If Jerry Garcia played in a death metal band instead of the Grateful Dead, he might have designed a guitar like the Guardian.
At least that’s kind of the idea that Nashville luthier Sean Farrell had in mind when he conceived this guitar.
“I wanted a double-cutaway design that was somewhere between a Stratocaster and an SG,” Farrell says, “something like Jerry’s Rosebud guitar, which falls in that lovely aesthetic where there are just enough curves and points, yet it isn’t too abstract.
"The guitar’s Celtic and Nordic aesthetics complemented the Amon Amarth death metal sound I was going for with the guitar’s woods and electronics. They’re also a nod to my Irish and Danish roots.”
Farrell is an experienced guitar builder who attended John Marshall’s Luthiers International in Lilburn, Georgia, but with the Guardian he added some new craftsmanship techniques to his repertoire—namely wood burning and leatherwork.
“Working with leather was a challenge,” he says. “It requires a dedicated process of preparation, forming, coloring and sealing, and carving and embossing leather can’t be reversed. I made every opportunity to fit the Guardian with leather armor, because leather is not often seen on guitars. It contributed to both the organic feel and cultural influence I wanted.”
The Guardian features an alder body with a highly figured claro-walnut top decorated with a Celtic knot Purflex center strip developed by Petros Guitars. Embossed leather ornaments adorn the back of the body in addition to the area surrounding the neck pocket. The rock maple neck is stained dark green, and the headstock features a lacewood veneer to “represent a sort of reptilian skin.” Hardware includes a Seymour Duncan Alternative 8 humbucker, Schaller model 456 bridge/tailpiece and Schaller Da Vinci tuners.
While the Guardian is Farrell’s personal instrument, he is introducing the New Breed brand to offer several one-off instruments he’s built, as well as a line of 3/4-size guitars and other instruments.
“I will not be building custom orders,” Farrell emphasizes. “Each guitar is designed, built and distributed by myself without any outside specifications added to the creative aspect, which I believe would be an invasion of the artistic process. If you like my art, you can take it, but only as it was originally imagined and created.”
For more information, visit newbreedcreations.com.