OBJECTS OF DESIRE: The Guitar Aficionado Ultimate Luxury Products Guide
Just what is “the ultimate”? Dictionaries posit a number of definitions, such as “the most remote in space or time” or “the last in a progression or series.” But it also casts “the ultimate” as “the best or most extreme of its kind,” and it is this description that holds sway over connoisseurs and aficionados of fine food, exquisite automobiles, exotic vacations, impeccable audio reproduction, and sartorial superiority.
For the one percent out there who can afford a 2017 Bugatti Chiron or a 160-acre ranch at Montana’s Yellowstone Club, an overarching feeling of exclusivity is certainly a key factor. But for most luxury-product enthusiasts, expert craftsmanship, daring innovation, and occasional outrageousness drives their purchases, whether it’s a remarkably well-constructed guitar cable, a soundbar built from the back of a Porsche 911 GT3, or a pedal straight out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. Whatever category you fit in, our Ultimate Luxury Products Guide has something for everyone.
Below, you can find the ultimate Guitar Gear, followed on subsequent pages by Home Audio, Cars and Motorcycles, and Attire.
ULTIMATE GUITAR GEAR
Gibson “Eden of Coronet” SG
Most guitars that command record-setting prices usually do so because of who played them. Last year, however, Gibson’s “Eden of Coronet” was crowned “the world’s most valuable guitar” by the Guinness Book of World Records the second it came off the luthier’s bench and before anyone so much as played an E chord on it. What accounts for this white SG’s two-million-dollar price tag? Almost the entire surface of the body’s top is covered in about 400 carats of diamonds, and more than three-and-a-half pounds of 18k white gold adorn the instrument. The “Eden of Coronet” is a three-way collaboration between musician-designer Mark Lui, Coronet jewelry designer Aaron Shum, and Gibson. Lui stated that he blinged out the SG to accentuate the feminine quality of the instrument. And the way we hear it, diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.
ULTIMATE EFFECT PEDAL
Z. Vex Candela Vibrophase
Zachary Vex, founder of and official mad scientist for Z. Vex Effects, has created some of the most out-there, brilliant, and brilliantly named guitar effects pedals over the past 20 years. But he’s outdone even himself with his $5,900 steam-punk stomp-box creation called the Candela Vibrophase. Give him this: Nobody else has a lock on the claim of making “the world’s first candle-powered guitar effects pedal.” That’s right—a single tea candle with a burning time of approximately five hours illuminates two solar cells that power a Stirling engine, which in turn drives a flywheel that spins an oscillating optical disc. Interrupted light sends tremolo through the Vibrophase, its intensity and speed controlled by a neodymium sphere magnet. If it’s all very Wile E. Coyote–sounding, we should stress that it does indeed work. According to Vex, it’s the first modulation effect “that makes the amp sound like it’s floating around spinning.” Given that the prototype recently displayed at the NAMM Show took 77 hours to build, don’t expect Candela Vibrophases to roll off the assembly line. But that gives you enough time to count your pennies.
ULTIMATE GUITAR CABLE
Morrow Audio Phoenix Guitar Cable
To many guitarists the idea of spending 700 bucks on a guitar cable might strike them as foolhardy. But think about it: You’ve already forked over thousands of dollars on that high-end guitar and probably several thousand more on a boutique amp. To paraphrase a famous saying, a signal chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so why compromise your first-class tone with a budget guitar cable? The Morrow Audio Phoenix cable is pro audio all the way, delivering “pure tone” via the finest conductor material around—two runs of shielded solid-core, insulated silver-coated copper wire—to provide the truest sound of your rig. Custom lengths are available, but the basic Phoenix cable is 12 feet and it comes with either a straight- or right-angle “silent” plug to avoid speaker damage when you unplug from a live amp.