YouTube influencers join forces to launch new '80s-inspired guitar company

Badlands Guitar Company
(Image credit: Badlands Guitar Company)

The Tone King and Phillip McKnight, two popular creators in the YouTube guitar sphere, have launched the new Badlands Guitar Company, ushering in its existence with its first electric guitar model, the GX1.

The new company, which was started in collaboration with professional designer Luka Skalabrin and features gigging musician Brian Olexy as co-owner, was set up to “elevate hard rock guitar design and produce custom shop quality, era-correct instruments at accessible prices to offer every customer a taste of the ‘80s hard rock guitar hero experience”.

The GX1 is the first tangible manifestation of this philosophy, boasting a double-cutaway alder body with a custom “redline” graphic, maple neck, and a headstock logo that’s awfully reminiscent of a certain guitar brand which also tailors to ‘80s metal fans…

Badlands Guitar Company

(Image credit: Badlands Guitar Company)

Elsewhere, the GX1 features two US-built BGC M88 humbucking pickups – which are produced exclusively for the Badlands Guitar Company, and voiced for an era-correct tone – as well as a Gotoh 1996T locking vibrato bridge, which offers “superlative tuning stability under even the most extreme performance conditions”. Gotoh 510FX-6 hardtail and left-handed configurations are also available.

Though it doesn’t dive into specifics, the company also says it’s “planning future instrument runs that honor some of the most famous and beloved aesthetics and features of iconic instruments from the ‘80s hard rock pantheon”.

Badlands Guitar Company

(Image credit: Badlands Guitar Company)

For now, though, the GX1 will be produced in a limited run in 2023 on a built-to-order basis. Production will begin in early 2023, with initial deliveries planned for spring 2023.

Each guitar will also come with an accessory pack, which includes an exclusive Badlands Guitar Company guitar pick, Runway Audio guitar cable, Floyd Rose HexHider locking tremolo adjustment tool, DiMarzio ClipLock strap, and a TKL hardshell case.

The GX1 is available now to pre-order for $2,499. For more information, head to the Badlands Guitar Company.

[L-R] The Tone King, Phillip McKnight, Luka Skalabrin and Brian Olexy of Badlands Guitar Company

[L-R] The Tone King, Phillip McKnight, Luka Skalabrin and Brian Olexy (Image credit: Badlands Guitar Company)

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.