Guitar Manufacturers - Luthiers & Amp makers
Quick A-Z of some Manufacturers:
The Top 10 Guitars | Best Acoustic Guitar Under $1000 | Bass Guitar Brands
|The Rise of the Electric Guitar
- Innovative Design
The guitar's history mirrors the cultural values, preoccupations, and norms in the United States over time. So, too, does the guitar's design, especially since the development of solid-body guitar construction by the 1950s. Because the sound produced by solid-body electrics does not depend on their shape, makers could experiment with a wider range of guitar designs. This era's seemingly radical instruments echoed the popular cultural focus on space-age modernity. The Fender "Strat" recalled the modern tail fins and imaginative colors of Detroit's cars, while the Gibson Flying V literally appeared ready for takeoff.
| Once the electric guitar had been firmly
established by the 1960s and 1970s, guitar
designs became increasingly distinctive and
reflective of popular music trends. And by the
1980s guitarists were more and more concerned
with the look as well as sound of their
instruments, regarding their guitars as identifying
signatures. Eddie Van Halen decorated his
guitar with colored sticky tape, and Prince has
had guitars of all shapes and colors
custom-created for his stage performances.
Today, makers of electric guitars often emphasize materials, finishes, and overall design as much as the technological aspects of their instruments. Style and craftsmanship are and will continue to be especially important to the marketing success of electric guitars.
| Country musician Junior Brown took the
customization of his guitar a step further. To
solve the problem of switching back and forth
between a Spanish-style electric and a Hawaiian
or lap-steel electric, Brown put the two together
to form a new guitar, the "guit-steel" in 1985
See the Country Music page
- Ralph Novak: Philosophy of the Luthier
article by Dean L. Farley
I first met Ralph Novak in 1980, when he was working at Subway Guitars in Berkeley, California. I'd assembled a kit Strat and it
needed a refret. My monstrosity was painted Shell Pink in tribute to Strats from Fender's surf era. Little did I know what was to
come of Ralph's distant future. He was the fret guru in Berkeley, and his work was astounding - the best I'd ever seen! Ironically,
Vintage Guitar columnist Stephen White was also working at Subway at the time. So began our journey into luthiery madness!
Fast forward to 1989.
In the years since, Novak has built the instruments of choice for the likes of musicians like Charlie Hunter, Phillip De Gruy, Joe Louis Walker, and Henry Kaiser, to name a few. As time passed, he experimented with a variety of design ideas involving the use of non-traditional woods. At times, he was viewed as downright crazy from many a purist's standpoint. But he turned the other cheek, seeking the solutions that would satisfy his own personal playing requirements.
As a guitarist with a complete understanding of the vintage instruments he worked on, Novak wasn't completely comfortable with what any one instrument was capable of delivering. He wanted to combine all the features of his old favorites while adding design twists that would give him everything he was looking for in an electric guitar. This led to the invention of his patented fanned-fret fingerboard, which gives an instrument combined scale lengths.
Read the rest of this article by Dean Farley at the Vintage Guitar site
- (follow this direct link as the article is not linked to from the VG site - thanks Dean!)
Electric guitars have traditionally had two big
measuring sticks in the Fender Stratocaster and the
Gibson Les Paul. These are two traditional designs
that have stood the test of time and won the
respect of guitarists from many genres and
Welcome to FenderWorld
Where music, musicians, great instruments, audio gear and accessories come
The Fender Stratocaster born in the early 1950's in Southern California, and more precisely in Fullerton, near Los Angeles, hometown of the Fender(tm) Musical Instrument Co. Since it's official debut in early 1954, the Fender Stratocaster(tm) has proved to be possibly the most successful electric guitar ever manufactured. Quite a legend in it's own right! The Strat(tm) - as it is affectionately known has to be acknowledged as one of the major landmarks in the history of the guitar. It enjoys a popularity undiminished by time and changing fashions and remains quite clearly a firm favourite among many generations of players, no matter what their style of music.......
Fender Stratocaster 'Tex Mex'
Jimmie Vaughan signature model - $999
In many ways the Fender Stratocaster is the antithesis of the Gibson Les Paul style guitar. The first thing I notice when I sit down to play a Strat style guitar is the fantastic body shape - it's just a perfect fit. The Strat typically has a scale length of 251/2 inches which is considerably more spaced out than the Gibson. While a Gibson has the warm humbucker tone, a vintage Strat tone is thin and sharp, almost cutting. To achieve this there are three single coil pick-ups with staggered coils which equalise the prominence of all the strings. The humbuckers Gibson use are basically two single coils wired parallel to cancel some of the background hum that the Strats suffer from. In doing this however they loose some of the higher frequencies which give the Strat their sharp, jangling tone. The massive Fender scratch plates were originally used to protect their pick-ups from picking up too much background buzz and they've become one of the Stratocaster's most distinctive features. The Strat also has the tremolo bar which the Gibsons lack. For the uninitiated the name 'tremolo' is a bit of a misnomer as the 'whammy' bar actually allows you to pitch bend by tilting the bridge back and stretching the strings while the 'tremolo' effect usually refers to changes in volume.
In 1997, Fender broke
ground in Corona California
to build the largest guitar and
amp factory in history.
The plant is estimated to be
160,000 square feet. In August 1998
the world will see one of the
most sophisticated and
plants ever built in the guitar
See a quick extract of Guitar FAQ!
Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Standard -
The Gibson style guitars generally have shorter stubbier necks, with a 233/4 inch scale length, which suits some but not all. The Les Paul, the quintessential model, boasts twin humbucking pick-ups which effectively reduce noise and produce the thick, warm tone associated with Gibsons. It is difficult not to be impressed by the tradition of Les Paul guitars. No-one will ever convince me there is a better looking guitar style. For under $1000 the Epiphone Les Paul Standard will give you a little bit of the legend to take home and for many that's a good enough reason to buy one. Epiphones are cheaper factory made versions of the Gibson USA range. For those who learn on Gibson style guitars the Les Paul is what all guitars are measured against. more...
Gibson Musical Instruments
Features the legendary product line as well as a collection of online magazines and resources
Here are some recent Epiphone models:
- Epiphone ES 339 - a smaller ES series guitar, a double cutaway, semi-hollowbody thinline.
- Epiphone Ultra 339 - a classic semi-hollow look packed with modern features.
- Epiphone Limited Edition ES 355 - this is the basic model B.B. King's "Lucile" was based on.
- Epiphone Limited Edition ES 345 - an affordable, yet quite respectable, version of the ever popular ES-345.
- Epiphone Ace Frehley Budokan Les Paul Custom - a recreation of the Les Paul Ace Frehley played at the record breaking Budokan KISS concert series.
Ibanez - RG450DX
Ibanez are one of the best known of the more contemporary style guitars with artists such as Satriani and Vai on their books. This particular model, the RG 450 Deluxe, boasts a layout which traditional Fender players will be familiar with, but it's a very different guitar. It is a more compact instrument than the Stratocaster and with two humbuckers separated by a single coil, the pick-up system allows you to create some thick tones. In fact if you play around with the five way selector you can get just about any tone you could want. The body shape is very sharp and clinical and with jagged bolt inlays and the traditional Ibanez pointed headstock the guitar is very recognisably Ibanez. It also features a quality tremolo unit and two full octaves on the fingerboard with wide cutaways for access. This is an excellent alternative to the Gibson or Fender style dichotomy that dominates the market. If you're searching for your own sound, somewhere between the two, it's worth checking out the Ibanez range.
Ibanez - Monstrous Metal Guitars? See Steve Vai & Joe Satriani!
Rickenbaker - History was made with these...
The electric guitar saw its early development in the form of hawaiian guitars. Adolph Rickenbacker made one in 1931 and soon after, Leo Fender and Les Paul began working on making electric guitars of their own. The big acheivement was the electric pick-up which changes the string's vibrations into electricity...
In the early 1960s Rickenbacker history became forever wedded to one of the biggest music upheavals of the 20th century: the invasion of the mop-top Beatles from Liverpool, England. The Beatles used several Rickenbacker models in the early years. Before the group broke up, John Lennon would own at least four. This love affair began in Hamburg, Germany in 1960 when he bought a natural-blonde Model 325 with a Kauffman vibrato. Lennon played the original (which was eventually refinished black but still easily identified by its gold-backed lucite pickguard) on all Beatle recordings and in all concerts until early 1964.
While Paul's Rick bass surged like an undertow, George Harrison's double-bound 360/12 (the second one made by the company) defined a new tone at the other end of the audio spectrum. Its ringing sound embellished "You Can't Do That," "Eight Days a Week," and "A Hard Day's Night," to name just three 12-string cuts from the 1964-65 period. Thus the Beatles created unprecedented, international interest in Rickenbackers, which many fans actually believed came from Britain... (Before 1964 all Rickenbacker guitars had been made at the original Electro String factory in Los Angeles. That year Hall moved it over a six month period to Santa Ana, in nearby Orange County. )
The Vox Show Room shows the classic amps behind the British Explosion of sound in the 60's. VOX, at one time was one of the largest musical instrument producers in the world and their products were utilized by almost every major music group during the nineteen sixties. From The Shadows to The Beatles to U2, VOX is the "voice" of generations of musicians worldwide.
Augustino Lo Prinzi Guitars - Augustine Lo Prinzi has made more than 10,000 guitars and just started his 49th year as a guitar maker! Renowned throughout the instrument making field, Augustino LoPrinzi's first instruments were classic guitars. As his career progressed he constructed many types of string instruments, numbering in the thousands : mandolins, lutes, violins, and steel string guitars, to list but a few. Now he is applying these years of wisdom to his first love, the classic guitar, which began his journey into instrument making.
|Chabot Guitars - Paul Chabot used to offer quality hand made Classical guitars (Colorado, USA) "Paul first apprenticed und er guitar maker / repairman Robert Buchanan, where he became familiar with the aspects of guitar repair, and guitar refinishing. Furthering his ability and knowledge, Paul attended Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery where he learned the basics of wood, instrument design and guitar making.||
Not long after graduating from Roberto-Venn, Paul was fortunate enough to apprentice under world renowned Master guitar maker Augustino Lo Prinzi. Through Augustino Lo Prinzi, Paul was able to learn some of the most proven methods and advanced techni
ques of fine guitar making."
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Wait - There's much more!
See which manufacturers made the Top 5 Electric Guitar Brands list.
Something to please your neighbors when you practice? Silent Guitars
See makers 2 for:
Martin, Manne, Jackson, Harpers, ESP,
Rainsong, Washburn, Wechter, Ampeg, VOX and more...
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