A racecar builder uses his engineering know-how to build guitars out of titanium and other metals.
The aircraft-grade steel body on this sleek Firebird-inspired axe has a satin-black paint finish and joins a mahogany neck that’s capped with a rosewood fretboard. It’s dressed with chrome hardware appointments including a Bigsby B5. It’s packed with a pair of active EMGs—an 85 in the bridge and a 60 in the neck for a super-fat sound.
Like the racecars Sheldon Currington builds for a living, his luthier career has taken off fast. He started building his Bad Seed guitars in late 2010, and his very first prototype ended up in the hands of James Hetfield. Later that year, Currington got a call asking him to build two custom guitars for the Metallica frontman—not a bad start at all. “My original idea was to build a metal-body semi-hollow guitar with a one-piece neck-through design to ensure its tone would remain wooden if possible,” says Currington. “It worked so well and I’ve always dreamed of building guitars, so Metallica’s interest in me was all the encouragement I needed.”
Currington, a lifetime guitar player, says the opportunity to incorporate his two passions of fast cars and music is a match made in heaven. He also has an engineering background, and with that comes attention to detail, and experience working with metals, allowing him to produce guitars utilizing not only aircraft-grade steel for the bodies on some of his models, but also titanium.
The luthier says the sonic properties and stability are the biggest benefits of using steel or titanium for guitar bodies, but he maintains that the necks are still the most important part of a player’s personal connection with a guitar. “The necks remain wooden because that’s the first thing a guitarist touches and feels as they play,” says Currington. “To me, the neck has to feel just right, or else the player just won’t bond with it.” Therefore, Bad Seed guitars are built with a one-piece neck-through design to keep the feel of playing a wooden instrument, but with the sonic and visual bonus of the exotic bodies. “I’ve found a relationship between the materials that works so well. The instruments chime with almost piano-like qualities, and because they’re semi-hollow, they also resonate a bit like an acoustic guitar might. So in my opinion, you get the very best of everything.”
When asked why he thinks metal guitars haven’t gone totally mainstream yet, Currington says: “I think metal is a new taste for a traditional modern-day instrument. There is a huge swing at the moment to metal-body guitars for more flamboyant, embellished or expressive guitarists, but I don’t know if the ‘mainstream’ will accept it as the new medium, or just always see it as something interesting. It’s a super difficult material to work with when compared to wood, so it takes a special involvement to get right.”
Currington believes that electronics are just as personal for people as woods and body shapes, but he favors EMG’s latest 57/66 combo for actives and says it’s the most impressive active system he’s yet to hear. For passives, he likes the Seymour Duncan lower-output range in various flavors as a first option.
Beyond the obvious, the luthier contends that the sonic range of his instruments is what sets them apart. “Bad Seed guitars have more attack, more resonance, and more sustain. The exotic materials aren’t just there for fashion—they are functional in every way,” he says. “Bad Seed is also currently the only company in the world producing titanium guitars. That’s kinda cool, too!”
Pricing and Availability
Direct contact through the Bad Seed website is the best way to inquire Currington’s guitars. He is very involved with his clients in designing each guitar, but is adding a semi-custom series to accompany his full-custom guitars—these will be more standardized to make his guitars more accessible. The luthier handbuilds approximately 10 to 12 guitars annually, with the wait time on a custom build is currently around three months, but his semi-customs will be available with an almost “off-the-shelf” turnaround. Pricing for a Bad Seed guitar starts at around $4,500, though Currington says the sky is the limit with the full-custom builds.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.