5 classic electric guitars with built-in effects
Vox Phantom VI Special
The Ibanez RGKP6 is the latest in a long line of effects-laden electrics - here are a few of our faves from years gone by. First up, the Vox Phantom VI Special...
The Phantom line was expanded throughout the 60s to include the Special, as played by Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. It came with six onboard effects, activated via pickguard-mounted buttons: treble boost, bass boost, top boost, mid boost, fuzz and repeat, while there were also controls for mid boost frequency, fuzz sustain, repeat speed and volume - it could even sound an E for tuning!
Built in the early 70s, the LG-23R looked like most common-or-garden Strat-a-likes, but with one key difference: a built-in drum machine.
There were five patterns chosen via a rotary selector and start switch, while volume and tempo controls fine-tuned the rhythms.
Electra MPC X320 (modular powered circuits)
In 1976, while the guitar effects biz was just beginning, Japanese brand Electra was offering guitarists the ability to load their instruments with them, courtesy of its modular effects system.
You’d simply slot one of the 12 available cartridge-style modules into your guitar, activate its switch and adjust the intensity with the effect knob.
Alesis X Guitar
When it launched in 2005, the X Guitar sold for only £229, and included 40 digital effects derived from the Alesis GuitarFX multi-effects unit.
An extra set of controls on the side of the guitar scrolled between sounds and adjusted parameters, and you could plug in an expression pedal for real-time control.
Gibson Firebird X
Even without the added effects, Gibson’s 2011 innovation was divisive - following in the dubious footsteps of the active-circuitry RD Artist of the 1970s.
As well as auto-tuning, comprehensive pickup switching and a piezo acoustic mode, the X offered a comprehensive assortment of DSP effects, all adjustable via onboard faders.