Behind the otherworldly instruments of Stone Wolf Guitars is Mike Payne, a former motorcycle mechanic who turned his love of guitars into more than a hobby. At his workshop in Leicester, UK, Payne creates striking amalgamations of exotic woods and resin, forging some truly bedazzling guitars.
As a builder, Payne shows no fear towards modernity, ignoring the stigma that often comes attached with “resin-based” guitar builds. In fact, using resin has afforded him the ability to harness the tones of exquisite woods that would otherwise be too oddly shaped for guitars. While this approach would surely make some purists wince, Payne asserts that everything he does is for the sake of playability.
“All my builds, and all my shapes – I designed so they can be played comfortably more than anything else. Aesthetic is second, comfort and practicality is first, just because it is a tool, and it needs to be usable.” Payne said during an interview with Guitar.com.
The Catalyst is one such instrument that seems to really embody this approach. To construct its body, Payne takes pieces – sometimes a hunk, sometimes chunks – of black poisonwood, and fills out edges with resin. Its neck construction is a smorgasbord of carefully selected woods as well, sporting an 11-piece combination of wenge, flamed maple and bubinga, topped off with a 7-piece fretboard of ebony, flamed maple and spalted elm.
Today, Stone Wolf Guitars has formed a kinship within the players of heavy genre music circles – with artist endorsees such as Laird Logan of the melodic death metal group Hærken and James Tomedi of Burial In The Sky.
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