Source: Music Mart
Date: 10 April 2003
Reviewer: Justin Dean
The Gus template for guitar design is certainly a step to the left-side of the norm, and the new G1 Seven is even further out there. Stunning looks and low-down harmonic power are enough to get Justin Dean interested, but would it make him want to part with £2k+?
My first encounter with Gus Guitars was at the recent Music Live show at the NEC. Their stand was one of those you just couldn't get near - mainly due to people salivating over the fabulous, space-age guitars on display, so I was quite excited when I found out I was to review one. Gus guitars are British designed and built straight outta Sussex and are one man's mission to give guitar design a boot up the arse.
Simon Farmer has spent ten years designing guitars, and the G1 Seven is the latest of his peculiar visions (the G1 range also covers hard tail, vibrato, baritone and MIDI guitars!). All Gus instruments are custom made to order, which means there are numerous options available on hardware and finish.
As the name suggests, the G1 Seven is the seven-string model in the range. That should please the Korn fans out there, although I don't know many 18 year-olds who could afford this! The guitar has got to be one of the most striking I've ever seen, and for this reason it has been dubbed 'the marmite guitar'. Everyone who has seen it at my studio has one of two reactions, either 'yuck, what's that thing' or 'wow, where and how much'. It has been likened to a ray gun, a fifties car (!?) and plenty of other things that can't be mentioned in a family magazine. A lot of this comment is due to the chrome tubing, which is bolted onto the body. It is these that definitely set it apart from other guitars aesthetically. As well as giving it a sci-fi, machinelike look, The tubing is also quite functional in that it protects the edge of the guitar body from knocks, thus preventing dents and scratches.
Paint the town
The body, neck and headstock are constructed from one piece of carbon fibre moulded over Western Red Cedar wood which has been finished with metallic paint - this changes colour depending on which direction the light source is (think TVR Tuscan), It reminded me of those nasty T-shirts you could get in the Eighties which changed colour with temperature, revealing that, indeed, you are a sweaty b*****d (I loved that shirt - Ed). Fortunately, Gus can give it a custom finish for an extra £I00, and some of the ones I have seen have been pretty good. They range from Jackson Pollock artwork to a vast array of violent colours - I don't think Sunburst is an option here. Moving on, the fingerboard is made from Cocobolo and is 24 frets, 12" radius and has been finished to a high standard. Strings are spaced at 10.5mm centre to centre and feel just right for getting your fingers around all seven of them. At the business end, the pickups are of Gus' own design, and built specifically for the seven Strings, and are essentially humbuckers with an Alnico and ceramic magnet construction. Selection is via a three-way rotary and a master tone control which incorporates a single coil mode switch, which does exactly as it states and changes the sound between humbucker and single coil! Last of all is a volume rotary for controlling overall output level. All controls sit nicely in the body and are in-keeping with the overall design.
In use the G1 Seven is well balanced despite its weight (there's about a ton of chrome, remember), and feels pretty comfortable when standing up. In a sitting position the chrome bumper makes a fine rest, but it's worth remembering chrome is a good heat conductor, so if the guitar’s been in a cold room you might get a bit of a shock if you rest your bare arm on it. The playability of this instrument is spot on - i.e. once you get going you can't put it down. The best guitars are always the ones you can't put down, and this certainly falls into that category. The fun really starts when you crank it up through a Marshall Stack.
The controls allow a range of six tones from the thick Gibson-esque humbucker sound to the attack of the neck pick-up and in-between. Through a distortion box, that seventh string can really let you produce some seriously heavy riffage. At this point, tune to C Korn fans, and the, G1 Seven will grunt its vile way through barre chords aplenty. Back in the real world though, this guitar is a real joy to play, and can be used to produce a range of sounds to suit a multitude of musical styles.
Some days I get into work, look at this guitar and think it's horrible. Other days I get it straight out the case and fall in love with it all over again. The thing is I just can't decide, and if you’re faced with paying £2470 that isn't a good thing, but then you could have the custom paint job and maybe... My personal view of this guitar is that it would suit me down to the ground in the studio, but I wouldn't want to be seen in public with it. There are those out there who will love its full-on looks, as part of buying a guitar is about it suiting the players' image. I could really imagine the Cyber/Goth crowd (you know, Nine Inch Nails fans) going for this, but not me, I'm just too trad, dad. I can't knock the construction or the way it plays at all though. It's fantastic on both counts, a true, rock solid performer. It's all down to the individual in the end, and that is what the G1 Seven trades on, individuality. So if you want to stand out from the crowd this would be the guitar for you.
Copyright Music Mart ©2003. Used by kind permission of Music Mart.