A guitar named after a cat named after a Dodge Charger named after a Confederate general; The General Lee is an S-style custom that encompasses ultimate versatility with more than a splash of vintage chic. Commissioned by Joseph Spiller of Caricature (ex-System Divide, The Binary Code, Too Late the Hero) the goal with this build was to capture the signature qualities of its 6-string counterparts but with full 8-string range, plus some custom features not usually found on either one.
Joseph wanted the front face of the guitar to have the traditional flat-top and arm contour but left the back to our discretion to make it as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. We used the proportions of our Masai shape and adapted the back carve to meet the arm contour and flow all the way to the strap button. This ensured that the body could rest as close to the chest as possible and let the right shoulder sit back in a more relaxed playing position. The area around the neck-pocket was given our "molded-heel treatment" and shaped to deliver unparalled comfort and unrestricted 24-fret access.
The electronics for this build were an exciting challenge. Given the rarity of extended range single-coils, the neck and middle pickups were made from the split coils of a DiMarzio D Activator 8 which were then fitted with cast Alnico 5 rod magnets and mounted to custom-fabricated fiber baseplates. Although simple-looking, the pickguard hides a wide variety of different sounds and switching options. The 3-way blade offers standard 2-pickup switching, but the push/push switch on the neck volume control brings the middle single-coil into the circuit in combination with any other option. The master tone control also functions as a series/parallel switch for the bridge humbucker. The bridge volume control, when pushed, bypasses all currently set pickup, volume or tone settings and runs the bridge humbucker straight to the output jack for an undiluted lead or rhythm sound.
All wrapped up in a high-gloss purple sparkle finish and 3-ply vintage adornments, The General Lee straddles the line betwen vintage and modern, both in looks and application.
Keep up with Joseph and Caricature: currently writing, recording and performing with Equilibrium Guitars!