While the 33 was equipped with mini-humbuckers, the retro-styled Saffires use designer Alan Entwistle’s custom-built Astrosonic single-coils, which are made using chunky 7mm alnico 5 pole pieces.
There’s also an intriguing control system, with a five-way pickup selector and single volume and tone pots at its heart. However, it’s augmented by Entwistle’s ATN5 dial, which is a five-way rotary switch mounted on the upper horn.
This, says Rapier, offers “a wide range of additional tonal extremities, from acoustic-like qualities, mid-range boost and high-end chime and clarity for extreme tonal versatility”.
The body is constructed from okoume, and there’s a bolt-on hard rock Canadian maple neck with a soft ‘C’ profile and 12” radius. As with the 33, there’s a zero fret. In terms of hardware, you get a GraphTech Nubone nut, Wilkinson E-Z-Lok tuners and a roller bridge/vibrato.
Aside from the obvious difference, the 12-string build is pretty much identical, but uses a hard tail bridge and has a 49mm nut width, as opposed to the 43mm of the Saffire 6. Both guitars are available in a choice of 3-Tone Sunburst, Greenburst and Vintage White finishes.
“I’ve designed the Saffire Series 6 and 12 models as players guitars that effortlessly lend themselves to all styles, from country, jazz, pop, to blues and rock,” says Entwistle.
“The Saffire electric 6 is extremely versatile, whilst the 12 itself has been designed with a generous 49mm fingerboard width at the nut, allowing musicians with large hands to enjoy the freedom of first position chords and engaging the ATN5 on this model offers jangle in abundance.”
Price-wise, the Rapier Saffire 6 comes in at £479 (approx. $601), while the Saffire 12 is £549 (approx. $689).
Head to Rapier distributors JHS’ official site for more information.