Many veteran guitarists believe that great tone can only come from instruments made using exotic hardwoods. This hasn't stopped makers from trying other materials, though, including Ampeg's iconic Dan Armstrong-designed Plexiglas guitar, the all-metal Gittler Guitar, and the 3D-printed guitar from AweSome Musical Instruments. For its new line of hand-made, Tele-shaped axes, France's Kompozit Guitars has chosen to give polyester-based fiberglass a whirl.
The Kompozit guitars are not the first to feature a fiberglass body. Thanks to Jack White of The White Stripes, the most famous example is probably the Airline J B Hutto model made in the 1960s. But the Telecaster-shaped creations of Alex Turbé and Yann Airiau, made in the picturesque Loire region of western France, appear to do away with the central wooden block inside the hollow body of the Valco Res-O-Glas models in favor of an external metal plate, onto which the pickups and bridge are mounted.
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Color, custom graphics and hardware options can be selected by the customer through the online Custom Shop, but a standard Hot First configuration features a polyester-based fiberglass hollow body with five sound holes between the Micro-SP Custom Savage Beast humbucking pickups, that cater for semi-acoustic-like playing.
The strong, but lightweight body also features a proprietary custom tail/bridge, a 3-way pickup selector, a pickup split switch, and volume and tone knobs. The neck isn't fiberglass, but is made from maple topped by a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. The head sports Gotoh Vintage tuners.
The First Hot guitar tips the scales at 2.78 kg (6 lb), and has the lowest starting price of the currently available models, coming in at €1,631 (about US$2,250). Other Kompozit instruments include a sky blue The Two, and an Indus model with an SP Custom single coil and humbucker pickup arrangement and a 5-way selector. There's a Tele-shaped bass model called The Old Skins with Micro-SP Custom Jazz Bass pickups, too. New Les Paul shapes and an electro-acoustic folk model are also in the works.
You can judge the fiberglass tone for yourself in the short test video below, which shows Turbé playing The Hot First through a Marshall amp.
Source: Kompozit Guitars