Official literature from the G Sharp Instrument Company, based in Norway, proudly proclaims, “You’re in for a new experience in sound and design!” It may be a bold announcement, but these uniquely conceived guitars definitely offer something new for jaded guitarists.
After being asked for several years to design his own electric guitar, guitarist and luthier Øivin Fjeld – still the only certified Fender repairman in Norway – finally set out to do just that in 1997. However, it was clear from the start that he didn’t want to copy “the big two.” Instead, Øivin had a specific sound in his head that he wanted to achieve, and it became apparent that to create that timbre, he would have to build a short-scale instrument with a higher tuning.
By the time his design reached a production- ready stage in 2006, the guitar had a scale length of 20.87” (530 mm), and featured a body and neck made of mahogany and a maple fingerboard. Though tested in a variety of tunings, Øivin eventually stumbled across the G# tuning that became the guitar’s namesake. “When we tuned the guitar to G#, that sound in my head finally came true,” he says happily.
The G# tuning (G#, D#, B, F#, C#, G#) is equivalent to placing a capo on the fourth fret of a regular guitar, but due to the nature of the guitar’s design it sounds totally different – imparting tremendous sustain to your sound. A visit to the G# website reveals plenty of testimonials to that fact. “It finds its own place in an ensemble and adds something quite unique to the blend of guitars,” says guitarist Miles Gilderdales. “It’s not a 12-string thing, and it’s not a mandolin thing, but it definitely affects the spread of the sound.”
Øivin says that people frequently ask if they have to learn to play differently when they hear the term G# guitar, but since the intervals between the strings are the same as on a regular guitar, the same chords are used, making it a no-brainer for guitarists looking to expand their sonic range.
The G# guitar incorporates a floating bridge to allow for intonation adjustments when different string gauges or tunings are used. The tailpiece is also located in such a way as to provide high string pressure on the bridge, keeping everything playing smoothly. The tuners have an 18:1 ratio to allow for precise tuning and the guitar features a bone nut. For those who aren’t satisfied with a stock G# guitar, the near future holds the release of add-ons, such as the LAP/SLIDE kit, a dual action vibrato unit and an acoustic bridge. Each add-on will be easy to install, and will not require modification of the guitar itself.
Popular response from trade shows and exhibitions has been very positive, reports Øivin, and they’ve been successful in getting the G# guitar into the hands of some high-profile players. Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore, Scotty Moore, Doyle Bramhall II and Albert Lee are just a few of the players who have added the G# to their arsenal.
|Body: solid mahogany
Neck: mahogany, neckthrough-body
Fretboard: maple, rosewood option
Neck/body joint: 15th fret
Scale: 20.87” (530 mm)
Total length: 29.5” (750 mm)
Frets: 18, medium size
Binding: white plastic
|Tailpiece: steel (specially designed location)
Trussrod: two-way, adjustable through “soundhole”
Tuners: diecast, 18:1
Pickup: single coil , 6.5K resistance
Colours: Natural Mahogany, Black, Wine Red, Sunburst, Antique White
Tuning: G#, D#, B, F#, C#, G#
Gig bag included
Available in left-handed configuration
To learn more about the G#, visit visit g-sharpguitar.com