The Swedish pop group ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Brighton, UK, with the song "Waterloo". For the contest and for subsequent TV appearances and public appearances around the world, Abba member Björn Ulvaeus played a multi-pointed star-shaped guitar created by Goran Malmberg. Unfortunately, the orignal guitar is now missing, but Malmberg has created this replica for the ABBA Museum in Stockholm.I don't care about ABBA's "pop" credentials, or the (im)practicalities of such a very pointy guitar design, this is one of my favourite iconic guitar designs and along with the John Birch Superyob as played by Slade's Dave Hill it epitomises the whole glam rock era.
Malmberg kindly took some time to tell us about the guitar when I emailed him back in 2008:
I designed the entire guitar shape. The original question from Bjorn was that they liked a guitar in the shape of a star, and I made a few baseline drawings for him to look at. If you look at the shape it is not symmetrical. We have the Gibson guitar "Flying V" and "Explorer" from the time that has "horns" in different directions. A common thing with those guitars along with my star guitar is that it has to serve a practical purpose, therefore the horns are pointing logical directions. The strap has to be fastened in a good balance position. There should be no horn where one has its right arm. There has to be a horn to place tone and volume knobs. So the design issue was to find a design balance that included those features. I have seen copies of the guitar. No criticism, but if the builder does not has a very good picture to make a copy from, he will surely miss the geometric figures behind the design. And the guitar will not show the same harmony as the original.For more see this post.
About the "player" issue, it is just about the same as a Strat with patent number pickups. The body is laminate plywood, for the reason that the edge of the horns should not break. It is all solid as a Strat. Good sustain. However, the guitar main purpose was for image, and even if Bjorn had come "asking" for it as an instrument, there was newer any time for fine tune adjustments.
Speaking of calendars, unfortunately - as some of you may have realised by now - we weren't able to put together a calendar for 2013. I'm sorry, and despite the offer of assistance from one enthusiastic Guitarz reader, I just haven't had the time over the last few months to get my arse into gear and even get the ball rolling in this department. Thanks also to Bertram and David who have been posting solidly these last few weeks whilst I've been out working anti-social hours.
So what have we lined up for 2013? Well, to be honest, I don't know for sure yet, but you can expect even more of the same, i.e. weird and wonderful guitars! We also enjoy seeing your guitars, so if you have any that are that little bit different from the same old guitars we see everywhere else, please get in touch!
G L Wilson
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