Insight & Information

Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask, and some more.

Overview

Standard Finishes

Vintage and Artist Series models feature Nitrocellulose Lacquer with 3 finish options:

  • NOS – The “New Old Stock” featuring deep, lustrous shine and all new hardware. It will have the appearance of a guitar that has been in a time capsule with very minimal signs of wear and no aging.
  • Vintage – This option will have a period correct finish that will have the perfect amount of aging and checking with signs of wear. The guitar will look like it has been played, even gigged for a while, but fairly well taken care of. The hardware will also look the part, but absolutely function as new.
  • Artist  – On Artist inspired models the finish will replicate the original guitar while on year-based models the finish will have the look of a guitar that has seen thousands of hours of playing and hundreds and hundreds of gigs. The finish and hardware will have all the signs of a well-played guitar but will function as new.

 Modern and SoCal Series 

  • All Modern and Socal Series models feature a beautiful Urethane finish that is applied thin, to allow for the natural resonance of the instrument to ring through. Urethane polishes to a lustrous shine and is more resistant to scratches and polishing marks. This will be the finish that will last you a lifetime.

Bodies and Necks

Body woods are made from Alder, Swamp Ash, Pine or Mahogany depending on model. Different grades of quilted or flame maple caps can be added as an option on some models or one-offs. Each of these woods has a distinct aspect in shaping the tone of a particular model and I typically stick to that formula. Our bodies are CNC machined for consistency and accuracy and are manufactured to exacting specifications. All bodies are then meticulously hand sanded to make sure they are perfect prior to finishing.

Our necks use the same tone shaping formulas that have been used in electric guitars for generations. We use Maple, Mahogany, Ebony, Rosewood, Pau Ferro and occasionally some exotic woods for necks on one-off special guitars. Typically each of these woods has a specific model it is used on. Our necks are also CNC machined to ensure consistency and accuracy from one neck to the next. They are each hand finished to even more exacting standards ensuring a great playing guitar.

Neck Woods

Eastern Maple – Standard on all bolt-on neck models, either as a solid one-piece neck or combined with a rosewood fingerboard. Only premium, straight grain Maple is used. Highly-figured flame or birds-eye Maple is available as an option on certain models. Maple has a bell like tone with great attack, snap and note definition. The upper harmonics are more pronounced and complex. When a maple neck is combined with rosewood fingerboard the result is a softer attack and a robust and warm mid-range. I use solid, one-piece maple for all maple fingerboard instruments unless otherwise indicated.

Mahogany – Mahogany is prized for it’s tight grain, stability and tone. It is the material of choice on the Set Neck (coming soon) models. As a neck material, the Mahogany is sound rounder, softer and fuller than Maple. It has more warmth, smoother mid range and less treble snap than Maple. Various Rosewoods and Ebony are used as fingerboard material with Mahogany necks.

East Indian Rosewood – Fingerboards made from East Indian Rosewood have a smooth attack and a nice, round tone. With a full bottom end, strong midrange and warm top end, East Indian Rosewood fingerboards are very versatile and a standard for rock and roll and blues. Indian Rosewood is medium to dark brown in color.

Ebony – Prized for its tight grain and fluid feel, it offers a tight, crisp attack without much bottom warmth. For that reason, I typically do not use it as fingerboard material on bolt neck guitars as it has a tendency to make the guitar sound more harsh than I like. When combined with a mahogany neck it creates a nice balance.

Pau Ferro – An excellent dense, hardwood with a very tight pore structure. The tone is a bit more bright than Rosewood yet warmer than Ebony with plenty of articulation and attack. Available as an option on either set neck or bolt neck guitars at a later date.

Body Woods

Alder – Alder has a full robust midrange with good harmonic content that remains consistent throughout a guitars tonal spectrum. The attack is smooth but crisp. It also takes just about any finish color well. It is the most versatile sounding body wood for the Iconic S-Type models. Painted finishes will typically be 2 or 3 piece bodies. Transparent finish bodies may be 1 piece an occasionally 2 piece depending on grain match.

