Monday, 29 August 2011

New guitars from the resurrected Musicvox company include the (soon to be renamed) Strataspear guitar and bass
I'm so pleased to see that Musicvox guitars are back. They were ... are (I should say) one of the few companies producing original innovative guitar designs and not content to endlessly re-hash the tried and tested designs of 50 years ago like some companies and copyists we could mention.

We recently looked at a "New Old Stock" Musicvox Space Cadet 12-string bass but today I want to focus on a couple of their new models.

As you can see in the above photo, this new Musicvox is a slim arrow-shaped - or spear-shaped - beastie called, appropriately enough, the "Strataspear". EXCEPT, Musicvox are going to have to change the name because of the objections of a certain American guitar giant. That is, the same company who in the 1980s objected to some forward thinking headless, graphite-constructed guitars and basses going by the name of "Strata", and who forced that company to change their name to "Status". So, forget the name "Strataspear", for these guitars will soon be renamed (but don't forget the name Musicvox!).

The S*****spear guitar is of through-neck construction with an easy-access full two octave fingerboard. The guitar is strung through the body for enhanced sustain and has locking tuners for tuning stability. It is equipped with three pickups: hum-cancelling single coils in bridge and neck positions and mini-humbucker in the middle. (It's interesting that after I was questioning why more guitars don't adopt the S/H/S pickup configuration last week, along comes another guitar with that exact pickup layout!)

The controls are simple: 5-position pickup selector and a stacked pot for volume and tone. That's about as uncluttered as you can get without dispensing with controls altogether, and I do like this no-nonsense approach. Sure, with some guitars you have individual volumes and tones for each pickup, but there's so much fiddling around involved in such a set-up. You can spend days searching the precise positions to give you that optimum tone, but isn't it better to keep it simple and let your fingers and your playing dictate the tone you achieve?

And bass players don't miss out either, for there is also the Musicvox S*****spear Bass with 2-octave through-neck, powerful 8-pole MusicMan-esque bass pickup, 3-position switch for pole switching, stacked pot for volume and tone...

Both guitar and bass are available via the Musicvox website priced at $849 and $899 respectively. Alternatively you might like to bid on either the S*****spear guitar or bass currently listed on eBay. There is a reserve on each auction, but who knows, you could end up with a bargain.

G L Wilson

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