Artistic form and innovative function
A couple of news items are bringing attention to something Premier Guitar readers take very seriously: guitar design. There is an art and a science to it and sometimes one element is stronger than the other, but every now and then both come together and history is made.
In anticipation of National Design Week (October 14-20), The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is promoting its National Design Awards, which include the popular People''s Design Award. The PD Award gives people a chance to weigh in on what "good" design is all about. A number of products, graphic design layouts, buildings, etc. are competing for internet votes in a free-for-all competition. Anyone can go to the website and vote. The idea is to recognize and appreciate quality design for what it is -- an intuitive though nebulous concept that doesn''t require you to physically engage with or understand the items in question before voting. Sometimes you can simply look at something, new or old, and know that its design is flawless.
Not surprisingly, some guitars are among the leading vote-getters right now: the Fender Stratocaster, the Fender Telecaster and Prince''s Symbol guitar.
Despite the Telecaster''s revolutionary twang, the guitar''s visual aesthetic was and is notable in its own right. The same goes for the Stratocaster. Its contoured body, pickup switching system and adjustable bridge were welcome innovations for guitar players in the ''50s but non-musicians fell in love with the guitar, too. Sure, the guitars'' deep cutaway is meant to give players easier access to higher frets while reducing overall body weight, but it also contributed to a look that is best described as classic. The Tele and the Strat were bold designs when they were introduced; asymmetrical, yet balanced. They provided iconic imagery that accompanied and then came to represent the progression of blues, country and of course, rock n'' roll. There are a lot of good-sounding guitars out there but no other electrics have imprinted their designs on our collective consciousness in quite the same way.
Prince''s Symbol guitar went where no guitars had gone before. Visually, it is loud and obnoxious to the point of ridiculousness, but it is also elegant and pointedly symbolic in both connotative and denotative ways, playing off the performer''s gender-morphing symbol that became his name. The symbol thing confused fans and critics alike but didn''t deter "the artist" (as he was often called during that period) from making a statement. For him to incorporate it into a guitar -- his musical tool, so to speak -- was very Prince, and was really the whole point. This was a guitar that wasn''t talked about for its tone or playability, although Prince is generally regarded for knowing a thing or two when it comes to infusing tasty guitar licks into popular music. This was a guitar that was meant to make a visual statement -- most people would agree that it indeed accomplished just that. That it is being considered for a People’s Design Award alongside the Strat and the Tele is extremely intriguing.
Another guitar in the media spotlight right now is the De Villain Centerfold, a folding guitar with windable strings designed by Fredrik Johansson, a Swedish pilot who was tired of the hassles that come with taking a normal-sized guitar on a plane. Unlike other travel guitars that are simply small-scale instruments or body-less versions of a playable neck-to-bridge contraption, the De Villain solves the size problem by literally folding in half. The strings wind around a coil that you crank. It locks back into place upon unfolding. The entire unfolding/cranking process takes 20 seconds.
Its ability to stay in tune and sustain a note like a solidbody should raise immediate questions but Johansson claims his guitar can do both.
The folding design has been attempted by more guitar manufacturers than are willing to admit it. Achieving the functions of being both a playable, good-sounding guitar and a portable guitar is no easy task, but Johansson might be on to something. He has improved his design many times and the end result is getting a lot of publicity, especially with high-end gadget sites like Gizmodo and coolest-gadgets.com.
The big question is whether a guitar that folds in half can pass muster with serious guitarists who value tone over a clever idea. For $3370, you can buy one and find out yourself.
For more information:
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.