IT WASN’T ENOUGH FOR GEORGE Lynch to be one of the greatest guitar slingers to come out of the L.A. metal scene of the 1980s, with great tone, cool note choices, a sweeping vibrato, and massive chops. No, he had to crank out his brand of shred on impossibly coollooking guitars, with tiger stripes, kamikaze pilots, and skulls and bones. Well apparently, even those guitars weren’t bitchin’ enough for Lynch, because he is currently creating custom guitars out of a shop at ESP—the company with which he has been associated for many years. “I get my wood and some parts and assistance from them,” says Lynch. “Some of my guitars I build off an ESP platform, such as modified Tigers or Super V’s. Others we start with a blank piece of wood and mill the necks to my specs. It all depends on what that particular customer wants.” Once Lynch gets the parts selected, he sets about carving, burning, distressing, and awesomifying them into his own custom line of Mr. Scary Guitars. Now you can get some for yourself, including the Tiger Mofo Fossil you see here, provided you’re patient—build times range from one to three months— and fairly well heeled.
This visually arresting ax has generated more comments and inquiries around the office than any guitar in recent memory, and it’s obvious why. Lynch has personally carved out the body to create a graphicrelief tiger pattern, and then stained and burned it, and finally inlaid into the body real animal bones that he scavenged from the desert. “They’re prehistoric fossilized animal bones,” explains Lynch. “This guitar was built for an archeologist.”
The killer cosmetics are all well and good, but this thing is meant to be played, and it plays like a dream. It arrived pretty much perfectly set up, with low action, no buzz, and great sustain. The neck is wide, flat, and shred-ready. The Floyd Rose bridge is floating, and it provides a ton of upward range—a Lynch-approved tritone on the G string! The Floyd curiously has one gold saddle and string clamp. “I wanted a little ‘gold tooth’ action, just to keep ’em guessing,” says Lynch. “They serve no function other than to make you go, ‘What?’”
Through a dirty amp, Mr. Scary has a clear, throaty voice—aggressive sounding, but with lots of definition. The intonation is superb over the entire neck. For a one-pickup, one-knob guitar, it’s capable of lots of tones. That’s partly due to the dynamic nature of the custom pickup— hit it hard and it’s dirty, lighten up and its clean. “Seymour and I wound this one,” he says. “We used original, NOS Gibson PAF magnets and wire.” It makes for a truly rich, detailed humbucker tone. The nicely voiced volume pot helps get every bit of juice out of the pickup’s range. The only hang I have is that the groovy skull knob is almost impossible to turn with your pinky, making volume swells out of the question.
So, the Fossil looks, plays, and sounds great. What’s not to like? Well, for many of us, the price. At seven large, it’s going to require a special customer. But if you’ve ever witnessed the way fans line up at a NAMM show or an in-store to meet Lynch, you know those customers are out there. And anyone who buys a Mr. Scary is getting a one-of-akind collector’s item with a ton of handwork, attention to detail, and vibe. Oh yeah—you can totally blaze on it too.
“My guitars are old-school tone machines with a heavy San Dimas influence,” he says. “They contain the heart and soul of the Southwest desert. They’re evil cowboy, but beyond the aesthetics, I strive to make them the ultimate playing and sounding instruments on the planet.”
CONTACT Mr. Scary Guitars, mrscaryguitars.com
TIGER MOFO FOSSIL
PRICE $7,000 retail
NECK 25 1/2” maple
FRETS 22 medium jumbo
BODY Black limba
PICKUP Custom humbucker, hand-wound by Lynch and Seymour Duncan with NOS Gibson PAF magnets and wire
BRIDGE Floyd Rose
FACTORYSTRINGS Rotosound, Dean Markley, or Elixir, gauged .010-.042
WEIGHT 7.56 lbs
KUDOS Amazing look. Shredderiffic playability. Great tone.
CONCERNS Scary expensive.