Probably the most famous example of a twin neck guitar is the Siamese SG used by the likes of Jimmy Page and Don Felder – the Gibson EDS-1275. With its new Doubleneck guitar, Veillette Guitars has managed to narrow the gap between the two necks in a lightweight package to offer a more comfortable experience for the player. Angular bridges also mean that the guitarist can pick hard or strum wildly on the upper 12-string section without fear of accidentally encroaching on the 6-string's domain.
Even though guitarists are limited to owning just two arms, having access to more than one instrument set up on one guitar body can be very useful indeed. The Doubleneck offers the choice of 12-string and 6-string playability in a configuration that brings the two necks closer together, allowing for lighter construction and a smaller body. The instrument also sports a unique neck geometry, where the two necks are rotated axially.
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"Essentially, what this means is that the necks are tilted in opposite directions from each other (along their lengths)," Veillette's Martin Keith told Gizmag. "The advantage is that the direction of approach is not the same for each neck, which allows them to be put closer together without interference."
The bridges are also set at an angle, which is said to result in improved playability for the right hand. This means that when strumming or picking on the 12-string, the player's hand doesn't come into contact with the other neck's strings, but should move around in the air above it. Of course, there's no uncomfortable stretching or reaching, either – also a bonus.
Although there are numerous opportunities to customize, the standard hardware includes TonePros bridges, an extra-light aluminum 6-string tailpiece, dual magnetic pickups for each neck, the striking open-style headpieces and the newly-released Gotoh "Stealth" tuners. Keith told us that in addition to being very light and being positioned to the rear of the headpiece, the new tuners also offer some intriguing features such as an anti-backlash adjustment for the worm gear.
The electronics on each build is essentially a custom job, created to suit each player, but prototyping the instrument led to the development of some specialized approaches. "One involves using a fader-style blend control to mix the necks, rather than a simple 3-way switch," explained Keith. "This allows the player to balance relative volumes of both necks, rather than simply choosing one, the other, or both."
"Another wiring scheme we developed is specific to an instrument with combined magnetic pickups and acoustic-style piezo bridges," he continued. "With this wiring, a push/pull switch enables a wiring mode which assigns the acoustic flavor to either neck and the electric flavor to the other – so, the player can quickly go from matching sounds on both necks to a split acoustic/electric doubleneck.
"Finally, for magnetic/piezo combinations, and even for all-magnetic guitars, we offer a customized dual-channel active mixing preamp, which allows a wide range of possible volume, tone, and mixing combinations without the volume drop, loading or interaction between controls that is typical of the extended wiring schemes in most doublenecks."
There are numerous Doubleneck custom configurations open to players – the company is currently finishing a 7-string/14-string variation for example – and pricing starts at just below the US$6,000 mark. Each instrument is built to order and has a lead time of about 4-5 months.