After writing an article for Ultimate-Guitar regarding the most creative luthiers I’ve come across in my web-scouring, I received a message from someone informing me of a guitar company that had something even stranger that the Teuffel Birdfish. As soon as the Gittler Guitar’s website loads up, you’re presented with something futuristic and foreign that resembles something from an H.R. Giger painting more than a guitar. It’s like a spinal column with strings.
After the initial shock, you’ll see that the design is actually quite impressive. Alan Gittler originally created the instrument in the 1970s, taking an extreme minimalist approach by reducing the entire structure to it’s bare minimum of integral parts. What you’re essentially left with is frets, strings, a nut, and a bridge. Only 60 of the original Gittler Guitars were made and sold from around 1975 to 1985.
Reanimating the Skeleton
Now the Gittler is getting a second chance to turn some heads. Russ Rubman, the self-proclaimed “apostle of the minimalist revolution”, saw the guitar in a MOMA exhibit and became infatuated with its alien appearance. He decided to merge his knowledge of titanium metallurgy and love for the electric guitar by reviving this almost forgotten relic.
I personally can’t live without wood, but I love the fact that people are still trying to re-imagine the electric guitar – it makes for some really cool instruments popping up here and there.
Do I think it’ll make it on the next list of top heavy metal guitars? Nope, there are quite a few technical details that will completely take it out of the running – the inability to change fret size or adjust with a fret dressing, a complete lack of support from the (non-existent) fretboard that will require guitarists to re-train their fingers, non-interchangeable pickups, and a very limited aesthetic appeal – among other things.
For those of you interested in the original Gittler Guitars, I recommend you check out this Gittler enthusiast’s site.
Complete Overview of the Gittler Guitar
- Titanium frame (with a weapons grade option)
- 31 cylindrical frets
- Bridge-end tuning system
- Severed headstock
- Active electronics
- Magnetically isolated transducers
- LED fret lighting
- Interchangeable neck profiles
- Overall Length: 30.25″
- Overall Width: 3.000″
- Depth at base (with bout): 1.625″
- Thickness at 1st Fret: 0.750″
- Thickness at 1st Fret*: 0.875″
- Material: 6AL-4V ELI (Grade 23) Titanium
- Finish: Polished Titanium or Deluxe Tiodize™ Type 2 “Weapons Grade” (Deluxe vers.)
- Number of Frets: 31 (plus “0” fret)
- Scale Length: 25.50″
- Nut width: 1.687″
- String Spacing (E-to-E, outside dimension): 1.500″
- Fret Markers: LED illuminated, powered by D-13 connection
- Standard ball-end
- Six individual, custom designed pickups
- Rear-mounted, Teflon-coated
- Titanium bar, adjustable
- Controls (External)
- Volume, treble, bass, parameter selection
- Controls (Internal)
- Midrange (**), Individual string volume pots
- Outputs: 1/4″ Female Phone jack, D-13 (Roland compatible ***)
(Directly from Gittler Instruments)