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This article was originally published in issue #57
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I first was made aware of this local company through friends of mine who were always talking about the amazing setups, guitar restorations and custom build work that Dave does in his workshop. I had played several friends custom builds and even seen players such as Jess Lewis and Guthrie Govan using Eternal Guitars on YouTube videos.
Superb build quality
Constructed using the finest woods
Wide tonal capabilities
One is unlikely to be enough
See detailed specifications within the review
Eternal Guitars Arista S-Type
MSRP £TBC (UK) $TBC (US)
In this issue of Guitar Interactive Magazine, Sam Bell takes an opportunity to review one of his custom-made guitars from UK builders Eternal Guitars named 'Arista.’ Here's some history behind this fine S-Type and Sam's involvement in its creation.
Based in the South Coast of the UK, Eternal Guitars have been building high-quality custom-built guitars and hand-wound pickups (Hot Rod Pickups) all from one site. Eternal has built guitars that have been used by the likes of YouTube sensations Guthrie Govan and Jess Lewis. Many top session players and guitarists in the know have been using Eternal Guitars/ Hot Rod Pickups and their services for a long time now. I have been proudly using Eternal Guitars for over 2 years now.
I first was made aware of this local company through friends of mine who were always talking about the amazing setups, guitar restorations and custom build work that Dave does in his workshop. I had played several friends custom builds and even seen players such as Jess Lewis and Guthrie Govan using Eternal Guitars on YouTube videos. I knew everything about the company was of the highest quality so one day whilst popping into the workshop to have some custom pickups fitted in one of my Ibanez’s I picked up a surf green s-type of the wall… When I started playing guitar (at the age of 6) I had always loved s-type guitars and the guitarists that were famous for using them, when I picked up this surf green guitar a light bulb went on. I had re-found the sound, feel and curiosity that I had left behind so many years ago. I took that guitar home that very day! After playing this guitar for a while (and still playing it to this day!) I was curious about getting a custom build, an S-Type with a humbucker in the bridge, maybe a few modern tweaks but with the classic Eternal Guitar’s relic design, from that moment my custom guitar Arista was born. Let’s take a look at the detailed specs.
Neck: Maple shaft with extended neck heel. C-profile shape, compound 9.5”- 12” radius rosewood slab fingerboard, 22 jumbo Stainless Steel frets with clay dot markers and Luminlay side dots.
Nut: Width: 42mm
Body: One-piece ash
Finish: Aged Shell Pink nitrocellulose. Tinted lacquer on neck with secret sauce on the back of neck and matching headstock - all lightly worn to taste.
Scratchplate: Parchment three-ply with Parchment Single Coil covers and knobs, all aged to compliment the paintwork.
Hardware: Aged steel block Callaham vintage spec. vibrato with Tremol-No and Kluson tuners.
Electrics: Three hand-wound, calibrated and aged ‘Hot Rods’ pickups: two ‘Timeless’ single-coils and the bespoke ‘Shape-Shifter’ humbucker. CRL 5-way switch, Push/Push pot to split the ‘bucker, Orange Drop Capacitor, CTS pots, Switchcraft output jack and cloth shielded hook-up wire.
Nut: Hand cut bone
First of all be sure to check out the video portion of this feature for sounds and my clips on my own Instagram and Youtube. Including this specific clip of me performing my tune ‘Carry You’ live in the LickLibrary/Guitar Interactive Studio:
This guitar is one of the most versatile guitars I have ever owned, it has the classic s-type sound with the neck and middle ‘Timeless’ single coils which are full sounding and cutting. You can also conjure up Van Halen like tones with the ‘Shapeshifter’ humbucker in the bridge position. The pickups have been voiced carefully along with the body/neck woods, this is something that Dave, of course, has supreme knowledge of, one of the great things about having a build from him, is that he really listens to what you want from your custom guitar and knows exactly the best way of getting the result. I have never had so many compliments on my tone in my playing life since using this guitar live and in the studio.
The thick C shaped neck features a compound radius, which means the higher up the neck the flatter the frets get for more technical playing in the upper register, whilst lower down the neck the radius is a tad smaller making chordal playing in the lower register feel natural. The stainless steel frets make the neck not only look amazing but also feel great for bending, intonation with the added bonus of long-term durability. The body has been contoured around the neck joint to make the access up to the 22nd fret feel natural without any right angles getting in the way. This guitar feels both classic and completely modern at the same time, the best of both worlds!
Why not? I asked for it! Dave was very happy to go with it and the result I think is stunning. You should definitely check out the Eternal Guitars Website and Facebook pages for pictures of other finishes and builds they have done! Eternal Guitars do their own in-house paint jobs using Nitrocellulose paint which when put under relic treatment, ages fantastically and cracks just like classic guitars used to. However, if you aren’t looking for that kind of thing then Eternal Guitars also excel at really polished paint jobs! I personally really like the aged look, especially as a travelling session musician myself I find the aged finish a peace of mind when I am transporting my guitars around and using them thoroughly. I know that it’s only going to start looking better the more I use it! (Please note this doesn’t mean I throw my guitars around! I just use them... a lot!)
Once again, be sure to check out the Eternal Guitars Website and Facebook in the links below this article. I honestly love my custom builds from Eternal. Even if you are not looking for a custom build, in particular, I would highly recommend checking out their services even if it’s just for their legendary fret jobs and setups. Or if you own a special vintage guitar that you want to refurbish, Dave is your man!