Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 32
NOT A PAUL,
The Electra Omega X230
BY MICHAEL WRIGHT
THE DIFFERENT STRUMMER
hroughout history, most electric-guitar players
have relied on external devices to alter their
sound, whether that meant stomping on an expanse
of multicolored foot pedals or controlling a rack
full of black boxes with red LED "eyes" staring out.
Periodically, guitar designers have tried
to move more of the tonal palette onto
the guitar itself. One such period was
the mid 1970s, which saw an explosion
of tonal options on guitars such as the
Arguably, putting a tonal palette on the
guitar began with two pickups capturing
different parts of the string, and certainly
with the addition of a tone circuit. As early
as '67, Höfner engineers put a circuit board
into a guitar - the violin-bodied 459TZ -
to provide onboard fuzz and treble boost.
Those guitars are really cool but also really
cheesy... and weren't terribly successful.
Gibson took the lead in fingertip tone
with its introduction of the Les Paul
Recording model in 1971. These had two
pickups with either high- (live) or low(studio) impedance output. They had a
master Volume control with separate pots
for Treble and Bass cut/boost and three
tone circuits. Pickups could be played
in or out of phase when both were on.
Finally, there was a Nigel-Tufnel-approved
"Decade" switch with 11 (not 10) positions.
This was kind of like an onboard EQ that
altered the treble harmonic profile so
you could go from snake bite to angelic
If you've ever tried to play a Recording,
you know it's not exactly suited to the live
stage. In 1972, Bill Lawrence began working on something simpler, and the next
year, Gibson rolled out the L-6S Custom.
With two Super Humbuckers, it sported
a master Volume and separate treble and