Monday, 15 April 2013

Stump Preacher - weird headless travel guitar - Made in the USA
This Stump Preacher guitar is a weird looking critter, the weird name is rather strangely appropriate for this lumpy-looking headless design with its tuners proudly radiating around the front of the guitar body. You'd probably want a back-up instrument if this was your main stage guitar, because I can't imagine string changes are very quick to achieve. To access the tuner posts you need to open up the body which splits in half.

I remember seeing these guitars online several years ago, but the Stump Preacher website has long since vanished so I guess that the company is no longer a going concern. It also means that it's difficult to find out details of these guitars, but the seller of this example tells us that:
The one-piece body of this guitar begins with an internal core with properties similar to those of wood. This core is then wrapped with carbon fiber composite. The density can of this internal core can also be adjusted to produce different tone and sustain characteristics. [...] The neck is made of the same epoxy/graphite composite material used in snowboards, and the body is a high-impact polyurethane found on car bumpers. The only lumber to be found on the guitar is on its fret board.
This particular example is is finished in purple, but other Stump Preachers featured graphic designs which were "...actually molded into the body of the guitar between the composite and outermost layer so it won't just scratch off."

Currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1,500.

G L Wilson

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  1. It reminds me of a frenchman called Eric Faivre who, in the 80's was buiding guitars with a poating table underneath that gave his instruments a very lively sound and feel.By rhat time he was experimenting with carbon fibre etc in order to make a quicker and cheaper version of his invention. I don't know what he became after that but I tried one of his guitars and it felt and sounded fantastic. If anyone knows more...

  2. I forgot to say that, if my souvenirs are right, the french luthier LEDUC used his patent (floating table) or something similar on some models (basses if I remember well)

  3. I visited Stump Preacher guitars once when I lived in Seattle (13-15 years ago). I spent an hour or two with the company foreman (let's call him - I don't know what his actual title was), discussing his guitars, luthier to luthier. I had no experience with plastics, so it was an interesting visit for me. There was only the one guy working there at that moment, and if they had any other employees, there certainly weren't many. You'd be surprised at how few luthiers, or employees of any stripe, there actually are at some rather big name companies, and building enough instruments to meet the world demand. I've visited more than a few small guitar factories often to find only one or two people doing all of the work.

    I don't have much of particular import to report about the visit. I do recall the guy saying that the company owner came up with the concept, and then he had to spend a great deal of time making it workable. In particular, they were having trouble initially getting the guitars to stay in tune. Also, they were originally going to have non-adjustable necks but the foreman insisted on a trussrod, as he felt different amounts of relief were needed for different playing styles. Seems a bit picky to me for what is essentially a novelty instrument. Definitely some cool looking stuff came out of there though. They would make an instrument using any bizarre fabric you could find at the fabric store.

    I don't think they ever really got off the ground though. That's an old story, that happens a lot in the guitar business. Guitar players are ridiculously conservative. They too often depend on their expensive, name brand equipment to make up for a lack of talent. Therefore, if it's not a Gibson or a Fender nobody wants it. That attitude is definitely changing, though. Personally, I think a unique hand made instrument is much cooler than a computer-made factory job.

    1. I totally agree with you. If you have big bucks to spend on an instrument go for a good luthier.Many all around the world NEED to work and they will build you an instrument that will be a part of yourself for a life time (or more)and the price won't be as high as certain G or F custom shop models.I'm not saying that G & F guitars are bad, just that they are not the only ones and that there's no reason why they should rule the guitar world as they do...



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