Nowadays it is difficult to surprise someone with a standard guitar with six or seven strings. But there is a special kind of this instrument – a guitar with two necks (double-neck) . What are these guitars for? Why are they unique? When did they first appear and what famous guitarists played them? What is the name of the most popular model? You will find answers to all questions from this article.
Learn more about double neck guitars
So, a double neck guitar is a kind of hybrid that includes two different sets of strings. For example, the first neck is a regular six-string electric guitar , and the second neck is a bass guitar. Such an instrument is intended for concerts, because, thanks to it, a guitarist can play and alternate different musical parts or move from one key to another.
There is no need to spend time changing and tuning guitars.
History and reasons for the appearance
The earliest evidence of the use of such an instrument dates back to the Renaissance, when street musicians played double guitars to surprise the audience. In the 18th century, musical masters were actively looking for ways to improve guitar construction and sought to achieve a fuller and richer sound. One of these experimental models was the double-necked guitar , which Aubert de Troyes created in 1789. Since the double-necked guitar did not provide noticeable advantages, it was not widely used in those days.
Many years later, in the early 1950s, as rock music developed, tapping, a style of guitar playing in which the guitarist lightly taps the strings between the frets , became popular . With this technique, each hand can play its own independent musical part. For such “two-handed” playing, the Duo-Lectar guitar with two necks , which Joe Bunker patented in 1955, was excellent.
In the future, such an instrument became popular among various rock bands – it made it possible to get a more voluminous sound and unusual guitar effects. Owning a double-necked electric guitar is considered an indicator of the skill of a guitarist, since playing it requires special skill and dexterity.
In general, the reasons for the appearance of the guitar with two necks were the introduction of new musical styles and playing techniques, as well as the desire of guitarists to innovate and enrich the familiar sound with new colors.
Types of guitars with two necks
There are several types of such guitars:
- with 12-string and 6-string necks ;
- with two six-string necks of different tonality (sometimes different pickups are placed on them);
- with 6-string neck and bass neck ;
- double neck bass guitar (usually one of the necks has no frets );
- alternative models (for example, a hybrid of a 12-string Rickenbacker 360 guitar and a Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar).
Each of the options for a guitar with two necks is suitable for certain purposes and genres of music, so when choosing such a musical instrument, you need to understand what exactly it is required for.
Notable guitar models and performers
The following musicians who play the double neck guitar are widely known:
- Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
- Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush;
- Don Felder of the Eagles;
- Mike Rutherford of Genesis
- Matthew Bellamy of Muse
- James Hetfield of Metallica
- Tom Morello of Rage Againist the Machine;
- Vladimir Vysotsky.
As for guitars, two of the most famous models can be named:
Gibson EDS-1275 (produced in 1963 – our time). Popularized by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, this guitar is considered the coolest instrument in rock music. It combines a 12-string and a 6-string neck .
Rickenbacker 4080 (years of production: 1975-1985). This model combines the necks of a 4-string Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar and a 6-string Rickenbacker 480 bass guitar. Geddy Lee, vocalist and guitarist of Rush, played this guitar.
High-quality double-neck guitars are also produced by Shergold, Ibanez, Manson – the models of these manufacturers were used by musicians such as Rick Emmett (Triumph group) and Mike Rutherford (Genesis group).
- The most striking example of the use of this type of guitar is the song “Stairway to Heaven”, where Jimmy Page switched from one neck to another four times and played an outstanding guitar solo.
- During a live performance of the famous “Hotel California” song (winning a Grammy for best song of 1978), the Eagles’ lead guitarist played a Gibson EDS-1275 “twin” guitar.
- The collection of the Soviet author and performer Vladimir Vysotsky included an acoustic guitar with two necks . Vladimir Semyonovich rarely used the second neck , but noted that with it the sound becomes more voluminous and more interesting.
- The Canadian rock band Rush was distinguished by innovation, complex compositions and virtuoso playing of musicians on instruments. She was also remembered for the fact that sometimes two double-necked guitars sounded at concerts at the same time.
It can be concluded that the double guitar expands the possibilities of the musician and adds novelty to the familiar sound. Many of those who already own a conventional guitar dream of playing this non-standard instrument – perhaps you will have such a desire too. Although the double -neck guitar is not very comfortable and has a lot of weight, playing it gives an unforgettable experience – it is definitely worth learning.
We wish you to conquer new musical peaks!