Every so often, a guitar comes along that promises to be the next big thing in the instrument’s evolution.
Switzerland’s Relish Guitars thinks it may have just that thing.
Called Jane, the guitar up-ends much of what we take for granted in guitar design and technology.
Consider the pickup selectors, a pair of touch sensors with white LEDs that light up to tell you when either of Jane’s two pickups is engaged. No toggle switch to flick. Just touch a sensor and play.
And then there’s the body’s semihollow modular construction. Its three layers consist of a single-piece aluminum frame capped with a wood veneer on the front and back. The bridge is part of the aluminum frame, which should do a great job of producing resonance.
But look further and you’ll find that the back of the body is attached with magnets. Pry it off with a guitar pick and the electronics are ready and waiting for you to tinker with. Want to swap out pickups? Just disconnect the wires, remove the pickup’s screws and tweak to your heart’s contentment.
Designed by Pirmin Giger and Silvan Küng, Jane looks artistic and sleek, like an elegant piece of modern furniture.
How it sounds is something we’re eager to know. Jane’s aluminum core brings to mind creations by Travis Bean, not to mention Veleno and Alumisonic. But none of those models is the same design as Jane’s aluminum frame–and–wood veneer body. Relish, for its part, describes the tone as “unbelievable, warm & vibrant.”
Jane is available in three incarnations: Ashy Jane, Cherry Jane and Walnut Jane. The names tell you the wood veneer on the body. All have maple necks with bamboo fretboards, Schaller M6 mini tuners and a Hipshot hardball bridge.
The pickup configurations differ among the models. All use Swiss Good Tone Pickups. Ashy Jane has a Twängster and a Hot Vintage 59 PAF (neck/bridge), Cherry Jane sports a pair of Vintage 59 PAFs, and Walnut Jane features a Classic PAF and Mr. Brown (neck/bridge).
As you might expect, this combination of beauty and brainchild doesn't come cheap. Jane costs 4,705 Swiss francs, more than $5,000 U.S.
Clearly, this is not your average Joe’s guitar but a high-roller’s dream date. She certainly looks stunning, but more frugal players may be inclined to wait for her more sensible, but hopefully no less intriguing, sister. Plain Jane, perhaps?