An eye-popping gallery of radically reimagined guitars.


Matt West
Sometimes hot-rodding a guitar makes it look <em>less</em> showy, as with Matt West’s customized Carparelli S4. “It was a decent Les Paul-style guitar, but I wanted to improve its looks,” says West. “The original had moderate-output generic humbuckers and all gold accessories, which looked too gaudy against the red quilted-maple top. I bought handwound pickups and replaced all the gold hardware with black.” The new tailpiece and roller bridge are solid brass. The new tuners are Sperzels. Even the screws are black. “The new handwound Carparelli pickups scream at full volume, growl at medium volume, and mellow out nicely at low volume,” observes Matt. He replaced the original pots with push/pull units with switches that split the pickups’ coils.

Throughout the year we collect stories and photos of guitar-mod projects created by you, our dear readers. Some are so inspiring that we include them here in our annual Hot Rod issue.

Catalinbread Element Series Overdrive, Distortion & Fuzz Demos PG Plays

Watch John Bohlinger test out the range and roar of these high-quality, sweet-spot boxes.

Read MoreShow less

All-new Artist-Series DynIR collection featuring 7 cabinets captured at MoonSun Studios in Laval, under veteran Capture Master, Andy Cherna (Diffusion Audio).
Read MoreShow less

Welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll have a look at a special Stratocaster wiring that’s known as the Ricky King wiring. Born in 1946, Ricky King is a well-known German instrumental guitarist who was very popular in Europe during the ’70s and ’80s, with some top-charting hits like “Verde,” “Le Rêve,” “Mare,” and “Hale, Hey Louise.” King, whose real name is Hans Lingenfelder, was also famous for his “toothpaste smile” when performing. I don’t think Ricky King was very popular in the United States, but his personal Stratocaster wiring is an interesting one, so I think you’ll have fun with this.

Read MoreShow less

Sick of hauling hefty amps? Here are a handful of solid options.

Whether you need watts to power a real-life cab or just real-amp sounds, these stomps are guaranteed to make your next load-in a whole lot easier.

Read MoreShow less