A few months ago I wrote two articles about electric guitar headstock design. First of all I showed 5 new all original headstock designs, following that up with 6 more original headstock designs. All these headstock designs were by-products from some work I was doing for a Singapore based guitar company called Stonelake Guitars. I thought some of these designs had merit, while some were kinda crazy but if you look around the production guitars available today these designs still bring something new to the table – originals without looking like they wanted to be Gibson & Fender but couldn’t because of copyright. In a nutshell these designs aren’t different from Fender / Gibson for the sake of it – but because they were designed from the ground up to work for Stonelake Guitars. The design they chose I have kept secret until now. The first of the series of guitars made by Stonelake have now been hand crafted and arrived at the store HQ. The guitars are made to exacting quality standards and as you can see are fully loaded with top of the range hardware to complement their craftsmanship and tonewoods.
Many of the headstock designs were conceived using the shapes already given to me in the letterform of “S” itself. Please see the illustration for this influence. Other headstocks at the time had even stronger “S” influences. Using something from the letterforms or established logo forms of a company is something often done in graphic design and in branding products. (e.g. VW, Calvin Klein, Mazda, LG, MacDonalds, CNN). A company won’t want to introduce lots of new shapes, forms and colours on their products which is confusing to the product band identity. So we get corporate logos, branding and identity. After a short history it all helps make the brand recognisable without the logo even visible. If you look at guitar companies such as Fender, you can probably see a guitar shape and know it’s one of their designs. Likewise many Jackson, Burns and Ibanez guitars are recognisable by their silhouette, even without their signature headstock shapes. At least this would be the case if it wasn’t for all the copyists that infest the guitar industry, but we’ll ignore that fact for now.
Some people have asked what about the piercing in the end of the headstock, was it designed for 7 strings? The answer of course is yes and no, or no and yes! There will be a 7 string in the series but the hole originated by corresponding to the white space in the lower curve of the “S”. Then I remembered lots of guitarists hanging accessories and so on from the guitar headstock, or I thought I remembered that because just now a Google image search shows no such things… Anyway, an accessory dangling hole is now a standard item on personal electronic consumer goods like phones and handheld game devices. People like to put their own flair, personality or customise things they own. The headstock accessory hole gives people an avenue to enjoy this accessorising without defacing or damaging the guitar – so one day if you trade it in it can be like new, just detach your personalisation! Everyone has seen phone charms, keyrings etc and knows the variety and popularity of them. A guitar can handle much bigger ‘charms’ than a phone or key, you could even hang a dream-catcher, wind chime or bird cage from it if you were inclined to and had no taste! Installing a ‘headstock charm’ is not compulsory.
So that’s the news so far of my involvement in the Stonelake Guitars headstock design project. The first of the series has been produced now, the Water Series. A guitar and a bass as you can see. The series will be as follows; water, fire, earth, wind and void. They will share the original headstock as part of their brand and one of the series is going to have a completely new design body, rather than the ‘popular’ shapes like this Water Series have. So please keep an eye on Guitar Design Reviews and Stonelake Guitars for more forthcoming new guitar designs and reviews.