My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero told TG about his forthcoming signature guitar – an augmented Epiphone Wilshire dubbed the Phant-o-matic – back in November of last year, but now we’ve got the full specs and first images of the production model.
In terms of body shape, the guitar is based around the classic Epiphone Wilshire, but the real innovations come from the electronics housed in the guitar...
First up, similar to the Special Run Wilshires, the Phant-o-matic features an Epiphone Alnico Classic Plus humbucker in the bridge and an Alnico Classic humbucker in the neck, as opposed to the mini humbuckers found in the classic models.
There’s just one volume knob, a three-position pickup selector switch and, most interestingly, a six-position VariTone switch. This features a series of five tonal pre-sets and a bypass: the last two of which Epiphone claims will create the effect of singlecoil pickups, minus the quack.
There’s also a kill-switch located on the horn, excellent news for fans of Tom Morello-style jiggery-pokery.
This guitar was designed as a live workhorse, so it’s no surprise to see the dependable Tune-o-matic bridge. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unless we’re talking about the aforementioned electronics, in which case, ‘tinkering to your heart’s content’ seems to be the order of the day.
Featuring vintage-style nickel Wilkenson tuners with green pegs. Part of us wishes they glowed in the dark.
The original prototype
This is the picture we took of Frank’s original prototype back in November 2010 and as used by the guitarist in all My Chemical Romance shows at the time.