This is a guitar that came to us in a form somewhat different to the way it was handmade by Sandy Richards of Richards Guitars in Victoria, Australia. It had the tuners replaced with second-hand Yamaha units, and the original Bigsby had been removed and a horrible angled fixed tailpiece screwed into the top. I looked up the Richards website to have a look at the guitar as it was originally built (it can be seen on the Richards website here) and decided to bring it back to its original concept, but with some changes - primarily I wanted to install a set of the new Kinman P-90s, but I also wanted to install gold-plated hardware, as I thought the hard white with chrome and nickel just looked too cold.
Two things conspired to change my mind about the pickups. The first was that I gigged the guitar as purchased as a trial. I plugged it into my favourite amp (a Vadis 250R) and was simply blown away by the sounds. The second was the fact that when I stripped the guitar to clean it up and install the gold-plated tuners, genuine B6 Bigsby, Gibson® tune-o-matic bridge, pickup selector switch, jack plate and speed knobs, I noticed that the WSC soapbar P-90s fitted to the guitar screwed straight onto a wooden 'bar' which ran the length of the guitar under the top. This bar would have needed to be cut to fit the Kinmans, and as I was so enamoured with the sound of the guitar as it was, I elected to leave it, black covers and all.
This archtop electric guitar has a fully hollow construction, but is surprisingly free of unwanted feedback, even at loud stage levels. It can be enticed into really nice, controllable feedback, easily kept in control with the Bigsby and the volume control, which is a fundamental characteristic of the guitar that I really love (it is very 'alive'), and is a rare thing to find. Cutting and modifying the 'tone bar' down the center of the guitar's top would have certainly interfered with this balanced characteristic, so it remains just as Sandy built it.
There were two tailpiece mounting holes that needed to be filled, as well as the secondary holes left by the changed Yamaha tuners, but as the guitar is finished in white Acrylic (nitrocellulose) lacquer, these neat holes were able to be filled using a white acrylic filler and no refinishing. The repaired holes can be seen, of course, but you have to look hard to find them. Check out the detailed photos in the 'more pictures' link below. There is some 'worming' of the finish on the back of the guitar (belt buckle wear from previous owners), and some chips of the white finish on the edges of the guitar have been retouched, but overall the guitar presents extremely well.
The gold-plated hardware really sets the guitar off, in my opinion, without being over the top. Sort of an understated White Falcon®. But the real forte of this guitar is the playability and that TONE!
Sold to Martin