Guthrie Govan on the Japan-made Charvel he’s playing on tour with Hans Zimmer: “The MJ prototype actually turned out to be my no. 1 guitar for the bulk of the set”

“They were very much designed with reliability in mind so, generally, everything just works."

Guitar virtuoso Guthrie Govan has revealed that the stability of his latest signature Charvel San Dimas is what makes it his weapon of choice while he’s out on the road.

In a new interview with Guitarist, Govan walks us through how the new MJ San Dimas SD24 CM differs from the pricier USA HSH model, as well as some of his thoughts that went into designing the instrument: “Tonally, I’d say that the new model sounds closer to the basswood/maple version. The ash top doubtless contributes a little extra ‘shimmer’ to the tone, but mostly I’m hearing basswood characteristics in the MJ guitar. It’s pretty much neutral across all the frequencies, so it’s a good all-rounder.”

“We actually discovered a couple of subtle ways to improve on the original design by incorporating some strategically placed foam, but in more general terms I was keen to retain as many of the original US features as possible, so the functionality and quality of the guitar wouldn’t be compromised in any way.”

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“I think of this guitar simply as a new member of the GG signature family, rather than as a ‘budget’ version. To illustrate this, I may as well add that I’m currently out on the road with Hans Zimmer, and the MJ prototype actually turned out to be my No 1 guitar for the bulk of the set.”

And when asked about the sort of maintenance the SD24s require when he’s on the road, Govan had this to say: “I very rarely need to do any kind of mid-tour surgery on these guitars – they were very much designed with reliability in mind so, generally, everything just works.”

“In terms of maximising tuning stability without resorting to the use of a locking nut, some of that is ‘baked’ into the design of the guitar; the nut slots are well cut and the staggered height tuners ensure that the strings bend no more than is strictly necessary as they pass over the nut,” he added.

“In more general terms, I’m a big fan of using some kind of nut lubricant to reduce friction. Big Bends Nut Sauce always does the trick for me, but a couple of wise guitar techs have informed me that you can approximate at least some of those benefits with a humbler product such as a ChapStick!”

Learn more about Govan’s SD24 signature in the video below.

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