JGS Guitars has just begun production of a new multiscale, short baritone, 7-string Africaster that its creator describes as the tonal equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The new 26.5 to 27.5 inch scale guitar, based on a T-style body, is crafted predominantly from selected African hardwoods, in keeping with its Africaster moniker. Customers who commission an Africaster can select from a wide range of woods for their guitar’s body, top, bridge, arm bevel, fingerboard, neck and headstock laminate.
The prototype of the guitar (shown here) sports a sapele mahogany body, a tamboti top and African blackwood arm bevel, fingerboard, bridge and headstock cap. John Soderlund, sole luthier at JGS Guitars, says the new design is an attempt to give guitarists the flexibility to carry the bass line while not sacrificing the ability to turn on the twang should they unexpectedly find themselves in red-neck territory. The shorter treble side scale length, at 26.5 inches (673mm), allows the use of almost normal string gauges, while the longer 27.5 inch(699mm) bass scale length carries a 0.070 inch seventh string to ensure deep, cocoa-laden basslines. Soderlund recommends a tuning of DGCFAD, one tone below the normal EADGBE.
The pickups are a Kent Armstrong 7-string tele in the bridge and a matching, strat-style single coil in the neck position, which, together with the multiscale build and high-density tone woods, allow for a wider tonal palette than any guitar he has created to date, says Soderlund.
The guitar can be seen and heard here