Exciting news for fans of the '70s Brit-rock super group Be Bop Deluxe and its transcendent guitarist Bill Nelson.
Nelson — who has possibly released more solo albums than anyone on the planet — is partnering with Eastwood Guitars to produce a signature model, the Astroluxe (shown above).
Nelson personally released the news this morning on his Facebook page with the following explanation:
"The prototype of my new signature model guitar, 'The Astroluxe,' made by Eastwood guitars, arrived two days ago, and I've been working with it to assess the instrument and list any changes that might be necessary before it goes into production. The guitar is a semi-acoustic style, non cutaway with a slightly arched top and a single f-hole (which features a grille.) The guitar is fitted with three superb sounding Charlie-Christian-style pickups made by a company called 'Vintage Vibe Guitars.' There are also volume and tone controls for each individual pickup and a master volume control plus a five-way pickup selector lever. The guitar also has a Bigsby vibrato.
"The top of the instrument is finished in a high-gloss cream colour, and the back and sides and neck of the prototype is finished in a deep translucent green. My original idea was for back and sides to be in a solid-gloss smoke grey, but this, for some reason, hasn't been carried out by the factory. The green colour does work well, but we're going to try and get the production models made with my original colour choice. I'm also hoping to get some different control knobs fitted, as I'm not sure the the ones on the guitar at the moment are stylish enough, but we'll see.
"As for sound and playability, all I can say is that I'm thrilled with it. Those CC-Rider pickups have a rich vintage tone that works superbly for jazz, blues and rock. I'm really impressed by them—just a great and luxurious sound. The body style is meant to suggest a retro-futuristic take on the big archtops that swing band guitarists of the 1940s were seen with, but it is thin-line like my vintage Gibson 345. I've made a list of a few minor cosmetic changes I'd like to have incorporated on the production models, if possible, but they are just minor tweaks. The prototype you see in these photographs is as close as damn it to the final result.
"When the Astroluxe goes into production it will be a limited edition instrument which, if all goes to plan, will come with a certificate signed by myself and an exclusive CD containing tracks with me playing the Astroluxe guitar. I'll keep you posted on its progress. But for now, enjoy these pics of the prototype."
Nelson and another friend of Guitar Player, the frighteningly creative Reeves Gabrels, just released a duo CD, Fantastic Guitars. Look for an interview with both guitarists in an upcoming issue of GP.
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