Call it what you will – fate? coincidence? synergy? – but for once we’ve featured a builder in the pages of the Fretboard Journal who actually has guitars available that you could own. Issue 39 delivers a nice profile of Harvester Guitars’ Anthony Payne (penned by Michael James Adams), a Melbourne, Australia-based builder of gorgeous-but-quirky instruments inspired by some of the wilder and wackier designs that came out of Italy and Japan in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Anthony also has a well-populated Reverb store, currently featuring four instruments, including a 12-string that Bill Frisell borrowed for a few gigs on his recent trip Down Under and our choice for this Catch of the Day, a Mosrite-y thing with a groovy custom paint job by Jeff Raglus that Anthony has dubbed “the Love Machine.”
The guitar itself is fairly basic: slab ash body, a “slim” Queensland maple neck with an ebony fingerboard (sporting a relatively flat 12” radius), two Lance Amplification P-90s, Kluson tuners, Tune-O-Matic bridge and a custom-made aluminum and stainless steel tailpiece. The 25″ scale is in that ‘tweener zone, a little sturdier than “Gibson scale” but a little more forgiving than “Fender scale.” If you took the advice in our Five to Follow column a while back, you’ve heard it on the Instagram – warm, clear and bright. [If you didn’t take out advice, check out the post below…]
That said, you gotta figure the be-all and end-all for this guitar is the vibe, that indelible paint job, the mix of purple pickup covers with a ruby red acrylic pickguard and simple phenolic knobs that pop contrasted against that backdrop, the Kay-inspired headstock with its psychedelic inlaid medallion… We’re also drawn to the sweet, subtler touches, like the oversized position markers and the angle of the fingerboard extension.
And, here’s the kicker: for whatever reason, a Harvester guitar isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg to begin with, and Anthony recently dropped the price on this one: $2,880 (plus $200 for shipping). Not bad for a one-of-a-kind boutique instrument.