Cool Materials: A New Trend In High-End Guitars?

Is this a sign of things to come?   09-Aug-13

Cool Materials: A New Trend In High-End Guitars?


When guitarists get together, they like to talk about music, guitars, gear, and more than often, they like to lament the changes in the music industry in past twenty years.

It seems like we're not quite as cool as we used to be, us guitarists, but being cool is overrated anyhow. During a (light) drinking session with a few colleagues from other guitar publications and a few PR representatives earlier this year, I almost choked on my Newcastle Brown Ale when someone said "in 50 years, only acoustic guitars will be made from wood, electrics will be made from metal."

It's no shock that there will probably be far more metal-bodied electric guitars in 50 years than there are now, but to have no wooden electrics being produced at all? That's impossible, surely?

It follows a path of logic, we're chopping down the rainforests of this world at an alarming rate, and a number of woods are now protected. Most guitarists agree that in a couple of decades, we might be forced to get used to a lesser quality of wood than what we're used to now, especially as governments in developing countries get a bit more savvy with enforcing laws to protect their rare woods (they've still got a long way to go).

Recently we have seen a trend of high-end, beautiful metal-bodied electrics come to the market. We've even seen acoustic guitars made from carbon fibre.

The most impressive specimen of a metal-bodied guitar I have seen so far is from a company called Bad Seed, who make titanium and steel-bodied guitars.

Given the incredible levels of skill and effort put into producing each guitar, they are actually very reasonably priced guitars, the model I lust after costs around $2000, and I would be happy to place my hand on a bible and swear that it is in the top three guitars I have ever played.

Read our interview with Shedlon, head honcho at Bad Seed, by clicking here

I'm sure if you are a regular Sonic State reader, you'll know the story, the head-builder at the company, Sheldon Currington, builds safety cages for racing cars, and he now uses his skills to build guitars. A number of famous guitarists and influential industry-types have bought his guitars.

VIDEO: James Hetfield Plays His Bad Seed Guitar:

At NAMM 2013, we also saw the re-birth of the Gittler Guitar, an absolute icon in guitar design. The Gittler was originally made around 30 years ago and limited to a very small limited-edition run.

Now they are back in full production, and it's a similar story to Bad Seed. Russ Rubman is the man responsible for bringing Gittler back into production, and he works in the aviation industry. Like Sheldon, he is an engineer, he deals in flawless precision.

VIDEO: Sonic State's Rich Chats To Russ Rubman At NAMM 2013:

It's not just guitars, it's basses too. A company called Stash Stainless Bass has cropped up recently, claiming to make the only 100% stainless steel bass guitar in the world.

Even the neck is made out of stainless steel, and for $3000, this is yet again another high-end guitar made from a material that is not a classic material for guitars.

Steel is not that unusual in the guitar industry, but it certainly isn't common-place. It looks like a great instrument, the body shape is a bit like something Gene Simmons might sport, but we'll let that slide! It's certainly eye-catching.

So where has this trend come from? Who are these clever boffins, with backgrounds in science, who have seen a gap in the market for weird and wonderful high-end guitars?

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