The Char Guitar – Shaped by fire

There is dramatic and then there is the Char Guitar – Sankey Guitars’ latest amazing creation!

As you may know, we have been big fans of Sankey Guitars for quite sometime now.  The genius that is Michael Sankey always manages to take our breath away with his innovative take on what a guitar should be.  We first looked at his guitars back in 2018 with the stunning Blue Gene.  Since then we have kept a watchful eye on Sankey always curious as to what he is going to do next.

Well, for his latest creation – the Char guitar – he has possibly surprised us even more than we thought was possible.

What does the Char Guitar look like?

In a word – dramatic!  I don’t think that I can find the adjectives that can do justice to this guitar.  But I will try.

Now if I said to you that I was going to take a perfectly decent guitar body and burn it you would think I was mad.  You certainly wouldn’t think it possible to create something of beauty.  But that is what Michael Sankey has done – and oh my it is truly beautiful!

The body of the guitar has been hewn from a stunning piece of Douglas fir.  That by itself would have created an absolutely stunning guitar.  But Sankey has taken that guitar body, that beautiful piece of wood, and hurled it into the fire.  Okay, perhaps a little dramatic there with my prose.  But you can’t help but be drawn into the drama that is burned and carved into the surface of this guitar.

The only parallel I can think of is with the charring of Scotch whisky barrels.  In that process the internal surfaces of the oak barrels are heavily burned or charred.  They are literally placed on an industrial gas burner and burnt, it is quite dramatic.  By subjecting the barrel to burning, the surface of the wood is opened up allowing the spirit to soak into the wood and take up the flavours from the oak.  In the same way the charring of the douglas fir has opened up the structure of the wood and created a unique body.  I just wonder whether the charring has also opened up the tone of the wood giving it a different character because of the charring?

A guitar lovingly created from the fire!

Following the burning Sankey has lovingly worked and shaped that piece of Douglas fir into a stunning body.  The beautiful contours that you would expect from a Sankey guitar are all there.  As Sankey has chipped away at the charred wood he has revealed the texture and grain of the wood underneath – undamaged by the burning.  And it is this harsh juxtaposition between the charred and the naked wood that makes the Char guitar so dramatic. You can see the history worked into the guitar.  The charred wood the tool marks on the body all are permanently etched into the wood.  An everlasting reminder that this has been hand crafted by an artist.

But let’s not forget this is a guitar.

Although it should certainly be considered a work of art, let’s not forget that this is a guitar.  And, as we all know a guitar should be played.  So what else has the Char guitar got for us?

The guitar has a beautiful black cherry neck topped off with a 24 fret kabo rosewood fretboard.

In terms of pickups the Char guitar has a custom made JD Guitarworks single coil pickup in the neck position.  The bridge pickup is a Graphtech Ghost system which is embedded in the saddles of the ABM individual bridges.  Configured like this the active system can be blended in like a regular electro-magnetic pickup.  This gives the Char guitar a versatile and unique electro acoustic character.  Again I am intrigued about how the charring of the wood has enriched the tone of the guitar.

From start to finish no detail has been over-looked on the Char guitar.  Both from an artistic and a guitar point of view I can safely say that I have never seen anything like the Char guitar before.  But, that is the skill of Michael Sankey, he challenges us both to admire the art and the function in his work.  For me that is always a good thing and what makes Sankey Guitars so special.

The Char GuitarThe Char GuitarThe Char guitarThe Char Guitar

To find out more about the Char guitar or Sankey Guitars click on the link below.

Sankey Guitars

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