An axe vying for ‘super guitar’ status must offer considerably more than the standard combination of wood, string and magnetic pickups.
Whether it's robotic self-tuning technology, piezo or hexaphonic pickups for multiple voices, modelling, or a built-in MIDI control pad, what follows will prove that the electric guitar has come a long way since Les Paul and Leo Fender's early solidbody experiments.
In an industry obsessed with the design and tonal benchmarks set by the big guns in the 1950s and 1960s, some of the futuristic instruments we've selected have had a tough time finding acceptance. But with contemporary guitar heroes like Muse’s Matt Bellamy latching on to the sonic potential of onboard effects, will a day come when the Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul are as outmoded as the Model T Ford?
Featured roughly in order of release, each model here boasts at least one feature that warrants 'super' status. The world’s biggest guitar brand, Fender, is conspicuous by its absence, although it’s only fair to point out that the company’s Roland-partnering VG Stratocaster would be present had it not been recently discontinued.
First up, though, is a company that has been making jaws drop with its electric guitar designs since the then-outrageous outlines of the Flying V and Explorer in the 1950s; it's Gibson and the HD.6X-Pro Digital Guitar…