A Gallery of Ghoulish Guitars
by Michele Christopher
Guitarists tend to be a pretty conservative bunch.
Before you jump to any conclusions, listen to me. Look at the popular guitars through history. There hasn't been a whole lot of change in their shapes over time, has there? We get some different paint here and there, but guitarists tend to like the tried and true.
Keeping with the theme of the upcoming ghoulish holiday, I'm going to celebrate some of the more unique guitar styles that have been produced. Rock music has always had an affinity for the macabre, gothic, and downright evil, so I present 10 Ghoulish Guitars:
1. The B.C. Rich Warlock
Come on. You knew this one had to be number one. How many "evil" bands have you seen play these? King Diamond, Merciful Fate, Slayer, GWAR … the list continues. It wasn't the first evil-looking guitar, but it has definitely become the gold standard of them.
2. The J. Frog Skull and Bones guitar
The first time you saw this guitar was in the video for Dokken’s "Dream Warriors" from the Nightmare on Elm Street 3 soundtrack. Most people think that this guitar was made by ESP, and they did in fact produce a look-alike model. But the real Skull and Bones guitar is made by JFrog and is sold through Ed Roman Guitars (too lazy to hotlink … Google it beeyotches). Anyway, George Lynch was under an endorsement contract with ESP and when they shot the "Dream Warriors" video, he had to swap out the neck on the guitar. Hence the confusion.
One damn cool guitar though.
3. Jackson Roswell Rhodes guitar
The Roswell Rhodes is a twist on Jackson’s popular Randy Rhodes-style V guitar. The V itself is probably one of the top 3 "evil" guitars played in rock and metal, but this takes it a step further by using "alien" imagery. The inlays on the fretboard are crop circles and the this guitar is plated with aircraft aluminum to give it an otherworldly look. The tuners are LSR gearless precision tuners making it look all that much more different.
4. Gibon SG
The original "evil" guitar. Bands such as Black Sabbath and AC/DC are primarily responsible for the SG’s place as the original six-string symbol of all that is rotten. When originally introduced in 1961 it was supposed to be a replacement for the original Les Paul. The SG bore the name "Les Paul" for that year, but in 1962, after Les Paul's contract with Gibson lapsed, they changed the name to SG (for solid guitar).
The double cutaway gives the guitar a bat-wing appearance. And, as we all know, those flying rodent creatures of the night are just plain evil.
5. Abstract Guitars Pagan Gothic
Perhaps derivative of the SG, this modern monster is a true ghoulish delight. It is made by Ed Roman guitars and is sold with the coffin case which helps the image, of course. There are also non-gothic models of this guitar offered, but I do think this one looks most wicked.
6. Schecter S-1 Devil Tribal
This guitar, as far as I can tell, is no longer offered by Schecter. But the basic body shape is still available in their S-1 model. However, you no longer get the evil-looking headstock or this super cool tribal inlay. Not in their base Diamond series models anyway.
You can see that this guitar borrows a lot from a lot of other guitars. The body size seems very Les Paul influenced, but the double cut horns have a very SG shape to them. The headstock seems influenced by B.C. Rich. But the cool thing about Schecter is that they offered all these cool things, and really good hardware, at a very good price. At least they used to.
7. The Zorax Jackson
I'm not even sure where this guitar came from. It has to have been a custom shop order. But how neat is that? It just looks like some evil alien, fish thingy. Who would even play this? GWAR?
8. Damien Death Cross
Definitely one of the more radical ways to express your Satanic tendencies via lutherie, the Damien Death Cross is another offering from Ed Roman's Abstract Guitars. Certainly plays on themes common among the "evil." You could just picture King Diamond or Slayer throwing down on one of these.
9. Gene Simmons Axe Bass
How can you have a list of ghoulish guitars and not include the Axe bass? Luthier Steve Carr created the bass for Simmons and it has become iconic. Truly a symbol of outlandish rock and roll.
10. Heavy metal
So, you thought a fake guitar axe was enough, huh? This guitar was created by knife maker Steve Licata for Ed Roman. Roman claims that he can have custom guitars like this made by Licata starting at an economical $2,500. He says that if he were to price this one, it would go for around $6,000.
Sorry, I don’t need to chop someone’s head off while playing a blazing solo.
Cullen plays an axe and writes daily over here.