Most signature guitars are Fairly ‘Normal’, but some have some the weirdest idiosyncrasies…
When signature guitars are conceived, such as in the case of the excellent Farida Artist Designed range, they’re often a result of an artists particular tastes for certain aspects of guitar design. The result is a great instrument, finely tuned to a particular approach, but one that is usually reasonably conservative.
However, occasionally, a signature guitar appears that is a bit bonkers, in one way or another. Now, I’m not talking about the type that is just a silly shape, I’m talking about the type that has a feature, or features that just make stare in disbelief.
Here are three such guitars…
Gibson Ace Frehley Les Paul Budokan
Aside from the triple DiMarzio pickup config, you might think this is a fairly conventional Les Paul. And in many ways it is- it copies the spec of the guitar Frehley used when playing Kiss’s legendary sell-out of the Budokan theatre in Japan, including the 4-piece mahogany body.
This detail extends to the guitars peculiar wiring, however. Despite having three, perfectly functional pickups, only the bridge pickup is wired in.
Well, if you’re handy with a soldering iron…
Fender Jimi Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster
Is there a more axe in the world of signature guitars than a Jimi Hendrix Tribute? Possibly not, but there’s a minor problem- Jimi played a right handed Fender Strat left-handed.
‘No-problem’ said Fender, ‘we’ll just reverse it for the right handers’. So, the instrument created was a strange thing, with a left-handed body, reversed bridge, scratchplate, jack socket and neck, but strung as a ‘righty’. And, to add to the oddity, all of the logos and text on the headstock were mirrored.
Perhaps it was done so that, when you looked in a mirror, you could pretend you were Jimi….?
Fender Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein
Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat was the result of the legendary guitarist’s quest to find his perfect instrument. At the time, there was nothing commercially available that fitted what the great man wanted exactly. Essentially, he wanted to combine his favourite aspects of a Stratocaster and a Les Paul.
The result was a bit of a ‘cut and shut’ combo of a boogie body, Strat style neck, and a beefy humbucker. As a ‘home-build’, it looked a bit, well… DIY. The kindest thing you could say is that it had a ‘face that only a mother could love’. 😉
However, Fender decided to build 300 exact replicas of this iconic guitar, down to the last detail. Yes, those are cigarette burns, and yes, that is a quarter screwed to the body next to the bridge. In fact, Fender hunted down 300 quarters with the year 1971 (the same as Eddie’s own- 1972 quarters just don’t have the same tone… 😉 ). And, yes, those are reflectors on the reverse.
I even heard a rumour that the cases for these curiosities were made to smell of stale cigarettes for authenticity. These were $25k when ‘new’. You can expect to pay a lot more now if you can find one…
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.