bass VI sent the Internet into apoplexy…
The Starcaster is something of a cult instrument. Originally conceived in the ‘70s as a move into the semi-hollow, thinline guitar market, production ceased in the early ‘80s. Over the years, it has gathered some devoted acolytes (Jonny greenwood of Radiohead included).
The body is constructed from maple, with a solid central block, like the Coronado. Here, the body shape has a slightly asymmetrical shape, however. Twin wide-range humbuckers were equipped, with a classic maple bolt-on neck and unique Starcaster headstock.
This was recently reissued as part of number of new Fender Modern Player models.
The Squier Supersonic was part of a short-lived range of guitars produced in the late ‘90s- the Venus Range. These unique guitars had unusual, offset bodies, reminiscent of classic Fenders, yet completely unique. It was said to have been inspired by Hendrix’s playing of a Stratocaster upside down.
The original was equipped with Seymour Duncan pickups, with a canted (slanted) bridge pickup.
This original has become a bit of a cult hit among classic guitars. So much so, that recently, Fender reissued the model, but this time branded ‘Fender, under the ‘Pawn Shop’ range. The pickups are both canted this time, and are Fender Atomic models rather than Seymour Duncans, but the guitar has lost none of its ample charms…