"This is a guitar for electric players who don’t want to be a stereotype." ~ Andy Powers
(Photo: 1958 Porsche 356A Coupe in Fjord Green)
The A-Type from Powers Electric, Andy Power's new 'solo project' (Andy is the head designer, president, and CEO of Taylor Guitars), is a breath of fresh, Southern California air in a world of copy-cat guitars. Drawing inspiration from the car, surfing, and music cultures he grew up around, Andy set out to build the guitar that would deliver a sound, look, and feel that he didn’t have, which meant starting from scratch - no small task, to put it lightly!
From the body to the headstock, everything on the A-Type is made in-house, which means smaller production numbers given the labor-intensive craftsmanship involved. Let’s take a quick look at what makes the A-Type special from a technical perspective:
The body is slim, hollow and fully enclosed. Inside, it contains two soundposts, similar to the soundpost in a violin, that allow the front and back to move together, increasing resonance and sustain while reducing feedback.
The colorful knobs (and trem arm cap) are shop-crafted in-house from layers of surfboard resin, which originally was a byproduct of the surfboard glassing process. Because of this, no two resin knobs look exactly alike.
The trem/vibrato system features a “camshaft tailpiece,” which Andy calls a CamTail for short. It’s machined in-house and compensates for the string characteristics so the strings stay in tune as the pitch changes. The CamTail also contains a locking mechanism that stops the vibrato back at its normal pitch and allows the player to bend notes without pitch droop. It can be easily adjusted to allow for a full floating vibrato.
Andy's original design FF42 and PF42 pickups. The FF42 are the warmer of the two pickups and use a “full Faraday” cage made with 42-gauge wire. Visually, it’s engine turned on top, reminiscent of hot rod detailing. The PF42, “partial Faraday” pickup, creates a firmer, brighter sound and visually features matching pickguard material.
An asymmetrical fingerboard radius - which is slightly flatter on the treble side for easy, better- sounding string bends.
So, how do these technical specs add up? What does the A-Type feel and sound like? In a word: incredible. This is a lightweight, perfectly balanced guitar with a loud acoustic voice that truly achieves what Andy set out to achieve - it's inspiring, really musical (read: a blast to play), and sounds fantastic whether clean or overdriven.
Highlights? Ease of play, balanced/touch sensitive/rewarding/inspiring tones, and the CamTail! To be able to play a chord and dip the bar down a whole step - while keeping the chord in tune - is a remarkable experience as a player. It's the TransTrem idea in a way more vintage inspired instrument.
"My design was heavily influenced by the area where I grew up: San Diego’s North County, close to the beach, where I was immersed in a vibrant cultural stew of surfing, skateboarding, auto craft, music, art and architecture — a rich mix of creative expression.
As a player and a builder, I wanted a guitar with great musical utility, one that feels amazing every time you pick it up - inspiring you to explore fresh ideas while allowing you to sound more like you. This is a guitar for electric players who don’t want to be a stereotype." ~ Andy Powers