If you like the look and feel of a Les Paul but would rather have the tone of a Strat, you could try messing around with the electronics, play pickup roulette or plug into digital emulations. But guitars that come with modularity built into the design could also help. The latest comes from Fern Guitars and sports a wood core module that’s home to volume and tone pots, pickups and wiring.
We’ve seen a number of modular guitar efforts over the years, offering 50 possible component combinations, a model that can pack down into a suitcase, a wild axe for metal-heads, a tone-tweaker’s dream, and many more. Still at the prototyping stage, the Phoenix from Fern Guitars is pretty raw at the moment, but certainly shows promise.
The double-cut has been designed with a removable plate module fashioned from real wood that houses pickups, electronics, wiring, pots and pickup selector. The idea is to eventually make different configurations available, or to supply precut templates that players can work on themselves. But for the current working prototype, there are volume and tone controls, a three-way pickup toggle and two P90 type pickups, an output jack and the necessary inner workings to pull it all together.
The core module slots into the guitar’s body and is held in place using magnets. When in place, it has the look of a custom scratchplate. The one man operation behind Fern Guitars says that he’s aiming for an open source approach where pretty much anything goes, so long as it can be installed on the module without affecting play.
“While I’ll certainly have stock configurations, the modules are designed to be a blank canvas,” he said in a blog post. “Anything that can fit on the plate is a possibility. Want a touchscreen, extra knobs or MIDI integration? I’ll work with you to try and make that happen. My philosophy is that if we can fit it on the module in a way that keeps the guitar playable, nothing is off the table. And of course, the blank plates will be available for people to work on at home, should you be so inclined.”
Work on the next iteration of the prototype has begun, with the eventual aim being to offer affordable modular options, though exactly how affordable hasn’t been revealed at this early stage in development. You can see a demo of the current prototype in the video below.
Fern Phoenix Prototype Modular Guitar | Humbucker Module Demo with mini P90 Pickups
Source: Fern Guitars
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