For some players, the traditional S-type, T-type, or LP body style represents the pinnacle of guitar design. But recently, players have started to call for guitars that break out of the mold that tradition has put in place. Here at Sweetwater, we’ve seen our fair share of interesting guitar shapes, so we decided to list some of our favorites. Here are six of our favorite modern guitar body shapes that break the mold.
Music Man Mariposa
The Music Man Mariposa is the brainchild of guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In). Visually, the guitar is a near-perfect representation of his music — an unfailingly unique blend of color, pronounced angularity, and unadulterated creativity. The Mariposa owes some of its shape to its namesake, Spanish for “butterfly,” with the upper and lower horns masquerading as wings. This guitar is available in four colors, each with its own custom-etched pickguard and matching headstock.
Butterflies are known for their beautiful yet entirely unpredictable flight patterns. And anyone who’s followed the career of Omar knows that he has a penchant for experimentation. Throughout the years, he’s flirted with hardcore, fusion, and psychedelia with the whimsical characteristics of a butterfly flitting from blossom to blossom. For Omar Rodríguez-López, the Mariposa is all about finding balance in the chaos of his music. When you get it into your hands, you’ll understand what he means. The Mariposa is ready for anything you throw at it.
Squier Paranormal Series
When Squier’s designers retreated to the studio to design a new series of guitars, they decided to create instruments that would stand out from the crowd. What resulted has been warmly accepted by fans as part of “the new normal.” These offset instruments feature new electronics, familiar necks on unfamiliar bodies, and more. It’s as if Squier threw a variety of components into a bag and drew them out Scrabble-style to create something totally unique. Players here at Sweetwater can’t get enough of the Squier Paranormal Series, and we think you’ll love them just as much as we do. Read on for a brief overview of each instrument in the series.
If you put a Mustang, a Jaguar, and a Stratocaster into a tornado, it would yield a Squier Cyclone. It has Stratocaster pickups with Jaguar controls — all mounted into a Mustang’s body. User-friendly controls and a silky-smooth tremolo bridge make the Cyclone a must-have.
The Toronado has a unique body shape that looks like it was caught between a Jazzmaster and a Jaguar. It’s loaded with high-output humbuckers that are well suited to grinding blues and heavily distorted metal alike.
Zooming in at the speed of sound, the Squier Super-Sonic is the sonic equivalent of the Enola Gay. It carries a payload of two Atomic humbuckers that deliver explosive tones that could leave your amp in ruins. Plus, the Super-Sonic’s reverse headstock is super appealing to any Hendrix fan.
Imagine the Tele sound you love with the comfortable contours of a Jazzmaster. That’s exactly what you get with the Offset Telecaster. It’s loaded with Fender-designed pickups to deliver that signature Telecaster chime.
Jazz Bass ’54
The Squier Jazz Bass ’54 results from a madman’s quest to have J Bass electronics mounted in a P Bass body. Don’t be fooled, though; this bass is Precision in looks only. The sound is all Jazz.
Cabronita Thinline Telecaster
The Squier Cabronita Thinline Telecaster is the only non-offset model in the series. It foregoes the traditional ‘Tron pickups in favor of a pair of Jazzmaster pickups to give you a deeper and glassier tone than any other Cabronita you’ve come across.
Relish has made a name for itself with its groundbreaking pickup design and sleek, contemporary body styling. The Relish Trinity is a solidbody guitar that breaks down barriers with every aspect of its design. The body shape takes on Relish’s signature teardrop shape but with a deeper cutaway and a comfortable belly contour. The body shape isn’t the only thing unique to Relish. Trinity shatters the mold of the traditional solidbody by using a patented pickup-swapping system.
For most players, switching pickups is a labor-intensive process that takes time and involves plenty of soldering and attention to detail. With the Trinity, that’s a thing of the past. Each pickup is mounted in a solderless frame that’s held in place by strong magnets. To switch pickups, flip the guitar over, grab a pickup, and pull it out. Then, drop another in. It’s that simple! The Relish Trinity is one of few guitars today that can say it’s truly unlike any other.
Next on the list is the Boden by Strandberg. From a design standpoint, this guitar breaks just about every rule in the book for one reason — comfort. The asymmetrical body shape features deep cutaways and two leg rests for comfort in all playing positions, seated or standing. The headless neck design eliminates neck dive and helps it stand further out from the crowd. Looks aside, the Boden has more than a few secrets hiding in plain sight.
The Boden features Strandberg’s patented EndurNeck construction. The headless maple neck features a rear-shifted trapezoidal profile that helps promote proper fretting-hand technique. The body has extensive weight-relief routing that makes Strandbergs incredibly light. In fact, most of their guitars tip the scales at less than five pounds, making them a top choice for long sets and for players with back issues.
The Boden body shape is used for many Strandberg models, including 6-, 7-, and 8-string models; signature models from Plini and Sarah Longfield; and many more configurations. You can see a complete list of Strandberg products here.
At first glance, the Yamaha Revstar may not be as visually impactful as the others on this list. But, for this instrument, the details are what set it apart. The body design was inspired by the stripped-down, modified racing bikes that rocketed around London in the 1960s. With the Revstar, Yamaha created the musical equivalent of a souped-up motorcycle. The designers created a sleek body shape then used modern technology and their dedication to quality craftsmanship to redefine the double-cut guitar.
Like the café racers it was inspired by, the Yamaha Revstar shape is available with various hardware and electronics options. From a hardtail and humbuckers to single-coils and trapeze tailpieces, there’s a Revstar for everyone.
D’Angelico Deluxe Ludlow
In recent years, D’Angelico has burst back onto the scene, offering classically inspired models and original solidbody designs alike. With the Deluxe Ludlow, D’Angelico created a design all their own. This offset electric guitar rocks a curvy, avant-garde body shape with an extended lower bout that terminates into a fin. The shapely body is super comfortable to play sitting down and standing up, which is a massive plus in our book. The Deluxe Ludlow features a flat, shelf-like cutaway that enables free access to the upper frets. Rounding out the design is D’Angelico’s signature F-hole pickguard. Boasting a great playing experience and a unique shape, the D’Angelico Deluxe Ludlow is unlike anything else you’ll find out there.
Go Ahead, Get Weird!
Some old-school players may look at this list and turn up their nose, but we believe every player should have an axe that fits their visual and tonal personality. So, go ahead and get weird! Choose one of the guitars on our list or give your Sweetwater Sales Engineer a call at (800) 222-4700. They’ll be happy to chat about the sound you like and the playing feel you prefer before recommending their favorite guitars with unorthodox body shapes.