Now here’s an electric guitar to file under innovative, weird, sustainable and unique. It is made by SBC Guitar And Bass, it’s called the Thrace II, it is a headless multi-scale baritone guitar, and it is a complete one-off, on sale right now on Reverb.
The Thrace II was designed and built by SBC’s Stuart Robson, and it was inspired by sci-fi, eco-friendly living, and the general mindset change that arrived with Robson’s decision to up sticks with his partner and live on a narrowboat afloat on the UK’s waterways and canals.
Though, in terms of guitar inspirations, we’re seeing maybe a little Strandberg, a little BC Rich – this thing is really a shape – and perhaps the post-apocalyptic cinema of George Miller.
But whatever the aesthetic and spec influences at play, ultimately, ergonomics and performance was guiding the build, too.
The Thrace II has a body of reclaimed African mahogany, topped with stabilised boxwood. Robson used that reclaimed mahogany for a seven-ply neck, along with padouk, maple and walnut with tulip veneers. The neck-through build allows for a generous sculpt around the heel, freeing up all 24 jumbo frets, and there is carbon-fibre reinforcement to keep it stable.
The fingerboard itself is a work of art, carved from fumed eucalyptus, inlaid with a brass and mica detail inspired by a nebula, all bound in UK horse chestnut. The tone wood choices are radical but then so too are the fundamentals. This is a multi-scale baritone guitar running 28” to 26.5”. It has a 42mm Corian nut, and a Mitsel bridge unit to facilitate the headless design.
Robson has rigged this beast up with a single Bare Knuckle Warpig humbucker, which will eat up your biggest metal riffs but secreted on that 500k CTS volume pot you’ve got a push/pull function to split the coils for those occasions when you want to play something a little sweeter.
The Thrace II is listed on Reverb right now for £4,899. Robson says he will donate £500 from the sale to SolarAid, a charity tackling climate change and poverty. As for the finish, well, it doesn’t have a name, but it’s been judiciously sprayed pink to match the pickup bobbins, with blue-green mottling and given a final lick of polished Osmo oil.
Despite moving onto a houseboat, Robson says he has actually been more productive afloat on the canal, even if some of his processes have slowed down to adapt to the new working conditions. He describes the Thrace II as an “optimistic beast of a guitar”.
“Despite the way things feel in a worldwide sense, I feel full of optimism for the future of our planet and the adventures (and misadventures) we may finally have when we begin to explore the further reaches of space,” he said. “That is the spirit in which I built this Thrace guitar.
“My first Thrace guitar was more focused on mental health and atypical thinking. This build feels like my core guitar themes of sci-fi and ergonomics taken to extremes; an exploration of shape and theme whilst working in new ways and exploring different building methods.”