Greg Interviews Cynosure (2019)
The final two of the five guitars created by Oliver Andrew aka Cynosure for 2019's RAM gallery have been inspired by one of Bloodstock's festival partners Hobgoblin.
Q. Where did the inspiration for these guitars come from?
“These guitars were an idea from [Bloodstock founder] Paul [Raymond Gregory] to help involve Hobgoblin in another aspect of the festival. Hobgoblin are a perfect match for Bloodstock with their overall themes, the characteristics of their brand. Their artwork also ties in very well with the RAM Gallery and Paul's artwork as well. It resonates harmoniously and works perfectly.”
Q. You have two very distinct designs: The 'Hobgoblin Head' obviously inspired by the company's branding, and the 'Claw' design which is both more conventional and abstract. How did the designs develop?
“One of the wonderful things about Paul is that he allows me to have full creative liberty to create whatever design I want and with whatever features I can incorporate into the overall aesthetic. For me that's wonderful. Obviously he does approve the designs, the concepts that I come up with, but essentially the main design aspect is mine entirely. The 'Claw' shape is a completely unique one I came up with. I can't remember exactly what I was inspired by – I think it was a couple of Japanese guitar brands – and a guitarist in a Japanese band who had a custom guitar made for him which is very Gothic in nature but with a lot of very pointed angles whilst at the same time being florid and curvaceous. I wanted to emulate that contrast. B.C. Rich are another brand known for their very outrageous guitars and basses, and even though I wasn't directly inspired by them, the 'Claw' resonates with them as well. Their market is the heavier genres but this design is so versatile, and the basic shape is simplistic enough to appeal to a lot of different people. It's ergonomic, it's very playable, 100 per cent fret access, it's everything you want a guitar to be. If I was to become big in the guitar industry then this would probably be one of my signature shapes.”
Q. Give us some of the specifications of the 'Claw'.
“The main body is black walnut stained with a red oak stain. It's contrasted by a maple wood banner featuring the Hobgoblin character within which there's a LED backdrop effect. If you pull the volume control out it activates the switch for the LEDs and illuminates the Hobgoblin. The 'claws' are kind of grasping the guitar, almost like a creature trying to escape from within. That was the effect I was going for. All the hardware is gold. We have a wrap-around bridge, two humbuckers, and a three-way switch, and a very simple set-up with one volume and no tone. One of the things I wanted to create deliberately in the design process was the contrast between not only the dark wood and light wood but with the hardware itself. The gold hardware really compliments the natural shading of the wood.”
Q. By necessity the Hobgoblin 'Head' guitar design was dictated by the shape of the brand logo.
“The logo is very iconic and the guitar is like a statement piece. In terms of playability, it's 100 per cent efficient. The nature of the design lends itself to 100 per cent fret access due to the cutaway which melds into the nose area. I can't say it's comfortable to play sitting down because you have that nose between your legs ha ha! But like a flying 'V', it's meant to be played standing up. It's a stage guitar. So it's highly functional but obviously not as versatile as you might expect with a Stratocaster or something very basic in terms of its shape.”
Q. How do the specifications compare with the 'Claw'?
“The head is cherry wood which has been stained with the same red oak stain I mentioned earlier. The neck is sycamore interlaced for added strength with goncalo alves which is a Brazilian wood. I wanted to create an essence for this guitar and when I think of sycamore, it's an English wood, and I think of a medieval time, and you get all these hobgoblin characters from myth and folklore. I wanted to manifest a guitar related to an atmosphere or a landscape in which a hobgoblin would dwell if it were real. Then the colour scheme itself, that's reflective of the colour of the beer. I even inlaid some tiny red stars into the fretboard which you see on the artwork of the label on the beer bottle. Everything ties in conceptually. The hardware is standard chrome like you see on most guitars. It's a hard tail bridge which basically means that the neck doesn't have to be angled, so it's perfectly flat. For the volume control I've incorporated a beer bottle cap and part of the bottle neck, so that's pretty cool and unique, although it was quite a pain in the arse. I broke quite a few bottles just trying to extract the top part of it. Hopefully it'll warrant a few free beers at least!”