On my most recent monthly thumb through magazines de la guitar I came across a company that was new to me and relatively new to the western world entirely. A Korean company in fact, by the name of Spear.
Spear make fantastic looking and sounding guitars for the money, and I for one would love to try one. How, you may ask-¶ to be honest I don’t know. I had the exact same problem with Maverick when they first burst on the scene at the start of the decade. It wasn’t until about 5 months after I’d seen a write-up about them that I was able to get my hands on one in high street guitar stores. This is due to (I assume) the generally slow pace that it takes for the demand of such products to reach the high street market from the mouths of us eager neck stranglers, and personally I can’t wait for the word of Spear guitars to catch on.
Firstly they look beautiful. Elegantly crafted with time and precision, and an attention to detail that would make the luthers of much bigger brands envious. The designs are awesome, very reminiscent of the pointy 80′s shred cheese that I love oh so much. They’re not all like that of course, as all new companies generally do with their new production line Spear have spawned the obligatory look-a-like range including Les Paul, Tele, Gretsch, and Stratocaster. But it’s the Gladius that takes my particular fancy.
The Gladius SP to be exact. Purely down to taste of course, this monster looks like it can shred with the best of them. Fast flat neck, twin humbuckers, Floyd Rose locking trem, and a superstrat body shape to boot. Pretty much my ideal criteria when buying, but that’s just my personal preference seeing as I’m a man who’s stuck in the 80′s. Apart from on the side of the fretboard it only has an inlay at the 12th fret, which is a sweet pearl effect dragon claw. The body has a beautiful -ėspalted’ maple top, which is where the wood has had a fungal infection that has then been removed, leaving behind woody patterns in a dark outline. It sounds damaging but it’s not. It gives the wood a unique finish that looks the nuts and is completely unique on every guitar.
Construction wise this machine boasts a neck-thru fixing. Most guitars in this price bracket, and above for that matter, are all bolt-on. Now, I’m not that much of a tech nut, in the sense that I won’t pay ¬ pounds500 more for a neck-thru construction in the belief that it doesn’t improve stability and sustain enough to justify the price, but in this instance I will admit it looks extremely well crafted, and would put me on the fence for buying one of these over an Ibanez or Jackson for example, in the same price range.
Seeing as we’re on the subject of money I’ll let you in on a little treat – this thing is filth cheap. ¬ pounds349 to be exact, and for a guitar of these specifications that’s just ridiculous in myexperience. Spear manufacture their axes in Vietnam, which is how they keep the costs down, but they don’t skimp on material or built quality, that’s for sure. It’s a piece of engineering that warrants a much bulkier price tag, especially when you consider this;
Body: Mahogany with spalted maple top
Neck: 5-ply Canadian hard maple/mahogany, neck-thru 25.5 scale
Frets: 24 Jumbo
Pickups: 2 x Spear H-monster ALNICO humbuckers
Hardware: Licensed Floyd Rose double locking vibrato, die-cast machineheads.
Pretty enticing, no? Especially when some of the higher end models are loaded with EMG’s and have some crazy paintjobs. Word of Spear guitars doesn’t seem to have reached as far as I’d have hoped however. When you search the net all you end up finding are a few stores here and there that might have the odd model kicking about in the backroom. It’s disappointing to say the least but I’m sure this irresistible line of metal beauties can’t be kept quiet forever!
Matt Crawford is an established musician with nearly a decade of experience. He has recently established a website called My Sound Clinic in order to pass down some information that he has picked up over the years. Here you’ll find hints, tips, reviews, and articles on playing guitar and the world that surrounds it.