Guitar Aficionado

Collector’s Soul: Power Players — Finbar O’Hanlon

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Finbar O’Hanlon is a guitarist and technologist who began his musical career in the late Eighties with the chart-topping Australian rock band Jump Incorporated. He has taught at the Australian Institute of Music and served as a clinician and product specialist for equipment manufacturers like Jackson, DigiTech, and Mesa/Boogie, but some of his greatest achievements have come in the technology realm as CTO of companies like the music download and streaming service Guvera and a product specialist for Apple Australia and Avid Audio (formerly Digidesign).

His most recent endeavor is as the inventor, founder, and chairman of Linius, a revolutionary video virtualization engine that allows content to be spliced, indexed, and edited in real time for instant assembly and delivery of personalized video content.

GUITAR AFICIONADO: What do you look for in a guitar?

An instrument that will challenge me and push me in new directions. I love guitars that are unconventional, and if they’re not, I tend to go out of my way to make them so.

What was your first major purchase?

An Ian Noyce Strat-style guitar with EMG pickups. He’s an Australian luthier, and that guitar, which I bought at a shop in Sydney at 15, sparked my passion for custom-built instruments.

How did you get started collecting guitars?

For a long time, guitars were something for work, not to collect. It was only after I focused my career on technology and away from the long days of teaching, clinics, and playing shows that I started to really appreciate the form of the instrument. Now I am filling my bucket list with every guitar I dreamed about as a boy, staring at magazines in a little town in Australia.

What are some of the guitars in your collection?

I have several Bernie Rico seven- and eight-string models, including my Finbar Signature prototype, as well as a Parker Fly Mojo, a Veillette Bari 6 baritone nylon-string, an Ovation USA Signature Al Di Meola 1769-ADII, a 1980 Ibanez George Benson Signature GB10 BS, a Gibson Aaron Lewis Southern Jumbo Aged acoustic-electric, and a variety of Godins, including an LGXT with synth access and a Multiac SA, among other instruments.

Which of the guitars is your favorite and why?

My Bernie Rico Jr. Signature, which he and I worked on together for six months. It has a modified Firebird shape, a 26/34 scale length and a shredder 27-fret neck that joins the body at the 19th fret. It comes equipped with a calibrated set of Bare Knuckles Cold Sweat pickups and plays like a dream. Bernie’s father, who founded B.C. Rich, gave me my first guitar endorsement when I was 17.

What's your dream purchase?

My dream purchase does not exist…yet. It would be something that allows my creativity to run wild, alleviates the need for multiple instruments set up in the bizarre tunings I tend to use, and provides MIDI output tracks as well as a keyboard. Perhaps an instrument that combines the tone and playability of a Rico Jr. with the touch capability of a Warr.

How do guitars fit in with the design aesthetics of your home?

At my house in Australia, guitars hang on the walls alongside artwork by Mark Ryden, Sebastian Kruger, and my buddy Bam Margera. Here in Venice, they add that little touch that transforms the space from a beautiful beachside penthouse, recording studio, and company office into a place that reflects my own personal sensibility. But in my opinion, guitars look good anywhere you can put them. I guess that the true sign of someone with GAS [Guitar Acquisition Syndrome].