Kirk Windstein of Crowbar and Down has a new signature model from Solar Guitars

Solar Guitars E1.6KW
(Image credit: Solar Guitars)

Solar Guitars has added the kingpin of New Orleans sludge metal guitar Kirk Windstein to its artist roster, launching a new signature guitar that takes the Type E format and pares it down to the bare essentials.

Windstein’s E1.6KW is a riffer’s guitar, a single-pickup electric, finished in White Matte, with a reverse headstock you could use as a harpoon. 

Comprising an alder body, with a three-piece maple neck, it has a 24.75” scale – loosely an EX-style electric albeit one that’s been sharped out of sight. Its ebony fingerboard has a NOLA fleur-de-lis inlay at the 12th fret, block inlays elsewhere, and is topped with 22 stainless steel frets. 

There’s a string-through-body Tonepros tune-o-matic bridge, Solar-branded locking tuners, and it ships with its own gig-bag.

Windstein has opted for some classic active humbucker power, with an EMG-81 occupying the bridge position. He sees no need for tone controls so all you have is a volume pot and that’s you. What else is there in life?

Of course, such a stripped-down platform invites a no-messing, big powerchords only approach, but this being Solar, you can count on that maple neck’s C profile being on the emaciated side of thin. It’ll be super-quick.

Windstein is a stalwart of the New Orleans metal scene, making his name with Crowbar, which existed in various guises before being renamed in 1990 and releasing its uncompromising debut album, Obedience Thru Suffering, in ’91. 

Albums such as Broken Glass (1996) and Odd Fellows Rest (1998) cemented Crowbar’s reputation as one of Louisiana’s heaviest. Windstein then joined the NOLA supergroup Down with Pepper Keenan of Corrosion of Conformity, Jimmy Bower of EyeHateGod, with Pantera alumni Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown on vocals and bass guitar respectively.

The Solar Guitars Kirk Windstein E1.6KW is available now, priced $1,149. See Solar Guitars for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.