A Semi-Hollow model with twin humbuckers and Brazilian rosewood appointments.
Clips recorded using Fryette S.A.S. distortion pedal, Fender Pro Junior amp, Planet Waves Custom Pro cables, and Apogee Duet into GarageBand.
When Matthew Artinger established his namesake guitar company in 1997, he was just 19 and fresh from an apprenticeship with a local master cabinetmaker. Since then, the Pennsylvania-based luthier has built a line of hollow, semi-hollow, and solidbody guitars based on designs that blend traditional feel and tone with aesthetic features like dramatic body curves and carves, and wooden pickup covers and control knobs. In his one-man shop, Artinger currently makes between 30 and 40 guitars per year. We spent some quality time with one of these instruments—a Semi-Hollow model with twin humbuckers and Brazilian rosewood appointments.
Hybrid Construction and Impeccable Craftsmanship
The construction of Artinger’s Semi-Hollow unites design concepts from Gibson’s ES-335 and Les Paul—specifically the latter guitar’s use of a maple cap. In the case of the Artinger Semi-Hollow, the body is made from a chambered piece of solid mahogany that’s capped with a thin piece of solid carved maple. This resonant combination is affixed to a carbon fiber-reinforced mahogany neck that feels especially stable.
The Artinger’s tonewoods are something special. The big-leaf maple cap is tiger-striped and eye-catching, but not overly dramatic or flashy. The mahogany neck and back have a tight, beautiful grain pattern. But the Brazilian rosewood used for the Semi-Hollow’s fretboard, headplate, truss-rod cover, tailpiece, control knobs, and even toggle-switch tip is the most striking wood, with its swirling chocolate figuring. I only wish that the Brazilian had been used on the pickup surrounds as well, instead of black plastic.
Accessories on our Semi-Hollow are premium stuff too. The gold Gotoh 510 tuners are smooth and precise, and the Gotoh bridge is an upgrade from a standard Tune-o-matic-style bridge. A Dunlop Flush Mount Straplok system is also included.
The ornamentation on our Semi-Hollow is pretty and tasteful. The fretboard has micro-dot position markers that are shifted toward the player below the 12th fret and toward the treble side above it. There are pearl dots on the side of the fretboard, and the neck has ivoroid binding that also appears on the top of the body, the headstock, and the two cat-eye-style soundholes. Paua abalone trim on the edges of the neck and headstock is cool, if just shy of excessive, while a Brazilian rosewood heel cap is a nice and subtle detail.
Craftsmanship on the Semi-Hollow is absolutely top-notch. The catalyzed acrylic finish is totally flawless and handrubbed to a luxurious gloss. The fretwork and the string slots on the bone nut and metal saddles are similarly meticulous. The only thing even approaching a flaw that I could find was just a hint of roughness on the body interior where the mahogany had been routed.
Great Feel and Killer Sounds
When I first took our Semi-Hollow from its big Cedar Creek case, I was pleased to find it light at just 6.85 pounds. I gave both the headstock and bridge a little tap and they resonated noticeably—a clue that this would be a toneful guitar.
Hanging on my shoulders, the Semi- Hollow felt balanced and comfortable. It also felt very compact, especially compared to Gretsch semi-hollowbodies or an ES-335, which is a full 2" wider.
The neck has an inviting medium-sized C profile, and with its 25" scale, 12" radius, and smooth, low action, the guitar can feel like it’s playing itself. It takes very little effort to traverse the neck playing single-note lines or barre chords along its length. The guitar feels just a little tight for bending, but that’s certainly attributable to its .011 set of strings.
Unplugged, the Semi-Hollow has a colorful and echoic character, thanks to its chambered construction and wooden tailpiece. The sound is warm and at times, unmistakably mahogany-like, with a little extra snap that’s likely attributable to the maple top.
Running through a Fender Pro Junior, our Semi-Hollow—equipped with twin Seymour Duncan ’59 humbuckers that can be coil tapped—offered a broad spectrum of killer tones. On the neck humbucker, the Artinger is rich and open sounding, which called for some blues-rock meandering— especially with an overdrive pedal in the mix. And rolling back the tone and volume conjured a harmonically rich jazz tone that was perfect for some Wes Montgomery chordal fatness.
But the Semi-Hollow also has a rude side. The bridge humbucker has a penetrating tone that will cut and command attention for fierce rock soloing and driving, forceful rhythm work. No matter how aggressively I picked or set up the amp, the chambered body and maple/mahogany combination contributed a woody resonance, while single notes remained crisp and articulate.
The Semi-Hollow would be a remarkable guitar on the strength of its humbucking sounds alone. But the coil-tapping capabilities are a big bonus. By tapping both coils and using various pickup combinations, each alone or together, I was able to get sounds that were almost Fender-like in the manner of Ernie Isley, but with some of the hollowbody color of Leo Nocentelli’s funk moves.
If you’re a semi-hollow aficionado searching for a guitar that departs from the traditional templates, you should definitely check out an Artinger Semi-Hollow. This guitar looks, feels, and sounds awesome. The mahogany back and maple top tonewood combination gives the Artinger an expansive range of colorful and detailed tones. It’s lighter and tonally more diverse than a standard semi, and its Brazilian-rosewood components reflect a design sensibility you don’t often see on offerings from major manufacturers. And at around $5000, this completely handmade guitar isn’t that much more than a lot of big builder’s high-end offerings.
you’re in the market for a serious, professional, and capable semihollow that deviates from the norm.
you’re a traditionalist when it comes to guitar design, or your billfold is a little thin right now.
Street $4990 - Artinger Custom Guitars - artingerguitar.com
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.