Having trouble getting noticed on stage lately? The old '59 flame top not getting the oohs and aahs it used to? These two guitars from DiPinto and Minarik not only offer stunningly different looks, but also stellar tones could be just what you need to reinvigorate your sound and ratchet up your stage presence.
DiPinto Galaxie 4
If you've ever been mesmerized by the mysterious guitar sounds heard on many older instrumental records, movies, and TV shows, well, welcome to the club! Many of those sounds are instantly recognizable, and the Galaxie 4 ($749 retail/$499 street) "designed for Eddie Angel [and Danny Amis] of the fierce surf/instrumental band Los Straitjackets" is well suited for those types of music where clean tones and a strong attack are de rigueur, though it's equally at home blasting through a snotty half-stack.
The Galaxie's way-out body design dazzles the eyes with a flawless silver metal-flake finish, and a striking gold pearl pickguard that holds the pickups, controls, and switches. The 22-fret maple neck attaches to the body with four screws, has a vintage feel, and delivers excellent intonation. The color-matched peghead is shaped like a '60s coffee table, and its angled headstock eliminates the need for string trees. The tuners are fully enclosed, high quality, and quite swank looking with their white pearl buttons. The Galaxie also sports a floating bridge with a removable cover (for muted playing), and its cool wang bar plugs into the tailpiece and stays where you put it.
The Galaxie's four angular single-coils look and sound like nothing else. The lead pickup is bright and jangly, and it sounds aggressive without being brash. Pickup number two is a little warmer sounding, pickup three is funky with some clucky attitude, and the neck pickup is clear, punchy, and a perfect fit for Ventures- and Duane Eddy-style explorations. All of the Galaxie's dual-pickup sounds are plenty chimey, but the secret weapons are the four on/off rocker switches, that allow you to run all the pickups at once or in any combination.
Because of this feature, the array of tones the Galaxie delivers is quite astounding, and you can go from laser-beam highs to fat as a slab of salt pork "and anywhere in between" simply by experimenting with switch combinations. The only performance issue is a grounding problem, as the guitar produces audible hum whenever you remove your hands from the strings, bridge, or tailpiece.
At a street price just under $500, this is a guitar that every player who seeks out unique and bizarre tonal colors should own. Yeah, you can sound normal if you want to, but reserve the conventional tones for your traditional guitars and let your inner tone freak get jiggy with the Galaxie 4. Whether you want to twang, jangle, pummel, punch, or kerrang, the Galaxie with get you there in style, and it's outer limits approach to design and tone wins it an Editors' Pick Award.
Run, don't walk, to try one out!?