Most of us pick up the guitar to make a personal statement. It’s our way of saying, “Hey, man, I only know three chords and five recycled blues licks, but I’m special — I’ve got something to say. I am not an animal… I AM HUMAN!”
But if it’s “unique” we’re after, why do so many of us settle for guitars that look the same? You know the ones — red, black, white or sunburst… two humbuckers or three single-coils… a maple neck or maybe rosewood… yawn. (Okay, okay, one or two of you may have guitars with quilted tops, but that doesn’t make you different. It only means you’re a hedge fund manager with a few bucks.) Regardless, all too often guitar players are drawn to a variation on the same theme.
We’re not pointing fingers; we’re often guilty of the same crime. But recently, thanks to Covid-19, we’ve had a little extra time to reflect on our lack of imagination and the error of our ways. It’s also given us plenty of time to dig through the internet. And to our amazement, we’ve discovered a new and wonderful world of interesting — and surprisingly affordable — guitars. Instruments so different, they’ll certainly make your pals sit up and say “Amazeballs!”
The following are some of our favorite online guitar companies, each offering their own intriguing vision. And best of all, they’ll send their six-string wares right to your home… virus free.
Established in 2001, Eastwood’s modus operandi is to create instruments that not only evoke or replicate rare classic looks and vintage sounds, but to offer them at reasonable prices. Founded by Michael Robinson, the company produces more than an astounding 250 models, and their regular customers include famous guitar super nerds like Jack White, Foo Fighters, Robyn Hitchcock, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and John Fogerty.
“We’ve built up a large international following of like-minded people that desire something other than the Fender-Gibson sound, or perhaps never liked the Fender Gibson sound in the first place,” laughs Robinson. “They usually become loyal customers because of two things: Even though our guitars are weird, they exceed people’s expectations, and we make the online buying experience easy.”
Part of what makes Eastwood unique is that they sell all their guitars exclusively online. With so many different models, Robinson says it’d be impossible to do it any other way. “Even if Guitar Center carried 12 of our guitars, it would only scratch the surface of our inventory,” he says.
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