Australian luthier Perry Ormsby has been dropping jaws with his stunning custom work for years now, but previously if you wanted one of his guitars you basically had to get in line and wait for your beautiful one-off creation to come to you. Now Ormsby has created a line of instruments designed in consultation with Facebook groups, and built at the World Musical Instruments factory in South Korea. The first samples were on display at the NAMM Show this year, and I made sure to drop by and play them quite a bit during the show.
The body is made of alder with a laminated rock maple set neck. The neck is a D shape, which is 20.3mm at the first fret transitioning to 22mm at the 17th, and the scale length depends on which string you’re playing: this model is 25.5” on the thinnest string and 27.8” at the thickest. This gives you the ideal string tension for each string, and also helps with the intonation. But more on that in a second. The fretboard is made of ebony with Jumbo stainless steel frets, the bridge is a custom Hipshot string-thru design and the machineheads are Hipshot locking models. The pickups are Ormsby-designed: a Nunchucker with Alnico 8 magnet in the bridge position and a De La Creme Alnico 2-neck humbucker. There’s a coil split on the tone control.
First off, if you’ve never played a multiscale instrument before, this will feel a little strange – for a grand total of about 30 seconds, before you suddenly realise that your hand already wants to naturally angle itself to the positions you need to play at either end of the fretboard. You’ll instantly notice that the intonation is better, even when you’re throwing in really complex or tightly voiced chords that involve wide fret-spans. And the extra snap and punch of the low string certainly bene ts from the increased length.
As for the tone, this is a pretty aggressive-sounding guitar – the bridge pickup has some noticeable sizzle and air in the high end, full bass and assertive midrange. It’s the kind of voicing that can sometimes sound a little weird by itself, until you hear it in a band or recording mix. It also means that when you split this pickup it still sounds very gutsy. The neck pickup has great detail and sustain, with a sort of ‘flutey’ overtone that maintains its definition and harmonic sophistication under heavy gain. It also cleans up nicely and sounds great in single coil mode.
ALL IN ALL
If you’re a little unsure of the multiscale thing and you’d like to give it a try, Ormsby’s Facebook community seems very friendly and inclusive. You’ll probably find someone nearby who has ordered these and would be happy to have a jam with you so you can try it out. But the crux of it is this, a multiscale guitar makes a lot of sense from an engineering standpoint, the design and construction of the HypeGTR is very high quality and the playability and sound are outstanding.
For more info on Ormsby guitars, visit www.ormsbyguitars.com.
Hits and Misses
Great crunch and heavy-distortion tones
Pickups might be a bit aggressive for some