Gittler guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Motorhed, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. Motorhed

    Motorhed Member

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    Anyone ever played one before?

    I think it's just wild to think so much can be taken away from what makes a guitar a guitar and still have a guitar. I'd imagine I'd be pushing the strings sharp like crazy with my heavy handedness but I'd love to try one out just because it's so unique.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gittler_guitar


    [​IMG]
     
  2. burningyen

    burningyen Vendor

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    I'll never complain about fret sprout again.
     
  3. Devin

    Devin Low Voltage Supporting Member

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    woah,... (keanu)
     
  4. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Supporting Member

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    I see one critical issue -- you can't light it on fire like Hendrix.
     
  5. cminor7b5

    cminor7b5 Member

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    I'd like to try a fretless version.
     
  6. blood5150

    blood5150 Member

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    Andy Summers was prancing around with one of those in the Police's Synchronicity II video....


     
  7. tim gueguen

    tim gueguen Member

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    And that was probably the first and last time he used one.

    If you use the search engine you can probably find the comments Splatt, aka David Torn, has made about his period owning one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  8. pigman

    pigman Member

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    From what I understand about Gittlers, the one shown above is the "pure" version -- this is the model that's in The Museum of Modern Art collection. Then, there's a sort of hybrid version that was created by someone else when they acquired the rights to the brand. It had a plastic back that definitely detracted from the pure aesthetic of the original. All of this needs to be fact checked, but that's what little I remember. ... That, and the tiny ads in the back of every Guitar Player magazine from the 70's. Would'a, could'a, should'a!

    Ah... the details: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gittler_guitar
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  9. tsar nicholas

    tsar nicholas Member

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    There's a TGP member who has not one, but TWO of these magnificent creatures, hope he chimes in
     
  10. brain g

    brain g Member

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    That's me.

    I own two of the original, serial-number-under-60, made-in-New-York guitars, and am privileged to own one of the three Gittler basses.

    Before the Police video came out, Gittler's guitars had created enough of a buzz that MOMA bought one; to this day, it's still the only instrument on permanent display there.

    He was a really creative guy; he designed and won patents for film storage containers, wrote and directed a movie (played with Elvin Jones for the sound track), recorded a cd (Deep Hip), designed portable battery powered amps, designed and wore his own clothes, a baby carriage for his son, and of course the Gittler basses as well. Basically re-worked the stuff in his life to serve him better.

    It's worth noting that he invented what are now called fine tuners. (screw-based tuners)

    He considered quite a wide variety of materials -including fiberglass- before determining that stainless steel had the right mass for his design.

    His guitar also attracted the attention of some businessmen who saw the potential to make money.
    When they first approached him with an offer, he refused them, because he felt that they couldn't replicate the precision machining and wouldn't remain faithful to the integrity of the design. They persisted, though, and eventually he relented.

    Unfortunately, he was right, and, without his permission, and in fact, completely unbeknownst to him, they designed various neck/body/additions and an internal preamp, and didn't get the formula for fret spacing right, but began manufacturing and marketing them anyway.

    When Gittler found out, he immediately disassociated himself with those versions. Demoralized, he packed up and move to Israel, and changed his name to Avraham bar Rashi,

    Shortly after that, Syncronicity II came out, and there was a lot of public interest generated by Andy Summers' Gittler, but no one knew where Gittler had gone, and he was unaware of the video and the demand for the guitars.

    While in Israel he still made minimalist guitars, a different design, though, and out of wood this time, and passed away about a decade ago.

    It's interesting (to me, anyway) that my guitars sound very different than the examples I've heard online, which seem to have a 'scooped', sproingy, sound. Mine have a more pronounced mid and bottom end, and sound somewhat Strat-like.

    There's so much misinformation about them that I've decided to put up a web site; just have to recover some pics and info off an old hard drive first.

    Brain g
     
  11. jerrycampbell

    jerrycampbell Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for that info, Brain. Please provide a link when your site is up and running.
    I really liked his wooden design with the fishing line for frets.
     
  12. SW33THAND5

    SW33THAND5 Member

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    why was every video in the 80s post apocalyptic? :huh

    anyways...it looks too cold a teutonic (the guitar) in fact the name rhymes with hitler:rotflmao
     
  13. buchla300

    buchla300 Member

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    A friend had one. Actually quite cool! Hs was an "original" I believe and he sold it maybe 10 years ago.
    Certainly wish I had grabbed it from him.
     
  14. Paul-A

    Paul-A Member

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    I went to look at one of these back in 1980s. The guy had bought up a job lot - maybe 20 Gittlers - and they were all sitting in cardboard shipping boxes at an industrial estate. His asking price was £120 each. The side gap between the fret bars made them virtually unplayable and I passed. One sold recently at Musurgia for big bucks. Oh for a crystal ball!
     
  15. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    I played one at Allan's lower east side apartment in 1981, through a battery-powered amp (the apartment had no electricity). He was an interesting guy, and I loved the guitar - I thought it was quite easy to play.

    "So unique?" I think it's not "so."
     
  16. brain g

    brain g Member

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    Wow, you're one of the very, very few.

    He had several variations of the wooden guitar, the most visually pleasing is probably the King David version. it looks like a doubled over Nike "swoosh"

    I have one that is probably the least attractive one he ever built. Looks like a fish.

    Unattractive as they may be, a greater liability is their square - that is, non-rounded - neck profile. It really is like playing a 2X4.

    His reasoning was that "convenience distances one from the experience".

    The way driving a Cadillac is like sitting at home on your big comfy chair watching tv; you're isolated from the experience.
    And driving an old oily smelling MGB with the top down, and no radio or power steering puts you right IN the experience

    He was a character. I struck up a friendship with him in his later years. We talked on the phone and wrote each other. I plan to publish the non-personal stuff on the web page.

    Here's a pic of the King David guitar:

    [​IMG]

    Brain G
     
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  17. Motorhed

    Motorhed Member

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    Thanks, brain g!

    It sounds like was a really interesting man, I'd definitely love to hear more if you ever do get the site up and running.
     
  18. brain g

    brain g Member

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    Yeah, there's a lot more.
    Most of his ideas about the electric guitar wouldn't win him any friends here, but hey, everyone is entitled to an opinion, right?
    I'll start trying to retrieve that info tomorrow night.

    Brain G
     
  19. jerrycampbell

    jerrycampbell Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow, love that one. I think I know the one you have, and appreciate that one, too. I acknowlege that they're not for shredding. The 'rethink' behind his designs is creative and compelling.
    I look forward to your site.
     
  20. brain g

    brain g Member

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    His need to 'rethink' things was a philosophical need to make things 'right' in his world. The three main reasons he built his guitars:

    He had been travelling (hitchhiking, actually) around the country with a classical acoustic, and it was getting pretty beat up. It dismayed him that such a beautiful instrument was getting so battered that it would end up being destroyed.

    His thinking was that guitars were stereotyped. you played jazz on a jazz guitar, classical on a classical, rock on a les paul or strat, etc.and yet on a piano, for instance, you could play any kind of music. So his guitar was intended to be an instrument that could be used for all genres of music.

    He thought that expending mental energy considering the particular shape of a guitar, the paint and finish, hardware, and wood types, all get in the way of thinking about - and getting to - the music. He called it "mechanistic distraction".

    The result of his opinions on these subjects were what led him to create a durable, basic, universal musical interface - the Gittler guitar.
    (The above sentence is a typical example of the kind of things that he would say)

    Brain g
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012

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