Gear Review: Rob O’Reilly BE Guitar

Since you can’t quote Monty Python enough, “And now for something completely different.”

Rob O’Reilly, an electronics engineer out of Ireland, set out to build a guitar that's more fashionable and functional than anything else out there.

Take a second look at the body of the Rob O’Reilly BE guitar below. It was modeled after a lens from a pair of sunglasses. The center of the guitar is completely transparent, allowing you to express yourself anyway you please.

I couldn’t top the retro Andy Warhol/Marilyn-inspired image slide that was included with the guitar. But to change it, simply remove the back of the guitar the same way you’d remove the back of a picture frame.

In the photo gallery below, I've included a few photos of a mirrored LED insert O’Reilly is working on now. To create your own slide, grab any photo and cut it to fit inside the guitar.

The next thing to discuss is the balance bar. Position 1 acts as a kickstand that lets the guitar rest on your lap when you're sitting down. Position 2 folds to accommodate playing while standing. I had no trouble accessing the higher frets, and the balance bar completely rules out the possibility of neck dive.

There are a few other features on the BE that might make your current guitar jealous, including an iPod interface, locking tuners and a pick holder.

The electronics are two Wilkinson single coils wired to a pickup selector and a 500k volume pot. The neck is maple with a satin black finish on the back and a glossier white finish to the fretboard. The frame of the body is laminated wood, and the center is made from acrylic. Other models available include a MIDI guitar and a bass.

Price: $549.99

Below, you'll find two audio clips, a photo gallery and a demo video featuring O’Reilly.

Clip 1 is the bridge pickup into a clean amp. The inner-tone geek in me wanted a tone knob to roll back a little treble, but I was still able to dial in a nice, full sound without any over-the-top single-coil noise.

Clip 2 is the neck pickup with some overdrive on the amp. It reminds me of the neck pickup on a Telecaster with just a bit more presence.

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at

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