The Anarchist is now available as the Bertram Nova at Las Vegas Guitar Works, along with the Monarch, Cuda, Troth and Spacehaug guitars.
Tired of the same-old same-old from the big three? Fender, Gibson and PRS have been copied and recopied, styled and restyled into hundreds of different guitar models and guitar brand names. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a knock off of one of these famous, long-lived guitars. Well now there's a new axe to grind, with original, distinctive rock n roll lines and styling that says this ain't no knockoff.
The beauty of the Anarchist, although, doesn't lie only in its sleek, stunning good looks. The Anarchist shits tone without thinking. Its 2 octave, 24 fret Neck-Through/String-Through-Body construction and Directly Coupled pickups produce a thunderous, woody wall of sound rich with harmonic overtones. Add coil tapped humbucker pickups to this already tremendous combination and the Anarchist is not only a screaming metal monster but also a versatile music machine.
There are three basic guitar construction techniques (with several variations on each). All three construction/design techniques have merit and have attracted ardent followers. I personally prefer the Neck-Through/String-Through-Body construction employed in the Anarchist because of its total commitment to tone.
Neck-Through-Body construction is virtually indestructible: it means that the neck extends all the way through the guitar instead of being either bolted on (Bolt-On) or glued into (Set-Neck) the body. The "body" of the guitar is actually comprised of "wings" that are attached to either side of the Neck-Through section of wood. This guitar construction method provides the path of least resistance to the vibrations produced when the instrument is played, resulting in a richer, thicker tone.
Set-Neck design is very common. Gibson Les Paul and PRS are examples of Set-Neck guitars. In this construction method the neck is glued into the body pocket (the deeper into the body the better). This layer of glue can present a barrier to tone transference from the body. On better guitars, wood glue is used in the pocket that absorbs into the wood of the neck and body rather than hardening into a mass that creates a solid barrier to sound.
Bolt-On design is as the name suggests: the neck is bolted onto, or in cases of the better constructed guitars, into, the body of the guitar. Many love the Bolt-On method of construction because of the freedom it allows for adjusting and even swapping necks. The use of bolts or screws to secure the neck is said to have a tonal advantage over the Set-Neck because no glue is used, thereby allowing total wood to wood contact between the neck and body for better tone transference.
String-Through-Body design allows for optimum string/wood contact: it means that the strings go through the back of the guitar instead of into a stop style tailpiece or tremolo. Tremolos, especially floating tremolos, may be nice for lead players and dive bombers but they can be a real detriment to a guitar's tone.
Direct Coupling describes the manner in which the pickup is attached to the guitar. A Directly Coupled pickup is mounted directly to the wood of the neck rather than being suspended on bolts from a pickguard. This method of mounting the pickups enhances sustain by as much as 25%.
Direct Coupling is more difficult to achieve on a guitar with Bolt-On or Set-Neck construction, and in those styles of guitar, only the neck pickup can be truly directly coupled. Mounting directly to the body is possible for the bridge pickup, and is better than suspension, but it's not quite the same as Direct Coupling. The Anarchist's Neck-Through-Body construction allows us to directly couple both pickups because the neck extends all the way through the body.
There are basically two types of guitar pickups: the Single Coil and the Double Coil a.k.a. the Humbucker. One could argue that the Single Coil pickup is best represented by the Fender Stratocaster and the Humbucker pickup by the Gibson Les Paul.
Traditionally, Single Coil pickups produce a hum (electronic noise) when plugged into an amplifier. Their tone is (generally speaking) thinner than a Humbucker. Humbuckers have a full, fat tone and produce no hum when plugged into an amp. Humbuckers are well suited to heavy, distorted sound because of their superior output and hum canceling characteristics. The Humbucker (Double Coil) pickup was created when someone, somewhere, sometime, discovered that when you place two Single Coil pickups next to each other, the hum cancels out, hence the name Hum-bucker. Each of these two styles of pickup has distinct tonal qualities that make it attractive, and each is available in wide output ranges.
Coil Tapping allows you to have the higher output Humbucker pickups with the ability to turn them into Single Coil pickups by pulling out a knob! This means that the Anarchist Guitar produces a tremendously wide range of tones, from "Sultans of Swing" to "System of a Down."
Brett W. Bertram
Anarchist Guitars © Brett W. Bertram 2005, Bertram Design