Guitar Design Reviews

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Guitar design; combining a Vox Teardrop/Phantom with a Flying Vee – remix

I’m another of that sort that wonders about guitar design… and I’ve been percolating on the Guitar Design Reviews previous notion of combining a Vox Teardrop/Phantom with a Flying Vee, with added top bouts (‘horns’). With no offense intended, I began to consider how I might have attacked the problem. Eight or ten hours later I had two versions worth looking at. Here’s how they came to be.

Vox TearDrop and Phantom originals
Vox TearDrop and Phantom originals

I dug up a pic of the actual Jetsons-era originals, and sat and looked at the Duality and Trinity for a while. There are a couple little things that bugged me about them. They’re effectively the same guitar, minus the Vee cut and the beveling of the top bass bout. (The “Arm Bout” in my system). The Teardrop shape is there, even advanced by a forward thrust, but I couldn’t make myself love your ‘horns’, and I think this is why…

First, there is the fact that the two horns are so diverse… I think they would be easier to graft into another ‘body’ if they were more similar. Self-referentiality is the hallmark of a ‘whole’ design, in any thing, like a car even. Looking at the Voxes, one sees a beefy, round sort of motif, and I would probably have made the top horn a good bit fatter… there’s room, and it shouldn’t compromise ergonomics up there. More like the weight of the tip of the headstock.

The bottom ‘pistol grip‘ one looks like a bit of a leg-biter, and somehow, probably because the body is so like a nudibranch (sea slug), it reminds me of a Siphon on a Nautilus or a squid or something. Not that that’s necessarily bad on its face, but it’s just so different from the other. Additionally the variance between the curves on the ‘headward’ sides tends to make three bodies into four joined ideas, and three was plenty.

So I set about it from scratch, and did the blue VeerDrop first… as the more rounded original is really the more signature, plectrum-shaped model. One of the first things I noticed that the originals both have high-register access problems, so I also ‘italicized’ the body forward in order to minimize the intrusion there. This also generally gives any guitar a forward-looking, revitalized feel that is rarely bad in a rework. I call forward-slanted bodies “Avid” types, as they seem excited to get at it.

The VeerDrop Guitar
The VeerDrop Guitar, click for larger image

Next came the Vee cut, and I felt that maybe yours was slightly timid if we’re really going to end up suggesting a Vee, so I did a more severe cut, but softened, to accentuate the ‘liquid’ feel of a Drop. Then I used that fleshy, ‘porpoise-full’ idea for the tips of my ‘Horns’. You’ll notice I kept the horns well back from the neck-joint area, and this was to allow the teardrop shape to stay pronounced at both ends. I gave them a bit of a curve to animate them somewhat… I tried to mimic the splashes one sees in high-speed films of drops in a pan. Since we were stuffing these two models together I thought I’d go to a three-by-three Vee’s ‘Arrowhead’ look, which was also leaned forward, but heavier on the bottom, to reflect the old Vox’s bulk there. Tricky it was.

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I also decided to round the body considerably, to keep things wet-looking, and used a teardrop ‘guts cover/pg’ and fluid Gotoh tuners, an oval face-jack and some ‘watery’ fretmarkers to keep the ‘hydraulic’ theme intact throughout. The Blueburst fade also enhances the illusion of a teardrop. Overall, I think it satisfies the parameters.

The Quadrom Guitar
The Quadrom Guitar, click for larger image

The green ‘Quadrom‘ used effectively the same sequence of design decisions, but I tried to incorporate the more angular feel of the ‘lumpy’ Phantom. The original is smaller at the tail, which is its main theme, but I reverted to the standard ‘bigger at the butt end’ because A). I feel the original squishes the controls into an uncomfortable area needlessly, and B), precludes adding a Vee influence. So mostly what I kept was the way its body-curves bend abruptly. I do a lot of angular designs, just to see what I can make to ‘work’.

By bevelling the whole ‘drop’ shape and keeping the ‘horn’s a bit thinner it keeps its Vee shape together, while they perform their functions, in a less-intrusive way. But they mimic the pointier ‘vee’ tail-cut on this one.The two guitars are really quite similar but seem very disparate, which goes to show how just the sharpness of turn on the body’s outline can give a very different feel. Because the body bend is more severe, I did a 4×2 headstock, which gives a more downward-tilt at the nose. (I really dig this headstock BTW…) The fretmarkers and plate are also sharpened, and the squarer Schaller tuner keys all go to a more metallic, modern zeitgeist. The pickups on each are really just suggestions, obviously three square single-coils is truer, but I just wanted to see something else.

I believe I’d be much more drawn to the green one, The Quadrom, as I tend to gravitate to more modern things. Naturally the rest of you will probably like the other one, who knows. But there they are, feel free to comment or inquire. Until next time, Kerry Kruger.

4 thoughts on “Guitar design; combining a Vox Teardrop/Phantom with a Flying Vee – remix

  1. When Music Man made the Bongo, I was impressed and totally dug it. Now you give us these two gems, and I am once more pleased to no end. I look forward to seeing them at my local music store in the near future.

    1. Yes Dean is/are down here, up Tampa way. I wrote them once several years ago, but got no reply…I’d doubt there’s any real call for another designer there, Mr. Z knocks them out pretty prolifically himself. Truth is we have fairly different audiences in mind. And frankly,
      guitar companies seem to have a real love/hate relationship with paying people for ‘ideas’.
      (though my outlines at least are digitized for CNC)
      But hey, anybody that wants to work on my stuff should contact me either way!
      Thanks for the Ups.

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