NAMM 2020: Custom guitar maker Gene Baker has unveiled the return of b3 Guitars. The former Fender Master Builder announced the SL, Phoenix and Ringmaster guitars, all handmade in Baker’s new facility in Tehachapi, California.
Baker has partnered with MI veteran Mike Rinkenberger to offer a bespoke experience for players looking to customise a guitar. “There are many other builders that offer all of the right ingredients, but just don’t truly inspire; many other so called custom built instruments provide little more by way of options than body shape, pickup configurations, or finish,” Rinkenberger said in a statement. “Our new iteration of b3 Guitars is a completely different experience, one that I think a lot of players will be dying to get their hands on.”
Short for ‘Straight Line’, the SL is a double-cut, dual-humbucker guitar. Customisable options include the body type (carved top or figured top), neck wood (korina or maple) and fingerboard (ebony/maple). The SL can also be built as either a solid-body, semi-hollow or full hollow guitar.
Baker describes this as something of a cross between a Telecaster and a Firebird. According to the brand, the Phoenix combines elements of both guitar types, condensing them into a smaller and more manageable form. The base configuration of the Phoenix starts with a lightweight neck-through korina body with a shallow C-profile neck, along with two mini-humbuckers in the neck and middle positions and a Tele-style bridge pickup. The Phoenix can be customised further to feature a korina neck or a totally different pickup configuration.
The Ringmaster was inspired by the increasing popularity of extended range and multi-scale instruments. The guitar is divided into four main variants: Sahara, Sahara+, Ami and Pallas. The Sahara and Sahara+ both feature bolt-on necks with the latter having the option of a half-inch figured gallery top, either single or book-matched to the centre seam. Meanwhile, the Ami uses a set-neck configuration for maximum sustain and adds hand-raised carved contours to the front and rear edges for player comfort. The Pallas takes these options and supplements them with a choice of a seven- or eight-string setup and either a single or book-matched half-inch figured gallery top.
Gene Baker is now accepting orders for b3 Guitars. For more information, click here.