George Barnes Guitars
|In the early 1960's the Guild Guitar
Company manufactured two models to George Barnes' specifications. The model most
associated with George is the Guild George Barnes Acousti-Lectric. This full-bodied
17" wide and 3.125" deep instruments' most distinguishing feature was the lack
of 'F' holes in it's carved top of Norwegian Spruce. The back and sides were of
highly figured curly maple. A Choice of natural and sunburst finishes were available. Twin
humbucking pickups were fitted to an internal bar running the length of the body and
protruded through to oblong holes cut into the top.
The Acousti-Lectric had a great deal of power and penetration and the design allowed for the strings to vibrate with no vibration of the pickups. On conventional full bodied jazz guitars the strings and the pickups are vibrating simoultaneously and possibly in different directions (one of Les Paul's concerns while working on his guitars). Apart from the pickup selector switch near the cutaway, there was nothing to hinder the full resonant quality of the top. The tone and volume controls were mounted on the pick-guard which was cut in the then familiar Artist Award 'stepped' design (a much more pleasing design than todays Artist Award pick-guard!). The neck was of three piece maple fitted with an bound ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays. The high cost of producing the George Barnes Acousti-Lectric meant that relatively few were made but other users include Les Spann who is seen in a Guild advert sporting a sunburst model (the head of which looked more like the Artist Award model than Georges personal guitar).
George also endorsed a smaller, sister model which was known as the "George Barnes Guitar in F". Constructed in the same freely vibrating top design the Guitar in F was 13.5" wide and 2.875" deep. Having the same electrics as the Acousti-Lectric this smaller instrument had a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The mahogany neck was fitted with a 22.75" scale pearl inlaid rosewood fingerboard. George used a number of these instruments on the two albums which he made for the Mercury label - "Guitars Galore" and "Guitar Galaxies" - where they played the same role as the alto sax would in a sax section. Open tuning was the same as a conventional guitar at the fifth fret.
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