Ibanez SR1300PM

Ibanez SR1300PM

Year: 1994

Made In: Japan

Specs: Mahogany body with padauk top and back, five-piece wenge & bubinga neck, wenge fretboard

Electronics: Ibanez AFR P+J pickups, Vari-mid preamp

Controls: Volume, blend, bass cut & boost, treble cut & boost, Mid cut & boost, sweepable mid frequency selector

It’s fair to say the SR design has stood the test of time. I first became aware of them in the early 90’s, though it wasn’t until about fifteen years later that I finally got around to picking up a four string version, having long lusted after a SR800LE. This SR1300 was from the upper reaches of the range in the mid 90’s, though it wasn’t in great shape when I bought it. It had years and years worth of gunk and smoke beaten into the oiled body, leaving it dull and stinking. I invested a lot of time in cleaning and refinishing it and it really turned out well, see below for before and after pics. I also put an EMG pickup and preamp set into it, which transformed the unremarkable stock tone into something with a bit of pep. Sadly, even though it was very well built, light with very low action and sounded great, the super skinny neck, much like the wizard neck on my RG, never really felt like home. It was just too skinny for me and I eased it on out the door, trading it for a Fender Geddy Lee.

I still keep my eye out for a SR800 though.

Patrick Eggle TI Legend

Patrick Eggle TI Legend

Year: 1994

Made In: England

Specs: Mahogany body, mahogany neck, ebony fretboard

Electronics: Gibson Tony Iommi Humbucking pickups

Controls: Volume, tone x 2 & 3-way switch

Now for a rare one. This is from Tony Iommi’s short stint as an endorser of Patrick Eggle guitars during the mid-90’s. There were two models made bearing his name, this type based on their Vienna model and a longer lived SG based model which followed.

Unlike most of my guitars, I bought this one new. Growing up as a Heavy Metal loving teenager in the 80’s, the more digging you did into the influences of your influences, the more you realised all roads lead to Black Sabbath. In the 90’s I and my friends were full-on Sabbath devotees and the arrival of this guitar in a Dublin guitar shop caused much excitement. Sadly though, the price was far beyond what any of us could afford, though we did pop in to play it frequently enough. All we knew of Eggle was that they were essentially the English version of PRS and we had only heard of PRS a few years before that. Both brands were exotic and luxurious and way beyond our means – real items of desire.

Luckily enough, the guitar was included in a half-price sale which coincided with my 21st birthday and, amazingly to my mind, I was the one who bought it. It cost every penny I had but the thrill of owning such a guitar was immense. This guitar was, is, and always will be, the benchmark. I was fortunate enough to visit the Eggle factory in Coventry a few years later and was told that only 48 of this model were ever made before production of the SG model commenced. I got to play a couple of the SG models, as well as the rest of the Eggle range at the time, and they were all genuinely a delight to play.

This guitar is a huge slab of Brazilian mahogany, genuinely a very large body, and is weighted accordingly. The neck is slim but not overly so. It may be that as I’ve played it for twenty years, it feels like a neck should but, even at the time, it was a lovely guitar to play and clearly head and shoulders above anything I had at the time. Originally, it came with bespoke dual-rail humbuckers in a soapbar sized casing. These were very low output pickups with just over 5k resistance and, while they sounded good, struggled to drive an amp without assistance. After a few years I, somewhat foolishly, removed them and installed full-sized humbuckers, routing the body to make room for the bigger pickups. While irrevocably taking the guitar away from original specification, the Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz pickups I installed did give it a new lease of life. I also rewired it slightly, moving from a V-V-T setup to V-T-T. The sweetness remained but it now breathed fire too. It has always been a guitar which sounded great tuned low and, generally, that’s the way I keep it.

It remained in this configuration until, a few years ago, Gibson released an Iommi signature humbucker. It seemed only appropriate to install a pair. Sonically, they’re actually not too far away from the original dual-rails, even though the output is far greater. I believe this will be the final configuration of this guitar, one which will stay with me until the end. I still gig with it, still record with it and it will always be a favourite, no matter how many others come and go.