I'd like to thank Ian Price for the product photography.
PRS Custom 24 Artist Pack
A beautiful guitar in Amber with gold hardware made in 2008. This was made the last year of the Artist Pack before they had to shelve it due apparently to insufficient quantities of quality wood (Though it has since restarted as a more expensive Jr Private stock type program) It was also a rare period where PRS offered Macassar Ebony fretboards. It came with gauge 10 strings and whilst I usually wouldn’t play with strings that thin it just felt right with them so I’ve always left it set up that way.
PRS Custom 24 Brazilian
One of my favourites this was my number one workhorse in my original band until I had my Organic Custom made. It was a limited edition run made by PRS in 2003 and gets its name from the use of rare, Über wood Dalbergia Nigra otherwise known as Brazilian Rosewood. Prized by instrument makers since antiquity it is unfortunately endangered to the point where if spotted on its way through customs it will be impounded until proper CITES permits can show it was logged legally from old growth stumps. Mine is number 273 of 500 and is finished in natural with hybrid nickel/gold hardware and a 10 top. Strung with 11-49’s.
PRS Hollowbody II Artist Pack
A stunning guitar in turquoise made in 2004 . This guitar has gold hardware, ridiculously flamed maple front and back and a piezo system. Over the years Ive played it with slinky strings, thick strings and even nice thick flatwounds and its never disappointed me tone wise. Unlike most other small body electric hollowbodies this is actually hollow (would you believe it?!).
PRS 513 Brazilian
Made in 2006 this was from the first run of the 513 when PRS were crazy enough to release them with a solid Brazilian Rosewood neck and fretboard. The pickup system is extremely versatile but doesn’t nail the contemporary rock as well as the HFS pickups in the Custom 24’s. Makes a hell of a guitar for the classic stuff though and I use it for my Led Zeppelin tribute work.
Ibanez Jem 7bsb
I’ve owned many Jems in the past, all the classics and even the rarest Jem the 77pmc, albeit a ratty example. This one was made in 1996 and I bought it second hand for an outrageously cheap sum and as a wonderful bonus it had been customised by the original owner. The ugly screwhead fret dots had been replaced with high quality abalone. I sold it and immediately regretted it and managed to buy it back and have had it ever since. Not on par with my PRS and Organic guitars to be brutally honest but this is a very characterful guitar that I have a lot of time for.
The first guitar I had personally made for me. I picked every bit of wood myself from the Organic stock’s, specified the amount of frets, pickups to be used, even had completely custom inlays in Ebony and Abalone. There really is nothing like having a guitar built to your specifications like that and I recommend it to anyone. This guitar is the best sounding guitar I own and leant a depth to the harmonically complex music we played in the original band that even the PRS couldn’t match. I put this down to a mixture of the fantastic design, particularly the large tonal transference imbued by the neck joint. Another part is the use of African Padauk for the body which is a much snappier sounding wood than Mahogany. The top is a simply unbelievable piece of Maple which is spalted, flamed, and quilted in places. Such an attractive guitar I was pleasantly surprised to load up my Facebook one day and see my guitar featured on the 70,000 member group guitar porn.
Surely one of the best looking jazz boxes of all time the 175 was named after its $175 price tag which gives you a clue how many years these things have been made (since 1949 if you were wondering). Much like the squid hasn’t evolved in millions of years because it hasn’t had to, the original ES175 has been mostly unchanged over the years. Mine was made in 1992 and isn’t in particularly good condition. It’s suffered a beheading at some point and had the neck break repaired. Still sounds pretty fantastic though.
Organic mono custom
Handmade for a close friend this is the smallest fully hollow electric guitar I’m aware of. Fitted with P90’s it plays wonderfully but admittedly I’ve not bonded with the pickups and plan on replacing them in the future. A rare figured slab of African padouk for the body with a gorgeous Zebrano top make this a real show stopping guitar.
My first Cornford, I bought this when I grew disillusioned with my setup. I was running at the time an ENGL Special Edition, their flagship amp. It was a spaceship with more buttons and settings on the back alone than most amps have in total. To make things worse I was running a GT PRO rack into it and switching both units as one on a 128 patch Midi controller. Possibly the most flexible and powerful setup I could imagine but I felt it was lacking in pure tonal quality and as the band changed I wanted to move away from spacey heavily effects driven prog and run a more back to roots setup. I scouted out Cornford in those dark years before Guthrie Govan was as recognised as he is now and put the company on the map. When the amp arrived and I plugged it in its safe to say I was speechless. Still one of the best sounding amps I’ve ever played, I only upgraded my regular live rig to the MK50 Mkii for the extra versatility it offered.
Cornford MK50 Mk II
Cornfords flagship model, this is possibly the most flexible boutique hand wired amp ever and not a PCB in sight! Pure point to point tone with effectively six (Yes SIX!!) channels, no reverb and headroom that would easily fill the Albert Hall. After closing time at LIMS 2009 I grabbed a bit of time with Guthrie and asked about this amp as I was considering it, he summed it up as a ‘buzzsaw’. Even more so than the Hellcat this amp personifies Cornfords ‘no where to hide tone’ which will deliver you tone you dream of but clarity that will show absolutely any inconsistency in your playing.
Mine is a lovely red colour rather than the classic Cornford Oxblood because it was a special order for a Cornford endorsee (sadly not I) Martin Goulding of Linear Sphere/Guitar Techniques fame. I bought it from him directly and can confirm he is a lovely chap.