UK-based luthier Hutchinson Guitar Concepts has some form in building unusual high-end custom metal guitars, however, his latest – a tribute to an instrument favored by W.A.S.P. guitarist Doug Blair – is a particularly vicious build.
Dubbed the Torture Eclipse, the custom construction incorporates a working circular saw blade to an an ESP Eclipse body. Instagram videos show Hutchinson demoing the build with the blade in rotation – complete with (what, good god, we hope are fake-bloodied) hand bandages.
The direct inspiration came from W.A.S.P.’s Doug Blair, who has two ’70s Japanese Les Paul copies equipped with saw blades for use in the band’s spectacular stage show – lovingly dubbed the Blade I and Blade II.
Hutchinson’s blog tells how he previously met up with W.A.S.P. at their London show in 2017 and Blair even performed a few songs with Hutchinson’s CI25 guitar. It seems that was the start of a lasting relationship, and the luthier reports that Blair shared the mechanics of the Blade models with him directly.
“As some have already guessed, this concept is a tribute to Douglas Blair’s (WASP) Blade LP’s,” writes Hutchinson on his Instagram account. “Doug has revealed the wizardry and engineering behind his saw blade guitars and kindly allowed me to use it on the Eclipse.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a builder who has previously made instruments for some of the world’s leading metal players – among them James Hetfield and Gary Holt – the resulting Torture Eclipse is a more refined take on the concept.
Metallic finishes (achieved by some clever carving and finishing, as opposed to actual sheet metal) are a speciality of Hutchinson’s, so the Blade concept is an ideal match for his talents. Accordingly, there’s a brutal, industrial look to the Torture Eclipse that is, well… metal – in more ways than one.
The blade is engaged by an on/off rocker switch positioned on the shoulder of the guitar’s body near the strap button, while there are the standard three-way toggle switch and two control knobs for the two humbuckers.
Flip it over and travel up the neck and you’ll see the words from W.A.S.P. track The Torture Never Stops carved into the neck: “And hope’s the rope that keeps you tied up in knots.” At the end is a pointy, six-in-a-row reverse headstock (unsual on a single cut) that completes the guitar’s aggressive look.
Naturally, upon learning of the build, Hutchinson’s social media followers almost immediately started unleashing their own excellent and, equally torturous, puns in response, including the inevitable Yakov Smirnoff meme: “In soviet Russia, guitar shreds you.”
Special credit, also goes to “I’ve heard of an axe, but a saw?” and “Taking ‘played it til my fingers bled’ as a challenge.”