With more highly skilled luthiers at work than ever before, ours is a golden age of the electric guitar. Presenting superbly crafted electric guitars as fine art, this beautifully photographed book gives 125 master luthiers from 15 countries the spotlight — artisans who have custom-built instruments for the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Steve Miller, Billy F. Gibbons, George Benson, Kirk Hammett, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. From the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930s to its development in the 1960s to present-day innovations, Electrified is a lovingly detailed look at these beautifully produced instruments . . . and the talented people who make them.
Robert Shaw's engaging and informative text offers richly detailed portraits of these modern master builders and is complemented by more than 250 color photos of their jaw-dropping work, many of them reproduced full-page. All but a handful of the guitars in the book have been built within the last five years, so it offers a spectacular overview of the current state of the art. Electrified is a must-have for every guitarist.
Among the contemporary master builders profiled in the book are:
• The Benedek brothers of Budapest, Hungary, who taught themselves how to craft every part of a guitar because they could not afford the rare and expensive American instruments they coveted while growing up behind the Iron Curtain.
• John Bolin, who has collaborated with Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top on more than 200 unique (and often outrageous-looking) guitars and basses and has also custom-built more than 120 instruments for Steve Miller.
• Michael DeTemple, a former professional guitar, banjo, and mandolin player whose Spirit Series guitars bring classic '50s designs to unprecedented levels of technical and sonic refinement.
• Roger Giffin, who worked on guitars for Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Mark Knopfler, and other British rock stars before coming to the US to head Gibson's first custom shop and now hand builds his own elegant designs in Oregon.
• William Jeffrey Jones, a Missouri sculptor who hand carves figural and ornamental designs into his guitars' bodies and headstocks, which he shapes from local woods such as walnut, maple, and sassafras.
• John Page, the founding foreman of the legendary Fender Custom Shop, who is now creating functional art-furniture as well as what he describes as the instruments " I always wanted to build."
-Claudia and Claudio Pagelli, a Swiss husband/wife team who recently built an extravagantly over-the-top guitar decorated with 60,000 Swarovski diamond crystals.
--Larry Robinson, one of the leading inlay artists in the world, whose remarkable work, done entirely by hand, has graced instruments by dozens of top luthiers and guitar companies, including Martin, Fender, and Fujigen. --Juha Ruokangas of Finland, who uses local materials like moose shinbone and Arctic birch in his meticulously crafted instruments and speaks for all independent builders when he describes his work as "purely a labor of love."
• Ulrich Teuffel, a former industrial designer from Germany who has completely redefined the visual and sonic possibilities of the electric guitar and whose headless "birdfish" model also dispenses with a conventional body.
• James Trussart, a Paris native and former professional fiddler whose "Rustomatic" finishes are created by leaving the stamped metal bodies of his guitars outside his southern California shop to corrode.