Minarik Goddess Special Edition

Guitar Player readers were introduced to Minarik guitars in the December ’04 issue with the devilishly wild Inferno model. Now we turn our attention heavenward with the Special Edition Goddess. This is a very special edition indeed, because Minarik is making only a handful of instruments in each color with no more than 350 total for the world.
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Cosmetically, the Goddess features Jerry Garcia-inspired horns similar to other Minarik guitars, but where the Inferno sports flame-style tongues in the lower bout, the Goddess has a more rounded, curvaceous body. This Goddess (serial number 00018) is dressed up with a gorgeous quilted maple top (in a rich tobacco burst finish) that’s ringed with Paua abalone in the binding. The inlay on the fretboard is very clean and the abalone Goddess on the headstock is lovely. The gold hardware goes nicely with the finish and the Jinho tuning machines—based on the Grover Rotomatic with Imperial-style buttons—definitely add an uptown touch.

Despite the Goddess’ obvious good looks, she is not without imperfections (is she then a demi-Goddess?). The bummers I found included a poorly seated nut, file marks on the bass side of the first fret, and irregular binding on the headstock. The finish where the neck joins the body was also a little funky. To Minarik’s credit, the nut is slotted well and the Goddess tuned up smoothly with no “pinging,” but it’s a shame to have anything detract from this guitar’s visual statement.

Goddess Worship
I tested the Goddess through a couple of different amps. Plugged into a Fender Deluxe Reverb, she sounded full and bright on the bridge pickup with nice detail and just enough output to make the amp snarl if I really dug in. The neck pickup was smoky and creamy—excellent for jazzy blues (or bluesy jazz). The middle position is especially cool thanks to the separate Volume controls. I loved being able to blend in just a touch of the bridge pickup with the neck or vice versa. The two Volume controls definitely make this much more than the three-sound instrument the toggle switch might suggest.

The mahogany neck is full and comfortable, with a radius that made digging into bends a joy. There was no fretting out, and the medium action and Gibson-like scale provided a string tension that felt sturdy and solid—not stiff but certainly not loose. You can really hit the strings and bend notes like you mean it. All these things contribute to the Goddess’ strong, authoritative sound.

With a T.C. Jauernig Electronics DGTM overdrive in front of the Deluxe, the Goddess turned into a real ass kicker. I was able to get excellent power-chord crunch and stinging single-note licks. At higher volumes the sustain was fantastic, with great balance between the strings. To up the crunchitude factor, I plugged into a Marshall combo and cranked the gain. The Goddess had no problem whatsoever getting down and dirty and even filthy. All the saturation and sustain was there, but the tone stayed tight and well defined. Rolling the volume back on the bridge pickup cleaned things up reasonably well, but not in the most linear fashion. There was a pronounced drop in level between, say, 3 and 2. The sound was plenty usable at those settings—just a little touchy. The Volume control for the neck pickup, however, worked like a charm, cleaning up nicely as I backed it off. This might be where I’d spend most of my time if I wanted to take a single-channel amp to a gig and get my clean and dirty sounds by riding the guitar’s volume.

The Goddess’ Tone controls are a cool hidden bonus. From wide open down to 1 they roll off highs in a predictable, musical fashion. From 1 to zero they act almost like an on/off switch, cutting all highs. At first this freaked me out, but as I continued to work with it, I found that I could use it to my advantage, as the Goddess can do the faux-wah-pedal effect better than any guitar I’ve played. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can just keep the knobs between 10 and 1, but I really dug this part of the Goddess’ personality.

Any humbucker-equipped mahogany guitar with a maple top will elicit Les Paul comparisons, and the Goddess can definitely do the LP thing, although with her own voice. Maybe because the body is slightly thinner than a Paul’s and more elongated due to the horns, this guitar has a sparkle that some similarly constructed guitars lack. Whatever the reason, the Goddess speaks beautifully and she has plenty to say. This is a very unique instrument that’s sure to become a collector’s item.