Swamp Ash – Swamp Ash has a more pronounced grain pattern that is very attractive and works great with transparent finishes. Tonally, Swamp Ash has a full bottom end with a clear extended top end. The mids are more “scooped” than Alder. It also has more attack and snap compared to Alder. We are very particular in selecting Swamp Ash for tonal and weight factors. Swamp Ash looks great with any transparent or burst finishes.

Mahogany – Standard on all of the set neck (coming soon) style instruments. This premium tone wood has a tight even grain structure. Tonally, it has a smooth and rich attack with warm bass, strong mid’s and a sweet and clear top end. It works great by itself or combined with a top wood like Maple for a complex tone combination.

Figured Maple – Flame and quilt Maple is very beautiful and adds to the visual appeal of an instrument. Maple has strong mids and a clear top end. Most commonly combined with an Alder or Mahogany body, a Maple top adds quickness, snap and clarity to the attack and tone of the guitar. Highly-figured flame and quilt Maple tops are available on select models as an option and besides adding incredible beauty, it adds some tonal qualities as well.

Electronics

There are several factors that make up the overall tonality of an instrument and we take all of it into account. Combined with the tone-woods mentioned above, model specific pickups and electronics are crucial to capture and deliver the instrument’s natural tonal qualities to the amplifier and beyond. Over the years we have worked with the best of the best in the industry. We’ve listened, observed and learned. Nowadays most of our instruments are proudly sent out into the world sporting our very own line of Iconic pickups, and we still offer Lollars, EMGs and several brands upon request. Whatever inspires you. No hard feelings. All guitars feature Emerson Custom pots and caps. All of these components are a result of a painstaking effort to bring you the absolute best playing and sounding guitar you can buy.

Hardware

You will find listed in the “model specifications” a detailed list of the hardware used in each of our models. We have taken painstaking efforts to ensure the period correct look of a vintage instrument that plays and functions exceptionally. The hardware utilized is from the most respected names in the industry, making sure the hardware mated to your guitar is representative of the original and will be extremely functional and reliable for many, many years to come.

A picture is worth 1000 Watts.

The FAQ

Can I order directly from Iconic?

Sure you can. Many players choose to order from us when looking for a very specific instrument –we’re proud to say these are usually their second or third Iconic! 

Why buy at the dealer when I can buy direct?

The simple answer is, because there’s no wait! A long waiting list is a great problem to have, and we’re truly grateful, but part of the reason we’re so busy is because our dealers keep investing and ordering to fulfill demand (thank you!). Dealers will offer sound advice and are always there to setup, maintain or repair your instrument. Don’t forget you can try before you buy, and play Stairway to Heaven at full tilt!

Are Iconic guitars made in the USA?

Hell yeah! Our instruments are proudly made in the United States, carefully assembed, inspected and finished by hand right here in sunny California.

What's up with Iconic "Vintage" models?

We love old instruments! The smell, the faded and checked finish, the worn out (and  weakened) electronics, the ridiculous prices… it’s all fascinating, but vintage guitars are far from perfect and, in most cases, too valuable or too finicky to make of them reliable workhorses. Our vintage models were designed to retain all the mojo and playability of a high-mile instrument without any of the setbacks.

Do you paint to sample?

Anything is possible. Wanna match that classic muscle car paint? Inspired by grandma’s avocado-green sweater? Your new hairdo? Chances are we arealdy have that stuff mixed and ready. Maybe not your granny’s sweater.

Can I have a relic finish that's not too beat up?

Yup. Just like in real life, guitars age at different rates. Some are forgotten under the bed for decades while other are put through the perils of the road, dive bars and angry girlfriends (and boyfriends, and pets). We offer different levels of aging.

Your turn. Ask away.

15 + 7 =

Interested in becoming and Iconic Artist?

Generally speaking, our artists had already been playing Iconic guitars before joining our roster, in some cases we reach out to players we believe would be a good fit. The best partnerships feel symbiotic and organic. We do what we can to help our artists attain their dream guitars, offer support and promote their work. We like to think our instruments influence their path and we are grateful for how they in turn represent and help promote our brand.

Get in Touch

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Call Us

General Inquiries: (760) 533-7110

Dealers & Artists: (760) 912-6131

Showroom

2227 Faraday Ave, Suite D

Carlsbad CA 92008

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