Sunday, May 15, 2011

Classic Axes 3...Put Another Neck On It : Multi-Necked Guitars

Most guitarists have their hands (and shoulders) full with one neck on a guitar. Others just need more. But actually  more necks , like more strings are really a matter of convenience and efficiency. As early as 1690, luthiers would graft a ukelele-sized guitar to the treble side of a standard sized one simply to transpose or perform on two instruments within a song. During the 18th and 19th centuries you would spot one of these only occasionally,but by around 1890, modern manufacturing methods allowed for widespread availability and use.

Time,as it has a way of  doing, marched on and the instruments evolved to fit the needs of the modern day axe man. Most common is the 12-string on top with the six-string on the bottom. One of the best known wielders of this type is Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. He and His Gibson EDS-1275 playing "Stairway To Heaven" has become the visual definition of Classic Rock. And then there is Cheap Trick's Rick Neilsen and his quintuple neck Hamer.Silly man? Yes. Gifted artist and entertainer? Also yes.

It can be counted on that as long as there are guitarists who continue, as they should, to expand the boundaries of the art, there will be a need to continue to modify their instruments. And that includes adding as many necks as one's arms can reach and one's back can carry. Here are some multi-neck axes and the guitarists who swing them.

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